292 French Boy Names: Unique and Popular (with meanings)

Be inspired by the ultimate list of classic and unique French boy names for your baby. Get the local's list of popular male names in France, along with their meanings. And find out the difficult-to-pronounce baby names to avoid!
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If you are expecting a baby and are looking for French boy names that are unique and cute, you’ve come to the right place! (Even if you are not, who doesn’t love reading a list of stylish names and their meanings?) But I should warn you, popular male names in France that will also work in English are not as easy to find as you might think.

If you’ve missed my post for girls and the issues we had to think about there, here is the link for French baby girl names. And I’ve also put together a list of gender-neutral French names to give even more ideas. I’ve gone for ones I love, that are a bit popular, a bit unusual, and most of all, pronounceable in English and in French.

As a parent in France, I sometimes wonder is it too late to change my own kids’ names? (Hint: it is. In France, you only have 5 days to decide. An administrative hell will descend upon you if you don’t register the birth within that time-frame.)

Besides the bureaucracy that comes with giving birth in France, there are so many questions to think about when naming a kid. Especially across cultures.

soother for baby illustration

Does the name mean something to both parents? Will all the grandparents be able to pronounce it? Is the kid is going to blame you if he hates his given name? It’s a lot of pressure!

I don’t mean to stress you out but with that, here is my list of the top French boys names with their meanings. I’ve broken the names down into categories to provide some context, rather than just dump them all together. Allons-y!

I. Classic & Traditional Male French names

There are several French baby boy names that are tried and true classics. A lot of names originate from Latin and the Bible, and so are similar to the English versions of their name. There is no mistaking their parentage, however.

The list of classic baby names in France actually includes a lot of the same names in the U.S. and U.K. such as the name “Michael”. The name, however, is pronounced completely differently in English as the French version has two possible pronunciations that you could go with.

  • Michael – pronounced Mi-shel (like Michelle) or Mi-kaël,
    • Meaning: who is like God.

Other names, like Ryan, took me a few minutes to figure out how it was spelt when I heard it in French, because it didn’t sound anything like the North American pronunciation of Ryan.

  • Ryan – pronounced Rye-a(n),
    • Meaning: little king.

The name Adam is number 2 in Paris, but the French pronunciation is with the “m” turning into an “n”.

  • Adam – pronounced Ad-a(n),
    • Meaning: to make.
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I haven’t included these types of names in my list, because while they may be popular in France, you would be hard-pressed to get people to pronounce them with a French accent!

Some classic French boy names that are much better suited for English-speakers are:

  1. André – manly and strong, French form of Andrew,
    • Famous people with the name: André Malraux (French writer and politician).
  2. Antoine – priceless one, French version of Anthony,
    • Famous people with the name: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (French author of “Le Petit Prince”).
  3. Claude – stuttering, from the name Claudius,
  4. Edouard – wealthy guardian, French version of Edward
    • Famous people with the name: Edouard Philippe (French politician).
  5. Harvey – old Celtic and Breton name meaning blazing
    • Famous people with the name: Harvey Fierstein (American actor and writer).
  6. Jacques – French version of Jack or Jacob
    • Famous people with the name: Jacques Cousteau (French ocean explorer and inventor).
  7. Julien – youthful or Jove’s child,
  8. Louis – famous warrior, name of several French Kings
  9. Maurice – dark or swarthy,
    • Famous people with the name: Maurice Ravel (French composer).
  10. Nicolas – victory of the people,
    • Famous people with the name: Saint Nicolas (Santa Claus in French), Nicolas Sarkozy (French politician), Nicolas Anelka (French football player).
  11. Pascal – relating to Easter, Passover,
    • Famous people with the name: Pascal Dupuis (Canadian hockey player).
  12. Serge – durable woollen fabric,
  13. Thierry – ruler of people,
    • Famous people with the name: Thierry Henry (French football player).
  14. Victor – conquerer,
  15. Yves – yew wood,
    • Famous people with the name: Yves St. Laurent (French designer).

These French names ebb and flow in popularity, but they are all undeniably very French.

☞ READ MORE: French Nursery rhymes for baby

ring toys for baby illustration

II. Popular Boys names in France

Names that are classic may not always be the most popular today in France, so I put together a list of names that au courant today in Paris and the hexagon. The top popular names for baby boys in France have been chosen based on anecdotes as well as local French birth statistics.

So I have to at this point, add another caveat. I’m not trying to discourage you but French names for boys can be more difficult to pronounce for English speakers, compared to that of girls.

In general, boys’ names end in a consonant, while girl names end in a vowel. If you look at my list of French girl names, almost every single one ends with an “e”. (This is not on purpose, those are just the names I picked!)

But because the girls’ names end with a vowel, the last syllable is pronounced in both English and French. For boys’ names, we pronounce the last letter in English, but in French, it is very subtle.

  • Adrien – pronounced Ad-ri-e(n),
    • meaning: wealthy.

For example, in Adrien, the “n” at the end is barely audible. This is the case with a lot of French boy names, so you will have to go through the list and decide for yourself.

As with the girls’ list, I have left out the names of family and friends, to avoid being biased! And with that, here are some of the most popular male French names, along with their meanings.

  1. Aayden – fiery or little fire
  2. Aimon – House or home
  3. Alexandre – Defender of the people
  4. Aimé – loved
  5. Alfred – counsel
  6. Alric – wise ruler
  7. Armand – soldier
  8. Arnaud – eagle power
  9. Arsène – male, virile
  10. Arthur – bear
  11. Augustin – majestic
  12. Aurélin – golden
  13. Axel – father of peace
  14. Ayden – little fire
  15. Baptiste – after Saint John the Baptist
  16. Basile – royal, kingly
  17. Bastien – venerable, revered.
  18. Bellamy – Good friend
  19. Benet – from the french word “béni”, meaning “little blessed one”; diminutive of “Benoît”.
  20. Benoît – blessed
  21. Cédric – bounty
  22. Cesar – head of hair, Julius Caesar
  23. Charles – Free man
  24. Clément – merciful
  25. Corentin – tempest, hurricane
  26. Coty – riverbank
  27. Croix – Cross
  28. Cyril – lordly, masterful
  29. Dabney – From Aubigny
  30. Damond – The world
  31. Danon – God is my judge
  32. Darrell – Open
  33. Daumier – French artist name
  34. Dax – water
  35. Decartes – Dweller at the outskirts of town, after French philosopher Réné Descartes
  36. Delano – From the sea
  37. Delroy – Servant of the king
  38. Deveraux – Riverbank
  39. Didier – desire or longing, like French footballer and coach Didier Deschamps
  40. Dumas – On the little farm
  41. Duvall – Of the valley
  42. Édouard – guardian, protector
  43. Elie – meaning “the Lord is my God”
  44. Elroy – The king
  45. Emmanuel – God with us
  46. Ernest – serious
  47. Étienne – crown (French form of Stephan)
  48. Eugène – wellborn, noble
  49. Fabian – name of a Roman family in antiquity.
  50. Fabrice – works with his hands
  51. Favre – Ironworker
  52. Ferdinand – bold, peace
  53. Florentin – growing
  54. Florin/Florian – flowering
  55. Florent – flowering
  56. François – meaning “french”
  57. FraganBreton male variation of “François”
  58. FrancesProvencal male variation of “François”
  59. Franck – from France, free one
  60. Gabriel – devoted to God
  61. Gaspard – guest, man from Gascony
  62. Gaston – guest, man from Gascony
  63. Georges – farmer, earthworker
  64. Gilles – shield bearer
  65. Guillaume – resolute protector (French version of William)
  66. Gustave – God’s staff
  67. Hadrien – dark
  68. Henri – powerful, ruler. Several French Kings were named Henri, including King Henri IV
  69. Hugo – heart, mind, spirit
  70. Jean – after Saint John
  71. Jerome – of Sacred name
  72. Johan – God is gracious
  73. Jules – youthful
  74. Kylian – after French footballer Kylian Mbappé
  75. Lanier – Wool worker
  76. Leon – lion
  77. Leroy – The king
  78. Lowell – Young wolf
  79. Loïc – famed warrior
  80. Loris – laurel, winner
  81. Luc – light, illumination
  82. Lucien – light
  83. Lucas – after Saint Luke
  84. Ludovic – famous fighter
  85. Mael – Chief or prince
  86. Malo – after Saint Malo
  87. Marcus – dedicated to “Mars”
  88. Mattéo – gift of God
  89. Marcellus – Young warrior
  90. Marquette – Land owner
  91. Marin – of the sea
  92. Marius – male (name from Provence, in the South of France)
  93. Mathieu – Gift from God
  94. Mathis – Gift of God
  95. Maxence – greatest
  96. Naël – short form of Nathanael
  97. Nathanael/Nathaniel – Gift of God
  98. Noah – rest, repose
  99. Olivier – olive tree
  100. Patrice – noble or patrician; French version of Patrick
  101. Quentin – the fifth
  102. Rafael – God has healed
  103. Raoul – wolf
  104. Raphael – meaning “God has healed”
  105. Rayan – smart, thinker
  106. Régis – ruler, kingly
  107. Rémi – oarsman
  108. René – born again
  109. Roger – famous spear
  110. Romain – citizen of Rome
  111. Sebastien – Revered
  112. Stéphane – crown
  113. Thayer – of army of the nation
  114. Théodore – God given
  115. Thibault – bold, brave
  116. Thoreau – from the name Thor
  117. Timothée – honoring God
  118. Timéo – honor
  119. Tristan – sad, melancholy, from the french word “triste” meaning “sad”
  120. Valentin – strong, healthy
  121. Vardon – Green knoll
  122. Villiers – Town-dweller
  123. Vitus – Life
  124. Yanis – Gift of God
  125. Yannick – meaning “God is gracious”; after french tennis player Yannick Noah
  126. Yoann – YAHWEH is gracious
  127. Zinadine – after French footballer Zinadine Zidane
baby's first panda bear illustration

III. Unique, Unusual, & Rare names

Beyond the classic and popular names are the French male names that are a bit rarer, but still easily recognized in France.

It should be noted that in France, all names have to be approved by the local town hall of the city that the parents live in. Creativity in naming your baby is not encouraged.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1966 that French names could be something other than religious biblical names, and not until 1993 that baby names could be a bit more “unique”. As long as they were not considered offensive that is.

☞ READ MORE: Top Popular French songs for kids

So while male French names can now be a bit more creative, the names still have a history behind them. Some of the most attractive and unique French boy names with meaning are:

  1. Achille – Greek warrior and leader in the Trojan War (the famous Achilles heel)
  2. Agathon – man
  3. Alderic – old ruler
  4. Arman – sounds indian, but is quite popular in France. Meaning of the army
  5. Baudouin – brave friend
  6. Barbeau – Fisherman
  7. Barnabé – meaning “son of the Prophet”.
  8. Bayard – deforested land
  9. Beauchamp – The beautiful field
  10. Beaumont – Beautiful mountain
  11. Beauregard – Beautiful gaze
  12. Berne – Bold as a bear
  13. Bouvier – Herdsman
  14. Chandler – Candle maker
  15. Egon – form of the German name Eginhard
  16. Emeric – work and ruler
  17. Enzo – home ruler
  18. Erwan – dragon
  19. Eustache – fruitful
  20. Fénélon – named after François Fénélon, a famous 17th-century priest and writer
  21. Fleury – flower
  22. Gontran – fighter
  23. Imbert – immense
  24. Javier – born in january
  25. Lievin – form of the Dutch name Leobwin
  26. Lothaire – famous warrior, army
  27. Mercer – merchant
  28. Montagne – mountain
  29. Morand – the sea
  30. Nestor – one who returns from travels
  31. Neville – New town
  32. Noel – Christmas
  33. Perceval – pierce or valley
  34. Philibert – Much brightness; much fame
  35. Pierrick – stone
  36. Picard – From department of Picardy in northern France
  37. Proust – after French writer Marcel Proust
  38. Reynard – Counsel or brave
  39. Roch – bounteous (Canadian singer Roch Voisin)
  40. Rousseau – Red-haired
  41. Sylvestre – woodsy
  42. Tanguy – name of character in famous French movie, who continues to live with his parents as an adult

If you want to have some fun, you can check out my top names for cats and dogs as well, lots of unique names there. But I must admit, I’m not sure you will want to name your baby that!

IV. Attractive and Strong Names

In browsing baby boy names lists published in France, I noted that there are several attractive names that are people gravitate to because of the strength in their meaning:

  1. Ademar – strong and famous
  2. Ambroise – Immortal
  3. Ames – Friend
  4. Armel – Bear prince
  5. Aubert – meaning “noble”, “brilliant”.
  6. Aurélien – golden
  7. Beau – handsome
  8. Bernard – strong as a bear
  9. Blaize – torch
  10. Carl – strong
  11. Chasse – hunter
  12. Durant – steadfast
  13. Duron – Strong and freedom
  14. Elian – meaning “the lord is my God”.
  15. Enriquet – meaning “master of the house”.
  16. Ethan – strong
  17. Gabin – force
  18. Gaetan – from gaieté
  19. Garnet – Pomegranate
  20. Garson – To protect
  21. Gaubert – Bright ruler
  22. Gervais – Spearman or skilled with a spear
  23. Gerhard – strong as a spear
  24. Gilen – vow or oath
  25. Godard – Strong God
  26. Iker – Visitor
  27. Izod – Hardy or strong
  28. Jarret – mighty spearman
  29. Lamont – From the mountain
  30. Léandre – lion man
  31. Léo – like a lion
  32. Malin -smart
  33. Marc – warlike
  34. Noé – rest
  35. Nolan – noble, famous
  36. Obert – Noble or bright
  37. Philippe – lover of horses (a name common among French royalty)
  38. Rainier – strong counselor (name of royalty from French-speaking Monaco)
  39. Renard – fox, brave
  40. Ricard – powerful ruler
  41. Richard – strong and powerful leader (pronounced Ri-shard)
  42. Rupert – Bright fame (t is silent)
  43. Sacha – defender of men
  44. Talon – Large claw of a bird of prey
  45. Urbain – From the city
  46. Valère – strong and healthy
  47. Vilem – resolute protector
  48. Virgil – Intrepid

V. Old-Fashioned & Vintage Baby Boy Names

In the past, French babies used to be named after saints. The simplest way to do that, was to name the child after the Saints’ day when the baby was born.

You might think that this is ancient history, but even today, French calendars will track the Saint’s day, and parents and family members will wish the person “bonne fête du prénom”!

Laws around baby-naming may have loosened, but vintage names are making a comeback. Everything old does become new again! Some vintage and old-fashioned French boy names that you will hear are:

  1. Àbelard – after famous French philosopher Peter Abelard
  2. Alain – Little rock
  3. Alberic – powerful
  4. Algernon – mustached man
  5. Albin – innocence of the heart
  6. Alphonse – noble, rapid
  7. Aramis – French literary name from The Three Musketeers
  8. Audric – royal
  9. Auguste, Augustave – majestic
  10. Balthazar – God protect the King
  11. Barthélemy – son of Tolomé
  12. Benjamin – son of fortune
  13. Bertrand – brilliant
  14. Calendau – variation of the name Noël, which used to be given to a child born on Christmas Day.
  15. Clovis – Renowned fighter, after King Clovis
  16. Constantin – farm
  17. Crispin – named after Saint Crispin
  18. Cristòu – named after Christ; variation of “Christophe”.
  19. Dagobert – an old-fashioned name that has fallen slightly out of style because of the french kids’ song “le bon roi dagobert
  20. Damien – from the Latin name Damia
  21. Danis – meaning “God is my judge”; variation of “Denis”.
  22. Dartagnan – name from The Three Musketeers
  23. Dimitri – who appeared to Déméter, the sister of Zeus
  24. Fantin – child
  25. Félix – happiness
  26. Frédéric – the power of peace
  27. Gauthier – commander, governor
  28. Gérald – lance
  29. Gérard – fort
  30. Gilbert – a descendant of a “high race”
  31. Grégoire – awake
  32. Guy – forest
  33. Hebert – army
  34. Hervé – strong, named after Saint Hervé
  35. Hubert – intelligent
  36. Isaac – to laugh
  37. Jérémie – God
  38. Karouintin – Celtic name after Saint Corentin.
  39. Laurent – winner
  40. Marcel – green of the sea
  41. Marceau – hammer; named after famous mime “Marcel Marceau”
  42. Martial – Mars
  43. Martin – Mars
  44. Octavien – of eight
  45. Sylvain – forest
  46. Thaddée – courageous
  47. Vincent – winner
ABC blocks for baby illustration

VI. Hyphenated and Compound Names

Hyphenated or compound names (prénoms composé) are also quite popular in France, going back generations. They often combine the names of grandparents and/or Biblical characters.

Common French compound and hyphenated boys names that you will hear around France are:

  1. Félix-Antoine – Felix meaning happiness, and Antoine meaning priceless one
  2. François-Xavier – François meaning free, and Xavier meaning new house. Nickname is FX
  3. Jean-Luc – From the Bible, John the Baptist, and Luke. Also Jean-Luc Picard, the fictional captain on Star Trek Enterprise.
  4. Jean-Marie – From the Bible, John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. Famous name: Jean Marie Le Pen (ultra-right-wing French politician)
  5. Jean-Paul – From the Bible, John the Baptist and Paul.
  6. Léo-Paul – Paul meaning little, and Léo meaning lion
  7. Louis-Thomas – Louis meaning famous warrior and Thomas meaning twin
  8. Pierre-Louis – Pierre meaning Peter from the Bible or stone and Louis meaning famous warrior.
  9. Pierre-Olivier – Pierre meaning Peter from the Bible or stone and Olivier meaning olive tree.

A lot of people use double-names in France, though you do have to be very precise as to whether there is a hyphen in the middle or not. One French man named Jean-Marie got into trouble when applying for a marriage license, when his town’s officiant rejected his paperwork because of hyphens applied or not-applied indiscriminately!

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If you enjoyed that article, you may want read more about what having a baby in France is like. And for some fun, you can download some baby-related French-English flashcards below. A bientôt!

French Baby Boy names pin for pinterest

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