Expecting a baby and looking for French girl names that are popular, pretty, and unique, and that also works in English? Easy Peasy. Until you put it into practice, it is. You want to find a name that is not too common, love the meaning, but have something that is still beautiful. A name that both parents like, and that all the grandparents can pronounce.
A name that is for life. Your kid may end up hating you, so the pressure is on! (Don’t worry, we cover French boy names as well.)
☞ READ MORE: Giving birth in France: Oh Baby!
Names that don’t work
One of the problems I ran into when we had kids, was that a name might be French but is actually completely out-of-style in France.
For example, I loved the name Simone, but for my French husband, it was the name of someone over the age of 70. I thought it was just him until we checked a French popularity site (link in French) which said the average age of the name-bearer was 87 years old.
Equally out of style is Gisèle, which stopped being popular in France and flatlined around 1975, before the (Brazilian) supermodel Gisèle Bündchen was even born.
And then there are the names that just wouldn’t be pronounced properly by English Speakers: eg. Manon. I love this name, but I can imagine it being said with an English accent: Man-on. As opposed to the French: Ma-no(n), with the last “n” being almost silent.
As you can see, it gets complicated pretty fast!
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Names with a French Pronounciation
If you do manage to find a name that is pronounceable, you then have to check that it doesn’t actually mean something else. These names sound French, but there’s a problem:
- Madeline – a type of cake that all young kids eat in France after school
- Brie – a type of soft cheese from the French region of Seine-et-Marne
And you could go with an American name, but if you are planning on living in France, you have to stay away from names that begin with an “H”. Names like Hailey or Heather don’t quite work, since French people have trouble pronouncing the “H”. You will end up with Ea-ley or Ea-zther, and not what you were actually intending. Personally, going the American route was not easier for us either.
So with all that said and done, here is my curated list of top 50 French baby girl names, that also work in English. These are popular names in France, names that I love, in alphabetical order. I’ve left out the names of my own friends and family since I’m obviously biased!
Adeline meaning “nobility”.
Aliénor meaning “light, torch”.
Alize meaning “Noble one”.
Amandine meaning “Much-loved”.
Anaïs meaning “grace”.
Apolline meaning “Strength, named after the Greek God Apollo”.
Aurore meaning “golden, Goddess of dawn”.
Béatrice meaning “she who makes me happy”.
Brigitte meaning “the high one, strength”.
Camille meaning “serving at the alter”.
Capucine meaning “a cloak with deep collar”.
Célestine meaning “Heavenly”.
Chloé meaning “blooming”.
Clarisse meaning “shining and gentle”.
Claudette meaning “enclosure”.
Clémence meaning “Merciful”.
Cléméntine meaning “Gentle”.
Clothilde meaning “Famous in Battle”.
Corinne meaning “beautiful maiden”.
Cosette meaning “victorious”.
Delphine meaning “from the Greek Delphi or Dolphin”.
Edwige meaning “female warrior”.
Éléonore meaning “named after Aliénor of Aquitaine”.
Élise meaning “My God is abundance”.
Elodie meaning “Might, Strength”.
Emeline meaning “hardworking”.
Faustine meaning “fortunate one”.
Floriane meaning “Flowering”.
Frédérique meaning “Peaceful Ruler”.
Géraldine meaning “One who rules with a spear”.
Héloïse meaning “Healthy”.
Inès meaning “Pure or Holy”.
Josette meaning “God will increase”.
Laetitia meaning “joy, happiness”.
Laure meaning “Victorious”.
Léna meaning “she that allures”.
Lilou meaning “lily”.
Lucie meaning “light, illumination”.
Maëlle meaning “Chief, Leader”.
Maëlys meaning “chief”.
Margaux meaning “pearl”.
Margot meaning “Pearl”.
Marguerite meaning “Daisy or Pearl”.
Mathilde meaning “Might, Strength”.
Muriel meaning “sea”.
Pauline meaning “Little or Younger”.
Romane meaning “a Roman”.
Salomé meaning “peace, tranquil”.
Sybille meaning “seer, oracle”.
Théa meaning “Goddess”.
☞ READ MORE: Top French Nursery Rhymes for your little one
So if you or anyone you know are expecting a baby, and are inspired by one of the names on this list, let me know! If you are looking for a list of French baby boy names, find it here: Top 50 French boy names.
So comment below, I’d love to know if I’ve helped name someone else’s little one 🙂 And for some fun baby-related French-English flashcards head over to our Free Printables section. A bientôt!
¹ Featured Image: Courtesy of Pixabay
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