229 Chic French Girl names: Pretty & Unique (and names to avoid)

Be inspired with the ultimate list of French girl names and their meanings. Get a local's insight into popular names in France, as well as beautifully unique and rare French names, to find that perfect moniker for your baby girl.
229 Chic French Girl names: Pretty & Unique (and names to avoid)
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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 and chic. A name that both parents like, and that all the grandparents can pronounce.

Expecting a baby in France may be somewhat different, but the worries of parents all over the world are the same. You are picking 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.) And I’ve also put together a list of gender-neutral French names to give even more ideas.

And with that, here is my list of the top French girl names with their meanings. I’ve broken the names down into categories to provide some context as to popularity, uniqueness, etc., rather than just dump them all together. So allons-y!

☞ READ MORE: Giving birth in France: Oh Baby!

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Table Of Contents

I. Classic French Names

Now if you are looking for classic French names, you may be surprised by how many names you already know.

French and English are closely intertwined. Centuries of war and intermarriage between France and England will do that!

So there are a lot of classic girl names that have already infiltrated anglophone culture. Some classic French females names are:

  • Adrienne, Adriene – From city of Hadria
    • Famous Names: Adrienne de La Fayette (wife of Marquis La Fayette), Yoga With Adriene (actress and yoga teacher)
  • Audrey – Noble
    • Famous Names: Audrey Tatou (French actress)
  • Annette – Gracious and merciful
    • Famous Names: Annette Funicello (American actress)
  • Antoinette – Praiseworthy
  • Avril – The Month of April in French
    • Famous Names: Avril Lavigne (Canadian singer)
  • Béatrice – She who makes me happy
  • Brigitte – The high one, strength
    • Famous Names: Brigitte Bardot (French actress)
  • Céline – Heavenly
    • Famous Names: Céline Dion (Canadian singer), Céline (French fashion house)
  • Chloé – Blooming
    • Famous Names: Chloé (French fashion house)
  • Chantal – Old Occitane word cantal, meaning “stone.” Also from the French word “chanter” meaning to sing.
    • Famous Names: Chantal Kreviazuk (Canadian singer)
  • Charlotte – Female version of Charles, French origin meaning “free man” or small.
    • Famous Names: Charlotte Gainsbourg (French actress and singer), Princess Charlotte of the U.K.
  • Gabrielle – Able-bodied one of God
    • Famous Names: Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel
  • Gisele – Bright pledge
    • Famous Names: Gisèle Bündchen
  • Isabelle – My God
    • Famous Names: Isabelle Huppert (French actress)
  • Jeanne – God Is Gracious
    • Famous Names: Jeanne d’Arc (French icon and saint)
  • Joséphine – God Will Increase
    • Famous Names: Josephine Bonaparte (wife of Napoleon)
  • Juliette – From the Latin name Julius, or “son of Jove”
    • Famous Names: Juliette Binoche (French actress)
  • Léa – Delicate
    • Famous Names: Léa Sedoux (French actress)
  • Marion – Diminutive of Marie, wished-for child
    • Famous Names: Marion Cotillard
  • Simone – God has heard
    • Famous Names: Simone de Beauvoir (French writer and philosopher)
  • Sylvie – Spirit of the wood
    • Famous Names: Sylvie Vartan (French singer)
  • Valérie – Strong, valiant
    • Famous Names: Valérie Pécresse (French politician), Valerie Bertinelli (American actress)
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One thing to keep in mind however is 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.

Everything old does become new again, so don’t let that stop you from giving the name you fall in love with!

☞ READ MORE: Giving birth in France: Oh Baby!

II. Popular Girls Names in France

If you are looking for names that are a bit more au courant, here is my curated list of top popular baby girl names in France today, that French parents tend to lean towards.

Now, there are French names that just won’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.

  • Manon – wished for child
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I’ve tried to leave these sorts of names off of my list. 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

I’ve also left out the names of my own friends and family since I’m obviously biased! And with that, here are some of the most popular French girl names that are very au courant in France.

  • Adeline – nobility
  • Aliénor – light, torch
  • Aline – beautiful, shining
  • Alize – noble one
  • Amandine – much-loved
  • Amélie – hardworking
  • Anaïs – grace
  • Apolline – strength, named after the Greek God Apollo
  • Astrid – Godly, strength
  • Aurore – golden, Goddess of dawn
  • Camille – serving at the alter
  • Capucine – a cloak with deep collar
  • Célestine – Heavenly
  • Clarisse – shining and gentle
  • Claudette – enclosure
  • Clémence – Merciful
  • Cléméntine – gentle
  • Clothilde – famous in Battle
  • Colette – people of victory
  • Corinne – beautiful maiden
  • Cosette – victorious, small and tiny
  • Delphine – from the Greek Delphi or Dolphin
  • Edwige – female warrior
  • Éléonore – named after Aliénor of Aquitaine
  • Élise – My God is abundance
  • Elodie – might, strength
  • Emeline – hardworking
  • Esmée – beloved, esteemed
  • Fabienne – bean grower
  • Faustine – fortunate one
  • Floriane – Flowering
  • Frédérique – Peaceful Ruler
  • Géraldine – One who rules with a spear
  • Héloïse – healthy
  • Huguette – Bright In Mind And Spirit
  • Inès – Pure or Holy
  • Joelle – God be willing
  • Josette – God will increase
  • Laetitia – joy, happiness
  • Laure – victorious
  • Léna – she that allures
  • Léonie – lion, force and courage
  • Lilou – lily
  • Lisette – God Is My Oath, diminutive of Elisabeth
  • Lucie – light, illumination
  • Maëlle – Chief, Leader
  • Maëlys – chief
  • Margaux – pearl
  • Margot – pearl
  • Marlène – combination of Mary And Magdalene
  • Marguerite – Daisy or Pearl
  • Mathilde – might, strength
  • Muriel – sea
  • Nadège – hope
  • Ninette – grace, diminutive of Anne
  • Noémie – pleasant and lovely
  • Odette – rich and wealthy
  • Ocèane – ocean
  • Pauline – little or younger
  • Rochelle – like a rock
  • Romane – a Roman
  • Salomé – peace, tranquil
  • Sidonie – from ancient Phoenician city of Sidon
  • Sybille – seer, oracle
  • Théa – Goddess
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☞ READ MORE: Top French Nursery Rhymes for your little one

Now, if you are not French, but live in France, there are certain popular Anglosaxon-American names that you should stay away from.

For example, you should 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.

III. Unique, Unusual, and Rare names

In France, all names have to be approved by the local town hall of the city that the parents live in, so it should be noted French people cannot get too creative. Indeed, it wasn’t until 1966 that French names could stray from being religious, and not until 1993 that baby names could be a bit more “unique”, as long as they were not offensive.

For names that are a bit more unique and avant-garde, but still classically French, I have put together the following list. These names don’t make the top 100 lists in France (as in they are not over-used), but are still much loved.

Some of the loveliest unique French girl names with meaning are:

  • Abrielle – diminutive of Gabrielle
  • Adélie – noble
  • Aelis – of noble line
  • Aimée – beloved
  • Audette – a bird
  • Aveline – hazelnut
  • Belle – beautiful
  • Bijou – jewel
  • Blanche – white
  • Cerise – cherry
  • Clarette – clear and bright
  • Cypriélle – origin of Cyprus
  • Elayne – light (variation of Elaine or Elena)
  • Eolia – masters the wind
  • Eulalie – sweet-spoken
  • Fleurine – little flower
  • Garcelle – little spear
  • Imaé – actual
  • Livie – name of a famous Roman family; jealous
  • Lune – Moon
  • Nadeleine – ray of hope
  • Neva – radiance
  • Odile – wealthy, fortunate
  • Olympe – olympian
  • Paulette – humble, diminutive of Pauline
  • Perla – Pearl
  • Solange – solemn or religious
  • Thara – abundance and fortune
  • Theoline – one who sings
  • Yolanthe – strong
  • Zélie – solemn

For 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. Chic and Pretty Names

In browsing baby girl names lists published in France, I noted that there are several names that are quite chic and pretty which have been gaining in popularity, but are not as common:

  • Aida – noble
  • Anaëlle – grace
  • Anouk – gracious
  • Auriane – golden
  • Axelle – of peace
  • Eléa – God is of light
  • Elena – heat
  • Elie – God is great
  • Eliette – God is great
  • Emie – God is with us
  • Enora – honored
  • Esther – name of Jewish saint
  • Ève – source of life
  • Fayette – After French soldier Lafayette who played a large role in the American Revolution
  • Fossette – dimple
  • Garance – a type of flower
  • Imène – Believer
  • Janelle – God gives grace
  • Karine – loved
  • Kenza – warmth
  • Louann – light
  • Lylou – structured and efficient
  • Mae – head, chief
  • Maeva – welcome
  • Maïa – drop of sea
  • Morgana – brilliant
  • Maïwenn – loved
  • Manel – God is with us
  • Naëlle – God has given
  • Nélia – stroke of sun
  • Noëlie – day of birth (from Noel, meaning Christmas in French)
  • Raphaëlle – fighter
  • Sirine – content
  • Solène – solemn
  • Violette – from the Latin word “viola”

V. Vintage and Old-fashioned Names

As I mentioned above, until 1966, French baby names for boys and girls, had to be religious. Typically, the baby was named according to the Saints’ day calendar, which had the name of whichever saint was associated with the particular name that the baby was born.

Since the laws around baby-naming have loosened up, some of these vintage names fell out of style, before finding popularity again.

Even today, you will find most traditionally French names on the saint’s calendar, where parents and family members will remember to wish the person “bonne fête du prénom” meaning “happy name day”.

Some vintage and old-fashioned female French names that you will hear around Paris are:

  • Abigaïl – my joy is with God
  • Adélaide – noble
  • Agathe – good, brave
  • Albertine – celebrated, brilliant
  • Alida – noble, old
  • Annonciade – announcing
  • Bérénice – one who brings victory
  • Bernadette – brave like a bear
  • Bernadine – brave like a bear
  • Berthe – brilliant, illustrious
  • Bettine – variation of Elisabeth
  • Blandine – mild
  • Blondine – fair-haired
  • Brunella – brown-haired
  • Candide – white
  • Cécile – blind
  • Céleste – heavenly
  • Charlène – petit, feminine
  • Christelle – follower of Christ
  • Coraline – coral
  • Dolorés – from french word douleur meaning pain
  • Eglantine – from the flower, a type of wild rose
  • Elénore – light
  • Eliane – sun, God
  • Estelle – star
  • Fanny – version of Frances, Françoise, meaning freeman
  • Félice – corsican name meaning great happiness
  • Françoise – female version of François meaning freeman
  • Geneviève – young woman
  • Georgette – agriculter
  • Gertrude – loyal
  • Hélène – warmth
  • Honorine – honor
  • Hortense – one who comes from the garden
  • Ingrid – the beauty
  • Jacinthe – hyacinthe flower
  • Justyne – true, just
  • Laurence – from the masculine “Laurent”, meaning winner
  • Liliane – from the royal flower, the lys
  • Lorraine – warrior maiden, place in France
  • Lucile – light
  • Lyonnette – little lion
  • Mabel – lovely
  • Manon – bitter
  • Marceline – God of war
  • Marthe – the mistress of the home
  • Martine – small mars, warrior
  • Maxine – the biggest
  • Maud, Maude – strong in war
  • Mélanie – dark, the color black
  • Mélisande – named after the mermaid Mélusine
  • Mirabelle – a great beauty
  • Mireille – miracle
  • Modeste – modest
  • Nicolette – people’s victory
  • Ninon – grace
  • Octavie – of eight
  • Olive – olive
  • Ombeline – bright spirit
  • Philomène – loved one
  • Pierrette – female version of Pierre, meaning stone
  • Sophie – wisdom
  • Thérèse – summer
  • Tiphane – appearance of the Lord on earth
  • Véronique – who brings victory, variation of the name Bérénice
  • Yvonne – celtic and breton name, meaning shrub


VI. Hyphenated and Compound Names

Hyphenated or compound names (prénoms composé) are quite popular in France, going back generations. The names are usually Christian, where most common one is “Marie” added to the baby name after the Virgin Mary, or Anne after the Virgin Mary’s mother Saint Anne.

Even boys in France may have Marie added to it, such as Jean-Marie. Common French compound and hyphenated girl names that you will hear around France are:

  • Anne-Sophie – Anne-Sophie Lapix (French journalist)
  • Anne-Laure – Anne-Laure Bondoux (French writer)
  • Lily-Rose – Daughter of French musician Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp
  • Marie-Antoinette – Former Queen of France
  • Marie-Claire – Marie Claire magazine
  • Marie-Claude – Marie-Claude Pietragalla (French dancer and choreographer)
  • Marie-France – Marie-France Pisier (actress and director)
  • Marie-Joelle – Marie-Joëlle Guillaume (French journalist and writer)
  • Marie-Lou – Marie Lou (Marilu) Henner (American actress)
  • Marie-Thérèse -Daughter of Marie-Antoinette, Princess of France

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!

Shop Favorites for a French-style nursery:

You can find more of our favorites for the new French-style nursery here.

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For some fun baby-related French-English flashcards head over to our Free Printables section. And if you or anyone you know are expecting a baby, and are inspired by one of the names on this list, let me know! Comment below, I’d love to know if I’ve helped name someone else’s little one 🙂

And if you enjoyed that article you can read more about what having a baby in France is like, as well as get some gorgeous nursery ideas for a French-style baby’s room.

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229 Chic French Girl names: Pretty & Unique (and names to avoid)

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