Many of us refrain from giving our children a name from the most popular name list simply because we don't want our kids to be one of seven Jessicas or Sophias in the same class. The top 3 baby names for girls of all time brought us names we've heard a ton -- like Jennifer, Emily, and Lisa. The most popular baby boy names of all time are David, Michael, and Jacob. But if we look at the most popular names from the '40s to current times from other countries, we may find some unique inspiration. What better country to look to than France. The language is tres belle, so the names must be as well.
I went through six decades of France's most popular baby names and made a list of the 30 best and most popular French names. One may be parfait for your baby.
French Girl Names
- Marine. Name your little lady "from the sea" this beautiful-sounding name that's very chic in France yet hardly heard of in America.
- Lea. While there are Leas in the US, it's not very popular. Lea is said to mean "delicate," which makes the name quite feminine.
- Lola. Madonna calls her daughter Lourdes "Lola," and Kelly Ripa and Denise Richards both choose Lola as a name for their daughters.
- Manon. This name is simply beautiful. It's said to be a nickname for Marie, but it shines as a first name.
- Ines. Meaning "kind," Ines is also a name found in Spain and Italy. Worldly and wonderful.
- Elodie. Sounds like a song, like a melody ... Elodie ... such a pretty name for a little girl.
- Francoise. So perfectly French, this name means "French." Better book this baby a ticket to Paris as soon as she's able to travel.
- Sylvie. Meaning "from the forest" and also popular in the Netherlands, the name Sylvie carries a little more mystery than Sylvia.
- Sandrine. This name is France's version of Alexandra and is said to mean "defending men." Strong name for a little girl who is destined to do big things.
- Celine. Put your thoughts on Celine Dion aside, this name is so pretty and CeCe can be an adorable nickname.
- Aurelie. Meaning "golden," Aurelie is one of those names that shines above others.
- Oceane. I've never heard this name before and I love it. Pronounced oh-she-ann and meaning, you guessed it, "ocean."
- Annick. Annick is a nice twist on the name Ann or Anna.
- Martine. This "sleek and sophisticated" name means "warlike" -- which only makes this name feel strong and powerful.
- Anais. This name feels very exotic (with or without Anais Nin's help). It also means "grace."
French Boy Names
- Julien. Julius feels too stuffy, but Julien is perfect and even has a slightly unisex feel.
- Pascal. Because it rhymes with "rascal," I can't help but sense a bit of mischief with this name, which gives it such an appeal.
- Sebastiane. Perhaps you'll Americanize it and drop the "e," but no matter what, it's a such a great name and a popular one with Shakespeare as well.
- Quentin. Tarantino! Quentin also means "from the Queen's estate" -- which is kind of earth motherly if you think of the womb as an estate.
- Theo. One of my favorites, the name Theo also means "God given" and he's also a very cool Huxtable.
- Mathis. Kind of like Matthew with a twist. Also great for those who love the song "Chances Are" or anything by Johnny Mathis.
- Enzo. It's Italian, but the French clearly love it.
- Alain. I love the extra 'i" in this spelling of Alan, which makes it sounds a little different -- al-lain. It also means "handsome."
- Thierry. Meaning "ruler of the people," Thierry spelled like this rules.
- Jerome. A strong boy's name that is considered "sacred." Jerry could be a nickname, but why not stick with the great-sounding Jerome and keep it as is.
- Maxime. Pronounced max-i-me, this name is great for boys or girls -- and who doesn't love the nickname Max!
- Antoine. The French version of Anthony feels very exotic.
- Stephane. Stephane is like Antoine -- Stephen who?
- Romain. If you love the feel of this name but worry it's too lettuce-y, go with Roman.
- Lisandru. Corsicans love this name, which is quite different and means "freeing a man." I love it, too.
Which are your favorite popular French names? Would you give your child a name from this list?
Image via Charlie Phillips/Flickr