French names come with a certain je ne sais quoi, a dreaminess, and a fantasy. So much so, that they have gained popularity even outside of French-speaking regions. In fact, some might even go as far as to describe them as poetic and timeless. Much like naming practices in other parts of the world, French names reflect culture, tradition and heritage.
Whether you’re looking for a name for your little one or are simply fascinated by the captivating nature of French names, then this is for you. Below is a list of some of the most loved French names for you to browse through and hopefully find just what you’re looking for!
Read more: 57 Cajun Names Full Of Traditional Spirit
Short French names for boys
Alain: The French variation of Alan, this name means “harmony.”
Beau: A modern French boy name meaning “good looking.”
Bleu: This French unisex name is modern and inspired by the color blue.
Gage: A cute and modern name for your little boy, meaning “pledge” or “oath.”
Henri: Highly popular, this Old French boy name means “home ruler.”
Hugo: Of both Old French and German origins, this classic name means “mind” and “spirit.”
Kurtis: Of English and French origins, this name means “accomplished” or “refined.”
Mael: Simply means “chief” or “prince.”
Short French names for girls
Anaïs: A cute French girl name meaning “graceful.”
Avril: Popularized by singer, Avril Lavigne. This is the French word for the month of April, making it suitable for a baby girl born in that month.
Elea: The shortened French form for Eleanor, this sweet name means “merciful” and “God is my light.” There are several variations of the spelling of this charming name.
Elise: Widely known as the French version of Elizabeth, this sweet name means “pledged to God.”
Elodie: “Foreign riches.”
Thea: A name that’s becoming increasingly popular in French regions, it means “gift of God.” The perfect description of what your little girl is!
Popular French names for boys
Alexandre: There are several variations of this name across the globe, in its French form, it means “defender of the people.” Typically shortened to Alex.
Antoine: The male form of Antoinette, this traditional and classic name means “priceless.”
Benoit: Of both French and Latin origins, this charming name means “blessed.” Often shortened to Ben.
Chandler: Simply means “candlemaker.”
Claude: Of both Latin and French origins, this much-loved name means “strong-willed.” This is a great pick for your little braveheart.
Etienne: A classic French boy name meaning “crown,” this one signifies authority.
Gabriel: Rooted in Christianity, this timeless French boy name means “God is my strength” or “hero of God.”
Jean-André: A traditional French boy name meaning “God is gracious” and “strong.”
Jean-Claude: A name popularized by Jean-Claude Van Damme, it’s widely associated with great strength. However, it actually means “God is merciful.”
Jules: Simply means “youthful.”
Laurent: Quite popular in French regions, this is the perfect name for your radiant little boy. Meaning “bright” or “shining one.”
Lowell: Signifying great strength, this name is derived from the Norman French word for wolf.
Marc-André: Popular among French Canadians, this name means “manly” or “strong.”
Mason: An industrious name meaning “one who works with stone.”
Matisse: The French and German variation of the much-loved name, Matthew. Meaning “God’s gift.”
Matthieu: Like the above, this is another French variation of Matthew.
Raphael: Of French and Hebrew origins, this name means “God heals.”
Popular French names for girls
Amandine: Meaning “she who is loved.”
Antoinette: A name that has truly stood the test of time, meaning “praiseworthy.” Popularized by the Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette.
Agathe: A variation of Agatha, this timeless option means “good woman.”
Aurore: A fitting name for the little light of your life, meaning “dawn” or “golden.”
Beatrice: “She who brings happiness.”
Belle: A name derived from the French word for “beautiful.”
Celine: Meaning “heavenly.”
Chloé: Popular across the globe, this French girl name means “blooming.”
Claire: The French form of Clara, this renowned name means “bright.”
Clémence: Simply means “mild” and “merciful.”
Delphine: A fitting choice for a sea or animal lover, this beautiful name means “dolphin.”
Elaine: “Bright light.”
Genevieve: “Woman of the race.”
Gisele: Meaning “bright pledge.”
Héléne: A sweet and charming name meaning “warmth.” This is a popular choice even outside of French regions.
Isabelle: Classic name meaning “my God.”
Jeanne: If you’re looking for a classic name, this is a good pick! Meaning “God is gracious.”
Juliette: Female form of Julius, meaning “youthful.”
Madeline: This food-inspired name is a reference to a type of cake enjoyed by kids in most French regions.
Margaux: There’s an unmissable charm about this French girl name. Inspired by nature and flowers, this one means “daisy.”
Mathilde: The French variation of Matilda, this classic and powerful name means “battle mighty.”
Neomi: The French variation of Naomi, this beautiful name means “pleasant,” something which your little girl is bound to embody.
Renée: Meaning “renaissance.” Used to signify rebirth or a new chapter in life.
Salomé: Simply means “peace.”
Vivienne: Derived from the French word “vivre,” meaning “life” or “to live.” A great pick for a jovial and lively baby girl.
Rare French names for boys
Alphonse: Of French and German origins, this name signifies great strength and power, meaning “ready for battle.”
Chauncy: Now here’s a French boy name you won’t come across every day. This one-of-a-kind choice means “take a chance.” It also be used as a second name.
Gaston: Meaning “foreigner,” this is a good choice for one who travels often and visits foreign lands.
Grainger: This can also be used as a French second name. Modern and unconventional, this is an industrious name meaning “farmer.”
Hamelin: Simply means “home.”
Rare French names for girls
Aelis: “Of noble line.”
Bérénice: Meaning “one who brings victory.”
Delia: Simply means “honest.”
Fleur: There’s something refreshing about this unconventional French girl name meaning “flower,” which signifies blooming.
Héloïse: Distinctly French, this is a good pick for your little braveheart; meaning “famous warrior.”
Lilou: A French twist on the flower-inspired name, Lilly.
Nausica: Derived from the French word, navire, meaning “ship.” A great pick for a little one that loves the sea or water.
Victoire: The lesser-known variation of Victoria, this is a great alternative that means “victory.”
Special thanks to author: Sannie Nkosi is the founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. After a few years in journalism, she ditched the newsroom to write about things that really matter (like family, finances and travel). On a regular day, you can find her creating content, listening to podcasts, or engaging with small business owners.