Oooh là là, French girl names sound so beautiful, don’t they? If you’re curious about what the most popular French female names are or you’re having a baby yourself and are looking for some French baby girl names to inspire you, this post has you covered. Let’s get into some popular French girl names and baby names from today and from years past.
Most popular French girl names
What’s in a name?
On a personal note, I’ve always been kind of meh about my name, Diane. As a kid, people would tease me and say “DIE ANNE!” with a sneer. Diane just always sounded old fashioned to me, like your boring great aunt. Not a kid at school. Definitely not me now. I didn’t even meet another Diane until I was 25!
Diana seemed to have more flair. I do like my nickname though, Di. It’s what my family calls me.
Flash forward to today, my name had a bit of a rebirth when I moved to France. The American pronunciation of Diane changed to the French pronunciation, which is more like Dee-Anne. To me, the French way just sounds so much cooler because it’s something different. The name Diane is less popular in France as well, so my name’s coolness factor went up a few notches ever since moving abroad.
So to stick with French first names and their meanings, let’s get into some of the most popular French girl names you’ll definitely want to know about. Everything sounds better in French even baby girl names from France! Très chic!
To compile my lists of French baby girl names, I looked at official data of what the popular French girl names were last year and in previous years according to birth record data, so these aren’t random name lists.
To give you some background, the data gathered from birth records includes metropolitan France and the DOMs, excluding Mayotte, that have been registered by the State but excludes French babies who were born abroad.
Let’s get into that list of French girl names that are too chic to ignore. Maybe you’ll want to steal one for yourself!
50 Most popular French girl names in 2020:
(according to insee.fr)
Do any of the popular baby girl names from France in 2020 seem old fashioned to you? That’s one thing I noticed in France, that some French female names that are perfectly modern in the US are reserved for mostly senior citizen women in France. For example, Nicole and Georgette are names of women in France who are well into their 70s.
But let’s have a little fun and look at some other years for some more popular French girl names to give you some French flair to work with.
First, let’s take it way back to 1900 and see what French baby girl names topped the list for the very beginning of the 1900s.
50 Most popular French girl names in 1900:
Something you’ll notice of is that some of the more old fashioned names popular in the 1900s-1950s are making a comeback today. Louise, Agathe and variations of Anne (Anna, Annie, etc.) are trendy again.
Let’s take it to the mid-20th century and see what popular French girl names topped the list in 1950.
50 Most popular French female names in 1950:
Let’s now jump back about 20 years to 2000 and see what French baby names for girls topped the list not so long ago. Do you know any of these French names for girls?
50 Most popular French girl names in 2000:
Something else to keep in mind is that baby girl names in French are going to have a different pronunciation than in English. The speech sounds aren’t the same at all, so even a popular American name like Julie just sounds more sophisticated and cool in French, like my whole Diane story from the intro of this post.
Popular French girl names and meanings
In terms of popular French baby name meanings, here are some French names for girls that maybe didn’t make the list of the most popular French girl names, but are still beautiful once you learn the meaning behind them.
- Aaida: This name has several meanings in different languages but in French, it means ‘the one who is helpful’.
- Adeline: It means ‘a noble or kind-hearted person’. For those girls who have kindness as their watchword.
- Aimée: This name means ‘dearly beloved, beloved’. So, when you’re overwhelmed with emotions and nothing comes to mind, this would suffice.
- Amélie: This is the French form of the name Amelia which means ‘work’. Very fitting for those hard-working women.
- Annabelle: It simply means lovable. For those girls who make your heart tingle and overflow with love.
- Astrid: This French baby name means ‘strength’. It’s perfect for an active girl.
- Aurore: This beautiful name means ‘golden’ and is super difficult for English speakers to pronounce in French.
- Brielle: This one means ‘God is my strength’.
- Camille: This name means ‘girl in white or religious attendant’.
- Charlotte: It is the female version of Charles and it means ‘free’. A baby named Charlotte is said to be the best thing that will ever happen to you.
- Chloé: Means flourishing and blooming. Girls named Chloe are said to have a bubbly personality.
- Jeanne: This is the female form of John. It means ‘God is gracious’.
- Claire: This name means clear and bright. It is of French and Latin origin and has many variations.
- Clarisse: This regal name means ‘shining and gentle’. How fitting for that dainty little princess!
- Clementine: This name means ‘merciful, mild’. A beautiful name for a calm little girl.
- Clothilde: This French name means ‘famous in battle’. Talk about girls who are known to pick a side, stick to it and win!
- Colette: This French name means ‘victorious and triumphant’. It is perfect for girls who are goal-oriented.
- Cosette: It is derived from the French word chosette which means ‘little thing’. For cute little girls.
- Danielle: It is of French and Hebrew origin and it means ‘God is the Judge’.
- Desiree: It means ‘desired and longed for’. So, when that baby you’ve been hoping and waiting for finally graces you with her presence, I think you know what to name her.
- Dominique: This name means ‘belonging to the lord’.
- Elaine: This absolutely lovely name means ‘sunray’. For lovely girls whose disposition reminds you of sunshine and rainbows.
- Elania: This name which has a French and Scottish origin means ‘bright and shining light’. It’s for those girls who by their existence pull you out of the darkness and into the light.
- Eloïse: This simple French name means ‘healthy’. Who doesn’t want a healthy baby girl?
- Eugenie: This is a French origin name that means ‘well born’ and is the female version of the name Eugene.
- Faustine: This beautiful French girl name evolved from the roman nickname Faustus, which means ‘lucky’. Well, aren’t you lucky to have such a sweet girl?
- Felicity: This name means ‘happiness’. For those little girls whose joy brings you happiness.
- Fleur: This means ‘flower’ in the French language. It’s one of the French names for girls whose beauty makes you think of beautiful flowers.
- Francine: This name means ‘from France’.
- Genevieve: This beautiful name means ‘belonging to the race or tribe of women’. It has French and Celtic origins. Girls named Genevieve are said to be strong yet meek; inspiring people wherever they go.
- Giselle: This name is derived from the Germanic word ‘gisil’ which means a promise or pledge. It is a French name that means ‘beautiful like a star. In France, Giselle is a famous old ballet that is performed all around the world.
- Hortense: This special name means ‘garden’.
- Inès: This is the French form of the name Agnes which means ‘chaste’.
- Joëlle: This is the French feminine name of Joel which means ‘Yahweh is God’.
- Jolie: This name means ‘pretty’. It has many variations and alternative spellings for that pretty little girl.
- Josephine: This is a French girl name that means ‘God will add or increase’. It is a vintage name that never goes out of style.
- Juliette: This name is of French and Latin origin and it means ‘forever young’.
- Julienne: This is a feminine form of the name Julian which means ‘youthful’.
- Liana: It means ‘to climb like a vine’. For those girls who love life’s adventures.
- Lise: This unique name is a variant of the name Elise. It means ‘God is my oath. It was originally derived from the popular and classic name Elizabeth.
- Madeleine: This lovely French name means ‘elevated and magnificent ‘.
- Marcelle: This creative name means ‘God of war’. It is suitable for very energetic young girls.
- Margot: Means ‘like a pearl’ or ‘child of light’. Girls named Margot are fun-loving and adventurous.
- Marguerite: This is one of the French names for girls that’s a classic. It means ‘a beautiful daisy flower’.
- Marie: This name’s a reminder that beautiful things come from unexpected places. It means ‘star from the sea of bitterness’.
- Mireille: This is a beautiful French name for girls which means ‘wonderful, prosperous’. It also means ‘to admire’.
- Michèle: It means ‘who is like God’ or ‘who is closest to God’. It has several beautiful variations and is of French, Hebrew and English origin.
- Monique: This is of French and Latin origin meaning ‘wise counselor and advisor’.
- Natalie: This name means ‘the birthday of the Lord’. It is mostly given to baby girls who are born during the Christmas season. Natalies are said to be kind and artistic.
- Nicolette: It means a victory for the people and is of French and Greek origins.
- Renée: This feminine French name means ‘reborn or born again’.
- Risette: It means ‘pleasant little laugh’. How cute!
- Sophie: It means ‘having wisdom and being skillful’.
- Virginie: This is a French variation of the name Virginia. It has a Latin origin and means ‘pure’.
- Yvonne: This French female name was derived from the French name ‘Yves’ which means ‘archer, a bowman’.
Baby showers in France
Something you may not be aware of is that baby showers aren’t typically something you’ll see in France. The (usually female) parties that are thrown for many American women several weeks before the baby’s arrival are not part of French culture.
The French wait until after the baby is born to celebrate the birth and shower him or her with gifts. They feel it’s a little superstitious to celebrate a baby that hasn’t been safely born yet.
Check out this post for more French vs. American social differences >>
Something else you’ll notice is that nicknames are way less common in France. Alain is called Alain not Al, Grégoire is not Greg, and people always refer to my husband Tom in France by his given full name, Thomas. In the US, my whole family calls him Tom. It’s just more familiar.
It’s not that nicknames don’t exist at all in France — you will hear Emmanuel shorted to Manu, for example — but it’s just what your friends call you in super casual settings. At work, people generally go by their full name and French nicknames aren’t as much of a thing.
In the US, it’s common for people to have a nickname and people introduce themselves by their nickname and everyone calls them that, like “Hi, nice to meet you I’m Mike.” That’s not the case in France. You won’t hear of too many Robs or Bens. It’s Robert and Benjamin.
Something else about nicknames in the US is that it’s common for people to ask someone what name they go by. So upon being introduced as “Michael,” someone might say, do you go by Mike or Michael? Just to check. In France, you really don’t hear that because it’s a given that people will use the full name.
What French nicknames or French names for girls in general are your favorite?
Don’t confuse the gender of these French names! >>
On a personal note, if I were to change my name to one of the French girl first names, my favorite is Victoire. I love it. Victoire means victory, as you might have guessed, and it just sounds so classy.
Do you have any favorite baby girl names from France? Did any of the popular French girl names surprise you?
PIN my French names for girls post: