21 Chic French Baby Names to Add to Your Favourites List
Sometimes it feels like everything the French touch turns to gold. We strive to dress like them, follow their beauty routines, and style our homes like our Parisian counterparts, so their elegant names were clearly next in line (although these techie baby names are super cute too). There is something immediately chic about the pronunciation, and the spelling, we can't help but fall for these magnifique monikers.
There are plenty of strong French female icons who we'd love for our daughters to look up to. From the lessons of rebellion by Coco Chanel to the poetic teachings of singer-songwriter Françoise Hardy, these women were passionate and committed with a heady dose of confidence and style we continue to admire.
So we went on an über-chic baby-name hunt to track down the most elegant monikers from the notoriously stylish nation. Scroll down to see which French baby names made the cut.
The French version of Jacob has a regal touch, as it was the moniker for the Prince of Monaco—Jacques I—between 1689 and 1751. This is a classic French name that will be popular for years to come, and besides, it just has a cool ring to it, right?
This trendy name stems from the Greek name for "helper" or "defender." For a bit of history, Nameberry says Alexis is an "ancient (male) saints" name as well as the name of a third-century BCE comic poet." But really, it's just super cute, and we think it translates really well from childhood to adulthood.
If you love Stephen, then you'll love this French version. The classic name means "garland" or "crown," and we think it's quite charming.
If you're looking for a strong moniker, Jeanne is it. One of history's most iconic heroines, Joan of Arc, is known as Jeanne d'Arc in France, so you'll be attaching that incredible legacy to your child when you give them this name. The French variation of Jean has Hebrew origins and means "God is gracious."
We already adore Maximus, but the French version is super chic. It's popular, too, ranking at number 19 in France. The short version, Max, is also awesome (something you always have to consider when choosing a name).
Derived from the Latin name Florentius, Florence has a rich history and modern beauty. Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing, worked in British hospitals during the Crimean War and reduced the death count by two thirds, sparking a worldwide health reform. She established her own hospital in 1860 as well as the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. That's an amazing legacy for any young one. But if you need any more convincing, it's also the moniker of flame-haired maven and award-winning songstress Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine.
If you're looking for a name that has an incredible history, make Sébastien your pick. Behind the Name states it was also the moniker of Saint Sebastian, a "third-century Roman soldier martyred by arrows after it was discovered he was a Christian." Apparently, the name saw widespread use across medieval France and Spain thanks to the popularity of this saint. It's also cool when shortened: Think Seb, Baz, or Bastian (after the little boy from The Neverending Story).
We know the name as Margot, but the French spelling is way chicer, no? This spelling was made popular thanks to American fashion model and actress Margaux Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. It's also the name of über-cool model Margaux Brooke. But really, we just love the name regardless.
Quentin, the French derivative of the Roman name Quintinus, is the name of many famous people. While it's ranked number 39 in France, it's also a very hip name in America too. President Theodore Roosevelt named his son Quentin; it's also the moniker of illustrator Quentin Blake, who is known for his work in all the Roald Dahl children's books.
This sweet name is a Nameberry favorite, and it recently returned to their U.S. top 1000 list after more than half a century. The French feminine version of Clément has some famous admirers too; supermodel Claudia Schiffer named her daughter Clémentine, and so did Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths. The name currently sits just outside the top 100 in France.
Ranked third in France, Chloé is certainly popular, and we guarantee this classic name will be cute now and in years to come. If you love fashion, this is the perfect name for your little one. Chloé is one of France's most popular luxury fashion houses, and it's also the name of American actress, model, designer, and It girl Chloë Sevigny.
This super-chic name originates from the Greek word "chaste" and "pure," and according to Behind the Name, it's ranked fifth in France. We first came across this name while reading the popular book Parisian Chic, authored by celebrity model Inès de la Fressange, where she shares her personal tips and many well-kept secrets of French women.
We're already fans of the English Henry, but the pronunciation and spelling of the French version is also cute. It just rolls off the tongue, and you don't have to worry about people saying it incorrectly either. Looks good and sounds great—we're sold.
It might sound candy-coated, but Clara's meaning has character and strength. The cute moniker comes from the Latin "clarus," which means "bright" or "clear," so using this name will ensure your little one emits a confident and definitive path in life. If you're a fan of the arts, you'll know that Clara was the darling lead in The Nutcracker. This name will also stand the test of time and trends: It was a top-10 name in the 1880s and now sits at 108 on the popularity list.
Emmanuelle Alt is the epitome of chic. The editor in chief of Vogue Paris has dressed the same way for years, but we all worship her effortless style and strive to mimic it, right down to her well-cut blazers and crisp white shirts. This name is classic and cool, just like Alt. J'adore.
While it's certainly different, both in sound and look, that's kind of what we love about Loïc. This French name is the Breton form of Louis and ranks number 141 in France. If you want your child to stand out with a distinctive name, you've found it right here. Another bonus? It can't be shortened to anything else.
We've been listening to her sing poetry for years and lusted after her iconic style, so of course, Françoise Hardy's was high up on our list of French baby names we love. She made her music debut in the '60s, but Hardy is still making records now and at the age of 74 shows no signs of slowing down. An inspiration for any young girl growing up today.
This story was originally published on February 26, 2016, and has since been updated by Sacha Strebe.