If you’re looking for unique French names for girls or inspiration for chic French girl names for your future daughter, you’re in the right place! I’ve compiled a list of over 300 popular French female names given to little girls in France organized by decade. I’ve also included some unique, rare, vintage and old fashioned French girl names. (French boy names are here…)
Choosing the perfect girls name for your baby girl is a fun experience, but it can be stressful too.
After all, it will be her name FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE!
So how do you pick the perfect name?
It depends because everyone’s idea of perfect is different.
However, if you have French ancestry in your family tree, maybe the perfect female name is one that reflects your French heritage.
Even if you don’t have French ancestry, French is a beautiful language and so are French names.
Before we dive into the list of French baby names, there are a couple of things you should know about French names.
French girl names tend to be more traditional or classical.
For anyone looking for unusual, weird, made-up or unique french girl names like a French version of “Moonraker”, “Stormi” or Fraise (French for strawberry), you’re going to be a little disappointed. French girl names and French boy names in France tend to be more classic or traditional. And there is a reason for that.
The French government can control what parents in France name their children and force French parents to rename their children with a more acceptable one.
It might sound strange, It did to my husband but many countries, not just France, have baby-naming laws that prevent parents from legally giving their children certain names like strawberry.
Baby naming laws are usually put in place to protect children from being given a name that’s offensive or embarrassing, like Adolph Hitler, which is banned in Germany and many other countries.
But some countries, like France, have taken baby-naming regulations a step further, and some French families think it may even be racist in some cases. Like when families in the region of Brittany in northwest France were forbidden from giving their children Breton (Celtic) names.
You might be interested in reading: French baby name laws: 31 names banned in France
Baby name laws in France
From 1803 to 1966, parents in France could only give their children a saint’s name from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints or a historical person.
It created a long-standing baby-naming tradition which explains why there are so many people with names like Jean-Paul, Marie, Pierre and Louis.
French baby naming rules and regulations have relaxed quite a bit since 1966, and French parents are giving their French babies names that never existed in France before.
For instance, the name Jade has been in the top 10 list of most popular names given to girls in France for years but the name is fairly new. It didn’t appear in France until the early 1970s. There are also more and more names that are foreign or not of French origin now.
Now that you know a little history about baby-naming traditions in France, let’s get to the French girl name list and how it’s organized.
How this list is of French names for girls is organized
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Some parents prefer trendy or popular baby names. Others prefer traditional, unique or unusual names that hold particular meanings.
So rather than organizing this list of French girl names based on what I think are the most beautiful or prettiest, I combed through the registrar of Female names given to little girls in France and organized them into the following categories.
- Popular French female names by year and decade: 2020, 1900 to 1920s, 1950’s and 1980s.
- Traditional and Classic French names for women. These have been around for a long time.
- Rare French girl names. These might be new or old French female names.
- Compound baby girl names such as Marie-Antoinette.
- Gender-neutral French names (can be given to both males and females)
- Famous French female actress names. Sometimes names will spike in popularity based on the popularity of a famous French actress.
- French goddess names and meanings: which are Frenchified mythological names.
*There may be some overlap: Certain French girl names show up in multiple categories. For instance, the name Marie has been popular for multiple decades so it may show up in vintage names and popular names.
The list of French names for girls starts here.
Get out your notebook!
Here’s what I suggest. First, go through this list of French female names and write down the french names for girls that stand out to you. Then revisit your top choices, and discuss them with your friends, family or partner.
Top 100 most popular /common French girl names in France.
Here are the most popular French female names given to girls in France according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies ( Insee.fr ). Keep in mind that popular also means common french female names.
The french names for girls listed below are in order of most popular, with Jade being at the top of the list.
- JADE /pronounced Zhad/
- EMMA (this french female name used to be the most popular French name for girls until recently when Jade took first place.)
- ROMY: (French variation of Rose-Marie)
- LOU (French variation of Louise)
- LÉNA (French variation of Hélène and Elena)
Most popular French girls names by region in France for 2020
Here is another way to look at the most popular French girl names given to baby girls in France.
Below is a map and a table of the top or most popular names given to girls in 17 different regions of France including French territories.
|French Region||Name||# of babies
|Centre-Val de Loire||LOUISE||143|
|Pays de la Loire||LOUIS||287|
Vintage or Old French female names (1800 – 1900 )
Although these old and rare French girls names from the 1800s and early 1900s might not make it to the top of French baby name lists anymore, they were extremely popular at the end of the Victorian era between the years 1900-1920. The victorian era coincides with the Belle Epoque (1871 – 1914.)
Like fashion, popular baby names come and go and sometimes names come back into fashion. For instance, both Léa and Louise were extremely popular French women names in 1902, but declined in popularity for a few decades and made a comeback in the 2000s.
Vintage or old French female names are a good choice for parents who want a more traditional or classic French name but also for anyone who wants to steer clear of common French female names like Louise or Jade.
Common French baby girl names from the 50’s
In the 1950s, France was still very much the France of the cliché. It was pre-American culture, pre-television, pre-globalization. Women could now vote thanks to a law that was enacted in 1944. France still had strict baby-naming laws where parents had to choose traditionally French names based on the Roman catholic calendar.
Popular French female names in the 80’s
François Mitterrand was the president during the 80’s (from 1981 to 1995).
Rare and uncommon female French names
The following French names aren’t on any top 100 lists but they are well-known names in France.
- ALINE (meaning: noble)
- ELODIE (meaning: foreign riches)
- FABIENNE (meaning: the noble)
- FANNY (meaning: free one) Diminutives of the French name Frances.
- FRÉDÉRIQUE (meaning: peaceful ruler)
- GAËLLE (meaning: Irishwoman)
- LAURENCE (this is a female name in France)
- LUDIVINE (meaning “friend of the people.”) French soccer player Ludivine Diguelman, golfer Ludivine Krautz and French actress Ludivine Sagnier made this rare French name a little more familiar to the French.
- MAËLLYS (meaning: princess)
- MAGALI or MAGALIE (meaning: pearl)
- NADEGE (meaning: hope)
- SABINE (meaning: woman)
- SÉVERINE (meaning: grave, serious or stern)
Really rare and really uncommon French female names that are disappearing or have disappeared in France
If you’re looking for an extremely rare or original sounding French baby girl name, here are some French girl names that are so rare they’ve all but disappeared in France.
- Colombe (French word for hummingbird)
- France: (meaning free from latin “francus.”
- Herminie (French version of Herminia) Herminie Cadolle is a French woman who invented the modern bra.
- Huguette (French feminine form of Huge)
- SOLÉA: (meaning: solemn from French “solennelle” and Latin “sollemnis”, but also “sun” and “sunny” from French “soleil” ).
Compound French girl names
Sometimes French names are “Compound names” (prénom composé) which are a set of two or more first names used together, usually separated by a hyphen but not always.
Compound names are one single name and not a first and middle name.
For instance, if you met a French person with the compound name Anne-Laure or Anne Laure, you would call her Anne-Laure, not Anne, and not Laure.
Compound girl names can contain a male name.
Compound French names are usually composed of two names of the same gender but can also be composed of a male and female name.
If a compound name has both a male and female French name, the first part of the name dictates whether the name is for a man or a woman.
I know it might sound strange to some people that a girl’s name can contain a male, but not if you’re a French person.
- Marie-Paul and Marie-Joseph are both French female names.
- Paul Marie and Joseph Marie are both French male names.
Paul Marie (born in 1995) is a French professional footballer for MLS club San Jose Earthquakes.
Now, on to the list of compound French girl names.
- Ange-Marie (Ange can be a boy’s name or a girl’s name in French.)
Beautiful French goddess names and meaning:
This particular spelling has Breton roots and means “spark”. The origin of this female French name is uncertain but is usually considered a variant of the Greek first name “Helena” goddess of beauty and the more recent “Eleonore” such as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Asia, pronounced /Ah-Zyah/ is the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and mother of Atlas and Prometheus. She is also known as Clymène.
Mythological Roman goddess of dawn (and the French word for “Dawn”)
Also spelled Sélène. She was the goddess of the moon
Circé, pronounced /Sear-Say/ was a minor goddess in Greek mythology of magic and Sorcery.
Cybèle, pronounced /See-Bell/ is of French and Greek origins meaning “the mother of all gods.” In Greek mythology, Cybele was the goddess of health, fertility and nature.
Cyréne, pronounced /See-Ren/ is a feminine name of Greek origin, meaning “supreme power“. In Greek mythology, Cyrene or Kyrene was sovereign queen and ruler of the North African city of Cyrene. According to the myth, the city was founded and named after her by Apollo.
Denise, pronounced /De-Neez/ is from Dionysius and is primarily a female name of French origin that means Devotee Of Dionysos.
Daphne, pronounce /Daf-Knee/ is of Greek origin that means Laurel Tree or Bay tree and was a Greek water nymph.
Gaïa, pronounced /Gah-yah/ is the Greek goddess of Earth, mother of all life, mother and wife of Uranus (Heaven).
ISIS, pronounced /ee-zeess/ was the goddess of rainbows and messenger of Hera and Zeus, riding the rainbow between Olympus and Earth. She was also an Egyptian nature goddess and wife and sister of Osiris.
Venus is the goddess of love in Roman mythology.
You might be interested in reading: The names of the 7 days of the week in French: And their curious ancient Roman and Greek origins
French Actress names
If you love French movies, here are some Famous French female actress names throughout the ages.
- Adèle Haenel
- Annabella (born Suzanne Georgette Charpentier)
- Anaïs Demoustier
- Anouk Aimée
- Audrey Tautou (she started in the French cult film Amélie)
- Brigitte Bardot
- Capuchine (born Germaine Hélène Irène)
- Carole Bouquet
- Catherine Deneuve
- Cécile de France (Belgian actress)
- Charlotte Gainsbourg (daughter of French singer Serge Gainsbourg)
- Danielle Darrieux
- Élodie Bouchez
- Émilie Dequenne
- Emmanuelle Devos
- Eva Gaëlle Green
- Frédérique Bel
- Isabelle Huppert
- Juliette Binoche
- Julie Depardieu (daughter of Gerard Depardieu)
- Lætitia Casta
- Léa Seydoux
- Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Chantal Paradis, a French singer, model, and actress.)
- Ludvine Sagnier
- Louise Bourgoin
- Marion Cotillard
- Mélanie Laurent
- Romy Schneider
- Sophie marceau
- Vanessa Paradis
- Virginie Efira
Gender neutral French names
The following are gender-neutral names for girls in France (les prénoms mixtes): given to both boys and girls in France.
- Alex or Alix (from Alexandre meaning: defender of mankind)
- Anaël (meaning: God has answered)
- Ariel (meaning lion of god)
- Camille (French version of Camilla, meaning religious helper)
- Charlie (diminutive of Charles meaning: free man)
- Dominique (meaning: of the lord)
- Eden (meaning: Place of pleasure and delight)
- Sasha/Sacha (diminutif slave d’Alexandre)
- Mahé or Maé (Mahé is a short variant of the name Mazhev, a Breton form of Matthew meaning: gift of god)
- Thaïs (meaning: beloved, the bond)
More about French Culture
By choosing a French female name for your baby girl, you’ll be paying homage to French culture, which places a huge emphasis on family and tradition.
Alternatively, you might love the way French names sound, and that’s also an excellent way to choose the perfect French baby name for your little girl.
Happy baby naming and good luck!