330 rare, chic & popular French names for girls with that “je ne sais quoi”

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!

Choosing the perfect french girls name for your daughter

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.

Traditional names in French for girls

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. 

What?

Yes!

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. 

Jade is one of the most popular names given to girls in France
Data taken from Insee.fr

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

Beautiful French names for girls

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. 

  1. Popular French female names by year and decade: 2020, 1900 to 1920s, 1950’s and 1980s.
  2. Traditional and Classic French names for women. These have been around for a long time. 
  3. Rare French girl names. These might be new or old French female names.
  4. Compound baby girl names such as Marie-Antoinette.
  5. Gender-neutral French names (can be given to both males and females)
  6. Famous French female actress names. Sometimes names will spike in popularity based on the popularity of a famous French actress.
  7. 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 10 most common and popular baby girl names given to females in France

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.

Popular French female names in France; Capucine

  1. JADE /pronounced Zhad/
  2. LOUISE
  3. EMMA (this french female name used to be the most popular French name for girls until recently when Jade took first place.)
  4. ALICE
  5. AMBRE
  6. LINA
  7. ROSE
  8. CHLOÉ
  9. MIA
  10. LÉA
  11. ANNA
  12. MILA
  13. JULIA
  14. ROMY: (French variation of Rose-Marie)
  15. LOU (French variation of Louise)
  16. INÈS
  17. LÉNA (French variation of Hélène and Elena)
  18. AGATHE
  19. JULIETTE
  20. INAYA
  21. NINA
  22. ZOÉ
  23. LÉONIE
  24. JEANNE
  25. IRIS
  26. EVA
  27. CHARLIE
  28. LOLA
  29. ADÈLE
  30. VICTOIRE
  31. MANON
  32. LUA
  33. CAMILLE
  34. ROMANE
  35. LUCIE
  36. MARGAUX
  37. OLIVIA
  38. VICTORIA
  39. ALIX
  40. LOUNA
  41. MYA
  42. SOFIA
  43. CHARLOTTE
  44. SARAH
  45. GIULIA
  46. LYA
  47. MARGOT
  48. NOUR
  49. LYANA
  50. CAPUCINE
  51. CLÉMENCE
  52. THÉA
  53. ELENA
  54. ALBA
  55. EMY
  56. CLARA
  57. LANA
  58. AYA
  59. LYNA
  60. YASMINE
  61. GABRIELLE
  62. ALYA
  63. ALICIA
  64. ROXANE
  65. ZÉLIE
  66. LISE
  67. LILY
  68. LÉANA
  69. MAYA
  70. MATHILDE
  71. LIVIA
  72. VALENTINE
  73. ANAÏS
  74. APOLLINE
  75. THAÏS
  76. LILA
  77. MAËLYS
  78. ASSIA
  79. HÉLOÏSE
  80. AVA
  81. JOY
  82. ALMA
  83. LILOU
  84. MARIA
  85. CONSTANCE
  86. ELISE
  87. MAËLLE
  88. CÉLIA
  89. MARIE
  90. ELLA
  91. AMÉLIA
  92. ELSA
  93. LISA
  94. NOÉMIE
  95. SALOMÉ
  96. EMMY
  97. CÉLESTE
  98. ALBANE
  99. SOLINE
  100. NORA

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. 

Map of the most popular French girls names in France by region for 2020

French Region Name # of babies
given name
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes LOUISE 458
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté LOUISE 158
Brittany JADE 211
Centre-Val de Loire LOUISE 143
Corsica GHJULIA 25
Grand Est JADE 322
Guadeloupe MYA 15
French Guiana CHLOÉ 19
Hauts-de-France JADE 449
Île-de-France LINA 711
Réunion MIA 67
Martinique MYA 16
Normandie JADE 248
Nouvelle-Aquitaine LOUISE 386
Occitanie JADE 308
Pays de la Loire LOUIS 287
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur LINA 275

Vintage or Old French female names (1800 – 1900 )

Vintage or Old French names popular between 1900 to 1920.
Velocipede bike carousel Luna park 1910

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. 

  1. MARGUERITE
  2. GERMAINE
  3. YVONNE
  4. MADELEINE
  5. MARCELLE
  6. MARTHE
  7. ANNE
  8. LUCIENNE
  9. RENÉE
  10. HENRIETTE
  11. HÉLÈNE
  12. GEORGETTE
  13. JOSEPHINE
  14. BERTHE
  15. EUGÉNIE
  16. ANDRÉE
  17. FERNANDE
  18. RAYMONDE
  19. SIMONNE
  20. ANGÈLE
  21. ODETTE
  22. THÉRÈSE
  23. AUGUSTINE
  24. ANTOINETTE
  25. BLANCHE
  26. FRANÇOISE
  27. CÉCILE
  28. GENEVIÈVE
  29. CHARLOTTE
  30. EMILIENNE
  31. ADRIENNE
  32. PAULINE
  33. LÉONTINE
  34. EMILIE
  35. ALBERTINE
  36. CLAIRE
  37. ELISABETH
  38. JULIENNE
  39. PAULETTE
  40. IRÈNE
  41. PAULE
  42. ALINE
  43. AIMÉE
  44. VICTORINE
  45. ERNESTINE
  46. REINE
  47. ROSALIE
  48. OLGA
  49. FRANCINE
  50. ADÈLE
  51. SOLANGE
  52. AUGUSTA
  53. ALPHONSINE
  54. ANDRÉA
  55. ISABELLE
  56. CÉLINE
  57. CLÉMENTINE
  58. CLOTILDE
  59. AGNÈS
  60. PHILOMENE
  61. RACHEL
  62. IRMA
  63. CELESTINE
  64. FELICIE
  65. CAROLINE
  66. ELISA
  67. ALEXANDRINE
  68. VIRGINIE
  69. BERNADETTE
  70. IDA

Common French baby girl names from the 50’s

Popular French baby girl names from the 50s

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. 

  1. MARIE
  2. MARTINE
  3. FRANÇOISE
  4. CATHERINE
  5. CHANTAL
  6. BRIGITTE
  7. DOMINIQUE
  8. MONIQUE
  9. CHRISTINE
  10. SYLVIE
  11. ANNIE
  12. NICOLE
  13. PATRICIA
  14. EVELYNE
  15. MICHÈLE
  16. CHRISTIANE
  17. CLAUDINE
  18. JACQUELINE
  19. NADINE
  20. JOCELYNE
  21. ANNICK
  22. JOËLLE
  23. JOSIANE
  24. DANIELLE
  25. ELISABETH
  26. ISABELLE
  27. ANNE
  28. BERNADETTE
  29. VÉRONIQUE
  30. MARYSE

Popular French female names in the 80’s

popular French female names in France in the 80s

François Mitterrand was the president during the 80’s (from 1981 to 1995). 

  1. AURÉLIE
  2. EMILIE
  3. ELODIE
  4. CÉLINE
  5. JULIE
  6. MARIE
  7. AUDREY
  8. STÉPHANIE
  9. LAETITIA
  10. VIRGINIE
  11. SOPHIE
  12. MÉLANIE
  13. CAROLINE
  14. SABRINA
  15. VANESSA
  16. MARION
  17. JENNIFER
  18. AMANDINE
  19. JESSICA
  20. LAURA
  21. DELPHINE
  22. CLAIRE
  23. PAULINE
  24. CINDY
  25. SANDRINE
  26. CÉCILE
  27. ALEXANDRA
  28. ANGELIQUE
  29. SARAH
  30. AMÉLIE

Rare and uncommon female French names

rare and uncommon French girl names

The following French names aren’t on any top 100 lists but they are well-known names in France. 

  1. ALINE (meaning: noble)
  2. ELODIE (meaning: foreign riches)
  3. FABIENNE (meaning: the noble)
  4. FANNY (meaning: free one) Diminutives of the French name Frances.
  5. FRÉDÉRIQUE (meaning: peaceful ruler)
  6. GAËLLE (meaning: Irishwoman)
  7. LAURENCE (this is a female name in France)
  8. 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.
  9. MAËLLYS (meaning: princess)
  10. MAGALI or MAGALIE (meaning: pearl)
  11. NADEGE (meaning: hope)
  12. SABINE (meaning: woman)
  13. SÉVERINE (meaning: grave, serious or stern)

Really rare and really uncommon French female names that are disappearing or have disappeared in France

rare, unique and uncommon French girl names

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. 

  1. Amantine
  2. Amaranthe
  3. Anathilde
  4. Anatoline
  5. Aventine
  6. Cléonice
  7. Cléore
  8. Cyrienne
  9. Colombe (French word for hummingbird)
  10. Emiliane
  11. Emiliette
  12. Eudora
  13. Fleury
  14. France: (meaning free from latin “francus.”
  15. Herminie (French version of Herminia) Herminie Cadolle is a French woman who invented the modern bra.
  16. Huguette (French feminine form of Huge)
  17. Laurentine
  18. Léonelle
  19. Marcelline
  20. Mariette
  21. Rosine
  22. SOLÉA: (meaning: solemn from French “solennelle” and Latin “sollemnis”, but also “sun” and “sunny” from French “soleil” ).
  23. Théophanie

Compound French girl names

compound French names for girls

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. 

For example: 

  • 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.

  1. Ange-Marie (Ange can be a boy’s name or a girl’s name in French.)
  2. Anne-Claire
  3. Anne-Françoise
  4. Anne-Lise
  5. Anne-Louise
  6. Clara-Rose
  7. Eva-Louise
  8. France-Line
  9. Laure-Anne
  10. Lee-Lou
  11. Lili-fleur
  12. Lilu-Rose
  13. Lou-Anne
  14. Marie-Adélaïde
  15. Marie-Antoinette
  16. Marie-Carmen
  17. Marie-Claire
  18. Marie-France
  19. Anne-Laure
  20. Marie-Lou
  21. Marie-Océane
  22. Marie-Soleil 
  23. Sarah-Lou

Beautiful French goddess names and meaning: 

Aliénor: 

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:

Asia, pronounced /Ah-Zyah/ is the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and mother of Atlas and Prometheus. She is also known as Clymène.

Aurore

Mythological Roman goddess of dawn (and the French word for “Dawn”) 

Celine:

Also spelled Sélène. She was the goddess of the moon

Circé:

Circé, pronounced /Sear-Say/ was a minor goddess in Greek mythology of magic and Sorcery. 

Cybèle:

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:

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:

Denise, pronounced /De-Neez/ is from Dionysius and is primarily a female name of French origin that means Devotee Of Dionysos.

Daphné

Daphne, pronounce /Daf-Knee/ is of Greek origin that means Laurel Tree or Bay tree and was a Greek water nymph.

Gaïa:

 Gaïa, pronounced /Gah-yah/ is the Greek goddess of Earth, mother of all life, mother and wife of Uranus (Heaven).

Isis

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.

Vénus:

Venus is the goddess of love in Roman mythology. 

You might be interested in readingThe names of the 7 days of the week in French: And their curious ancient Roman and Greek origins

French Actress names

French female actress names

If you love French movies, here are some Famous French female actress names throughout the ages. 

  1. Adèle Haenel
  2. Annabella (born Suzanne Georgette Charpentier)
  3. Anaïs Demoustier
  4. Anouk Aimée
  5. Audrey Tautou (she started in the French cult film Amélie)
  6. Brigitte Bardot
  7. Capuchine (born Germaine Hélène Irène)
  8. Carole Bouquet
  9. Catherine Deneuve
  10. Cécile de France (Belgian actress)
  11. Charlotte Gainsbourg (daughter of French singer Serge Gainsbourg)
  12. Danielle Darrieux
  13. Élodie Bouchez
  14. Émilie Dequenne
  15. Emmanuelle Devos
  16. Eva Gaëlle Green
  17. Frédérique Bel
  18. Isabelle Huppert
  19. Juliette Binoche
  20. Julie Depardieu (daughter of Gerard Depardieu)
  21. Lætitia Casta
  22. Léa Seydoux
  23. Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Chantal Paradis, a French singer, model, and actress.)
  24. Ludvine Sagnier
  25. Louise Bourgoin
  26. Marion Cotillard
  27. Mélanie Laurent
  28. Romy Schneider
  29. Sophie marceau
  30. Vanessa Paradis
  31. 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. 

  1. Alex or Alix (from Alexandre meaning: defender of mankind)
  2. Anaël (meaning: God has answered)
  3. Ange
  4. Ariel (meaning lion of god)
  5. Camille (French version of Camilla, meaning religious helper)
  6. Charlie (diminutive of Charles meaning: free man)
  7. Dominique (meaning: of the lord)
  8. Eden (meaning: Place of pleasure and delight)
  9. Sasha/Sacha (diminutif slave d’Alexandre)
  10. Mahé or Maé (Mahé is a short variant of the name Mazhev, a Breton form of Matthew meaning: gift of god)
  11. 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!

Photo of Annie André: www.AnnieAndre.com

Annie André

About the author 

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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