Give them a name with that certain je ne sais quoi.
Parenting is a huge responsibility, and the pressure to get it right may start before your baby is even born. A name is a big deal (no pressure), and deciding what to call your baby can be difficult, especially if your co-parent or spouse doesn’t agree with your top choices. These French baby names for girls and boys are a great starting point if you want something that feels classic and timeless but still unique.
On this list, you’ll find cute twists on common English names (like Matthieu, Brigitte, or Margaux) plus tons of names that may have never crossed your mind before. There are playful names like Zélie or Jules, and some more serious options. Keep in mind, it’s always up to you whether you include an accent or an umlaut in their name.
As someone who’s tried to pull off lipstick without any other makeup or a t-shirt casually tucked into jeans only to feel a little ridiculous, I know it can be hard to imitate the effortless cool that’s synonymous with French culture. One thing you can borrow with ease? French names. Read on for some favorites.
Cosette, sometimes spelled as Cozette, is a beautiful French name that rose in popularity after Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables came out (there is a character in the book/movie by the name). It means “victorious” and is a pretty alternative to the more common Colette.
The name Alodie sounds like the English word “a lot” with an “ie” sound at the end. It’s a melodic name of French origin that means “wealthy.” With its softer “A” sound, the French pronunciation sounds a bit like Elodie, another beautiful name.
A nice alternative to the more commonly heard, Simon, Aimon means “house” or “home.” It’s pronounced pretty much as it looks, and you can think of it as rhyming with the word “laymen.”
Commonly used for boys, though gender-neutral, the name Bellamy means “handsome friend.” There are tons of cute nicknames for this name too, like Bella, Bell, or Bellam.
Darcy is a sweet name for a boy or a girl, and the name means “dark” (which could be especially fitting for a child who’s born with a shock of dark hair). It also calls back to Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice.
Similar to the name Ralph, Raphaël means, “God has healed” and is of Hebrew origin, though commonly used in French cultures. The name is biblical and can be spelled in many ways including without the umlaut or as Rafael.
This pretty name has origins in Greek, Spanish, and French, and it means “pure, holy.” Depending on where you live it may be pronounced slightly differently but most commonly in America it’s pronounced like the word “finesse” without the letter F.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Matthew that still keeps the integrity and the basic sound of the name in tact, the French Matthieu is a a great option. The name means “gift of the Lord.”
Gabin sounds like a combination of the names Gavin and Gabriel. The name means “of Gabium” and in 2019 it was in the top twenty most popular boys’ names in France (it was number 17). American speakers tend to pronounce it as rhyming with the word ‘cabin.’
Meaning “heavenly,” Céline is a beautiful name for a baby and an adult. Plus your child would share a name with famous singer, Celine Dion, or the designer of iconic Celine bags, Céline Vipiana.
A lovely take on the name Bridget, Brigitte is a pretty French name that is still easy for American speakers to spell and say. The name means “power, strength, vigor, or virtue,” (so it’s a pretty great meaning) and it calls to mind actress Brigitte Bardot or French first lady, Brigitte Macron.
You can’t help but think of Shakespeare when you see the name Juliette (sometimes spelled Juliet). It means “young” or “downy” and is also considered the diminutive form of the name Julia or Julie as it can mean “little Julia.”
Noémie is the French variation of the Hebrew name Naomi, both meaning “pleasant and lovely.” In the French language, the name is pronounced like “no-amy,” with emphasis on the middle “A” sound. This is a pretty name with a timeless sophistication.
Meaning “pleasant little laugh,” Risette is a sweet name for your giggling little baby. The name is generally used for girls and Reese or Rise makes for a cute nickname.
Zélie, meaning “noble,” has a cute and zingy ring to it that I love in other Z names like Zoe. The name originated as a nickname or shorter form of the name Azélie, another beautiful French name. Zélie is a name you can expect to hear more of in the coming years as it’s rising in popularity, according to NameBerry.
Blaise is a cool name for any child, but especially those born under a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius). It’s meaning translates to “stammer” and while the name feels very current, it has its routes in ancient history, and in legend, Blaise is Merlin the Magician’s secretary, per Nameberry.
Elouan is a gorgeous French name that means “good light.” It has a melodic quality to it and is pronounced “elle-lou-on” and Elle or Lou could be a cute nickname for this gender-neutral name.
Many people think Jacques is the French version of the English Jack or John, but it’s actually more closely related to the name James. It means “supplanter” and is commonly used for boys, though it could be a cool name for a girl too.
Théodore is the French version of Theodore and it means “gift of God.” If you like names that can be shortened, Théodore has a ton of nicknames including Theo, Teo, or Teddy.
Margaux is the French spelling of the name Margot, and the two names are pronounced the same way. This pretty name means “pearl” and is sometimes thought of as a form of Margaret. If you like this name but want something slightly different but still distinctly French, Marguerite is also a lovely option.
Commonly used for French boys, though entirely gender-neutral, the name Jules means “downy, bearded.” It may sound like a nickname, but it’s an elegant name that can stand on its own.
Mirabelle is a gorgeous name meaning “wondrous” or “marvelous.” Lovely on its own, its nicknames of either Mira or Belle are also quite nice and give you plenty of options.
Meaning “lion,” Léon is a beautifully strong name for your fierce little one (and it may be especially on the nose for Leo babies born between July 21 and August 22). Of course, it also calls to mind the band, Kings Of Leon, and the Spanish city by the same name.
The French version of the English name Matilda (like the famous book by Roald Dahl) Mathilde is a beautiful name that you could nickname to Maddie. I love how this one sounds in a French accent.
Meaning “light,” the name Lucie is an alternate spelling to the English name, Lucy. It stands beautifully on its own, or it could be a nickname for Lucille. If Lucille Ball or Lucille Bluth are any indication, little Lucie may be a funny kid. The common male version of this name is the lovely Lucien.
The name Quinn has grown in popularity for both boys and girls, and Quentin has a similar sound while being a little less common. The name means “five” and could be fitting for a child born in May, or for a fifth child (gasp).
If Harry and Meghan’s new baby, Lilibet has made you interested in the name Lily, you’re certainly not alone. Often, the names of royal babies surge in popularity in the months after birth, per USA Today, and Lille is a beautiful name without being exactly the same. It means “lilly” like the flower.
Pronounced like the name Marco, Marceau is a French name that has been having a resurgence lately. It comes from the Roman word “Mars” meaning “male”.
If you plan to spend a lot of time in nature with you little one, then Sylvie, meaning “spirit of the wood” or “from the forest” is a gorgeous, whimsical name.
Rémy, which can also be spelled with an “i” instead of “y” at the end means, “oarsman” or “remedy.” It’s a beautiful name that’s still unique but easy to spell and say.
You can’t go wrong with naming your baby after the most beloved Plaza Hotel-dweller. Eloise is a classic name with routes in both French and English and it means, “healthy” — a meaning anyone will appreciate.