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Très bien: the 20 most fashionable French baby names

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Kayleigh Dray
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What’s in a name?

Well, despite what William Shakespeare would have you think, quite a lot, actually.

As L. M. Montgomery puts it in Anne of Green Gables: “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it.

“I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 



So it should come as no surprise that pet owners and parents across the world spend a lot of time dreaming up the perfect name for their little bundles of joy.

However, with many striving for uniqueness, things can get a little complex; how can we find a strong and personable name, without dubbing our son or daughter (or cat, dog, fish or budgie) the same as everyone else?

By looking further afield for inspiration – say, to France, maybe?

The most popular French baby names of 2016 have been revealed

The most popular French baby names of 2016 have been revealed

Yes, a new and extensive study has been released into the most endearing French baby names of 2016 – and they certainly offer a chic twist to the vowel-heavy names that the Brits are favouring at the moment.

Think old fashioned names, gentle sounds, and mini monikers that truly pack a punch.

From Louise to Mila, Gabriel to Hugo, the list is varied and full of intriguing choices – and, speaking to Le Parisien about the list, the author behind L'Officiel des Prénoms, Stéphanie Rapoport, explained: “Parents are looking for gentle-sounding names and therefore favour vowel sounds and short names of one or two syllables.”

She continued: “The retro side of names is also popular, but not just any one. Classic and forgotten ones, such as Louis, Jules, Paul for boys and Lourse, Rose or Camille for girls.

“Fifty years ago, the choice was much more narrow, as there are still over half a million people named Marie, Jean or Michel today.”



You can find the full list of melodic French baby boy and girl names – including their meanings – below:

Top 10 French baby girl names 

1. Louise

Meaning: “renowned warrior”

 

2. Jade

Meaning: “stone of the side”

 

3. Emma

Meaning: “universal”

 

4. Chloé

Meaning: “fresh and blooming”

 

5. Alice

Meaning: “of the nobility”

 

6. Inès

Meaning: “pure, virginal”

 

7. Léa

Meaning: “weary”

 

8. Manon

Meaning: “bitter”

 

9. Lina

Meaning: “tender”

 

10. Mila

Meaning: “love, warmth, grace”

Top 10 French baby boy names

1. Gabriel

Meaning: “angelic messenger”

 

2. Jules and Raphaël (tied)

Meaning of Jules: “youthful”

Meaning of Raphaël: “God has healed”

 

4. Léo

Meaning: “lion”

 

5. Adam

Meaning: “of the red earth”

 

6. Lucas

Meaning: “bright, shining”

 

7. Louis

Meaning: “famous warrior”

 

8. Liam

Meaning: “strong-willed warrior and protector”

 

9. Ethan

Meaning: “strong and constant”

 

10. Hugo

Meaning: “bright in mind and spirit”

Gabriel and Louise have been revealed as the most popular French baby boy and girl names

You’ll notice that there’s a distinct lack of the double-barrelled French names we’ve come to expect from the land of Lily-Rose Depp and Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini (phew) – and there’s a very good reason for this.

They are seriously démodé.

“We'll have to wait for those bearing the names today, the Jean-Marie or the Marie-Claude, to disappear before we see their names come back into fashion,” said Rapoport.

When asked when she thought the unfortunate monikers might come back in fashion, she said: “Maybe in a couple of decades.”



Despite France being just a ferry ride away, not one of the country’s most popular monikers has made it into the UK’s top 10 baby names of 2016.

It’s even stranger when you consider the fact that Brits, like their Gallic cousins, are searching for “vowel heavy” names ending in a “softer letter”.

Top 10 UK baby girl names

1. Isla

2. Amelia

3. Ava

4. Freya

5. Evie

6. Olivia

7. Esme

8. Mia

9. Ellie

10. Emily

Top 10 UK baby boy names

1. Alfie

2. Oscar

3. Teddy

4. Harry

5. Jack

6. Arlo

7. Noah

8. Charlie

9. Jacob

10. Archie

Of course, if you’d prefer to choose a name based on its badass meaning, we suggest browsing through our list of baby names inspired by feminist icons.

From Virginia Woolf to Benedict Cumberbatch, vintage nicknames to modern monikers, there is a vast plethora of intriguing names which can be adapted to suit babies of any gender.

Bonne chance!

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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