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.”
Read more: 70 baby names inspired by feminist icons
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?
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
Meaning: “renowned warrior”
Meaning: “stone of the side”
Meaning: “fresh and blooming”
Meaning: “of the nobility”
Meaning: “pure, virginal”
Meaning: “love, warmth, grace”
Top 10 French baby boy names
Meaning: “angelic messenger”
2. Jules and Raphaël (tied)
Meaning of Jules: “youthful”
Meaning of Raphaël: “God has healed”
Meaning: “of the red earth”
Meaning: “bright, shining”
Meaning: “famous warrior”
Meaning: “strong-willed warrior and protector”
Meaning: “strong and constant”
Meaning: “bright in mind and spirit”
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.”
Read more: The most unusual celebrity baby names
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
Top 10 UK baby boy names
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.