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250+ Unique & Beautiful French Girl Names (& their meanings)

Last Updated on 12th March 2024 by Sophie Nadeau

If you’ve come to this page looking for unique or interesting French girl names, then you’ve come to the right place! Now I may be biased as I have two French girls names myself (Sophie Anne), but I truly think that there are some very special girls names in the French language.

If you’re considering a French name for your baby girl, then you have quite the choice in front of you- and the amount of names from which to select can be a little overwhelming! After all, you’re choosing a name which your baby might well end up keeping for the rest of their life!

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The law in France surrounding French names

Though we’re much more used to hearing unique or rare names in the English language (such as Kim Kardashian’s daughter ‘North’ or Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter ‘Apple’), the majority of baby girl names in French are classic and find their roots in even more ancient languages such as Greek and Latin.

There is a cultural (and even legal!) reason for this, and that is baby name laws (which are often restrictive and sometimes racist). You see, between 1803- 1966 there were very strict rules about what you were allowed to call your child in France.

In fact, you were only allowed to name your child after a Saint from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints or for a historical person (as long as that, too, wasn’t offensive). The laws were racist and did not even allow for the names of regional dialects within France such as Breton and Occitanie.

If a child was not given one of the permitted names, then they would not be allowed to hold ID cards, vote, and they would find it hard to take part in modern life.

In 1966, following intense legal battles, the law was changed and parents were allowed to give their children names from regional dialects of France, as well as shortened nicknames.

People were also allowed to name their babies names from languages other than French, and mythological names were also finally allowed. In 199″, under French President François Mitterrand, baby name laws were changed once more, allowing for even more freedom when choosing a French baby name.

This was as long as the name would be in the best interest of the child and would not harm other third parties. There is no official list of banned names in France, though there is a law that allows French authorities to prevent people from naming their child something rude or offensive, such as a swear word, something that would cause the child to be bullied, or after a dictator.

Children are also not allowed to have the last name of one of their parents as a first name. Please note that only French citizens have to abide by French baby name laws. Other citizens residing in France do not have to abide by French baby name laws.


Popular French Girl Names

Today, some of the top French girl names around the world include Charlotte (popular across Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK), Annabel, and Sophie. In France, some of the most popular names are Jade, Louise, Emma, Alice, Ambre, Lina, Rose, Chloe, Mia, Léa.

250+ French Girl Names

Please note that many names have multiple variations and so these have been grouped and listed together. While some spellings may be more common than others for the names, their meaning remains the same.

Abrielle: Meaning God is my strength

Aceline: Meaning noble

Adalaide, Adélaïde: Meaning a noble person

Adalene, Adaline, Adeline, Adelle, Adelyn: Meaning a noble person

Adrienne, Adriene: Meaning from the city of Hadria

Agathe: Meaning good

Agnès: Meaning pure

Albertine: Meaning noble or bright

Alexandrine: Meaning defender of men

Alice: Meaning noble or light

Alizée: Meaning Trade Wind

Alida: Meaning noble

Aline: Meaning noble

Alodie: Meaning wealthy

Alphonsine: Meaning ready for battle (female version of Alphonse)

Amalie, Amelie: Meaning hardworking

Amy, Aimée: Meaning beloved or well-loved

Anaïs: Meaning graceful or holy

Anastasie: Meaning resurrection

Andrée: Meaning brave (female version of André)

Anelise, Annelise: Meaning from the grace of God

Angeline: Means messenger of God

Angélique: Meaning messenger of God

Annabelle: Meaning graceful or favour

Anne, Annette: Meaning grace

Antoinette/Antonine: Meaning praiseworthy (female version of Antoine)

Arielle: Meaning lion of God

Amandine: Meaning worthy of love

Armande: Meaning army man (unisex name)

Audette: Meaning a bird

Aurore/Auroette: Meaning Goddess of dawn

Avice: Meaning a refuge in battle

Avriel/Avril/Avryll: Meaning spring and April

Aubrey: Meaning elf/ supernatural ruler

Audrey: Meaning noble strength

Augustine: Meaning the great, venerable

Aurelie: Meaning golden

Aveline: Meaning hazelnut (derived from the Italian city of Avella)

Barbe: Meaning foreigner, traveller from a foreign land

Belle: Meaning beautiful

Bernadette: Meaning brave as a bear

Berthe: Meaning bright, glorious

Bijou: Meaning jewel

Blanche: Meaning white

Blisse: Meaning delight or joy

Brielle: Meaning heroine of God

Brigitte: Meaning magnificent and great

Camille: Meaning young ceremonial attendant

Capucine: Meaning nasturtium (the flower)

Carole, Carolina, Caroline: Meaning a strong woman, free woman

Catherine: Meaning pure and clear

Cécile: Meaning blind

Celeste, Célestine, Céline, Celine: Meaning heavenly

Cerise: Meaning cherry

Cezanne: Meaning artist seeking freedom (unisex name)

Chanel: Meaning from the canal or channel

Chantae: Meaning a singer

Chantal: Meaning a stone for building

Charlotte: Meaning a strong woman, free woman

Chloé, Chloë: Meaning flourishing, blooming

Christine: Meaning follower of Christ

Claire, Clarette, Clarisse: Meaning bright, clear

Claudine: Meaning lame

Clémence/Clementine: Meaning merciful, mild

Clotilde, Clothilde: Meaning famous in battle

Colette: Meaning people of victory

Constance: Meaning constant

Coralie, Coraline: Meaning coral

Corinne: Meaning beautiful maiden

Cosette: Meaning victorious

Danielle: Meaning God is the judge

Delphine: Meaning woman from Delphi, dolphin

Denise: Meaning devoted to Bacchus

Desiree: Meaning desired and longed for

Dominique: Meaning belonging to the Lord

Édelie: Meaning having high principles, qualities

Édith: Meaning blessed with riches

Eglantine: Meaning wild rose

Elayne: Meaning a ray of light

Elloise: Meaning light

Elaina, Elaine: Meaning bright, shining light

Eléonore: Meaning bright, shining light

Elise: Meaning my God is abundance

Elle: Meaning she

Élodie: Meaning foreign riches

Eloise, Héloïse: Meaning healthy

Émilie: Meaning excelling in all things

Esme, Esmée: Meaning esteemed, beloved one

Estelle: Meaning star

Étiennette: Meaning woman with crown, garland

Eugénie: Meaning well born

Eulalie: Meaning a sweetly-speaking person

Fayette: Meaning a little fairy

Félice: Meaning lucky

Fernande: Meaning adventurous

Fleur, Fleurine, Florentine: Meaning flower, blossoming

Fosette: Meaning dimpled, love of helping others

Francine: Meaning from France or free woman

Gabrielle: Meaning God is my Strength (female version of Gabriel)

Geneviève, Geneve: Meaning woman of the family

Georgette: Meaning farmer

Gertrude: Meaning strength

Giselle: Meaning: promise, pledge

Hélène: Meaning bright, shining

Henriette: Meaning ruler of the home

Honorine: Meaning woman of honour

Hortense: Meaning gardener

Huguette: Meaning bright in mind and spirit

Inés: Meaning pure

Isabelle: Meaning pledged to God

Jacqueline: Meaning supplanter

Jeanne: Meaning God is gracious (female version of Jean)

Joelene: Meaning pretty, beauty

Jolie: Meaning pretty

Josephine: Meaning Jehovah shall grow

Julia, Juliet, Juliette: Meaning youthful

Léonie: Meaning lion

Liana: Meaning to climb like a vine, twine around like a vine

Lilou: Meaning lily

Lizette: Meaning God’s promise

Lorraine: Meaning from the province of Lorraine

Louise: Meaning brave, famous warrior

Lourdes: Meaning from the town of Lourdes

Lucie, Lucienne, Lucile, Lucille: Meaning light, illuminating

Lydie: Meaning woman from Lydia, Greece

Marlène: Meaning star of the sea

Maëlle, Maëlys: Meaning chief, princess

Madeleine, Madelyn: Meaning from the city of Magdala

Malory, Mallory: Meaning unfortunate

Manette, Manon: Meaning bitter

Margot/Margaux/Marguerite: Meaning pearl

Marie: Meaning star of the sea

Marthe: Meaning mistress of the house

Mathilde: Meaning strength in battle

Mélanie: Meaning little dark-haired girl

Meline: Meaning honey

Michelle: Meaning resembles God

Mirabelle: Meaning plum

Mirielle: Meaning to admire, prosper

Monique: Meaning wise counsellor, advisor

Natalie: Meaning birthday of the Lord

Nicole, Nicolette: Meaning people of victory

Ninette: Meaning grace

Noelle: Meaning Christmas (for children born in December)

Noémie: Meaning good, pleasant, lovely

Océane: Meaning ocean

Octavie: Meaning eighth

Odette: Meaning wealthy

Paris: Meaning Paris, the capital of France

Patrice: Meaning noble (unisex, more commonly used as a boy’s name)

Pauline: Meaning little

Philomène: Meaning loved one, friend of strength

Pierrette: Meaning rock, strength (female version of Pierre)

Reine: Meaning queen

Renée: Meaning born again or reborn

Risette: Meaning smile

Rosalie, Rosalee: Meaning rose

Rochelle: Meaning woman who is like a rock

Sara: Meaning princess

Salomé: Meaning peace

Severine: Meaning stern, serious

Seychelle: Meaning shell of the sea

Solange, Solenne: Meaning solemn, religious

Sidonie: Meaning woman of Sidon

Simone: Meaning she heard, God has heard

Sophie: Meaning wise, wisdom

Stéphane, Stephanie: Meaning crown, glory

Suzanne, Suzette: Meaning lily

Sylvie: Meaning from the forest

Thérèse: Meaning to reap, to gather, late summer

Valentine, Valerie: Meaning strength, healthy (female version of Valentin)

Véronique: Meaning true image

Violette: Meaning a purple blue flower

Virginie: Meaning pure maiden

Vivienne: Meaning life

Yvette: Meaning yew, archer (female version of Yves)

Yvonne: Meaning yew wood

Yolanthe: Meaning strong

Zélie: Meaning mother of St. Therese of Lisieux

Zoe: Meaning vibrant and full of life

What names are banned in France?

Although, as I mentioned there are no officially banned baby names, the following names were rejected by a French judget on the basis in that they would disadvantage the child:

  • Prince William
  • Mini Cooper
  • Nutella
  • Fraise (the French word for strawberry- the girl was renamed Fraisine after a 19th century name)
  • Manhattan
  • MJ (the parents wanted this to serve as an homage to Michael Jackson but were forced to rename him Jean)
  • Titeuf (the titular hero of a popular comic series)
  • Joyeux (the French word for happy)
  • Patriste (a phonetic version of ‘pas triste’ which means ‘not sad’ in English)
  • Babar
  • Gloarnic
  • Folavril (after a famous French perfume but the parents were forced to change the name to Zoe instead)
  • Fañch (the parents were told that they weren’t allowed to use this ñ in the name)
  • Babord (Port) and Tribord (Starboard)
  • Mercedes (because the family last name was Benz)

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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