French names - Mothering Forums
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Multicultural Families > French names
mntnmom's Avatar mntnmom 05:48 AM 11-25-2009
We've used names from pretty much every ethnic group in our background. But we've never been able to settle on a good french boys' name. The first name we picked, Quinn is very short and very NOT french :LOL. So I'm looking for something a little over the top and stereotypical, and hyphenated.
I like Andre-Denis
Any good ideas from Francophone moms?

mommyshoppinghabit's Avatar mommyshoppinghabit 03:49 PM 11-25-2009
Sorry, I don't speak French as my native language but my friend Alix's fiance's name is Jean-Baptiste, they call him JB for short (in french "gee bae)". Before my first was born, was considering some French sounding names, Yannick and Bruno were on the short list. Or what about Laurent. I've heard that Ludovic is kinda popular over in France, even though it sounds slavic. And then theres Jerome (I don't have the keyboard for putting in accents over the letters), although that's also in English and would sound very common if pronounced in English.
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 04:24 PM 11-25-2009
Dh is French and our three boys are Axel, Felix (pronounced fayleex) and Yann, hmm guess those don't really work well hyphenated.


My FIL is Jean-Pierre

Jean-Loup (loup means wolf, pronounced lou) is a nice one.
Jean-David
Jean-Claude
Jean-Francois
Jean-Yves
Guy-Francois
Yves-Francois

Typical French names are Baptiste, Antoine, Stephane, Etienne, Dominic, Franck, Serge, Gregoire, Laurent, Frederic, Lucas, Loic (low-eek), Ludovic...
Rose-Roget's Avatar Rose-Roget 04:40 PM 11-25-2009
I agree with pp. Jean-something will make it sound very French, IMO.

I like Jean-Luc. Also Jean-Philippe or Jean-Pierre could be J-P (with French pron.) for short. Jean-Yves, Jean-Jacques.

We used Julien (I know- not hyphenated) which is pretty popular, although less traditional than the names pp listed. If we'd had another boy, I would have used Adrien (or Hadrien). I like that Julien and Adrien both translate well to /french and English.
IsaFrench's Avatar IsaFrench 07:35 PM 11-25-2009
if you read french, that book
http://www.amazon.fr/c%C3%B4te-pr%C3.../ref=pd_cp_b_1
called la cote des prenoms 2008 (in case the above quotation "doesn't work")
is super fun read
(with a sociological aspect to comment on the statistical data about frequency ... according to location/social status/timeframe ...)

another option is "Pierre-Yves"
not very common and definitely not lower social class

some english/irish/american names are very very popular in France, some of them typically lower class (like Jordan or Kevin ...)

it's funny to see the flux of "in fashion" and "out of fashion" names ....
Barbamama's Avatar Barbamama 09:30 PM 11-25-2009
I'm not Francophone, but DH (French) and I had planned to name any boy baby Lucien-Jules.
Qbear'smama's Avatar Qbear'smama 12:58 AM 11-26-2009
My father's family is french so I will go through boys names in our family and others I have heard and liked:

Jean-Philippe
Hugo (love that one! The H is silent)
Jean-Francois
Alain
Alexandre
Louis-Joseph
Simon (see-mohn)
Jean-Louis
Alaric
Guillaume (hard G Gee-ome)
Maxime
I also like Felix, already mentioned.
Fay's Avatar Fay 02:13 AM 11-26-2009
Jean-Baptiste is my all-time fave. We also considered naming our DS1 Charles-Louis. Denis is terrific, hyphenated or not.
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 07:12 AM 11-26-2009
Here are some hyphenated names of people I know or have known:
Jean-Luc
Jean-Claude
Jean-Loic
Jean-Christophe
Jean-Patrick
Jean-Philippe
Jean-Michel
Pierre-Baptiste
Paul-Henri
Marc-Henri
Paul-Eric
Pierre-Louis
Yves-Marie (I don't recommend this one!)
Marc-Antoine

I like Marc-André but don't know if it would sound really weird to French ears or not.
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 08:59 AM 11-26-2009
I forgot about Hugo and Henri. I wanted to name our first Henri but DH nixed that.
I love the name Hugo too.


our boys' middle names are
Thomas (To-mah)
Leo (lay-o)
and Xavier Arthur (xzahveeay Ar-tuhre)

Then there's

Vincent (van sahn - nasally French - n-sound at the end)
Victor (veek-tore)
Emile
Emmanuelle
Rene
Girard
Robert (ro-bear)
Ulysse
Philipe
Richard -(ree-chahre)
Christian
Michel
Armand
Jose (jhozay)...
Qbear'smama's Avatar Qbear'smama 01:12 PM 11-26-2009
This is a fun thread, OP, you have to update us and let us know what you name your little one! I like Leo and I cannot remember where, but I remember a Leo-Paul at some point...
BettinaAuSucre's Avatar BettinaAuSucre 01:14 PM 11-26-2009
Too bad you aren't having a girl....i have a great name....*points to her screenname*
mntnmom's Avatar mntnmom 04:37 PM 11-26-2009
We've got a few great girl's names, but we keep having boys! We're running out of names, and French girls' names just work so much better in English than boys'!
Thanks for all the great suggestions! DH and I definately have some discussing to do!
Eclipsepearl's Avatar Eclipsepearl 12:03 PM 11-27-2009
I've been living in France since 1996 and I became a French citizen in 2002.

I'm going to beg, BEG, BEG you not to name him "Jean". My dh insisted on the middle name being after his dad, since our son's first name is after my father. Well, guess what it is?!?

It really bothers my son that his middle name is a "girl's" name in the U.S. even though he's born and raised in France. He's still American and it still bugs him. He really hates having to correct people in the States.

I would also urge you to avoid hyphenated names. They're out of fashion here in France and they can be a real burden for the child, especially if you wont be raising him in France.

I know a lot of French kids with a native English speaking parent. There are some names that don't work very well. Someone in an earlier post suggested "Emmanuelle". This is actually a girl's name. The male version is "Emmanuel" with "Manu" being the common nickname.

You may want to avoid names that are too similar with girl's names as some little boys I know have found the constant corrections and misunderstandings a headache. Other examples would be Emile (especially since Emily is so popular), Rene, Stephane (a friend was constantly mistaken for "Stephanie" in the U.S.), Gabriel, Michel, Dominique, Claude, etc. Philippe and Etienne have been confusing for English speakers too (guy or girl??) The "e" at the end of some boys' names can make it look girly.

I know a ton of Louis's, Alexandres, Vincents, Victor's, Paul's, Eric's and lately, a bunch of Elliot's. Sebastien is a name I've always liked (that's the French spelling).

We actually picked a Breton name, Ronan, since it works in both English and French well. You hear a lot of Breton names all over France, some are similar or the same with the Irish, another Celtic culture. He's named after my father, who was Ronald but I didn't want him getting stuck with McDonald's jokes and comments about immoral presidents! So we found something similar that wasn't a saint's name (we're not Christian, another criteria-although many are very nice!)

I tried so hard to avoid the "Jean" but I couldn't convince dh to change it to "Sean" or Johan or anything that wouldn't be mistaken for a girl! I'm very sensitive to this subject since my own name is unisex and I hated getting mail addressed to "Mr." and asked why I had a boy's name...
~pi's Avatar ~pi 07:01 PM 11-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntnmom View Post
I'm looking for something a little over the top and stereotypical, and hyphenated. I like Andre-Denis
Why hyphenated? I haven't met a French child with a hyphenated name in a really long time. (Not since I was a child, and even then, it seemed to be going out of style.)

Andre and Denis are both nice names on their own, and both work reasonably well in English, though Denis will be easier for most anglophones to get right on the first try.

I've found nymbler not bad for helping with French names, and you can also just google "french baby names" and get a ton of ideas.

Good luck!
robugmum's Avatar robugmum 08:26 PM 11-27-2009
One of my favourite French names is Remy. (there is an accent but I don't know how to put it in!) It works well hyphenated or not.
(Remy-Charles, Remy Pierre, Remy-Paul...)
LaffNowCryLater's Avatar LaffNowCryLater 09:18 PM 11-27-2009
I like Remy and Dh is Maurice
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 10:11 PM 11-27-2009
oops - I know there was something wrong when I typed Emmanuelle with the extra "le". Haven't gotten much sleep lately...

I don't understand why someone need have such a problem with Jean as middle name, especially if they are half French anyway. Why wouldn't he be proud to have not only their grandfather's name, but a marker of their French heritage? My kids are half French and are proud to have French names and be a little "different" when outside of France.

I met a woman in Germany who named her son Jean-Klaus (after Jean-CLaude Van Damme). He wasn't French or half French, his parents just liked the name, and mixed it with a German name. Nobody cared or made fun of him.


One of my sons is named Axel, pronounced Axelle - which is the same pronunciation as for a girl. A lot of people outside France have trouble pronouncing it and often just use the Brit/American pronunciation. IT doesn't bother him. No one has made fun of him for having a "girl's" name - in fact most people comment on how cool his name is.

My DH is named Pierre. When in the US he often gets called Perry or Pear or Pier. My name is Rachel. WHen I am in France I get called Ray Charles, Watchel, Rayshul. I usually just tell people my name is Rachelle because it's easier. When I lived in Germany people pronounced my name the German way. No big deal. You either correct it or let it go.

There are so many people all over this world with names that sound funny to other people, or could be a girl/boy name somewhere else, could mean something else in another language, are borrowed from another culture, or are just plain weird. So, if a parent likes a name from another culture, I don't see what the problem is. Lots of kids have Irish, Scottish, Hispanic, Italian etc names when they are not from any of those places. I don't think we should not use a name just because someone somewhere might not get it, or understand it or pronounce it wrong.
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 10:21 PM 11-27-2009
more names:

Quentin
Fabien
Florian (quite popular in Germany too!)
Mathis
Matisse
Nils
Olivier
Nicolas
Aime (with accent over the e)
Didier
Gaston
Gael
Sandrine's Avatar Sandrine 10:38 PM 11-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
Why hyphenated? I haven't met a French child with a hyphenated name in a really long time. (Not since I was a child, and even then, it seemed to be going out of style.)
Didn't you meet my dh a few yrs ago? I think it's because we used his nickname and not his real name. oops

My dh's grandfather was Jean-Charles(soft ch sound like shhhh)
My fil is Jean-Pierre.

Jean does get misspelled and totally mis-said but you get used to it just like when the last name is french and english ppl try to say it or write it. Dh has a name, that starts with Jean-, but it gets massacred so much that we mostly only use his nickname instead of his full name. At work, his co-workers calls him by his full name.

I do know a few that are Marc-André, Phillipe-André, André-Alexandre.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 11:02 PM 11-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandrine View Post
Didn't you meet my dh a few yrs ago? I think it's because we used his nickname and not his real name. oops
Nope -- didn't even know he HAD a hyphenated name! Still, he is definitely not a child.

Is it different up there? Do more kids have hyphenated names? It's quite rare here -- I can only think of one kid at DS' garderie out of about three dozen.
Sandrine's Avatar Sandrine 11:56 PM 11-27-2009
I don't know. Most of my girls' friends have only one name, that I know of. lol
member234098's Avatar member234098 11:59 PM 11-27-2009
Etienne
Marcel
Raoul
Serge
Yves
Laurent
Girard
Beau
Guy
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 05:10 PM 11-29-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaid Leopard View Post


There are so many people all over this world with names that sound funny to other people, or could be a girl/boy name somewhere else, could mean something else in another language, are borrowed from another culture, or are just plain weird. So, if a parent likes a name from another culture, I don't see what the problem is. Lots of kids have Irish, Scottish, Hispanic, Italian etc names when they are not from any of those places. I don't think we should not use a name just because someone somewhere might not get it, or understand it or pronounce it wrong.
Yes, thank you. It's annoying to come back to this thread to see what new names have been added and see hyphenated names being described as out-of-style and a burden.
~pi's Avatar ~pi 05:32 PM 11-29-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
Yes, thank you. It's annoying to come back to this thread to see what new names have been added and see hyphenated names being described as out-of-style and a burden.
: I can understand being put out that they are described as a burden, but not for them being described as out of style. That is simply a fact, at least in every French community I know. Like I said above, at DS' garderie, there are dozens of kids and only one has a hyphenated name.

Of course if someone wants to give their child a hyphenated name, that's fine, but especially if they don't know a ton about modern French culture and are just looking to give a nod to their heritage by using a stereotypically French name, they might want to be aware that that particular custom is no longer followed in most places.

Of all the names you listed, are those current children or adults? If they are children, you clearly live in a place where the custom persists.
Close2Me's Avatar Close2Me 05:44 PM 11-29-2009
My daughter is Remy but considred Renee, Lisianne, Laure, Camille, and Solene. Robin is nice for boy as well as Jean-Luke.
Needle in the Hay's Avatar Needle in the Hay 05:56 PM 11-29-2009
Not trendy, I'll agree with, or quite rare these days, but out-of-style is a bit impolite.

On my list, two are children, the rest are mostly people in their 30s, but these are people I know or used to know, not a kid at the playground (where I occasionally hear a kid with a double prenom) etc. I know when we did a parent-child gym class there was a little boy with a hyphenated name but I cannot remember what it was. I also know an Italian 4 yr old with a hyphenated name.
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 06:50 PM 11-29-2009
I don't really understand how a hyphenated name would be a burden. If the child really doesn't like a long/double name they can shorten it or go by a nick-name. I suppose hyphenated names could be a marker of a certain social status or religious affiliation, but I still don't see that as a burden. Anyway, if the child in question is not even living in France, then most people won't have whatever cultural references for those "burdensome" names, and will simply think the child either has French heritage or parents who like French names.

Old fashioned names are coming back in fashion anyway. In the US we see lots of out-of-style names making a comeback. In France as well. Of course, there are a lot of new names in France since they changed the law regarding what people could name their babies, but the classic names are still being used.
pixiekisses's Avatar pixiekisses 09:16 PM 11-29-2009
I love Etienne, Lucas, Luc, Julien, Adrien, Lucien, Alexandre, Louis, Simon (altough that might turn into semen in eng., so), Florian, Olivier, Nicolas.

(My dear speaks french, so we have used some french names. And I haven't read the whole thread.)
paxye's Avatar paxye 09:47 PM 11-29-2009
hmm... I guess a lot of people here in Québec are out of touch with "modern French culture"...

A few names of kids that I know (under 5) are

Louis-Marie
Louis-Philippe
Jean-Noël
Marc-Antoine
Charles-Olivier

I do agree that there are less hyphenated names now then when I was a kid, but there are still quite a few... here is the top 500 names here in Quebec for 2008... there are not that many especially because hyphenated names can be used in so many combinations and are often more unique, but they are there and they are given quite a bit...

http://www.rrq.gouv.qc.ca/Interactif...renoms_01.aspx

and there are also quite a few great names on that list!

Also, often when someone has a hyphenated name on of the names often gets dropped, especially later on... For example My friend Philippe-Armand goes only by Phillipe, or Louis-Frédéric goes only by Louis, but both write their full names or at least an initial (Philippe-A.)

Both DH and I are Québecois (french-canadian) but I speak english with the kids and we want a name that works both in English and French so many of the more French names are crossed off our list even though we like them...
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