Posts Tagged With: Agathe

Quirky, yet Popular names in France

Originally this post was dubbed Names like Capucine, a perhaps more zippy title than the one it was eventually bestowed. The name Capucine was in the French top 100 in 2010, but isn’t the most well known of French names, comme Angelique et tout ça.

That is, essentially, the brief for all the names in this list: names which are popular in France, but ones which you may remain unfamiliar with.

For the purposes of this post, I used Behind the Name’s list of the Top 500 names in France in 2010. I also made a point to only include names of legit French origins, i.e. names like Clelia (Italian), Manel (Spanish), Sakina (Arabic) and Enola, whilst remarkably popular in France, sadly had to go.

Garance (#129)

The French name for a plant, it appears as a character name in the film Les Enfants du Paradis.

Lison (#114)

In a similar style to the more popular Manon, Lison is a French pet form of Elizabeth.

Zélie (#88)

An intriguing name of multiple possible origins. The name could be a diminutive of either Solène or Azélie. Equally, the name could be the French form of the name Zelia, which itself could either derive from Zillah or Celia. The name Zillah is a Hebrew origins and means shade, whilst Celia is of Latin origins and means sky (almost the complete opposite!)

Bertille (#360)

The French form of the slightly outdated Bertha, a name which derives from Old German and means bright.

Cyrielle (#298)

The French feminine form of Cyril, a name that means lord.

Louison (#274)

Another name like Manon, Louison is a French pet form of Louise and is also popular for boys.

Aliénor (#444)

The original Provençal form of Eleanor.

Alizée (#208)

Although this name looks to be a variation of Alice, it is in fact a modern French name. Alizée derives from the word alizé, which means trade winds.

Ludivine (#301)

Possibly derives from Leutwin, which means friend of the people, but that’s not certain by any means. It’s popularity in France is most likely due to the French TV series Les Gens du Mogador, which was on air in the 1970s.

Agathe (#58)

Mostly on the list because who’d have thought the French form of Agatha could be so popular? Remember the French taxi girls I mentioned the other day? One of them was called Agathe, said a-GAHT, and her names means good.

Nesrine (#251)

A rather fascinating French form of the Turkish name Nesrin, a name which derives from Persian and means wild rose.

Tiphaine (#303)

In french folklore, Tifaine was said the be the mother of the fabled Three Kings. The name is closely related to Tiffany, and both are said to derive from Theophania, a Greek name meaning a vision of God.

Philippine (#458)

A rather elaborate French feminine form of Philip, which also just so happens to coincide with the name of the country, The Philippines. The name Philip means friend of horses.

Athénaïs (#496)

This name is the French form of Greek name Athenais, which itself derives from Athena.

Categories: French Names, Name List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not too French

Christophe Maé, from christophe-mae.fr

We kicked the week off looking at a very modern sounding French sibset, so it seems fitting to return to the topic of French names to end the week. Not French words, just French names. Specifically French names that are not too French, like Thibault is. I love the name Thibault, but chances are that you haven’t a clue how to say him, and neither will the majority of the English-speaking population. He’s likely too French for those who don’t have a grasp of the language. If you’re still musing about how to say Thibault, it’s tee-bo.

At the other end of the spectrum is the second most popular girls name in England&Wales: Sophie – the French form of Sophia. And I recently met a Manon/Matisse sibset at a very British cricket club. Other French forms of popular English names include:

Alexandre

Ambre

Bastien (short form of Sébastien)

Christophe

Émilie

Guillaume

Mathieu

Mathilde

But it’s the middle ground of popularity we’re looking at. Something distinctly French. Like Clement. Meilleur Prénoms put him at #19 in 2009 for France. You may have heard Clementine mentioned more and more often, but it’s the masculine name which has really taken off in France of late. On the same list, Clemence ranked at #34 for girls.

Another male name example is Jules. The only Jules I know who aren’t Julians are French. French singer Christophe Maé and his partner Nadège welcomed a son named Jules in 2008. We seem to spell it differently here in Britain as British chef Jamie Oliver is married to a Juliette ‘Jools’ and we also have the widely popular Jools Holland here in Britain, who was born Julian Miles. Jools Miles sounds quintessentially jazz, doesn’t it?

The name Enzo is hugely popular in France, too. I’ve seen people call him the male equivalent of called your child Porsche. The name reportedly became popular in France following Zinedine Zidane using it for his son. Yes, the Zinedine Zidane who famously headbutted an Italian player in the 2006 World Cup final. Enzo is a somewhat controversial name in France, given that it’s Italian, not French. Moreover, the Italian short form of Vincenzo and Lorenzo. Enzo is a zippy little name, especially good if you think Ezra is going to the girls – a name Abby recently featured as a re-run.

Another zippy short name popular in Frenchy-land is Axel. To English ears, this may sound like a somewhat rugged name – and that may add to his charm for you. My other favourite French male name beginning with an A is Aurelian, and we can’t forget to mention Rémi. Yes, he has an accent but I’ve seen plenty parents forgoe this. Infact whilst on the subject of accents, I have a friend named Chloé because her Dad became mixed up when he went to register her – she should be a Chloë.

One of the more popular female names in France right now is Clara – currently at #201 in England&Wales, and not strictly a French name per se. A very French invention cooking up a storm in France is Lilou. Yes, I love Lilou, she’s like a Lily/Lucy smoosh that just seems to work. In a similar vein, the French also love Luna, or their slight variant spelling of Louna. They also recognise the rocking-awesomenous of Lou.

Romain and Romane are popular for boys and girls, respectively; Same goes for Leo and Leonie; Valentin and Valentine. Whilst we may consider Agatha still slightly aged for our babes, the French are embracing their version: Agathe. Another A name they love is Amandine: their version of the once popular name Amanda. There’s also Amine for the lads which has origins in Arabic, and means truthful. For me, I think of the organic compounds known as Amines, but that’s by-the-by. The French and Dutch variation of Anna is also popular: Anouk.

Finally, there’s the Mae– group of names to consider: Maëlys;Maëlle;Maeva;Maeline; Maelie. They all sound distinctly French, but the pronunciation may not come naturally to you. For Maëlys, it’s mah-el-EES; for Maëlle, it’s mah-el.

Categories: French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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