Baby Names in France – Then and Now

France’s taste in baby names has definitely changed over the last hundred years.

Polly of Polly-Vous Francais recently picked up a copy of French newspaper Le Figaro and compared the names in the birth announcement section with those in the obituary section.

The obituaries included female names like Denise, Gilberte and Jacqueline and male names such as Emile, Pierre and Yves. Based on the ages listed, it seems that many of the deceased were born around the year 1915.

The birth announcements, on the other hand, included female names like Béatrix, Noémie, Quitterie and Tatiana and male names such as Amaury, Foucauld, Hipployte and Mathis. Interestingly, Polly notes that “In some cases it wasn’t clear whether the name was male or female.”

It’s anecdotal, of course…but the difference between the two groups is notable, and is likely indicative of a nationwide shift in baby name preferences.

I haven’t been able to track down a list of the top French baby names of 2006, but the most popular for 2004 were:

  • Male Names (top 5): Enzo, Lucas, Théo, Thomas, Hugo
  • Female Names (top 5): Léa, Emma, Manon, Clara, Chloé

2 thoughts on “Baby Names in France – Then and Now

  1. I find it interesting especially to read this, because it seems names that Americans traditionally identify as being French, like Yves, Pierre etc. are dying out and the newer stuff is mostly names I’ve never heard. . .well as the French say, viva la differance.


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