Baby name story: Garance

Madder (Garance in French)
Madder (Garance in French)

American journalist/editor Garance Franke-Ruta was born in the summer of 1972 in southeastern France, then “raised by artistic parents in Mexico and New Mexico.”

Here’s how Garance (pronounced gah-RAHNSS) explained the origin of her unusual first name (links added by me):

The river Durance runs through the Vaucluse, and I was named Garance in honor of that sound and the main character in Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis, one of the classics of French cinema. The character, played by Arletty, uses Garance as a stage name, though her real name in the movie is Claire Reine.

The French word garance refers to several things: the madder plant, the dye made from the root of the madder plant, and the deep purple-red color of that dye.

What are your thoughts on the name Garance?


P.S. Garance was also the name of one of the days (Brumaire 23/November 13) of the French republican calendar, which was used during the French Revolution.

2 thoughts on “Baby name story: Garance

  1. I like the name Garance, not necessarily with the correct pronunciation though. I know it’s totally butchering the French origins, but when I first saw the name I thought it would more or less rhyme with Clarence.

    With the first part sounding similar to the start of Gary/Garrett/Garrison, I think it would make a very nice feminine alternative to them.

  2. I agree. I could easily see a family honoring Grandpa Gary by naming their baby girl Garance, for instance. I bet more people would use this one if they knew about it.

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