French boy namesFrench boy names marry the best of continental Europe with some unexpected surprises.

And why not? Paris is considered perpetually stylish. From the 1920s city of The Paris Wife to contemporary Fashion Weeks, it’s a place that offers a creative, and apparently effortless, chic.

American parents love French names for girls, from Genevieve and Sylvie to Charlotte and Margot. In fact, we often hear these names as English, so thoroughly have they been assimilated.

French boy names feel just a little different. A few are clearly imports – so much that they’re seldom used in American English. Many do blend in, just like the girls’ names.

And a few gems stand out, French boy names that American parents really might consider borrowing for their children on this side of the Atlantic.


1. Gabriel

Biblical boy names are big across the world, and Gabriel is enjoying a moment in France.

2. Léo

Back in the day, Leo would’ve been Léon. But it’s the shorter form that’s most fashionable nearly everywhere now.

3. Raphaël

A sound-alike for Gabriel, Raphael is another Biblical name enjoying a burst of popularity in France now.

4. Maël

A Breton rarity, this name means prince, or possibly chief. There’s a fifth century saint by the name. It caught on in the 1990s, then rode the same wave taking Gabriel and Raphael to the top of the charts.

5. Louis

A classic in any language, Louis is particularly regal and saintly in France. That makes this name a little bit like William in the English-speaking world, a mix of traditional and stylish.

6. Noah

Noé and Noa are more conventionally French, but Noah is the spelling preferred across much of the western world now.

7. Jules

There’s Julia, Juliette, and Juliana for girls; Julian, Julio, and Julius for boys. But somehow just Jules has been overlooked in English, even as Jules Verne remains a widely known writer. With so many boys’ names ending with S, Jules might be one American parents should consider.

8. Arthur

We think of Arthur as English, and Camelot is associated with Great Britain. But the legendary king might not be the legend he is today without medieval French tradition, expanding and spreading the tales of Arthur and the rest of the Knights of the Round Table.

9. Adam

Adam works in English, too, but it’s far more popular in France now. One possible reason for the name’s success in France now? Adam is revered in Islam, as well as Christianity. That makes it a culture-spanning possibility in a country where roughly 10% identify as Muslim.

10. Lucas

We think of Luc – or even Jean-Luc – as typically French, but it’s the Biblical Lucas in the national Top Ten.

11. Liam

An Irish import to the US, Liam is now topping charts beyond the English-speaking world, too.

12. Sacha

For years, it was Alexandre near the top of the charts. But now it’s this Russian diminutive for the name that is most popular. One reason: Sacha Guitry. Born Alexandre-Pierre Guitry in Saint Petersburg, the son of French actors living abroad, he followed his family into the theater. Guitry became an acclaimed playwright and filmmaker.

13. Isaac

Another Old Testament favorite.

14. Gabin

Saint Gabinus was a Roman soldier martyred in the 300s but popular in tales during the Middle Ages. It’s similar to Gavin, but Gabin is far more popular in France.

15. Eden

In the US, Eden is unisex, but used more often for girls. The opposite is true in France.

16. Hugo

A European favorite, Hugo resonates in France as the surname of legendary author Victor Hugo.

17. Naël

It’s not surprising to see another name ending like Mael, Raphael, and Gabriel. But Nael is actually two things: the French spelling of an Arabic name meaning brave, as well as a short form of longer names like Nathanael.

18. Aaron

Another Old Testament name, Aaron is associated with Saint Malo in Brittany, thanks to a sixth century saint.

19. Mohamed

A French spelling of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

20. Léon

A lion of a name, regal and saintly.

21. Paul

Saint Paul makes this name an enduring favorite. In France right now, it’s comparable to Henry or Oliver – a classic name enjoying a fresh round of popularity.

22. Noé

The typical French form of Noah.

23. Marceau

This brings to mind Marcel Marceau, the world famous French mime. But it’s also a stylish o-ending sound. Like Mark, it’s related to Roman god Mars.

24. Ethan

An Old Testament name, Ethan probably found favor in France thanks to the name’s popularity in the English-speaking world.

25. Nathan

A former #1 favorite in France, still in steady use.

26. Théo

Longer forms like Theodore have more history, but it’s upbeat, o-ending Theo that dominates in France today.

27. Tom

Just like Théo, diminutive Tom is the more popular choice now.

28. Nino

Italian names are big in the US, but also elsewhere – including France. Nino is originally short for names like Antonino and Giannino, but now stands on its own. It’s a refresh to traditional French names like Antoine.

29. Marius

Fans of Les Misérables might immediately think of Marius Pontmercy. Years later, French author, playwright, and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol used the name for a character in the Marseille trilogy

30. Ayden

The most popular spelling of Aiden/Aidan in France, still rising in use.

31. Malo

One of the seven founding saints of Brittany, it’s believed he sailed from his native Wales with Brendan the Navigator to evangelize the coastal city. Again, the O ending gives a style boost to this heritage choice.

32. Mathis

A modern take on traditional Mathias and Mathieu, freshly popular in the last few decades.

33. Gaspard

In the US, Jasper is a fast-rising favorite. Elsewhere in Europe, it’s Caspar or Casper. But in France, it’s Gaspard, possibly from a Persian word meaning treasurer and long associated with one of the Three Kings who visited the baby Jesus.

34. Martin

Once again, Martin is a classic that’s enjoying a new wave of popularity now. That makes Martin the equivalent of Henry in the US. While Americans likely think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in France this name is more strongly associated with Saint Martin of Tours, a significant figure across Europe and often appealed to for protection of France.

35. Lyam

Another spelling of Liam.

36. Victor

Another traditional name borrowed from a saint, and long used in France.

37. Rayan

A mix of Irish and Arabic favorites, Rayan is a little bit Rayyan and a little bit Ryan.

38. Elio

Another Italian import, Elio is often associated with Helios, the Greek sun god. It’s also sometimes considered a form of the Old Testament Elijah.

39. Timéo

A modern form of ancient Greek Timaeus, meaning “to honor.” Timeo owes its success, in part, to the rapid rise of Theo.

40. Eliott

Another popular name connected to Elio – and Elijah and Eli/Elie, too …

41. Milo

We tend to connect Milo (and Miles) to a Germanic name meaning gracious, or possibly a Latin word meaning soldier. But in French, it’s sometimes considered a form of Emile, a traditional French favorite.

42. Robin

Originally short for Robert, Robin has had a good run as a girl’s name, too. But now Robin is rising for boys in France.

43. Tiago

A short form of Santiago, the Spanish equivalent of Saint James. It’s currently popular in Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as Spain, Belgium, and France.

44. Valentin

Valentin – and Valentine, Valentino, even Walenty … this name is big in most of Europe, but neglected in English.

45. Ibrahim

Another Arabic name.

46. Axel

The Danish form of Biblical Absalom, Axel was discovered in France, as in much of the English-speaking world, in just the last few decades.

47. Augustin

American parents prefer August, but it’s the same vibe.

48. Amir

Originally a title, Amir is an Arabic name meaning prince.

49. Enzo

An Italian import currently rising in use in the US, Enzo had a head start in France. Filmmaker Luc Besson’s 1988 Le Grand Bleu was the story of two free divers, rivals and friends. One of them is Enzo. It was a smash hit in France, and launched the name there.

50. Imran

More Arabic influence.

51. Sohan

Most likely a modern French form of John, modeled on Johan and Yohan. It might also have Arabic or Sanskrit origins.

52. Nolan

Another Irish name embraced across the world.

53. Antoine

An unassailable classic, the French form of Anthony.

54. Simon

Another Old Testament name that travels the world.

55. Samuel

Another traditional Old Testament choice, Samuel hasn’t quite caught on in France – though it’s been in steady use since the mid-twentieth century.

56. Mathéo

The Breton form of Mathieu, Mathéo succeeds just like so many other O-ending names.

57. Côme

Saint Cosmas initially became Cosme in French, but the name has evolved to Côme – a single syllable, rhymes with home.

58. Kaïs

It looks a little like Kai, but this name comes from the Arabic Qays.

59. Alessio

Another Alexandre cousin, like Sacha, this time Italian.

60. Yanis

The Greek form of John is Yanis; in Breton, John is often Yann. That helps this name fit right in.

61. Camille

A unisex name, Camille has fallen in use for girls and risen sharply for boys. One possible reason: successful French swimmer Camille Lacourt, who won several European and World Championships.

62. Léandre

The French form of Leander and Leandro, a name from Greek legend with a ferocious meaning: lion man.

63. Owen

Another import from the English-speaking world.

64. Ismaël

Proof that the -aël ending is truly a style star.

65. Maxence

A Max name mostly undiscovered in the English-speaking world.

66. Mahé

Possibly a cousin to Mathieu, or maybe borrowed from the main island of Seychelles. The island was named for a French naval officer and colonial administrator.

67. Soan

Remember Sohan? Soan is another entry in the maybe-Jean category. French singer-songwriter Julien Decroix won a major music competition in France in 2009; he’s known professionally as Soan, which gave the name a bump.

68. Evan

Evan could be another import, but French families may have embraced it as an update to traditional Yves.

69. Naïm

Another Arabic import, this time meaning happy.

70. Maé

Another form of Mahé, though in English it would be confused with the feminine (and single-syllable) Mae/May.

71. Livio

Livius was a significant Roman family name. Feminine form Livia comes from Livius, not Olivia. Livio, too, is a masculine option derived from the Roman family.

72. Aylan

A Turkish name with a poetic meaning: moonlight.

73. Charly

The most popular spelling of Charlie/Charley/Charly in France now.

74. Oscar

A rising favorite, Oscar combines Irish roots and Swedish royals to feel like a nicely pan-European pick. There’s a French connection, too: a Saint Oscar of Picardy helped evangelize Scandinavia in the 800s. (Though he’s often called Ansgar.)

75. Pablo

Paul is popular, but so is the Spanish version of the name.

76. Clément

With ancient and saintly roots, Clement has history to spare. It has more history in France (as well as Belgium and Quebec) than in most other parts of Europe.

77. Ilyan

A modern French innovation, likely related to Elian (and thus Elijah, Elio, and Elliot.)

78. Basile

An old school name making a comeback.

79. Alexandre

A classic, now eclipsed by Sacha and Alessio.

80. Charlie

Another Charles nickname.

81. Noa

The third form of Noah on the list.

82. Kayden

An American import.

83. Ali

Another name inspired by Islam, and short and compact enough to appeal to parents for many reasons.

84. Marin

A masculine name associated with the sea.

85. Mattéo

One more Mathieu name.

86. Ezio

An Italian import meaning eagle, and a logical successor to Enzo.

87. Charles

A classic among classics.

88. Joseph

Once wildly popular in France, Joseph is now stuck in style limbo – but still very much a familiar choice.

89. Maxime

Another traditional Max name seldom heard in the English-speaking world.

90. Baptiste

Once this would’ve been given as a double name: Jean-Baptiste. Either way, it honors Saint John the Baptist.

91. Andrea

Like Camille, Andrea has crossed from feminine to masculine in recent decades.

92. Roméo

From Shakespeare’s tragic romance, but also a take on Rome and Roman from the US popularity charts.

93. Anas

An Arabic name meaning friendly.

94. Noam

A name with Hebrew roots, Noam means happy.

95. Issa

The Arabic equivalent of Jesus.

96. Milan

An Italian city name, but more likely a Slavic import meaning gracious.

97. Zayn

An Arabic name meaning handsome, made famous by British singer Zayn Malik.

98. Auguste

Another August name, though Augustin is more popular.

99. Lenny

A brother for Charly.

100. Timothée

The French form of Biblical Timothy, made familiar to Americans thanks to rising actor Timothée Chalamet.



The French version of Alan, though this spelling would confuse the pronunciation in English, as it looks more like the feminine Elaine.


André is the traditional French form of Andrew, and had a good run in the US, too. Rap innovator Dr. Dre was born Andre Romell Young.


Short for Sebastian – or Sebastien, in French.


Among the most popular of midcentury French first names, Claude combines ancient roots and a straightforward spelling. It’s also heard among French girl names.


Along with Stéphane, French equivalents of Steven/Stephen. They share the auspicious meaning crown.


​Americans likely think of Gaston among French male names, thanks to the arrogant strongman from Beauty and the Beast.


​The French form of the Germand and Scandi Gustav.


It sounds like Jack, but Jacques is the French equivalent of James and Jacob. It’s meaning is usually given as supplanter.


A French masculine form of Lawrence, associated with figures like Yves Saint Laurent. Laurence is another possibility, though it’s considered gender-neutral.


Lucas is more popular, but Lucien has potential.


Also spelled Noël, it’s a name originally given to children born on Christmas.


The French word for “olive tree,” as well as the equivalent of Olivier.


Just like so many French baby boy names in the current Top 100, this Irish charmer has a history of use.


The French form of Philip.


A traditional choice associated with the yew tree.

What are your favorite French boy names? What would you add to this list?

French boy names French boy names

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. Love this list! Especially appreciate what a broad look it takes at names that are actually popular in France — which have a much more diverse set of origins than just ‘traditional’ French names. Here are some other names that have been popular in France at different points that I think have American crossover potential:


    1. Thank you so much for this amazing list! It took me so long to work through the currently popular names that I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped, but I’ll definitely refer to this list when I update this post.