France has long been stereotyped as the country of fabulous food, excellent wine, and love. Consequently, French boy names evoke a degree of romance and sophistication, a certain je ne sais quoi you may want to pass onto your little one.
To help you find the most appropriate French names for boys, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 100 French masculine names. We’ve also added a few fun nuggets of information to help you include or exclude each one from your list of maybes.
100 French Boy Names and Meanings
Here are our favorite French male names to help you cut down on your research in your quest for your baby’s name.
From the Greek name Achilles, the meaning of Achille is uncertain, but it may mean pain.
At the turn of the 20th century, Achille was relatively popular in France, but it fell out of everyday use in the 1960s. Rediscovered in the 1990s, Achille was bestowed upon 510 newborns in 2019.
Adélard means noble and brave.
Adélard Took is a character in the Tolkien universe. Appearing in The Lord of the Rings, Took is a librarian who has a fondness for umbrellas.
The Old French name Aimé means beloved.
Fashion and lifestyle brand Aimé Leon Dore is based in Queens, New York. Known for its collaborations with companies like Puma, Ne Balance, and Porsche, the flagship store in Manhattan’s Mulberry Street, has a Parisian living room style interior.
Alain is the French form of Alan, meaning little rock or handsome.
At its peak in 1950, Alain was the third most popular boys’ name in France. It hasn’t reached the charts since 2002. It also made a brief, surprising appearance on the U.S. charts in 1985 when 83 boys were named Alain.
Alban is from the Latin Albus, meaning white.
In the 4th century, Saint Alban sheltered a priest in his home. When the house was searched, Alban disguised himself as the priest, was arrested, and eventually beheaded, without ever revealing he was not the priest they were looking for.
The French boys’ name Alcide means strength.
Alcide is the French version of the Greek name Alcides, which also is the birth name of the Greek mythological hero, Hercules.
Alexandre means defending men.
19th-century French author Alexandre Dumas was a prolific writer of plays, romances, and travel books. However, he is best known for his works of high adventure, such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
The French form of Alfonso, Alphonse means noble and ready.
The French use the phrase “Alphonse and Gastoning.” It’s used when two people are overly polite to each other. If you and a friend are at a doorway and both saying “You go first,” and “No, after you,” you are Alphonse and Gastoning.
Amable means lovable.
Amable Troude was an officer of the French Navy who served during the Napoleonic wars. We think this connection makes a great French boys’ name for a family with navy heritage.
André is the French form of Andreas, meaning masculine, manly.
Much loved wrestler and occasional actor André the Giant was seven feet tall. WWE fan favorite and the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, André was also famous for his role in The Princess Bride.
Often incorrectly listed as meaning flower, the actual meaning of Antoine is unknown.
Pronounced ON-TWAN by French speakers, English speakers, especially those in the U.S., are more likely to pronounce Antoine as an-TWAWN.
Apollinaire may mean father lion, father light, strength, or to destroy.
In 2020, Appolinaire Djikeng was awarded the UNESCO Center for Peace Nelson Mandela Justice Award. Djikeng’s research focuses on how to breed disease-resistant livestock for low-income countries.
Armel means bear prince or bear chieftain.
Prince Armel was the son of King Hoel, a 6th century Breton ruler of Cornouaille, now known as Brittany, France. Some writers and historians have speculated that Armel could be King Arthur.
Baptiste is French for baptist.
Both Baptiste and baptist evolved from the Greek word βάπτω, or bapto, which means To Dip. Baptiste is not often used alone and is most frequently paired with Jean, in honor of the Christian saint St. John the Baptist.
The French form of Benedict, Benoît means blessed.
Benoît was initially spelled Benoist. However, over time the s in many French words was replaced with a circumflex accent over the i.
Blaise comes from the Latin blaesus, which means lisping.
Located near Bristol, England, Blaise Castle was built in 1766. However, rather than being a real castle built for defense, Blaise Castle is a folly, built purely for fun and decoration.
Boniface means good fate.
English speakers tend to pronounce this name as Bonny-face even though the correct way to say it in English is more BAWN-ah-fahs. However, in French, Boniface is pronounced BAW-NEE-FAS.
The meaning of Brice is uncertain, but it’s thought to mean speckled.
Babies are born without freckles, but if you think it’s likely your child will grow to have a smattering, then Brice could be a cute boy name.
Cédric is supposedly the French form of Cedric.
While Cédric is considered the French form of Cedric, our research says the opposite is true.
Sir Walter Scott created the name Cedric for a novel, and experts believe he was inspired by Caratacos, a Brythonic name. Brythonic names were used in Ancient Britain and Brittany, France.
Claude is from the Latin claudus, which means crippled, lame.
French painter Claude Monet is considered the founder of the French Impressionist movement. The term impressionism is taken from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, which translates to Impression, Sunrise.
Côme means decency, order.
Come, without the circumflex, became popular in France in the late 1980s. However, in 2011, Côme, with the circumflex, overtook Come to become the predominant form.
Constantin means constant, steadfast.
Vacheron Constantin is a luxury watch brand founded by François Constantin and Jean-Marc Vacheron. The company made the first Complication, a timepiece that displays more than just hours, minutes, and seconds and holds many World Records.
Corneille is an archaic French name that means horn.
Canadian singer-songwriter Corneille lives in Quebec and sings in both French and English. Born in Germany, he was raised in Rwanda, but at the age of 17, he fled the country after witnessing the assassination of his parents, brothers, and sisters.
Damien means to tame.
British contemporary artist Damien Hurst hit the headlines in the early 1990s when his pieces created from dead animals suspended in formaldehyde were exhibited.
Dieudonné is French and means given by God.
The French boys’ name Dieudonné was often used during the early 20th century but fell short of becoming popular. After the 1930s, it made sporadic appearances on the name charts but the last time it charted was 1953.
Dorian refers to Ancient Greeks from the district of Doris.
As a name, Dorian was first used by Oscar Wilde in his novel, The Picture Of Dorian Gray. It is thought he took the name from the Dorians, an Ancient Greek tribe from the north-eastern regions of Greece.
Élie is the French form of Elijah which means My God is Yahweh.
According to the U.S. Social Security Administration’s popular baby names database, 19 boys were given the name Elie in 1900.
Elouan is thought to mean good light.
Elouan is an American wine company based in Oregon. Founded by a fifth-generation winemaker from the Napa Valley, Elouan produces pinot noir, chardonnay, and Elouan Rosé.
Émile means rival.
Emmanuel is from the Hebrew, עִמָּנוּאֵל, or Immanu’el, meaning God is with us.
Emmanuel College was founded in 1584 and is a constituent college of the British University of Cambridge. John Harvard, the most honored of the founders of Harvard College, was a graduate of Emmanuel.
The French version of Stephen, Étienne means crown, wreath.
Étienne Fjord is located on the west side of Graham Land, a portion of the Antarctic Peninsula. Graham Land is the area of Antarctica closest to South America, so it is often a destination for small cruise ships.
Fabien is from the Latin word faba, meaning bean.
Popular in France during the second half of the 20th century, Fabien could be a cool French male name if you have been calling your unborn baby Bean.
Fabrice means craftsman.
This strong French boys’ name is pronounced FAB-REES, which, unfortunately, sounds rather too much like the air freshener product line Febreze.
Faustin means auspicious, lucky.
Faustin has become more popular in the French Caribbean and the French-speaking former French colonies in Africa than in France.
Ferdinand means a daring journey.
Ferdinand, an animated comedy-adventure movie for kids, is about a kind, passive bull who is raised for bullfighting. The film’s voice cast includes John Cena, Gina Rodriguez, David Tennant, and Gabriel Iglesias.
Firmin means firm.
In the Basque region of Southern France and Northern Spain, this name may be spelled, Fermin. Boys with this name, with either spelling, are often referred to with the pet names Fermintxo or Mintxo.
From the Latin word florens, Florent means flourishing, prosperous.
Canadian singer-songwriter Florent Vollant is considered one of the most influential musicians in First Nations history. His recording studio, used by musicians from both inside and outside of his community, is in Maliotenam, a First Nations reserve in Quebec.
This beautiful French boys’ name means flower.
In Europe, Florian recently peaked at number 2 in Austria, number 3 in Germany, and number 9 in France. However, the highest-ranking for Florian in the U.S. was number 529 back in 1917.
Florimond combines the Latin florens, meaning prosperous, and the Germanic mund, which means protection.
In some versions of Sleeping Beauty and in the 1916 Snow White movie, the name of the prince was Florimond.
Francis means Frenchman.
The Italian father of Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone nicknamed him Francesco, which in medieval Italian means the Frenchman. The nickname was shortened to Francis, and Bernardone is the man now known as Francis of Assisi.
François means Frenchman.
François is, essentially, a French version of Francis. We included both names because you can use Francis as a covert French name for boys or François as the classic, overt version if you want the Frenchness to be front and center.
The name Gael comes from the term gael, which refers to people who speak Gaelic.
Transcribed Gaël when written in French, Gael is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. It first made the top 1,000 names list in 2002 and climbed as high as number 132 in 2018, when 2,928 boys were named Gael.
Gaston comes from the Ancient Germanic gast, meaning stranger, guest.
Disney’s Gaston in Beauty and the Beast is possibly the most famous bearer of this name. However, Gaston does not exist in the original story. The unique and memorable character was created for the movie by screenwriter Linda Wolverton who based him on her ex-boyfriend.
Gérard means brave spear.
French actor Gérard Depardieu has appeared in over 260 movies. A multiple award winner, for his role in the 1991 film Green Card, he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
Ghislain means hostage or pledge.
The correct French pronunciation of this name is tricky to explain. To begin, imagine you are describing the sound of a bee and saying bzzzz. The entire name is pronounced ZZZEES-LEH, with nasalization at the end.
Gustave means either staff of the Goths or glorious guests.
In Burundi, there is an enormous male crocodile named Gustave. Named by zoologist Patrice Faye, Gustave is thought to measure 18 feet from nose to tail and weigh 2,000 pounds.
Gwenhael means generous and blessed.
There is a more detailed definition of Gwehael. The Breton word element gwen means blessed, but it can also mean fair, white. Then it is the element hael that means generous.
Henri means home ruler.
Henri, le Chat Noir is a web series about Henry, the longhair black tuxedo cat. The videos focus on Henri’s existential musings. Random House published Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat, a book based on the series.
Hercule means glory.
Hercule Poirot is a fictional detective created by the English author Agatha Christie. Poirot features in 33 novels and has been played on screen by actors as diverse as Kenneth Branagh, Orson Wells, and John Malcovich.
Hubert means bright heart.
The common French name Hubert is also used in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the U.S. This makes it a great French boys’ name option for a family with a mixed heritage.
Isidore means gift from Aset.
Aset is the original Egyptian name of the goddess more commonly known by her Greek name Isis. One of Egypt’s first gods, she was said to protect the country, rule the natural world, and even, on occasion, control fate.
Jacques means supplanter.
Jacques is not the French form of Jack or John. Instead, it is closely related to James. So, if you’re under pressure to name your son after a family member named James, Jacques is a viable French name alternative.
Janvier came from the Latin name Januarius meaning January.
Januarius and Janvier come from Janus, the Roman god of gateways and new beginnings. We think Janvier is an excellent name when a baby’s arrival signals a new beginning or a boy born in January.
Jean is the French form of John and means God is gracious.
Jean was the top boys’ name in France every year from 1900 to 1957. By 2019, Jean had dropped to number 96, meaning it’s still a popular French name for boys but is becoming less common each year.
Jean-Baptiste means God is gracious and to dip.
The name Jean-Baptiste evolved as an affirmation of the importance of John the Baptist. A significant figure in Islam, Christianity, Mandaeism, and the Baháʼí Faith, John the Baptist is considered a prophet by all of these religions.
Jean-Luc means God is gracious and from Lucania.
Played by Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc Picard is a fictional character in the Star Trek universe. Most often appearing as captain of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, Jean-Luc Picard is the central character in the spin-off show Star Trek: Picard.
Jean-Paul means God is gracious and small or humble.
Fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, who put on Parisian fashion shows, and existentialist philosopher, activist, and writer Jean-Paul Sartre are just two famous French men bestowed with this popular name.
Joachim means raised by God or he who God has set up.
Known as Imrān in Islam, Joachim and his wife Anne were the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus. Although venerated as a saint in many Christian churches, it’s commonly agreed that Joachim died too soon to be considered a Christian.
Joffrey is a French form of Geoffrey, meaning district of peace.
Joffrey is an interesting French name for boys. Still, we fear it would be misspelled as Jeffrey, thought to be a trendy intentional misspelling of Jeffrey, or suffer from negative Game of Thrones associations.
Jules means downy-bearded.
French novelist Jules Verne is the world’s second most translated writer (1). Low-quality initial translations of his work to English meant Verne was thought of as a children’s author. However, in France, he’s considered an avant-garde writer of surrealism.
The French variant of Cillian, Kylian probably means church.
After becoming popular in France at the turn of the 21st century, Kylian has recently, in 2019, made its first appearance on the U.S. top 1,000 boys’ names chart. That year, 227 boys were named Kylian.
Laurent means Laurentum, an ancient Italian city.
In 1950, French mathematician Laurent Schwartz was awarded the Fields Medal, considered the most prestigious award in mathematics, akin to the Nobel Award. However, he was also passionate about making math and science accessible and relevant to everyone.
Léon means lion.
The 1994 movie Léon stars Jean Reno as an assassin who reluctantly harbors a 12-year-old girl, protecting her from the drug dealers who murdered her family. The girl, Mathilda, is played by Natalie Portman, her first movie role.
Loïc means famous battle.
Loïc is a form of Louis, specific to the Breton people. Breton refers to the area of France now known as Brittany, which was an independent nation until 1532 when it became a part of France.
A Latinized variant of the Germanic name Ludwig, Luis means famous battle.
The perennial debate over this name is: How do you pronounce Louis? The French pronounce Louis as the single syllable LWEE, while the English pronunciation is either LOO-is or LOO-ee.
Loup means wolf.
The Breton form of Loup is Bleiz. That makes loup and Bleiz wonderful French names for twin boys.
The root of Lucien is lux, meaning light.
Lucian of Samosata was a Syrian satirist who was famous for his tongue-in-cheek style. One of the first novelists of Western civilization, his book A True Story is considered the earliest known example of science fiction.
Marceau stems from the Ancient Roman mars, meaning male.
A relatively common boys’ name in early 20th century France, Marceau fell out of favor in the 1960s. However, in the mid-1990s, Marceau was rediscovered, and a surge of popularity has seen it climb to number 46 in 2019.
Maurice is a derivative of Maurus which means dark-skinned, Moorish.
Maurice is the smooth French cousin of the less sophisticated-sounding English boys’ name Morris and its diminutives, Mo and Moe.
Maxence is a derivative of the Latin word Maximus, meaning greatest.
Pronounced MAX-awns, this is a fabulous boy name that’s mainstream enough not to make your child the victim of ridicule. But it’s unique enough almost to guarantee you’ll never bump into someone with the same name.
Nazaire means from Nazareth.
The town of Saint-Nazaire in Brittany, France, is home to Chantiers de l’Atlantique, one of the largest shipyards in the world and the birthplace of most of the world’s modern cruise ships.
Nicéphore means carrying victory.
French inventor Nicéphore Niépce is credited as the inventor of photography. Each year since 1955, the Niépce Prize, named in his honor, has been awarded to a professional photographer in France.
The gender-neutral French name Noam means pleasantness in Hebrew.
Although used as a gender-neutral name today, Noam started as a male name with Naomi as the female equivalent. However, in modern-day Israel, Noam has morphed into a name for both boys and girls.
Noël is French for Christmas.
Noël became a name during the middle ages when it was given to babies born during the holiday. Used less frequently today, we still think Noël is a rocking French boy name for kids born at Christmas time.
Octave is the French form of Octavius, meaning eighth.
The musical association may make this feel like an unlikely name for English speakers, but what a fabulous French boys’ name for your eighth child.
Odilon is from the Ancient Germanic aud, meaning wealth, fortune.
There is some debate about the meaning of Odilon. It is a rare French masculine form of an equally rare Ancient Germanic girls’ name, Odilia. Some believe the names evolved from odal, meaning fatherland.
Pascal is from the Latin Paschalis, meaning relating to Easter or relating to Passover.
The Hebrew word pesach means Passover. Since Passover occurs around the same time as Easter, the same Latin word, Pascha, was used by the Romans for both celebrations. That means Pascal works for kids born at Easter and Passover.
Patrice means nobleman.
Besides being the French version of the English boys’ name Patrick, Patrice is also the English version of the feminine name Patricia.
Philibert means friend, lover.
In 1915, astronomer Philibert Jacques Melotte produced the Melotte catalog, an inventory of 245 star clusters. He also discovered a moon of Jupiter labeled moon VII at the time and subsequently named Pasiphaë.
Philippe is the French form of Phillip which means friend of horses.
After emigrating from France to the U.S., Philippe Mathieu founded Philippe’s, or Philippe the Original, a Los Angeles restaurant that has been in continuous operation since 1908. Philippe’s claims to be the birthplace of the French Dip sandwich.
Pierre means stone.
When four paintings by avant-garde French artist Pierre Brassau were exhibited in Sweden, they were declared by critics as the best in the show. However, the artist, Pierre, turned out to be Peter, a four-year-old chimpanzee (2).
Placide means quiet, calm.
As you may have guessed, this French name comes from the same root as the word placid, which makes it an excellent choice for a quiet, calm baby.
Quentin evolved from the Latin Quintus, meaning five.
The French pronunciation of Quentin is KAHN-TEHN, with N indicating nasalization. Traditionally, this name was given to the fifth child or a child born in the fifth month.
Rainer comes from the Germanic Rayner, meaning army advisor.
Mount Rainier, in the national park of the same name, is a 14,411-foot stratovolcano on the United Nations’ Decade Volcanoes list. Volcanos on the list are considered the most potentially dangerous in the world.
Raoul means wolf’s counsel.
When Hunter S. Thompson wrote the fictionalized autobiographical book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, he replaced himself with a character named Raoul Duke.
Régis means ruler in Occitan, a language spoken in Southern France.
Régis is both a forename and a surname. The most famous bearer of this name in the U.S. is probably the late TV presenter, talk show host, game show host, and actor Regis Philbin.
Rémy and its variant Rémi means oarsman, rower.
Rémy Cointreau is a family-owned French drink company dating back to 1724. Makers of Rémy Martin cognac and Cointreau liqueur, Rémy Cointreau own multiple international brands, including Westland Whiskey of Seattle.
Renard means fox.
Multiple stories in Medieval Europe spoke about an anthropomorphic fox named Raynard. Written by multiple authors, these stories were so popular that in France, the name Raynard, spelled Renard, came to mean fox.
Romain comes from the Late Latin name Romanus, meaning Roman.
Romain is an alternative name for the César grape. The grape was given this name because it was brought to France by the Romans.
Ronan means little seal.
Ronan is a Breton name that reached its peak popularity in France during the 1970s. However, just as it became less common in France, Ronan found traction in the U.S., where it has become steadily more popular since 2001.
Séraphin means fiery one.
The story of the unpleasant, unkind, greedy miser Séraphin Poudrier was written by Claude-Henri Grignon in 1933. The story is famous in French-speaking Canada and there, naming your child Séraphin is tantamount to calling them Ebeneezer Scrooge.
Serge may mean servant, but this is unproven.
English speakers tend to pronounce Serge as surge, as in a surge of energy. However, the French pronunciation is SEHRZH, which is like SIR and a J like at the beginning of jug, at the end.
Soan is a modern French name of uncertain meaning.
Soan made its first appearance on the French top 1,000 baby names in 2009 at number 118. It has become steadily more popular, and by 2019, it was at number 71.
The Breton name Tanguy means fire dog.
Tanguy is a French movie about a 28-year-old teacher who still lives at home with his parents. Tanguy’s parents try to make life miserable so he’ll move out, but he has other ideas.
Télesphore means bringing fulfillment or bearing fruit.
Even at the end of the 19th century, Télesphore was starting to be considered an old-fashioned name. Rarely used in modern France, it’s still possible you’ll bump into a French-Canadian Télesphore.
Thierry means ruler of the people.
Former professional footballer and currently the coach of MLS team CF Montréal, Thierry Henry is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time.
Timéo means to honor.
The French musical Timéo is about a young disabled boy who wants to join the circus. With the tagline, “To be different is normal,” the show was dubbed a circomedy as it combines musical numbers with circus acts and comedy.
Toussaint means all saints.
All Saints Day is a Christian holiday celebrated in most branches of the church on November 1st. Also known as All Hallows Day, Toussaint could be a fabulous French name for boys born on that date.
Vespasian means either west or wasp.
This unique name could shoot straight to the top of our list because of the incredibly cool potential nicknames Vespers or Vesp.
Yves means yew.
A quintessentially French name, famous Yves’s include fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent, surrealist painter Yves Tanguy, founder and CEO of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot, and cosmetics company founder Yves Rocher.
French Boy Names For Kids Across The World
So, there you have it, a list of our favorite 100 French boy names with definitions, fun, and not-so-fun facts about each.
We hope our effort has bolstered your list of maybe baby names or even helped you strike a few off your collection of possibilities.