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Strong French Baby Boy Names

Photograph by Getty Images/PhotoAlto

Explore strong French boy names with flavors of many European cultures and distinctive pronunciations for your cosmopolitan "beau bebe."

BEAU

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #228

Meaning: Handsome, beautiful

There is no more beautiful baby in the world so why not name the heir apparent Beau, the French word for beautiful. Beau has been around as an American first name since the 1800s and was the name of Ashley's son with Melanie in "Gone With the Wind." The name is still a favorite in the South. One single romantic syllable that says it all.

GUY

2006 popularity rank in the U.S.: #998

Meaning: Warrior from the valley

Guy was a popular late medieval English name – borrowed from the Norman French across the Channel -- that fell out of favor for a time in the late 16th century. That's when the infamous Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the British Parliament and covered the straightforward French name with infamy. Romantic novels in the 19th century brought it back – three simple letters that stand for "warrior from the valley" and are pronounced with the guttural "g" and a long "eee" sound. It hasn't been among the top 1,000 American baby names since 2006, so Guy may be due for another revival.

RENARD

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked.

Meaning: Fox, brave, hardy, bold, courageous

Renard has a convoluted and fascinating meaning. The name comes from Germanic Raginhard -- "ragin" meaning "advice" and "hard" meaning "hardy, tough, brave." Norman French brought the name to England as Reinard -- rarely used and still quite unusual. But a medieval fable called "Reynard the Fox" popularized the name, which became Renard, the French for "fox." So that crafty small person with a brave heart in the nursery fits the bill perfectly.

ADRIEN

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #798

Meaning: Rich, wealthy, from Hadria

The name Adrien/Adrian can mean "rich" or "wealthy" and originally referred to someone from a town in northern Italy that lent its name to the Adriatic Sea. The Latin/Roman Hadrianus attached itself to a number of popes and a Roman emperor. Adrien is the melodic French version of the name -- everything sounds more beautiful in French.Meaning:

MATTHIEU

Popularity rank in the U.S.: No listing but Matthew is #16

Meaning: Gift of Yahweh, gift of God

Matthew is one of the four evangelists, a credited author of a book of the New Testament, and a Greek name from the Hebrew for "gift of Yahweh" or "gift from God." Literary fame being good publicity, some form of Matthew has been in popular use since the earliest Middle Ages. Matthieu, the lyrical French version of the name, is a less common handle for your heavenly gift.

SACHA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Sacha is not ranked; Alexander is #8

Meaning: Defender of men

Sacha is a diminutive of Alexander, a defender of men, the French variant of the Greek Alexandros. The Greek mythological hero Paris is also referred to as Alexander, and there's always Alexander the Great as a role model. The full name and the nickname are favorites of kings, emperors, patriots, popes and poets. Sacha is a name in its own right and is pronounced in French with a softer "sh" sound.

LUCIEN

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked.

Meaning: Bringer of light

Lucien, Luc for short, is a bringer of light. The name evolved from a French form of the Roman surname Lucianus, originally from the Latin "lux" for light. It's a singular name in the U.S. and doesn't show up in most popular baby names lists. So, if you prefer a stand-out moniker that is lovely to say, Lucien is your boy.

BLAIZE

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #845

Meaning: Torch, bright fire, hesitant speech

Blaize, spelled with an "s" rather than a "z," was the first name of famous French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal. It is a quick slash of a name that comes from two different roots. The Roman Blasius is derived from the Latin word for lisping, stutter or hesitant speech. The Old English blaese, from the German, means "bright fire" and "torch."

CHACE

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #983

Meaning: Hunter

Chace is quick, cool and to the point. The name means "hunter" and comes from Old French "chacier," "to hunt" which became the noun "chace," meaning "hunt, chase, hunting ground." Chace has a nice modern ring with an ancient land-owning pedigree. It's simple and elegant enough to work with most last names.

PHILIPE/PHILIPPE

Popularity rank in the U.S. for "Phillip": #389

Meaning: Lover of horses

In Greek, Philippos means "lover of horses," from "philos" for "friend" and "hippos" for "horse." Saints, kings and Alexander the Great's father were proud Philips, Philippes and Philipes—a baby with the French name will grow up spelling it to people who already can't figure out how many L's and how many P's are in the English version.

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