When I first arrived in France ***** years ago (a long time ago!), I loved the names of everyone I met. They all sounded so grand. I had a friend called Marie Antoinette - and everyone actually called her Marie Antoinette. Another friend was Pierre Henri, who, yes you guessed it, was always called Pierre Henri. No-one ever used a diminutive. So after having been called Tricia all of my life, there was a new me 'Patricia'. I loved it.
I then noticed that the same names were used time and time again, perhaps just in a different sequence - Jean Pierre or Pierre Jean. There was not much variety.
There was in fact a reason for this. Up until the end of the 1960s, by law, the French could only choose the given names for their children from a fairly restricted list of saints names. Hence the lack of variety.
In 1963, the list was extended to allow regional names, foreign names, alternative spelling and diminutives. And it was only when a new law in 1993 came into practice that the French were given the freedom to choose the names they wanted.
So, whilst you still have some Marie Antoinettes and Pierre Henri there are also Violettes, Amber and Karim. Still quite traditional but loosening up a little.
As in all countries names go in and out of fashion and each year there is a list of the most popular. As you will see from the Top 20 names of 2015 below, times have changed.
Which are your preferred names?
Top 20 girl's names.
5. Inès / Ines
19. Adèle, Rose
Top 20 boy's names
20. Gabin, Maël
Not everyone seems happy about it!
Very well travelled, Tricia has spent many years in the Tourism Industry and in France, and is perfectly placed to guide you on your own French journey into lifestyle, fashion and more...Stay tuned!