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Nathan and Emma: France's most popular baby names

Matthew Warren · 15 Sep 2011, 08:10

Published: 15 Sep 2011 09:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Sep 2011 08:10 GMT+02:00

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Emma, Jade, Zoé and Nathan, Lucas, Jules are the most favoured names for new babies in France, according to the latest statistics published in the annual guide to first names, L'Officiel des Prénoms.

The guide is compiled using statistics from birth registers across France and is a favourite with parents looking to choose a name for their new child.

Emma has kept the top spot from last year's ranking while Nathan edged ahead of Lucas. According to the guide's author, Stéphanie Rapoport, older names are making a comeback.

"These are the values of safety," she told newspaper Le Parisien. "We like them because they're original yet they make reference to the past. It's reassuring for parents who want to be able to refer to history to justify their choice."

The influence of biblical names on this year's boy's list is a major feature. Gabriel (5th place), Raphaël (8th), Noah (11th) and Adam (16th) have all moved up the table.

The impact of immigration in France as well as a wider awareness of other cultures is revealed in the higher number of foreign-sounding names. These include, for boys, the Italian Enzo (4th) and Greek Timéo (14th) and, for girls, Spanish-sounding Inès (7th) and the Hawaiian name Louna (18th).

Firmly out of favour are English-sounding names which were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Kevin, Steven and Jennifer, particularly inspired by American TV shows.

"At the time, they seemed new and original, but they've quickly come to be seen as old-fashioned and even a bit working class" said Stéphanie Rapoport. 

Children's names are not subject to laws in France, allowing parents the freedom to choose the names they want. 


Top 20 names for boys 

1 Nathan

2 Lucas

3 Jules

4 Enzo

5 Gabriel

6 Louis

7 Arthur

8 Raphaël

9 Mathis

10 Ethan

11 Noah

12 Hugo

13 Léo

14 Timéo

15 Tom

16 Adam

17 Théo

18 Mathéo

19 Yanis

20 Maël


Top 20 names for girls

1 Emma

2 Jade

3 Zoé

4 Chloé

5 Léa

6 Manon

7 Inès

8 Maêlys

9 Louise

10 Lilou

11 Camille

12 Lola

13 Sarah

14 Eva

15 Clara

16 Lina

17 Léna

18 Louna

19 Romane

20 Anaïs




Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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