Can any French-English MNers help me name DD3?

(107 Posts)
Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:36:07

We are a French/English family currently living in Germany, and have just found out I'm expecting a 3rd DD! We are having trouble finding another girl's name which "works" in both French and English, and is at least pronouncable for Germans.
DDs 1 and 2 are Esther and Madeleine, and we would like to continue with these sort of classic/traditional/not-massively-overused names.

We both really like Constance, but there is a dilemma re. our surname. It sounds like "No". Just that, one syllable. If you say "Constance No" out loud, does it sound silly in English? I think it's fine in French, and we are unlikely to go and live in England, but still... Would be interested to know what people think!

Also, I love Josephine, but French DH thinks it's a bit to "cutesy" with the -ine ending. Any other suggestions would be very welcome.
Thanks for any help!

MaybeIAmJustLikeMyMother Tue 19-Nov-13 19:38:09


blueberrycupcake Tue 19-Nov-13 19:41:51


Caip Tue 19-Nov-13 19:42:06

I like Fabienne

tumbletumble Tue 19-Nov-13 19:44:09


Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:44:17

Thanks for the suggestions.

Sophie is perhaps a bit dated in France? The Sophies I know are all in their 30s.
We have friends with an Eléonore, and DH isn't keen on Elena, as isn't French enough ;) However, have put Aliénor on the list!

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Tue 19-Nov-13 19:45:08

Oh I just came on to suggest Fabienne! Beaten to it

BearPear Tue 19-Nov-13 19:45:18

My French buddy is called Laure. She's nuts, but don't let that put you off!

OlyRoller Tue 19-Nov-13 19:45:32


Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:45:47

Elizabeth is lovely but is one of DD2's middle names!
Not so keen on Elodie or Fabienne, but always grateful for ideas!

I know a French/English family with a Camille. Nn Cammy.

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:48:02

Yes, quite like these, OlyRoller. Funnily enough Henriette is one of DD1's middle names... See, we've used all the good ones already!

Aethelfleda Tue 19-Nov-13 19:48:35

Otilie? Amelie? Bridgitte? Juliette? Alicia?

BikeRunSki Tue 19-Nov-13 19:48:37


Josephine is one of my favourite names

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:49:06

Yes, had thought of Camille, but it's so popular at the moment! DD1 knows at least 3

MaybeIAmJustLikeMyMother Tue 19-Nov-13 19:50:37

I love the short surname, but as 'no' has an English meaning it would make good sense to not-so-popular name so she will mainly be known by her first name.
How about Florence, Clementine? Constance is good too.

AbiRoad Tue 19-Nov-13 19:50:41


ProfondoRosso Tue 19-Nov-13 19:50:43

I'm a big fan of Lucienne/Lucie smile

The French girls I know are named: Marion, Clemence, Emeline, Zoe, Margaux, Chloe, Lise, Jennifer, Josee and Fanny (maybe scrap that last one grin) and they're all in their 20s. Sorry for missing accents, cannot figure them out on this phone.

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:50:47

More good suggestions, can't keep up! Louise and Juliette are possibilities. Hope Louise not too dated in th UK though.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Tue 19-Nov-13 19:52:43


Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:53:04

Thanks for all this help. Will go through them all later with DH too. Can anyone hear the "Constance No" problem though? I'm worried it sounds like "Contant snow"...

Xmasbaby11 Tue 19-Nov-13 19:54:26


Amelia v popular in the UK.

UriGeller Tue 19-Nov-13 19:55:03


Xmasbaby11 Tue 19-Nov-13 19:55:18

Agree about Constance - avoid with your surname!

mathanxiety Tue 19-Nov-13 19:55:32

Some French names that are currently in the top 25 in Germany (approximately as I don't think there is an official publication on this as there is in some other countries):

Names that are popular in Germany (top 100) and probably wouldn't flummox a French or English person:
Annabelle/ Annabel

These would all work well in English too.

mathanxiety Tue 19-Nov-13 19:56:39

Maybe not Pia No grin

UriGeller Tue 19-Nov-13 19:57:34

Even if your surname was Snow, Constance Snow sounds like a great, admirable name. So Constance No is fine. I like it.

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 19:59:01

Xmasbaby11 -damn, I was hoping people would say it wasn't a problem!!

Thanks for this Mathanxiety. Though "Pia No" has already been dismissed ;-)
Léonie and Charlotte are nice.

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 20:00:11

Perhaps there is hope then, UriGeller?! It's also a family name, so would love to use it.

youcancallmeEl Tue 19-Nov-13 20:19:16

Ha Ha Pia No! I couldn't figure out the problem with Constance until you explained it. I don't think many people would pick up on it and would just go with that if you love it.
Other suggestions: Eloise, Clarisse, Marianne (though "n" sound at end not so good with surname).

youcancallmeEl Tue 19-Nov-13 20:21:07

BTW also like Josephine, not cutesy at all.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 19-Nov-13 20:23:41



Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 20:23:46

Yes, quite like Eloise. LOVE Marianne, but "Marianne No" = Marionnaud (big perfumerie type chain store in France). Would be even more comedy than "Constant Snow" I think! Such an annoying surname...

IAlwaysThought Tue 19-Nov-13 20:25:16

Constance is a fantastic name I LOVE it.

MummyPig24 Tue 19-Nov-13 20:28:56


Have you pointed out to dh that Madeline has the same ending as Josephine and he didn't think it cutesy?

I think Constance No is fine
Constance is lovely and I didn't notice the snow thing until you pointed it out

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 20:35:20

Elise is good.
But it's Madeleine, not Madeline. Rhymes with Hélène, not Josephine.

Zaziedanslemetro Tue 19-Nov-13 20:36:19

Some more positive votes for Constance then, thanks for all the input.

PurpleGirly Tue 19-Nov-13 20:39:37


IAlwaysThought Tue 19-Nov-13 21:07:04

Josephine is a fab name too. I also like it with an 'a' on the end.

How about Genevieve or Mareille

SaucyJack Tue 19-Nov-13 22:14:01


beginnings Tue 19-Nov-13 22:20:14


WannabeFayeMouse Tue 19-Nov-13 22:22:37

Athalie (I just love that name smile )

MacaYoniandCheese Tue 19-Nov-13 22:25:53

Oh golly; I like all these names, especially Josephine. You are spoilt for choice! momentarily considers leaving DH for a Frenchman for all the French baby-naming possibilities

TheHandbagOfGlory Tue 19-Nov-13 22:28:32

I love Constance, I just wondered if it would get shortened to Connie? Connie No might be a problem?

AngiBolen Tue 19-Nov-13 22:28:34


Loobylou123 Tue 19-Nov-13 22:42:45

Celine is nice and works in all 3 languages. Maybe a bit dated though?

SS3J Tue 19-Nov-13 23:07:21


Mattissy Tue 19-Nov-13 23:15:50

My French/Canadian friend is Genevieve, pronounced "Jen vee ev"

PoopMaster Tue 19-Nov-13 23:26:20

(We do find "Beatrice, no/non!" works well ��)

NomDeClavier Tue 19-Nov-13 23:26:33

I like Constance and wouldn't really associate it with Constant Snow.

Josephine is very cute. I know 2 baby Josephine's local to us in France though so I think it's coming back in popularity.

Other under 8s we know that might git the classic, traditional, not overused - Sybille, Margaux, Violette, Alix, Aliénor, Amelie, Anne-Laure (but I find that quite dated!), Anaîs, Félicie, Ondine, Claire, Capucine, Diane, Clemence, Laurence.

IAlwaysThought Tue 19-Nov-13 23:40:52

I love Capucine. Pronounced Ca-poo-sin

tigrou Wed 20-Nov-13 08:21:22

Some French/German girls I know are called:
all of which work well in English too.

tigrou Wed 20-Nov-13 08:22:11

Oh, and also a Luz, which I love, although she is German/Spanish, living in France

frozentree Wed 20-Nov-13 09:10:26


Zaziedanslemetro Wed 20-Nov-13 10:15:33

I like a lot of these, but unfortunately many have already been used in our family. Laughing at the poster who would remarry a Frenchman just for the naming possibilities! There are so many lovely "English rose" type names that I can't use (Rosamund, Cordelia, Meredith, Octavia...) and plenty of chic French ones that don't sound good in English (Garance, anyone?). So it's hard!

Re. potential shortening to Connie -I was concerned about this too, although I'm not sure this would happen in France (don't know about Germany yet). DD2 is never Maddy, only Madeleine -the French don't seem to have the same short nicknames as the English.

NomdeClavier -interestesting you think Josephine may be due a revival -I have never met one in all my years in France, but perhaps it's a regional thing too. I might have to concede that you and my DH are right, it IS cute in French, whereas I would say more elegant to English ears.
From your list I would consider Violette, Aliénor and Clemence, thanks.

NomDeClavier Wed 20-Nov-13 10:21:31

I doubt it's regional as they're not families from the region (if that makes sense).

I love Violette but our surname begins with a T.

Zaziedanslemetro Wed 20-Nov-13 11:48:46

Ah, OK. Looking at your list I was seeing "Figaro-chic", and imagining you in a "naice" area of Paris grin

NomDeClavier Wed 20-Nov-13 12:16:41

Haha! No I live in deepest darkest Normandy - practically England - and of that list there are 4 local, 2 from Brittany, 3 from around Lyon (2 are Franco-American), 4 from Paris, 1 from Nimes, 2 from Bordeaux, 3 from Toulon, 1 Belgian/French and 1 Brit/French. But they all live here for one reason or another either long-term or on a posting.

The only ones of which there are only one are Félicie, Ondine and Violette! And then there are lots of Maries etc and some other names that I wouldn't count as traditional or underused! I just gave you a selection that happened to fit your criteria.

TigerTrumpet Wed 20-Nov-13 12:26:49

Sylvie, Constance, Lenore and Genevre are all on my potentials list for any future DD2.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 20-Nov-13 12:33:21

We had the same problem, but for boys names.

For a girl...I think Josephine is beautiful and not too cutesie at all. Some other ones I like...


gotthemoononastick Wed 20-Nov-13 12:34:00

I give you our little girls (always passed on) family name from the Bourbon Isles ( Reunion)


doodlyfiddly Wed 20-Nov-13 14:04:04

What about Ariana? Elise was going to be my other one, but it's been mentioned.

JamNan Wed 20-Nov-13 14:55:40

Beatrice? It means 'happy'.

lookatmybutt Wed 20-Nov-13 15:03:13

I quite like Adrienne and Vivienne because I think they sound pretty but sophisticated.

I really like Etienne, but that would be a bit odd grin

AbiRoad Wed 20-Nov-13 15:20:19

Axelle (I know a half-French Axelle living in England and think it is a fab name)

Toomuch2young Wed 20-Nov-13 15:23:50


Some pretty names i know of French girls having.

Or how about a name which works as an English name with a French spelling such as Aimeé or Emile.
Good luck.

GraduallyGoingInsane Wed 20-Nov-13 15:23:51

Chloe? Ines? Clemence? Mathilde?

LoveAndDeath Wed 20-Nov-13 15:45:02

It's celtic rather than French but what about Isolde?

brackengirl Wed 20-Nov-13 15:56:25

Whatever you choose I'm sure it will lovely as you have excellent taste (DD2 is named Esther Madeleine!)

sashh Wed 20-Nov-13 15:56:36

Josephine is a great name.


I think a long name that can have different nick names in different countries / with different friends might be the way to go.

lookatmybutt Wed 20-Nov-13 16:32:50

Yseult is the French version of Isolde. It's a fine, ancient name. I knew an Eseld (Cornish version).

frenchfancy Wed 20-Nov-13 16:41:35

In France the Genvieves I know are in their 50's, the Sylvie's in their late 40's and the Celine's in their late 30's.

At our school we have


frenchfancy Wed 20-Nov-13 16:41:56

Sorry first should read Garence

AuldAlliance Wed 20-Nov-13 17:05:44

I know 2 Josephines, one is 14, the other 8. One in the S-W, one in Provence.
Both get called JoJo...

Belgianchox Wed 20-Nov-13 17:05:57

Lucie, Hélène, Alice, Sophie, Emma, Anna, I quite like Maureen in French blush I realise I may be alone in that...

Bonsoir Wed 20-Nov-13 18:33:56

My French- English 9 year old is called Flora Elisabeth Zoe and her similar first cousin is called Lucie Constance Beatrice.

Allthebees Wed 20-Nov-13 19:40:10


Zaziedanslemetro Wed 20-Nov-13 19:50:55

Some more great suggestions here, lots of food for thought.

Isolde/Iseult -I had forgotten about these! Not quite sure I dare for fear of poncery, but they might go on the list anyway! Also thinking about going in the other direction with something very classic -Lucie or Clémence, for example.
Thanks again to all.

NomDeClavier Wed 20-Nov-13 21:41:19

Today's baby news brings us Isaure and Garance...

Yika Wed 20-Nov-13 21:57:46

I like garance but it's true, it's not great in English. I think Diane is good (think Diane Kruger, works well in the 3 languages).
I don't like Constance No, sorry (I quite like Constance otherwise, but don't think it works).
What about Rebecca, Anya, Lea or Clara?
I think Isolde/Iseult is simply beautiful and not poncey.

ohtanmybum Wed 20-Nov-13 22:43:56

Elise, Celeste, Collette, Mariette, Angelique, Solange.

jkklpu Wed 20-Nov-13 22:48:06


Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 10:35:42

"Today's baby news brings us Isaure and Garance..."

Those names have very strong social connotations in French and don't work in English/internationally. There are an awful lot of those names - if you buy the Le Figaro guide (and there are other similar sorts) to prénoms you know which ones to avoid!

Zaziedanslemetro Thu 21-Nov-13 11:00:55

Funny we have just heard from friends who've had a baby Isaure. I agree that this wouldn't be easy for my English family, and similarly Iseult.

Bonsoir -I know what you mean re. social connotations, although I secretly quite covert the Figaro top 20 names! (Not that I read the paper, mind).

Elise is another nice classic, and Céleste is lovely but combined with DD1 (Esther) it would be too Est + Est I think.

We did have Odile on the list for DD2, maybe I should reconsider. (But perhaps not very German)

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 11:05:35

Really? I don't covet them at all - a bit "trying too hard" in my opinion. The real bourgeoisie who are totally at ease with themselves use proper European classic names, not the pretentious unique historical novel fantasy names.

mrswarbouys Thu 21-Nov-13 11:14:58

Emily ? Too English ?

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 21-Nov-13 11:15:08

Clemence is beautiful.

I didn't get the problem with Constance until you explained it, so I think you could use that. You have lots of beautiful names here though.

Zaziedanslemetro Thu 21-Nov-13 11:28:44

"Figaro" top 20 Filles :

1. Inès
2. Charlotte
3. Louise
4. Philippine
5. Alice
6. Alix
7. Bérénice
8. Mathilde
9. Clémence
10. Marie
11. Victoire
12. Victoria
13. Apolline
14. Isaure
15. Jeanne
16. Marguerite
17. Pia
18. Sixtine
19. Valentine
20. Pénélope

Not too pretentious!

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 12:19:25

Sixtine, Apolline, Isaure are all frightful!

ProfondoRosso Thu 21-Nov-13 14:14:26

Is that list from a survey of Figaro readers? You could see if Libé does one, might be a bit cooler! wink
My name for my as yet hypothetical DD would be Lucienne – easily shortens to Lucie. But I love Severine, and am sad because it would never pass in Glasgow.
Have you had a look at the French name day calendar?

NomDeClavier Thu 21-Nov-13 14:53:53

You'd hate what we're going to call DD then bonsoir wink Tisn't on the list and won't appear on any list any time soon and probably wouldn't appear in a historical fantasy novel but it's not sensible. Although our backup is Louise-xxxxx so that might pass!

I don't think Isaure is toooooo bad. Not a fan of Garamve personally but I guess it goes with Isaure which as they're twins is a consideration.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 15:01:07

I'm not keen on -ine names except for Clémentine (not sure why I can cope with that when my distaste for Sandrine, Sabine, Line, Martine, Laurine etc is so great).

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 15:05:08

Alix and Marie are nice imo...

NomDeClavier Thu 21-Nov-13 15:13:28

Ah it's not an -ine so there's some hope for me yet! I don't particularly like them either - they sound cute rather than elegant. I do make an exception for Josephine, which still sounds cute but more so in French than English, but that might be the soft J or the é sound. There's nothing you can do about Sixtine or Apolline to make them better in English.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 15:13:45

Alix is nice but I wouldn't give my DC a unisex name. Marie is a bit dull - like Mary in English.

Zaziedanslemetro Thu 21-Nov-13 15:14:18

OK, to be clear Apolline, Sixtine and Isaure are not going on the list!

Will have another look at saints names calendar (and possible Libé baby names, but will be too cool for me!)

Hmm, Clémentine quite pretty... Would have to be pronounced the French way, as opposed to ClemenTYNE though.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 15:15:59

Yes, Joséphine is another OK -ine name.

You've got me guessing now!

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 15:18:59

My entirely hypothetical DD2 is called Violette Clementine.

Zaziedanslemetro Thu 21-Nov-13 15:21:13

Alix is my niece, so am ruling this out. Along with Alice, which is too similar for close cousins I think.

Marie I like, but not the English MarEE pronunciation.

Would love to know your choice NomDeClavier! Is it Cunégonde? or Zélie?

ProfondoRosso Thu 21-Nov-13 15:23:06

I can't believe you've not mentioned Zazie, Zazie! grin That's a great name!

Zaziedanslemetro Thu 21-Nov-13 15:28:12

True! Nice literary references all round for us then : Esther (Racine), Madeleine (Proust -and Jacques Brel!) and Zazie (Raymond Queneau)...

Just doesn't quite fit the English/German/Classic criteria grin

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 15:53:42


Yika Thu 21-Nov-13 18:10:29

I love Berenice! I didn't mention it because I thought it was too 'out there' but I'm obviously on the same wavelength as figaro readers (oh dear).

What about Lisa, lise, elisabeth?

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 18:14:04


Felix90 Thu 21-Nov-13 18:18:59

Me and OH are the least French people ever (although he does like to think he looks like a French man) but the only girl names we could agree on were French. We are now calling our baby girl Sylvie Beatrix. Some lovely names on this thread that are almost making me change my mind!

Bonsoir Thu 21-Nov-13 18:23:37


Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now