Everybody who has ever been on holiday in France has probably had a neighbour named Gaston, Jacques, Louis, Claire or Françoise . We are used to those first names, they evocate the “France profonde”, sleepy villages at the end of a road, films of Pagnol or Rohmer. Walks along the Seine in de shadow of “Notre Dame” in the spring. Coffee at a terrace of the Boulevard Saint-Germain where an obsequious garçon, named Marcel, is looking at your girl friend or wife in a way you dot not really appreciate. This particular image of France is in danger. In a few years our total frame of reference could have disappeared.
Nowadays French parents let their imagination go freely when they are choosing first names for their children. Looking at recent entries in the civil registry, you will find rather unusual first names like Bulle, Héribert, Loeva, Hermès, Evolène, and Argan.
These first names have all kind of origins. For example, they can be a combination of first names (Timéo, which is derived from Timothée and Théo),or they are different writing forms of known first names (Lilou becomes Lee-Lou). We can also find names from Greek or Celtic mythology or even from literature, like Arwen, a character from the novel Lord of the Rings. Continue reading ‘Adieu Marcel …..’