Last names are great bridges between a family’s past and present and while baby name trends come and go, last names are forever. Like the country they stem from, French last names have a certain sophistication to them. French names can come from either the mother or father’s side of the family. So, if someone is given the name August Landry, it also means, “August, son of Landry.” Like most cultures, surnames also originate from family occupations or an ancestor’s trade. Common names that reflect that include Fabron, which means blacksmith, and Pelletier, which translates to fur trader. Other surnames focus on where the family is from or their status and may include the prefix, “de,” “des,” “du,” and “le.” For example, De la Cour means “of the court,” and Delisle means, “of the island.” There are also many French names of Germanic origin due to a history of invasions, which caused the two cultures to mix. Keep in mind that having a name of German origin does not necessarily mean you’re of German descent.
A lot of people all over the world have French names and surnames, and because of colonization they can be found in African and Arabic surnames as well, but in English-speaking countries, they’re usually pronounced in an Anglicized way. Fear not: If you have a French last name, we’re here to help put the flaveur into your pronunciation of it. Oh, and you’re not the only one curious about French last names and their meanings. In fact, according to the latest search data available, that query is searched for nearly 40,500 times per month.
Say bonjour to our list of popular and classic French last names with their meanings and phonetic spellings. Voilà!
If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, and African last names, among others.
Popular French Last Names
Meaning: A form of the name Simon, meaning to be heard.
Meaning: Blanket or fair-haired person.
Meaning: Keeper of granary.
Meaning: All saints.
Meaning: Laurel, which is the name of a leaf powerful leaders wore in their crowns during ancient times.
Meaning: Of the bridge.
Meaning: Derives from Mars, the Roman god of war.
Meaning: Noble or hardy.
Meaning: Little crow or raven.
Meaning: Of the forest.
Meaning: The king.
Meaning: A carter or transporter of goods.
Meaning: Of the plantation or someone who lives near a plantation of trees.
Meaning: Beautiful or fair fortress.
Meaning: A person who makes or wears hats.
Meaning: A red-haired person.
Meaning: A person from the city of Lyon, France.
Meaning: Farm bailiff.
Meaning: From the chestnut tree.
Meaning: Fair mountain.
Meaning: Of the fortress.
Meaning: Of the street or of the road.
Meaning: Near the alder tree.
Meaning: Abbey or family chapel.
Meaning: Of lowly origin.
- Pronunciation: Are-shem-bow
Meaning: Bold or daring.
Meaning: Rich or dark.
Meaning: A wise counselor.
Meaning: Small sword or dagger.
Meaning: Little fighter.
Meaning: Head of the monastery.
Meaning: Edge of a sword.
Meaning: Estate of Acius.
Meaning: Edge of a sword, hardy, or bold.
Meaning: Blue or an unusually pale complexion.
Meaning: Name for someone who separates the fibers of hemp or flax.
Meaning: A stutterer or stammering.
Meaning: Cabbage head or square head.
Meaning: Shelter or one who brings news.
Meaning: To drink or water.
Meaning: To drink.
Meaning: Bush, shrub, or undergrowth.
Meaning: Clear wood or light.
Meaning: Bushel or measure of grain.
Meaning: Bold, daring.
Meaning: Slow worm.
Meaning: A type of fish; fisherman.
Meaning: Reed; blowtorch.
Meaning: Hooded cloak, cape, hat.
Meaning: Golden village.
Want to sound like a true French native? Check out these French phrases that will help you fit right in!
Battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud.
Strike the iron while it is hot.
Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.
To want to is to be able to.
Ce n’est pas la mer à boire.
It’s not as if you have to drink the sea.
La nuit porte conseil.
The night brings advice.
Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire des grimaces.
You don’t teach an old monkey how to make funny faces.
Les chiens ne font pas des chats.
Dogs don’t make cats.