French culture and people of French descent are full of beauty and sophistication. The last names of the country's people reflect a lengthy family heritage, occupations once performed by ancestors, certain elements of nature or topographical points, as well as countless other references. These French last names are magnificent and meaningful surnames that the people of this great nation can be proud of.
Popular French Last Names
If you are strolling through the streets of Paris, gazing upon one of the many museums or historical landmarks the country is well known for, you will likely say "Bonjour" to a few fine folks with these last names, as they are quite popular in the country.
- Alexandre - Means "warrior, defender of mankind"
- André - Means "giant or manly"
- Armand - Means "army's man"
- Bernard - Means "warrior brave" or "bold as a bear"
- Dupont - Means "of the bridge"
- Fontaine - Means "fountain"
- Lambert - Means "land of light"
- Leroy - Means "king-like manner"
- Martin - Means "son of Martin"
- Monet - Means "to be heard"
- Moreau - Means "medium or dark complexion"
- Petit - Means "small"
- Richard - Means "son of Richard"
- Robert - Means "son of Robert"
- Roux - Means "redhead"
- Toussaint - Means "all saints"
Unique French Monikers
These unique French surnames are either unusual because they are uncommonly heard today, or because they have meanings that seem stranger than fiction.
- Auclair - Means "clear"
- Anouilh - Means "a slow worm"
- Bain - Means "bath"
- Beaufoy - Meaning unknown
- Beauséjour - Means "beautiful sojourn"
- Benefiel - Means "bean field"
- Bonneville - Means "good settlement"
- Cellier - Means "storeroom"
- Escoffier - Means "to dress up"
- Floquet - Meaning unknown. One of the more rare names in France.
- Relish - Means "taste"
French Surnames Derived From Occupations
Many last names have come from the jobs that people performed. Surnames derived from the work people did for a living were among the four most common ways for the French to arrive at a last name. Does your last name stem from the occupation of your ancestors?
- Arsenault - Means "gunmaker"
- Aubine - Meaning unknown
- Auch - Means "cattle herder at night"
- Barbeau - Means "fisherman"
- Barbier - Means "barber"
- Berger - Means "shepherd"
- Barreau - Might stem from "jailkeeper" or "doorkeeper"
- Bissett - Means "weaver"
- Bonnet - Means "bonnet maker"
- Boucher - Means "butcher"
- Boulanger - Means "baker"
- Camus - Means shirt maker
- Cartier - Means "transporter of goods"
- Charron - Means "cartwright" or a person who repairs wagons
- Chevrolet - Meaning "goat herder"
- Fabreau - Means "grower and seller of beans"
- Favreau - Means "blacksmith"
- Fournier - Means "baker"
- Gagneux - Means "farmer"
- Granger - Means "farm "bailiff"
- Lagrange - Means "someone who lived by the grainery"
- Lambert - Means "lamb herder"
- Lefebre - Means "craftsman"
- Lemaire - Means "the mayor"
- Maçon - Means "mason"
- Marchand - Means "one who sews"
- Mercier - Means "textile trader"
- Moulin - Means "miller"
- Palomer - Means "pigeon keeper"
- Pelletier - Means "fur trader"
- Porcher - Means "swine herder"
- Sartre - Means "tailor"
- Serrurier - Means "locksmith"
- Tavernier - Means "innkeeper"
- Vachon - Means "cow herder"
- Webster - Means "one who weaves"
Last Names That Reflect the Beauty of Nature
Surnames have often reflected the nature of an area. Many centuries ago, last names came from the topographical region in which a family resided. Names may also signify other aspects of the natural world.
- Arnauld - Means "eagle power"
- Aveline - Means "hazelnut"
- Bastarache - Means "a person who lived near a boundary"
- Beauchêne - Means "beautiful oak"
- Beausoleil - Means "a sunny place"
- Brisbois - Comes from the words "cut" and forest"
- Cerf - Means "deer"
- Chastain - Means "chestnut tree"
- Corbin - Means "little raven"
- Deschamps - Means "from the field"
- Descoteaux - Means "small hill"
- Desjardins - Means "from the garden"
- Descoteaux - Refers to a person who lived in a hilly space
- Desroches - Means "people near the rocks"
- Desrosiers - Means "people who live near the roses"
- Dubois - Means "of the forest"
- Duval - Means "of the valley"
- Fraise - Someone who "lived by the ash tree"
- LaFramboise - Means "raspberry"
- Lavigne - Means "vine"
- Lyon - Refers to a person who resided in the Lyon region of France
- Montagne - Means "mountains"
- Noyer - Means "walnut"
- Perreault - Means "stone"
- Plamondon - Means "one who lives near a flat-topped mountain"
- Poirot - Means "near a pear tree"
- Pomeroy - Means "of an apple tree"
- Vaillancourt - Means "low lying farm"
Surnames Are a Gateway to Your Heritage
Learning about your family heritage and where your ancestors came from provides a glimpse into all that makes them unique. Uncovering the meaning behind a last name can offer a deeper understanding of ancestry, what the people who came before you did, and where and how they lived. While learning about your lineage, be sure to spend time unearthing all there is to know about your last name. It's an interesting way to get to know your roots.