Voilà! And … What’s in a Name Revisited

For today’s Fandango’s Flashback Friday, here are two – yes two posts from previous Septembers – one from 2011, the next from the same day in 2013. One’s a quick and useful French lesson, and the next might already be history. Who knows what first names are doing the rounds in France now?


September 2011

Voilà!  The most useful word in the French language.

Here’s what happened at the baker’s this morning.  Translations appear in brackets.

Me: Oh!  Isn’t the pain bio ready yet?]

Madame: Voilà! (Nope.  Quite right)

Me: So if I call in after 9, you’ll have some?  Could you please save me a loaf?

Madame:  Voilà! (Yes, and yes).  Would you like to pay now, then it’ll be all done and dusted?

Me:  Voilà! (Makes sense.  I’ll do that)

By the way, I was all grottily dressed in my oldest paint-spattered, holes-in-the-knee-ready-to-face-a-morning’s-tiling gear.  This is Laroque after all: no shame in working clothes here.

Madame:  You’re looking very chic today, if I may say so!

Me:  Voilà!  (And don’t I know it).

Why bother to learn more French?  Voilà donc!

What’s in a Name?

September 2013

When I was at school, my French text books were peopled by characters such as Jean-Claude, Jean-Charles, Jean-Paul, Jacques and Georges.  There were Marie, Marie-France, Marianne, Jeanne and Jeanette.

My own classmates answered to names such as Valerie, Jean, Judith, Janet, Susan and Mary while the boys’ school along the road had types like Alan, Norman, Brian, Keith, Bob (not Robert or Rob), Bill (not William or Will) and inevitably, John.

These names identify us firmly as children of the 1950’s.

So over the last week, on our journey through France, I’ve had fun looking for evidence of the latest trends in French first names, via Coca-Cola’s latest marketing scheme of personalising drinks bottles with the current most popular given-names.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

35 thoughts on “Voilà! And … What’s in a Name Revisited”

  1. I never realised that ‘Voila’ was so versatile!
    I wonder what the all time most popular cola name is – and how successful that marketing campaign was… I think there’s a coffee chain trying something somewhat similar now?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I do remember my daughter trying to locate appropriately named bottles for her husband and children. She failed with herself, as we wrote her name ‘Elinor’, as in ‘Dashwood’. So that was three bottles sold that might not otherwise have left the shelves.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret, I wish the French teacher had just taught us Viola and left it at that! 😀 A fun post and wow, that’s a huge variety of names on the bottles – anyone looking for baby names ideas in France just needs to head off to the local supermarket!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The names on the Coke bottles are a wonderful slice of social history, what a great project you gave yourself! Samir, Mickael and Anthony (instead of Antoine) jumped out at me. I’m surprised that there aren’t more North African/Arabic origin names. I like the name Ludovic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funnily enough, we know a Mickael in France who’s in his mid 30s, so I suppose it’s been around a while. There were other Arabic names, but I didn’t manage to photograph them. Not as many as there should have been, of course. Brian was a name oddly doing the rounds among young boys while we lived there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian surprised me so much that I looked it up and discovered it’s a Celtic/Breton name and a surname in France derived from the Occitan word for maggot, used as a nickname in the mediaeval period. Perhaps it’s a French version of the recent popularity of older names in the UK. I know people with young sons called Arthur, Edwin, Oscar and Hector, and young daughters called Florence, Pearl and Ruby. By young, I mean under 10 years old.

        I looked Mickael up, too, and discovered that it’s a French variant of Michel that became popular in the 1990s. Which fits with your 30-something friend.

        Fashions in names are interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have two nieces called Grace, one is 30-something, the other 5. Both are graceful in their own ways, and named for older generations in their respective families. It’s a name I have a soft spot for.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a surprise to see Ludovic on one of those bottles. My name is not very common on this side of the pond – in any of its different ethnic versions, So Voilà! And a tip of the hat to Jan Hicks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A relative adopted a boy and called him Ludovic. We were shocked as to us (and others) it sounded very – I don’t know – strange, I guess. All the more as they lived at the time in an overly typical traditional, old-fashioned oriented town. But then we realised that out of some 25 kids per class only two were ‘true’ Swiss and within the great mix of nationalities, languages, genes L. didn’t stick out at all…. Whereas Ludwig would have been considered as VERY old-fashioned! It’s funny how names change in popularity!
    Loved your voilà article. Another word I heard all the time was à priori….


      1. You’re right – i just never ever heard that silly non sensical A priori before….. and I’m married to a French spoken (Swiss) man. The Swiss came in because of different use of French….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Not a single name there that belong to my children or grandchildren! I am surprised to see Gwendoline (my MiL’s name 1923) and Marjorie (my aunt’s name 1916) A wonderful post. Voila!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I suppose French names have gone down a slightly different path. For instance, Agnès has been popular for quite a while there, but is only just coming back to Britain, I think.


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