Hello Duana,

After five years of trying naturally and eventually moving on to IVF, my husband and I have finally gotten pregnant! Over the years, the process of trying to conceive has given us a lot of time to consider names. We’re beyond ecstatic about the pregnancy, but we also realize that this might be our only chance at having a baby. This makes us want to do the most with the names of our future child by combining ones we have already considered. We come from Quebec, and we want names that can easily be said in both English and French.

For a girl, our favourite name has been Victoria for quite some time. We have also considered the following: Abigail, Ariel, Josephine, and Zara. For a boy, we’ve had much more difficulty finding names. Our all-time favourite is Philippe. Do you have any suggestions about which French-English middle names would best match Victoria and Philippe?




Okay! This is pretty rare, to be honest. Usually when people ask me for middle names, they have a list of 10 first names and 6 middle names and want me to cross-reference each pair but not if any have a similar initial to their cousin and also there are some names that sound kind of like their cats’ names so not those and… 

This is refreshing! 

French-English middle names to go with either of your chosen first names. Got it! Let’s go. 

I think it’s interesting that you wrote out ‘Victoria and Philippe’ and not the other way around, because I actually think that’s the rhythm you want. Victoria is long and the emphasis is near the end, so I really like the almost lilting sound that saying “Philippe” gives it after. 

So that makes me think of middle names like Celeste, or Brigitte, or Janine (how come more people don’t use Janine? Was it the whole spelling confusion around Janeane Garofalo that made everyone back off?) or Lilou. It’s a testament to the gravity of Victoria that I would even go for something as short as Lilou, but I really like it. 

Then there are the less-obviously French choices, like Mallory – I had no idea, but Victoria Mallory is really appealing to me – or Seva, which is a derivative of Sevastiane/Sebastiane, or even something like Denise. I debated with a friend a while back over whether Denise was ready to return, and it’s a headscratcher, because saying it out loud, or as a first name, still seems like it’s got that 60s-70s blonde thing about it, but the name itself – or as a middle name – is kind of impossibly chic, you know? 

I like Millicent, and all the variations therein, I like Odile, which you can do since it starts with such a strong round ‘O’ sound that differentiates it from the A at the end of Victoria, and I have to confess, even though it’s a bit ‘traditional French’ in this context, I really, really like Nadine. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop suggesting it. For that matter, though, I also think you could go ahead and put one of your other choices in the middle name slot – Victoria Josephine is nothing short of delicious to say, and to hear. 

For Philippe, on the other hand, you want something that ends kind of definitively, and something that’s kind of long to boot ...because why not?

I’ll admit that I was thinking of Sebastian – either English or French pronunciation – while I wrote about Seva above, and I think you could go with Augustine, or Augustus, without thinking it could be over the top. I love Bartholomew and Balthazar, as people who have read here for a minute know, but even assuming you’re going to roll your eyes at those, you could go full on Leopold or Flavianor Geoffrey. 

Is it time for me to rein myself in? It might be time, right? 

Names that cross language borders easily but won’t have Lainey boxing me about the ears for suggesting names that sound like fictional 14th century dukes? You could go with Nathaniel or Thaddeus, Valentine if you’re feeling fancy, or something saucy like Demetre. Darcy? Philippe Jeremy is appealing in an old-new kind of way, or Philippe Constantin, or Philippe Algernon? 

(I know, I’m slipping back into the Fauntleroy fantasy again.) 

Or, you could have the best of both worlds and go with Philippe Victor, or Philippe Ariel – or for that matter, Victoria Felipine, just to close the gorgeous-name loop. 

Let us know!