Mireille is believed to be a franconized version of the Provençal female name, Mirèio, which is believed to be derived from the Provençal word mirar “to admire.”
The name was first brought to the Francophone world’s attention in 1859, when French poet, Frédéric Mistral, wrote a poem in Occitanian about a girl named Mireille (Mirèio in the Provence version). The poem retells the star-struck love of Mireille, the daughter of a nobleman, and Vincent, a poor basketmaker, who fall in love and are unable to marry due to their different social classes. In the poem, Mireille dies while imploring the patron saints of Provence to change the hearts and minds of her parents.
The poem was translated into several other languages, and the name appears in other forms, including: