Alexis Carrel was born on June 28, 1873 in Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, France, the son of Alexis and Anne (Ricard) Carrel.
He was the oldest of three children, two boys and a girl, in a Roman Catholic family. His mother, Anne-Marie Ricard, was the daughter of a linen merchant. His father, Alexis Carrel Billiard, was a textile manufacturer. Carrel dropped his baptismal names, Marie Joseph Auguste, and became known as Alexis Carrel upon his father’s death when the boy was five years old.