A Guide To Learn Colors In French
One of the things I’m asked about most often is how to talk about colors in French and how to pronounce them. So now, if you’re learning the French language let’s discuss and learn how to name colors in French!
This lesson will teach you the most important French colors that language learners should equip their vocabulary with. These are essential words and are part of our beginner’s guide to learn French vocabulary.
In this post, you’ll learn the following colors in French:
- Blue in French
- White in French
- Red in French
- Yellow in French
- Green in French
- Orange in French
- Brown in French
- Pink in French
- Black in French
- Gray in French
- Purple in French
The most common colors in French
Colors play an important role in the French touch from dressing, and makeup to nail polishing and French pastry.
The illustration below depicts the most common colors in French along with the corresponding English/French translation.
How to name colors in French
As any blog post about colors should, I’ll list the most common colors name in French and then I’ll give additional examples for every color.
How to say Blue in French
Blue in French is bleu. Blue is one of the cool calm colors. People enjoy being outside on sunny days when the cloudless sky is blue and bright. Blue color can be light (clair) or dark (foncé). For example, while bleu ciel is a light color, bleu marine is a dark one.
French sentences with Blue:
- Un ciel bleu (A blue sky)
- Jane a les yeux bleus (Jane has blue eyes)
- Vue de l’espace, la planète Terre apparaît toute bleue (From space, the earth looks all blue)
As in the examples below, bleu follows the gender of the noun it describes. When it is feminine, bleu takes a silent e at the end of the word and it becomes bleue. In plural, a silent s is added as in bleus (masculine+plural) and as in bleues (feminine+plural). This rules applies to most of colors besides few exceptions. One of these exceptions is the white color in French.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase bleu
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases bleus
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle bleue
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles bleues
White is the next color that we’ll study.
How to say White in French
White in French is blanc. White is the color that gives a feeling of space and lightness. It is often associated with minimalistic looks. White is one of the three colors of France’s flag. Blue and red are the two other colors.
French sentences with White:
- Un mur blanc (A white wall)
- La Maison Blanche (The White House)
- La neige tombe, les flocons sont blancs (The Snow is falling, the snowflakes are white)
In French, the c in blanc is a silent letter, it is not pronounced. Blanc, the white color in French becomes blanche with an additional “he” at the end of the word. This is the exception to keep in mind when using blanc as an adjective to describe a feminine noun. This doesn’t apply to other colors since the majority takes an “e” at the end of the word, except the colors that already end with “e” like rouge (red).
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase blanc
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases blancs
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle blanche
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles blanches
Let’s talk now about the red color in French!
How to say Red in French
Red in French is rouge. Red is a warm exciting color. It is found in the names of some famous attractions in France like le moulin rouge. Besides the red color in France’s flag, French children know very well the red color with the story of “petit chaperon rouge” which refers to the story of the Little Red Riding Hood.
French sentences with Red:
- Le vin rouge (The red wine)
- Les camions de pompiers sont rouges (The fire trucks are red)
- Mars est la planète rouge (Mars is called the Red planet)
Rouge already ends with an e therefore both of the masculine and feminine are written in the same way (rouge). As expected, an s is added at the end of the word in the plural context (rouges).
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase rouge
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases rouges
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle rouge
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles rouges
Red has many color nuances it can be rouge clair (light red) or rouge foncé (dark red). One of these nuances it the well-known dark red is “Bordeaux” as the wine of Bordeaux. In English Bordeaux, the color, translates to “burgundy” (which is another region in France also famous for its red wine!).
How to say Yellow in French
Yellow in French is jaune. People who usually like bright sunny colors also love the yellow color. The world around us is full of yellow things. Let’s see some examples.
Sentences in French with Yellow:
- Les bananes deviennent jaunes quand elles murissent (Bananas turn yellow when they ripen)
- Les poussins sont jaunes quand ils sortent de l’oeuf (Chicks are yellow when they hatch from the egg).
- Le maillot jaune est le leader du classement général du Tour de France (The yellow jersey for the leader in the general classification in the Tour de France)
Jaune, like rouge, ends with an e and therefore all that you should remember is to add an s in plural: jaunes. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can add a noun after the color. By describing yellow objects this way, you can speak about “jaune canari” which means literally “yellow canari”. Also about “jaune citron” and it translates to “yellow lemon”.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase jaune
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases jaunes
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle jaune
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles jaunes
Now, let’s Go Green!
How to say Green in French
Green in French is vert. The color green is found in nature:
- l’herbe est verte: the grass is green
- les arbres sont verts: the trees are green
It is a relaxing color. This color is also found in foods:
- une salade verte: a green salad
and is also part of many other things in our world:
- un feu vert: a green traffic light
More French sentences with Green:
- Les feuilles sont vertes (The leaves are green)
- Un thé vert (A green tea)
- L’incroyable Hulk est vert (The Incredible Hulk is green)
Below are examples of green/vert in the context of masculine/feminine and singular/plural.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase vert
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases verts
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle verte
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles vertes
Now, it is the right time to introduce another French grammar rule. When an adverb is used with a French color, the color no longer has to agree with the noun that it describes. For example:
- je porte des chaussettes vert clair (I’m wearing light green socks). Did you notice that vert remain in its singular and masculine form?
How to say Orange in French
Orange in French is orange. Orange color can be seen in nature. In French, in English, and in German orange refers to the color as well as to the fruit. It is very easy to remember!
French Sentences with orange:
- Des citrouilles orange (Orange pumpkins)
- En automne les feuilles changent de couleur pour devenir orange (During the fall season leaves turn to various shades of orange)
- Les couleurs traditionnelles de la fête d’Halloween sont le noir et l’orange (Orange and black are traditional Halloween colors)
When it comes to gender or quantity, the color orange (orange) never changes. If it helps, remember that whenever a color is derived from an object (fruit, stone, etc.) it remains unchanged regardless of the word that it is describing.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase orange
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases orange
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle orange
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles orange
How to say Brown in French
Brown in French is marron. People often associate brown with Earth as it’s the color of soil, stone, wood, and many other life forms.
Sentences in French with Brown:
- Des yeux marron (Brown eyes)
- La table et la chaise sont marron (The table and the chair are brown)
- Marron est l’une des couleurs d’automne (Brown is one of the fall’s color)
Recall, when you learn French colors, you also learn the name of some fruits. In this case, marron is a fruit in French and consequently it remains unchanged regardless of the noun it is modifying.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase marron
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases marron
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle marron
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles marron
Let’s move to the pink color.
How to say Pink in French
Pink in French is rose. What’s the difference between “le rose” and “la rose”? Le rose is the pink color while la rose refers to the flower (la fleur). Rose is also a proper name. In most situations, pink has strong associations with niceness, innocence, and sensitivity.
Sentences in French with Pink:
- A la fête, j’ai acheté une barbe à papa rose (At the fair, I bought a pink cotton candy)
- Des porcinets roses (Pink piglets)
- Des lunettes roses (Pink glasses)
And, of course, be aware that rose (pink) takes an s when the word it is modifying is in the plural. This doesn’t follow the same rule as in orange and marron.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase rose
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases roses
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle rose
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles roses
How to say Black in French
Black in French is noir. The black color is found in nature. Many spiders, like tarantulas, are black. In fashion, many designers consider black as a glamorous color. Many other terms in French contain the word black, such as le trou noir (black hole), le chocolat noir (dark chocolate), etc.
More French sentences with Black:
- Un cheval noir (A black horse)
- Entends-tu les corbeaux noirs dehors? (Do you hear the black crows outside?)
- La voiture du président est noire (The president’s car is black)
Below are examples of black/noir in the context of masculine/feminine and singular/plural.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase noir
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases noirs
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle noire
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles noires
How to say Gray in French
Gray in French is gris. Gray is a cool, neutral, impartial color. While gray is present in many office settings, it is also found in nature, and in clothing.
French Sentences with Gray:
- Des cheveux gris (Gray hair)
- La matière grise (Grey matter)
- Des nuages gris (Grey clouds)
Below are examples of grey/gris in the context of masculine/feminine and singular/plural.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase gris
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases gris
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle grise
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles grises
How to say Purple in French
Purple in French is violet. Purple is a popular color in nature. Violette is also the name of a flower in French.
French sentences with Purple:
- Je cuisine une aubergine violette (I’m cooking a purple eggplant)
- Le violet est le mélange de rouge et de bleu (Purple is the mixture of red and blue colors)
- Un bouquet de fleurs merveilleux tout en violet (A wonderful bouquet of purple flowers)
Below are examples of purple/violet in the context of masculine/feminine and singular/plural.
- Masculine+Singular: Un vase violet
- Masculine+Plural: Des vases violets
- Feminine+Singular: Une balle violette
- Feminine+Plural: Des balles violettes
Color Adjectives Agreements In French
Most of the time when we talk about colors, French language learners are told to memorize color names as another list of vocabulary. Of course, that is fundamental to grown one’s vocabulary and a fantastic plan to master the list of common colors in French but personally, I consider that this is not enough.
Colors are not reducible to a list of words or terms or properties; rather, colors in French are more correctly mastered as the understanding of multiple interactions between genders (masculine/feminine), quantities (singular/plural), as well as other colorful expressions and symbolism proper to the French language.
To learn how does French color adjectives agreement work, read our article on color adjectives agreements in French.
A video to learn colors in French
Learn French colors and their correct pronunciation by watching the video below.
You’ll learn how to say the principal colors along with the clothes vocabulary in French:
- I give an example of how each color is used to describe clothes.
- I cover both feminine and masculine nouns.
So one time the color is used with a feminine noun and another time with the color is used with a feminine noun.
Click below to watch the video about colors and their pronunciation in French.
What about multicolor in French
Multicolor in French is multicolore. It is great to learn French colors but in many cases, multicolor is useful when referring to something that includes more than one color. For instance, un arc-en-ciel (a rainbow), les aurores boréales (the northern lights), or les macarons (macaroons) as in the image below that shows some multicolored wonderful macaroons.
French expressions with colors
Now, let’s go over a number of casual everyday French expressions that you can use in your daily conversations. Also, this will help you better understand the context whenever these color-related expressions are used by other French speakers. Learn French colors in expressions:
- Il est un vrai cordon bleu: He is a very good cook
- Allez les bleus: In this context “les bleus” refers to the French National Team
- Je vois rouge: Being real angry
- Je vois la vie en rose: Being optimistic
- Tu as la main verte: Have a green thumb
- Il fait grise mine: He pulls a long face
- Il est blanc comme neige: Being clean, nothing to be blamed for
- L’or noir: The oil (perhaps it is the online data nowadays..)
Final Colorful Thoughts
Color facts and stories
Learn French colors and discover interesting and useful news:
- The first fun fact is about the orange color. The color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.
- The first color photo of Ireland was taken by two French women in 1913. Here is the link for more information.
- As for the black color, this article covers 10 Ways to Look at the Color Black.
- And one last thing, remember the never-ending saga in the Slate magazine? Indeed, the infamous dress is seen by some people as gold and white, and by others as blue and black as Mazviita Chirimuuta explains. The dress is actually blue and black.
Beyond colors in French
I hope that all the information in this lesson and the video to learn French colors can help you to move your French level to the next level faster, to enhance your pronunciation, and to make you a more confident French speaker!
If you’re studying French and you’d like to learn how to count, check out our article about numbers in French.
Now it’s time to explore the many benefits that Master Your French has to offer. So join me in the online French courses!