The color in French it seems to be ~ like straightforward thing to learn. After all, it’s simply vocabulary come memorize, right?

Pas tout à fait (Not exactly).

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Colors aren’t simply a practical means to explain things. They have the right to also include shade and nuance come your understanding of a culture, and also shed part light ~ above a variety of common expressions.

Let’s take a nuanced look in ~ the colors in French

French color rules

Any blog post about colors should, the course, give you a perform of the most common ones. But before I carry out that, I want to talk about how colors are used in the French language.

As a basic rule, every colors in French are masculine nouns: le bleu, le rouge, le rose, etc. Example : « Quelle est ta couleur préférée ? » « Le rose.» (‘What’s your favorite color?’ ‘Pink.’)

However, together you could have noticed in the example, words “color” in French is feminine – la couleur. Sigh….

So, you might say, J’aime la couleur de ses yeux. (I love the color of his eyes.) or J’aime le bleu de ses yeux. (I love the blue that his eyes.)

Most of the time, though, colors are supplied as adjectives. In this case, they monitor the French grammar preeminence of agreeing through the noun(s) castle modify. This method that that not enough to understand that blanc means “white”; if a noun is feminine, blanc becomes blanche

And as you’ve more than likely guessed, that doesn’t prevent there. If a noun is plural, blanc becomes blancs or blanches.

The an excellent news is, unlike blanc, to make many French color agree with a feminine noun, you just have to add an “e” come the end. for example, bleu becomes bleue.

And colors that currently end in “e” remain the same, even if it is a noun is woman or feminine (of course, you perform still have actually to add an “s” to them if they’re offered in the plural sense).

There space two exceptions to this rules, though: orange (orange) and marron (brown) never ever CHANGE. Nevertheless of the sex or variety of whatever castle modifying, they stay the same. 

For example:

Michelle a deux chiennes marron et un chien blanc, et daniel a trois chiens marron et quatre chiennes noires. (Michelle has two brown dogs and also one white dog, and also Danielle has actually three brown dogs and four black color dogs.)

Tu veux terminer ce paquet de bonbons ? J’aime toutes les autres couleurs – les rouges, les verts, les jaunes, mais je déteste les bonbons orange. (Do you want to end up this bag of candy? ns like all of the other colors – red, green, yellow, however I dislike the orange candies.)

French colors do follow one basic grammar rule, though: They always come after the noun(s) castle modify, with the occasional exception for poetic reasons.

Now that that’s the end of the way, stop look at a list of the most common colors in French.

The most usual colors in French

Wondering exactly how to say red, yellow or blue in French?

Here room the most typical French colors and their translation:

How to talk about colors in French


From the practical, come the technical, come the poetic, there are plenty of ways to specifically or lyrically describe a color. 

But yes a catch. If you usage an adverb through a French color, the color no longer needs to agree with the noun(s) that proceed it. Consequentially, once paired with a color, these adverb will always be in your singular, masculine forms.

For example: Pour kid enterrement de vie de jeune fille, Patricia porte une perruque vert clair. (For she bachelorette party, Patricia is wearing a light green wig.).

Because perruque is a feminine noun, the adjective(s) linked with the would typically have come reflect that. But since the color (vert) is modified by one adverb (clair), no so.

Here’s an additional example: Au zoo de Vincennes, Charles a passé longtemps à admirer les plumes bleu foncé de l’ara hyacinthe. (At the Vincennes Zoo, Charles spent a long time admiring the dark blue feathers of the hyacinth macaw.)

So, bearing that surprising grammar great in mind, here are a few useful words for talking about colors in French.:

foncé – dark. Ex: Sa robe est vert foncé. (Her dress is dark green.)

clair – light. Ex : Les yeux de Paul sont bleu clair. (Paul’s eyes space light blue.)

fluo – florescent. Ex : Au début des années 90, les couleurs fluos étaient très à la mode. (At the start of the 1990’s, florescent color were very in.)

fade – faded, washed-out. Ex: Le papier-peint du salon était fade. Silver avait très envie de l’arracher des murs. (The life room wallpaper was faded. Sylvie felt an urge to rip the from the walls.)

– âtre – -ish. This suffix deserve to be supplied with any color in French. Back the suffix “-ish” in English could be neutral or informal, in French, it regularly sounds a little bit literary or poetic. You’ll often see colors described this way in publications or poetry. Example: Il faisait très froid. Les lèvres de Joachim étaient bleuâtres. Sandrine avait très peur. (It was very cold. There was a bluish tint to Joachim’s lips. Sandrine was an extremely afraid.)

This object reveals some very interesting things around -âtre. One notable thing to save in mind is the it could be construed as derogatory in a situation where it would certainly make much more sense for something to just be described with an unmodified color word. For example, if you to speak someone’s shirts is jaunâtre, it could be interpreted to average that the washed-out or a strange or unpleasant shade of yellow; otherwise, why not just explain it together jaune? that course, this all depends on context, together you can see indigenous the example I used about Joachim’s lips.

vif – shining (literally, alive). Example : Elles se sont teint les cheveux en increased vif. (They dyed your hair bright pink.)

une nuance – a shade. If you’ve to be to French bookstore (in human being or online) recently, you’ve probably seen the French translate in of the notorious Fifty Shades the Gray series: Cinquante Nuances de Grey.

If you desire to know much more French colors and more advanced color vocabulary in French, this website is wonderful resource. 

A vivid exception: Talking around hair

The French colors I’ve provided are the simple ones you have the right to use for just around anything. However when it involves describing a person’s physics features, it is not constantly the case.

When friend talk about someone’s hair color, here are the words you use:

les cheveux…


Notice that these room all in the woman plural, due to the fact that they have to agree with cheveux.

For unexplained hair colour in French, just use the standard shade word. If you desire to specify that hair is dyed a specific color, you have the right to say colorés en. Because that example, Meagan a les cheveux colorés en bleu. 

If you desire to talk about people with a certain hair color, you usage the hair color words, similar to in English.:

brun/brune (brunette)

For the other colors, just say aux cheveux noirs/gris/violets, etc. 

Note that while us use words brun(e) to talk around brown hair, brown eyes are still the usual shade name, marron.

French expressions v colors


There room many, plenty of expressions with colors in French. Here are several of the many common.

avoir une peur bleue de quelque chose/quelqu’un – to be deathly afraid or something/someone. Example : J’ai une peur bleue d’araignées. (I’m deathly afraid of spiders.).vert(e) – no yet ripe. Example: Ne cueillez pas ces pommes, elles sont toujours vertes. (Don’t reduced these apples indigenous the tree, they’re not ripe yet.)avoir la main verte – to have actually a eco-friendly thumb (be great at making points grow).avoir carte blanche – to have actually carte blanche, the permission to do everything you want.à l’eau de rose – too many sentimental. Literally, “scented v rosewater.” This is regularly used to describe books or television series, always in a derogatory method (even if many people secretly choose them). Example: Monique aime lire des romans a l’eau de rose. (Monique likes to read overly sentimental novels.)

And now, my favorite French shade word… 

la grisaille – grayness. This indigenous is used to explain overcast, cloudy, gloomy weather and also the general ambiance the creates. It’s very common to hear it connected with the weather in Paris, whereby there’s frequently at least a couple of cloudy hrs a day. The city’s top slate rooftops, i beg your pardon are really common in many neighborhoods, include to the grayness. La grisaille isn’t constantly used in a hopeful context – in fact, it tends to it is in negative, or neutral in ~ best. Yet personally, dans la grisaille parisienne, je vois la vie en rose ! (In the grayness the Paris, I check out life in a happy way!). 

The significance of colour in French

The French flag includes tricolor bands of blue, white and also red.

So far, we’ve talked about the literal and figurative meanings of colour in French. Yet all cultures give colors another meaning, together well.

The French generally hold the very same connotative interpretations of colour as human being in the rest of the western world. For example, white is a color that symbolizes purity, which is why most French brides wear it. Red is a shade of passion or danger, i m sorry is why warning signs, protect against signs, but additionally sexy dresses and lipsticks room this color. Eco-friendly is a color connected with nature and also wellbeing, and so on. If you’d favor to review or familiarize yourself through the basic meanings of colour in western culture, this is an write-up that have the right to help. 

But past that, nationwide identity and everyday life plays a role, too. So, when you read/watch/listen come something native France, or if friend visit or live in France, you’ll notice that in enhancement to your literal meanings and Western culture-related connotations, there are some color that organize a specific significance.

The many notable one is actually a mix of 3 colors: bleu, blanc, rouge (blue, white, red.) These room the colour of the French flag (always stated in this order, because that’s just how they show up on the flag). Sometimes, especially in a historic context, this trio is called la tricolore (the tri-colored flag). 

When the current French flag arised after the 1789 Revolution, the blue and also red to be the colors of Paris and the white was the color of the royal house of Bourbon. Essentially, the flag motivated unity in between the king and also the remainder of the populace. Unfortunately, that did not finish well….

Today la tricolore symbolizes national pride and also unity. It never ever inspires fervid patriotism the method that the united state flag might; instead, the French check out the flag as a reminder that all French citizens are supposed to it is in equal. It’s an ideal. Sometimes, you will do it hear the phrase bleu, blanc, beur – blue, white, Arab (beur is verlan (backwards slang) because that arabe). Although the just minority team mentioned below is world of north African descent, the implication is that all world are French, regardless of your ethnicity or skin color.

Individually, bleu and also rouge each have special meaning to the French, together well. 

Les Bleus are the nationwide football (soccer) team. Uneven the flag, talking about Les Bleus frequently will evoke a kind of passionate nationwide pride. As soon as there’s a match, or even in part other moment when it could seem appropriate, you’ll more than likely hear one of the French’s favourite phrases chanted from café terraces and also other collection places: Allez les Bleus! (Go Blues!). Choose the flag, the team evokes an idealistic sense of equality, since the players come from countless different ethnic, racial, religious, and also social backgrounds. 

Unfortunately, ns say “ideal” because like most areas on earth, equality isn’t actually constantly the case. Under French law, every citizens have actually equal rights, however discrimination exist in plenty of ways in French culture. Recently, because that example, antisemitism has been on the rise. Add to that the look at never-ending prejudice against second- or third -generation immigrants from locations like north and sub-Saharan Africa, especially those that live in or comme from la banlieue (the negative suburbs around Paris; around the tantamount of “inner city” in the joined States). There’s likewise prejudice against other immigrant groups, society classes, genders, sex-related orientations, and also so on.

In fact, countless colors have the right to be provided in derogatory ways to explain people’s skin color. Generally, uneven you have to define someone in a context where race is crucial for identification – for example, if you’re report a missing person, avoid doing this. If friend do have actually to define a person’s skin color, never simply say “un/une <+color>”. In French, that’s racist. Instead, say, C’est un homme/une femme blanc/blanche/noir/noire. NEVER define someone as jaune – this is a racist method to describe human being of oriental background; to speak asiatique instead.

That’s not to say the France is a specifically hateful country. It’s just that, unfortunately, prejudice deserve to be uncovered anywhere and for any type of reason. At least the French tend to watch the ideal as a culture where it doesn’t exist, also if they can’t always reach that ideal.

Another shade that has a one-of-a-kind connotation to the French ~ above its own is rouge. For the French, number of colors are linked with national politics or political issues, and also red is a big one. The been linked with the extreme Left (Socialists, Communists, and also other parties) due to the fact that at the very least the center to late -19th century. 

The Verts (Green Party) are one more political movement connected with a color. Together you can have guessed, castle Leftists that fight for ecological issues.

Currently, another color has actually some solid political associations because that the French – well, in a certain form. You may have actually heard of the “Yellow Vests” (called Gilets Jaunes below in France). The Gilets Jaunes adopted their “uniform”, the type of yellow vest you usage to continue to be visible on the roadway at night, because it’s simple to discover and accessible to just about any budget. They’re part of a movement that’s reacting against what they view as insignificant taxes and price hikes on various things, indigenous gas bills, to groceries. Within the movement, there space some variations – some human being want the federal government to assist the poor and the functioning class, while others simply want to clock the civilization burn. With that in mind, the Yellow Vests can mean various things to various people, yet I nothing think yellow reflective vests will go earlier to being a completely neutral garment for a long time!

On a more fun note, the color pink in France is often linked with the sex-related or the sentimental. You might remember indigenous the perform of expressions the le téléphone increased is a sex line, and un roman/une série à l’eau de rose way a sappy, sentimental novel or TV collection (you can use à l’eau de increased to define just about anything that’s overly sentimental, by the way).

What colors carry out French people like?

Blue is French people’s favourite color.

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Everyone is different, and also there are no hard and fast rules in France about what colors you should and also shouldn’t wear. Still, as soon as it involves what’s normally deemed to be fashionable in terms of things like interior design and fashion, the French often tend to prefer a an ext muted look, specifically Parisians. Because that example, a common Parisian apartment could have a parquet floor (especially if it’s an old building), white walls v some artwork or shelves, and maybe a couple of colorful accents. 

As for clothing, if some certain styles, choose street, ethnic, or glam, room an exception, most classic French civilization opt because that subtlety and also well-made, timeless pieces or fashionable cut in more neutral colour (black, denim, etc.). The said, the French do admire people with a distinct sense of layout that works, even if they could not select to copy said style.

According to a recent survey, French people’s favorite shade is blue. You can think this has actually something to do with bleu, blanc,, rouge, or Les Bleus, but in fact, blue is a favorite color throughout the world. For this reason it appears that when it involves colors, the French don’t usually go crazy…and they don’t constantly voir la vie en rose!

Speaking that which, let’s finish with the most famed color-related song in French, Edith Piaf’s magnificent La Vie en Rose, i m sorry every article around French colors need to include!