In this lesson, you will discover how to talk about and pronounce colors in French. Knowing colors will be useful if you have to describe someone or some place and also if you want to shop for clothes. After that, you will learn some typical French expressions with colors.


What are the basic colors in French ?



masculine adjective feminine adjective
red rouge rouge
yellow jaune jaune
pink rose rose
orange orange orange
blue bleu bleue
green vert verte
grey gris grise
purple violet violette
brown brun brune
black noir noire
white blanc blanche



Colors in French with pronunciation





Some extra colours and shades to go further


All colors except black and white can be qualified as foncé (dark) or clair (light).


bleu foncé = dark blue

bleu clair = light blue

vert foncé = dark green

vert clair = light green


Here is the pronunciation of foncé and clair:


Now you can also need to use some other colors such as:

bleu marine = navy blue

rose fushia = fushia pink

bordeaux = burgundy

mauve = pale purple

turquoise = turquoise

beige = beige

marron = chestnut brown




How to use color adjectives in French


♥ Like other adjectives, color adjectives usually agree with nouns in gender and number. Thus, you’ll have to learn the masculine and feminine form of the adjectives.


un chat blanc (a white cat) – une voiture blanche (a white car)

un chat noir (a black cat) – une voiture noire (a black car)


♥ Color adjectives that end with a silent -e remain the same in the feminine form. Other color adjectives have a feminine form. Thus, it’s important to learn both forms and how to pronounce them.


un sac rouge (a red bag) – une robe rouge (a red dress)

un sac brun (a brown bag) – une robe brune (a brown dress)


♥ Color adjectives that are modified by another adjective or noun become invariable.


un sac bleu marine (a navy blue bag) – des sacs bleu marine (navy blue bags)

une voiture vert foncé (a dark green car) – des voitures vert foncé (dark green cars)

des yeux bleu-vert (blue-green eyes)


♥ Color adjectives derived from nouns such as animals, flowers, and fruits (like orange, marron or turquoise) are invariable except rose (pink) and mauve (pale purple).


des chaussures orange (orange shoes)


des chaussures roses (pink shoes)


♥ Colors in French are not always used as adjectives. They can also be used as nouns. In this case, they are considered as masculine words. To talk about the color itself, you will say : le rouge, le rose, le jaune, le bleu…


Ma couleur préférée est le bleu. (My favorite color is blue.)


However, if you’re talking about the color of an item, the color noun will take the gender of the article.


You are in a clothes shop and you’re hesitating between 2 dresses.

J’aime bien la robe bleue, mais je préfère la rouge. (I like the blue dress, but I prefer the red one.)




Typical French expressions with colors


Expressions with noir:


noir comme l’ébène = jet-black

Il fait nuit noire = It’s pitch-black

une rue noire de monde = a street swarming with people

avoir peur du noir = to be afraid of the dark

acheter au noir = to buy on the black market

travailler au noir = to work on the moonlight

le travail au noir = moonlighting

avoir un œil au beurre noir = to have a black eye

un roman noir = a crime novel/a detective novel



Expressions with blanc:


être blanc de peur = to be white with fear

être blanc comme neige = (literally to be as white as snow) to be innocent

être blanc comme un cachet d’aspirine = (literally to be as white as an aspirin) to be as white as a sheet

être blanc comme un linge = to be as white as a sheet

laisser un blanc = to leave a blank

du vin blanc = white wine

un blanc d’œuf = an egg white

Blanche-Neige = Snow White

un examen blanc = a practice test

une nuit blanche = a sleepless night

avoir carte blanche = to have permission to do whatever you want or need

Be careful with this last one: la blanche can sometimes (in slang) refer to hard drugs that are white.



Expressions with jaune:

avoir le teint jaune = to look yellow

jaune citron = lemon yellow

jaune d’or = golden yellow

un jaune d’œuf = an egg yolk

un gilet jaune = a reflective vest, a yellow vest (some French people wear reflective vests for political reasons when they demonstrate)

être le maillot jaune = to wear the yellow jersey, to be the leader of the Tour (de France)

Expressions with rouge:

être rouge de colère = to be red with anger

être rouge comme une tomate = (literally to be as red as a tomato) to be as red as a lobster

passer au rouge = to jump the lights

être sur liste rouge = to have an unlisted phone number

voter rouge = to vote Communist

le tapis rouge = the red carpet

un poisson rouge = a goldfish

du vin rouge = red wine

un rouge à lèvres = a lipstick

Expressions with bleu:


être bleu de colère = to be purple with rage

avoir un bleu = to have a bruise

un steak bleu = an underdone steak (bleu can be used for meat cooked very rare)

être un bleu (informal) = to be a rookie or a new recruit, a beginner

avoir une peur bleue de = to be deathly afraid of

les Bleus = the French national soccer team, handball team, etc.

Allez les Bleus ! = Come on French team ! Go French team !

Expressions with vert:


être vert de peur = to be green with fear

donner le feu vert à quelque chose/à quelqu’un = to give something/somebody the go-ahead

passer au vert = to go through on the green light

un numéro vert = a toll-free number

un billet vert = an American dollar

être au régime vert = to be on a green-vegetable diet

se mettre au vert = to take a rest in the country

les Verts = the Green Party

Expressions with orange:


une orange = an orange

apporter des oranges à quelqu’un = (literally to bring oranges to someone) to come and visit someone in prison

le feu est à l’orange = the lights are at amber



Expressions with rose:


une rose = a rose

une rose des vents = a compass card

voir la vie en rose = to see everything through rose-tinted glasses

rose bonbon = candy-pink

un flamant rose = a (pink) flamingo


Some more French basics:

The calendar vocabulary

French numbers from 1 to 100

Nationalities in French


I learn French fast

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This