90 magical shades of color in French from olive green to onyx

Learning the colors in French should be one of the top priorities of any learner who wants to level up their language skills.

If you thought learning the colors was something only kids do, you might want to think again. Learning the colors in French will open many doors in every learner’s journey, as being able to describe things in color will allow you to express ideas much more vividly.

Plus, once you’ve mastered the colors in French, you will be able to ask francophones for help identifying objects: qu’est-ce que c’est ce truc jaune là-bas ? (What is that yellow thing over there?).

This can really be a tipping point in your journey to learning French online as you‘ll be able to describe things much more easily.

And, of course, how could you see la vie en rose without knowing the colors? French is a beautifully descriptive language, so adding colors to your sentences will only enhance the romantic magic of French.

Ready to learn the colors? On y va !

Why learn all the color shades in French?

Before we get into all the colors, you should be fully aware of how learning the colors will improve your French. There are dozens and dozens of different colors, so knowing why you should study them will help you stay on course.

Here are our top three reasons for learning to express yourself in color, en français.

Describe objects more precisely

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to point out something whose name you can’t recall? Knowing the colors will help you be significantly more precise, as you can say “that green thing over there” instead of just “that thing over there.”

This will help you learn more vocabulary in your everyday life, as you can now ask your francophone friends to help you identify objects you use or see frequently.

Understand French expressions about colors

The French love their idioms, and many of them involve colors. Although learning about French slang (argot) is something you don’t need to worry too much about yet, knowing the colors will prepare you for when you get to intermediate and advanced levels.

Besides, learning a handful of helpful expressions now will certainly impress francophones. This can give you a nice confidence boost when spending long hours studying French!

Point out pastries more easily

Let’s admit it: we all love French pastries. One of the most universally-loved aspects of French culture is its pâtisseries (pastry shops), which can be found pretty much all over the world.

From éclaires to colorful macarons, French pastries come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Knowing the colors will help you point out specific pastries more easily, allowing you to try a wider variety and perhaps find a new hidden gem!

​​Colors in French

Okay, now that we’ve convinced you to learn the colors in-depth, let’s get started. First, let’s look at the very basics: how to say color and colors. In French, the singular ‘color’ is couleur and the plural ‘colors’ is couleurs.

Both words are pronounced the same: coo-lore. What changes is the article you use immediately before each one:

EnglishFrench
The color yellowLa couleur jaune
The green colorsLes couleurs verts

If you pay attention to article use, you should have no trouble identifying if the color in question is singular or plural.

Now, let’s get into more specific colors. We will break down each major color into different shades, giving you a total of 90 colors in French. We will also provide you with both the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) spelling and an intuitive pronunciation guide for English speakers so you can start using the colors right away.

Allez-y !

Purple in French

Purple is a beautiful color on its own, but how could we ignore all the beautiful shades of purple? After all, France is the country of lavender, so let’s get into all the different variations of purple in French.

Purple-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
LavenderLe lavandelə lavɑ̃dLuh la-vahnde
PurpleLe pourprelə puʁpʁLuh poor-pre
VioletLe violetlə vjɔlɛLuh vee-oh-lay
GrapeLe raisinlə ʁɛzɛ̃Luh ray-san
MauveLe mauvelə movLuh mauve
MulberryLe mûrelə myʁLuh moor
PlumLe prunelə pʁynLuh prune
LilacLe lilaclə lilakLuh lee-lac
IndigoL’indigolɛ̃diɡoLun-dee-go

Orange in French

It’s hard to think of Southern France and not think of the beautiful orange sunsets of the Côte d’Azur, or a wonderfully-refreshing Orangina beverage.

Besides orange, you will want to know how to say other variations of orange in French to express yourself on a whole new level.

Orange-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
TangerineL’orange mandarinelɔʁɑ̃ʒ mɑ̃daʁinLo-rahnsh man-da-rin
OrangeL’orangelɔʁɑ̃ʒLo-rahnsh
AmberL’ambrelɑ̃bʁLahmbre
BronzeLe bronzelə bʁɔ̃zLuh brohnce
Burnt OrangeL’orange brûléelɔʁɑ̃ʒ bʁyleLo-rahnsh broo-lay
MarmaladeL’orange marmeladelɔʁɑ̃ʒ maʁməladLo-rahnsh mar-muh-lade
MangoL’orange manguelɔʁɑ̃ʒ mɑ̃ɡLo-rahnsh mahngue
RustLe rouillelə ʁujLuh roo-eey
PapayaL’orange papayelɔʁɑ̃ʒ papajLo-rahnsh pah-paye

Blue in French

A recent survey found out that blue is the favorite color of French people. This will come to no surprise to anybody who has been to Paris, as deep blues like navy blue and midnight blue can be seen in signage all over town.

Here are some of the most common variations of blue in French.

Blue-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
Royal BlueLe bleu royallə blø ʁwajalLuh bluh roo-ah-yal
BlueLe bleulə bløLuh bluh
TurquoiseLe turquoiselə tyʁkwazLuh toor-koo-ase
TealLe bleu sarcellelə blø saʁsɛlLuh bluh sar-sel
CyanLe cyanlə sjɑ̃Luh see-ahn
Sky BlueLe bleu ciellə blø sjɛlLuh bluh see-el
Navy BlueLe bleu marinelə blø maʁinLuh bluh ma-reen
Baby BlueLe bleu bébélə blø bebeLuh bluh beh-beh
Midnight BlueLe bleu nuitlə blø nɥiLuh bluh noo-ee

Red in French

If French is the language of love, then red is the color of love. Learning the variations of red in French just makes sense, particularly if you’re a hopeless romantic and want to maximize your coquetterie skills.

Here are some variations of the color red in French.

Red-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
BurgundyLe bourgognelə buʁɡɔɲLuh boor-goh-nye
RedLe rougelə ʁuʒLuh roosh
CherryLe ceriselə səʁizLuh say-reese
CrimsonLe cramoisilə kʁamwaziLuh crah-moo-ah-see
Brick RedLe rouge briquelə ʁuʒ bʁikLuh roosh breek
Blood RedLe rouge sanglə ʁuʒ sɑ̃Luh roosh sahng
MaroonLe rouge bordeauxlə ʁuʒ bɔʁdoLuh roosh bore-do
BerryLe rouge baielə ʁuʒ bɛLuh roosh beh
ScarletL’écarlatelekaʁlatLay-car-lat

​​Yellow in French

Knowing the different variations of yellow in French will help you tremendously, particularly if you’re into fashion or design.

French people love a good pop of color, so knowing how to refer to colors like mustard, lemon, and chartreuse will definitely come in handy.

Yellow-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
LemonLe jaune citronlə ʒon sitʁɔ̃Luh zhon see-tron
YellowLe jaunelə ʒonLuh zhon
CreamLe crèmelə kʁɛmLuh craym
CanaryLe jaune canarilə ʒon kanaʁiLuh zhon cah-nah-ree
ChartreuseLe chartreuselə ʃaʁtʁøzLuh shar-truce
GoldLe dorélə dɔʁeLuh doh-ray
Light YellowLe jaune clairlə ʒon klɛʁLuh zhon kler
SandLe sablelə sablLuh sahble
MustardLe jaune moutardelə ʒon mutaʁdLuh zhon moo-tard

Brown in French

This is the table for pastry-lovers everywhere. If you’re looking for an almond-colored kouign-amann or a caramel-colored pain au chocolat, then learning the variations of brown in French will certainly pay off.

Brown-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
CaramelLe caramellə kaʁamɛlLuh kah-ra-mel
BrownLe marronlə maʁɔ̃Luh ma-roh
SepiaLe sépialə sepjaLuh say-pia
ChestnutLe châtaignelə ʃatɛɲLuh sha-tey-nye
ChocolateLe chocolatlə ʃɔkɔlaLuh shoh-koh-lah
AlmondL’amandelamɑ̃dLah-mahnde
CedarLe cèdrelə sɛdʁLuh say-dre
CoffeeLe cafélə kafeLuh kah-feh
WalnutLe noyerlə nwajeLuh noo-ah-yeh

​​Pink in French

Learning the variations of pink in French may be a lot easier than you’d think. In fact, many of the words we use in English to call these colors come from French, so you’ll find that the English and French words for the different hues of pink are quite similar!

Pink-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
PeachLe pêchelə pɛʃLuh pesh
PinkLe roselə ʁozLuh ross
CoralLe coraillə kɔʁajLuh koh-ray
RougeLe rougelə ʁuʒLuh roosh
MagentaLe magentalə maʒɛ̃taLuh mah-zhen-tah
SalmonLe saumonlə somɔ̃Luh saw-mon
BlushLe rose pâlelə ʁoz palLuh ross pal
Hot PinkLe rose viflə ʁoz vifLuh ross veef
StrawberryLe fraiselə fʁɛzLuh fress

Green in French

Green is one of the most diverse colors out there, with variations ranging from a light and airy mint to a deep and relaxing forest.

Knowing the variations of green in French will be very helpful, especially if you enjoy spending time in nature surrounded by different kinds of plants.

Green-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
SageLe vert saugelə vɛʁ soʒLuh vehr saush
GreenLe vertlə vɛʁLuh vehr
JadeLe jadelə ʒadLuh zhad
SeafoamL’écumelekymLay-koom
LimeLe citron vertlə sitʁɔ̃ vɛʁLuh see-tron ver
ForestLe vert forêtlə vɛʁ fɔʁɛLuh ver fore-ret
OliveL’olivelɔlivLoh-live
EmeraldL’émeraudeleməʁodLehm-eraud
MintLe vert menthelə vɛʁ mɑ̃tLuh ver mahnt

Black in French

If you’ve paid attention to Parisian fashion, you might think that everyone wears all-black every day. However, black itself is a very interesting color with a number of shades and tones that can contrast very well.

Here are some of the most popular variations of black in French.

Black-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
EbonyL’ébènelebɛnLay-ben
BlackLe noirlə nwaʁLuh noo-are
Cool BlackLe noir froidlə nwaʁ fʁwaLuh noo-are froo-ah
InkL’encrelɑ̃kʁLancre
ObsidianL’obsidiennelɔpsidjɛnLob-see-dee-en
Jet BlackLe noir de jaislə nwaʁ də ʒɛLuh noo-are duh zhay
CharcoalLe noir charbonlə nwaʁ ʃaʁbɔ̃Luh noo-are shar-boh
OnyxL’onyxlɔniksLoh-nix
MidnightLe noir minuitlə nwaʁ minɥiLuh noo-are mee-noo-ee

White in French

Lastly, we have white. Although plain white can represent emptiness, the truth is that there are some very interesting shades of white.

Colors like pearl, cream, and beige can make us feel calm and relaxed, so you should learn how to say these variations of white in French to replace a plain old white.

White-in-French.png

EnglishFrenchIPA SpellingPronunciation
BeigeLe beigelə bɛʒLuh behzh
WhiteLe blanclə blɑ̃Luh blahnk
IvoryL’ivoirelivwaʁLee-voo-are
EggshellLe blanc coquille d'oeuflə blɑ̃ kɔkij dɔœfLuh blahnk ko-keey duff
CoconutLe noix de cocola nwa də kɔkoLuh noo-ah duh koh-koh
PearlLe blanc perlelə blɑ̃ pɛʁlLuh blahnk pear-luh
BoneL’oslɔsLos
AlabasterL’albâtrelalbatʁLal-bah-truh
Off WhiteLe blanc cassélə blɑ̃ kaseLuh blahnk kah-say

Free downloadable paper chatterbox

This fun paper chatterbox will help you learn French colors in no time! Our aim is to use both visualization and spelling techniques to help you remember the color names. Folding instructions are included on the pdf.

Free downloadable French colors paper chatterbox.

Songs about colors in French

If you’ve studied a foreign language before, you may already be familiar with this trick. Listening to music in your target language can be a great way to learn while you relax, do some chores around the house, or commute to work or school.

All you have to do is let the music play and your brain will do the rest! Bonus points if you can sing along as you will work on your speaking skills in addition to your listening comprehension skills.

These three fantastic songs in French will help you study the colors.

Ilona - Un Monde Parfait

This wonderfully-catchy song narrates how Ilona, the singer, is drawing what she imagines to be the perfect world. In the song, she mentions many colors and corresponding nouns, like “le bleu du ciel” (the blue of the sky), which will help you remember the colors.

As a bonus, this song includes lots of helpful additional vocabulary, like the animals in French. Give it a listen, we promise you won’t be able to get enough!

La Chanson des Couleurs

If you want a more straightforward song, there’s no way you can beat La Chanson des Couleurs. This song is great for learning French for kids and will go down a list of the nine most common colors and give you a sample noun for each of them.

French colors - Couleurs - Arc en ciel by alain le lait

What better way to learn the French colors than with an arc en ciel (rainbow)? This catchy song talks about a man with a wooden head whose eyes are rainbow-colored. As you can imagine, he has a penchant for colors. Listen along to learn what this rainbow-eyed, wooden-headed character gets into.

French colors FAQs

Are colors in French masculine or feminine?

All colors are masculine, for example:

  • Le vert
  • Le blanc
  • Le rouge

However, keep in mind that the word color is actually feminine: la couleur. And, since colors tend to be used as adjectives, they will have to agree with the noun in question.

Check out the table below with some easy examples.

EnglishFrench
The color redLa couleur rouge
The color violetLa couleur violette
A blue carUne voiture bleue
A brown houseUne maison marron

Notice how violet and blue need to be modified to violette and bleue in the example above. This is because the colors have to match the gender of the noun they are modifying, so you must make them femenine when modifying a feminine noun.

Rouge does not need to change because the masculine version already ends with an -e, so the feminine version is spelled the same.

The only exception to this rule is le marron. This color does not change at all, regardless of the gender of the noun it is modifying. Notice the last example and how marron does not change even when modifying a feminine noun (maison).

Are colors capitalized in French?

Colors are not capitalized in French, unless they come at the very beginning of a sentence or are a part of a proper noun. Unlike English, French capitalizes the first letter of words very sparingly, so err on the side of not capitalizing a color if you’re unsure.

What do the colors of the French flag represent?

There is no official significance behind each color of the French flag, but it is speculated that the blue, white, and red of the French flag represent:

  • Nobility (blue)
  • Clergy (white)
  • Bourgeois (red)

These were the three estates of the assembly back in the 18th century, when the current French flag was adopted.

Fun-filled bonus tips for learning French colors

Use sticky notes

One of the oldest tricks in the game is using sticky notes to label everyday objects at home with sticky notes. While this can be great for beginners, it can also be a great way to learn all the hues of each color in French.

Use sticky notes to label the colors of items in your room, kitchen, living room—you name it! If you have an emerald sofa in your living room, put a sticky note on it with the words “L’émeraude.” If you have a cream-colored vase in the kitchen, label it as “Le crème.” Be as specific as you’d like!

Play French color games

If you’re already familiar with our French blog, you already know that we love a good game. Playing games to learn a language can be a fun way to engage and relate with a foreign language. A game can make the language feel more real as you interact with it beyond a textbook or a formal classroom setting.

Plus, if you’re having fun, you’re much more likely to study for longer hours. It’s all gain, no pain!

Here are some of our favorite games for learning the colors:

  • I Spy. If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you’ve probably played this game before. One person says “I spy with my little eye…” followed by “something _____” where a color is inserted in the blank. The other players have to guess what that person is looking at. To play this in French, simply use the colors you just learned!
  • Bingo. Everyone loves a good game of bingo. To make it a learning experience, simply create scorecards using the colors. You can make the background of each box match the corresponding color along with its name in French. Every player will have to pay close attention to the colors being called out to not miss out on any points!
  • Play an online French color game. If you are learning French online or don’t have anyone to play with at the moment, you can always turn to a digital game to learn the colors. This DigitalDialects game will show you the name of a color followed by a colorful disc. To earn a point, you have to click on the correct color. It’s a fantastic way to learn!

Use French-labeled coloring crayons

What better way to learn about the colors than by coloring? If you live in a Francophone region, you should be able to easily find crayons with French labels on them. That way, you’ll be reminded of each color every time you grab a crayon.

If you don’t live in a francophone region, you should be able to find French-labeled crayons online. If you can’t find them within your country, try ordering from a francophone country – the magic of the internet!

French expressions that involve colors

French is full of expressions and idioms that won’t make a lot of sense unless you know their contexts. Many of them involve colors, and now that you’re a French color connoisseur, you are ready to start learning some of the expressions below!

Here’s a table with some of the most common French expressions involving colors.

EnglishFrenchIPA spellingPronunciation
In danger/in the redDans le rougedɑ̃ lə ʁuʒDah luh roosh
To be extremely sunburntÊtre rouge comme une tomateɛtʁə ʁuʒ kɔm‿ yn tɔmatEhtr roosh come oon toh-matt
To be blacklistedÊtre sur la liste rougeɛtʁə syʁ la listə ʁuʒEhtr soor la leest roosh
To be so angry you turn redÊtre rouge de colèreɛtʁə ʁuʒ də kɔlɛʁEhtr roosh duh koh-lair
A sarcastic or forced laughUn rire jauneɛ̃ ʁiʁ ʒonUh rear zhon
To greenlight (something)Donner le feu vertdɔne lə fø vɛʁDoh-neh luh foh ver
To be green with envyÊtre vert de la jalousieɛtʁə vɛʁ də la ʒaluziEhtr ver duh la zha-loo-sie
A toll-free numberUn numéro vertɛ̃ nymeʁo vɛʁUh noo-meh-roh ver
A mock testUn examen blancɛ̃n‿ ɛɡzamɛ̃ blɑ̃Uh exa-muh blahnk
A sleepless night or an all-nighterUne nuit blancheyn nɥi blɑ̃ʃOon noo-e blahnsh
A crime movieUn film noirɛ̃ film nwaʁUh film noo-are
To feel sadBroyer du noirbʁwaje dy nwaʁBroo-ah-yeh du noo-are
When a place is extremely crowdedÊtre noir de mondeɛtʁə nwaʁ də mɔ̃dEhtr noo-are duh mond
To work under the tableTravail au noirtʁavaj o nwaʁTra-vay oh noo-are
To be tipsyÊtre gris/griseɛtʁə ɡʁis/ɡʁizEhtr gree/grease
At the end of the day, everyone's the sameLa nuit, tous les chats sont grisla nɥi | tu le ʃa sɔ̃ ɡʁiLa noo-e, too leh shah soh gree
A green card marriageUn mariage grisɛ̃ maʁjaʒ ɡʁiUgh mar-ee-ash gree
Used to describe something that is overly sentimental or cheesyÀ l’eau de rosea lo də ʁozAh loh duh ross
To see life through rose-colored glassesVoir la vie en rosevwaʁ la vi ɑ̃ ʁozVoo-are la vee ah ross

Practice makes perfect!

Can you describe this chameleon in the colors in French?

With the right tools and enough practice, you’ll be able to master all the colors in French in no time. Although it may seem daunting at first, we promise that learning all the colors in French isn’t chasing rainbows!

If you would like some more help with your French, we offer a wide range of French classes so check them out if you’re feeling extra keen.

You can also check out our French blog for more helpful (and free!) study resources for students.

Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you make some time each week to practice your French! Soon enough, you’ll be able to talk about colors avec les doigts dans le nez !

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