40 colourful French idioms

We use so many French idioms that even advanced learners always discover new expressions during their lessons. We’ve seen previously delicious French idioms with food and the good news is, we will regularly review some more on this blog ! As we can’t always translate them literally, it’s recommended to make flashcards or keep them in a notebook for practice.

Today, I wanted to color your life with some useful expressions using le bleu, le vert, le noir,… Let’s go through forty colourful idioms in French.

Table of contents :

  1. French idioms with white
  2. French expressions with black and grey
  3. French idioms with blue
  4. French expressions with green
  5. French idioms using red
  6. French expressions with pink

If you are interested in learning more useful idioms during French conversation classes, feel free to message me !

colourful french idioms

French idioms with white

  • Etre blanc bonnet et bonnet blanc = the same thing
  • Etre blanc comme un linge = to be as white as a ghost
  • Etre blanc comme neige = to be pure as the driven snow
  • Passer une nuit blanche = to spend a sleepless night
  • Passer un examen blanc = to pass a mock exam
  • Donner carte blanche à quelqu’un = to let somebody do what they want
  • Dire les choses de but en blanc = to say things abruptly, as they are
  • Etre connu comme le loup blanc = (to be known as the white wolf) to be well known
  • Montrer patte blanche = (to show your white paw) to identify yourself
  • Regarder quelqu’un dans le blanc des yeux = to look somebody straight in the eye

French idioms with black and grey

  • Etre la bête noire = (to be the black beast) to be the person that no one likes, to be someone’s pet peeve
  • Jeter un regard noir à quelqu’un = to glare at someone
  • Avoir un oeil au beurre noir = to have a black eye
  • Avoir des idées noires = to be sad
  • Broyer du noir = to brood / mope around
  • Travailler au noir/au black = to work illicitly
  • Faire du marché noir = to trade on the black market
  • C’est écrit noir sur blanc = (it’s written black on white) it’s very clear
  • Faire grise mine = (to make a grey face) to pull a long face, to look sad
french idioms with colours

French idioms with blue

  • Etre un cordon bleu = to be a good cook
  • Etre fleur bleue = to be sentimental
  • Avoir une peur bleue = to be scared stiff
  • Cuire sa viande bleue = to cook your meat raw
  • Aller voir la grande bleue = to go to see the Mediterranean

French idioms with green

  • Donner le feu vert = to give the green light to someone
  • Se mettre au vert = to go to the countryside
  • Etre vert de peur = to be frightened to death
  • Etre vert de rage = to be furious
  • Etre vert de jalousie = to be green with jealousy/envy
  • Composer un numero vert = to dial a toll-free number
  • Recevoir une volée de bois vert = to be severely criticized
french expressions with colours

French idioms with red

  • Etre rouge comme une tomate = to be red as a beetroot
  • Etre dans le rouge = to go into overdraft
  • Etre rouge de honte = to be shameful
  • Avoir une memoire de poisson rouge = (to have a memory of red fish) have little memory
  • Dérouler le tapis rouge à quelqu’un = to roll out the red carpet to somebody
  • Se fâcher tout rouge = to blow one’s top

French idioms with pink

  • Voir la vie en rose – to see the good side of things, to be optimistic
  • Ne pas sentir la rose = (not smelling like the rose) to stink
  • Tout n’est pas rose = (all is not pink) nothing is easy

Do you know more French idioms with colors or have questions on these ones ? Don’t hesitate to send me an email or a private message through my Facebook page