How To Say 'Beautiful' In French (+ Grammar Tips)

  • Adrien Renault
    Written byAdrien Renault
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How To Say 'Beautiful' In French (+ Grammar Tips)

There are a few key words that you can use to say “beautiful” in French.

Depending on whether the person or thing you’re describing is masculine or feminine, whether they begin with a vowel, whether you’re referring to a singular or plural noun, things can get a little challenging.

If you’re looking for a list of beautiful words in French, see this list.

This guide is just what you will need if you want to say “beautiful” in French, but are unsure about the grammatical rules and other variations you can use.

Let’s begin with the most common words.

How do you say beautiful in French?

The main two words you’ll hear being used by French natives to express how beautiful something is are:

  • belle
  • beau

Belle is the feminine adjective for “beautiful” in French, while beau is the masculine version.

In which situations can you use belle and beau?

You might use the adjective belle when describing a beautiful woman, and beau when talking about a handsome man.

But also take note that these two adjectives can be used to describe the landscape around you, or the artwork that you’ve seen in a museum, or a bouquet of flowers.

Just remember that masculine nouns require the masculine adjective beau, while feminine nouns require the feminine adjective belle.

For example, if you received a bouquet of flowers and wanted to describe how beautiful they are, you first need to know whether this noun is masculine or feminine.

Since it’s masculine, which is indicated by the masculine article le, you would need to use the masculine adjective, which is beau.

Listen to audio

Le beau bouquet de fleurs.

The beautiful bouquet of flowers.

When should we pluralise belle in French?

Now, French adjectives like belle must be pluralised when you’re describing more than one object, thing, person, or noun.

So, if you’re describing any feminine object or person that there are many of, the plural form of belle is required.

Say you wanted to tell your relatives that your two girl twins are beautiful.

To do this, you first have to recognise the gender of the French noun, which is, in this case, feminine. You’ll then couple it with the feminine version of the word “beautiful” in French, which is belle.

And, finally you’ll then need to pluralise the word belle.

How do we pluralise belle in French?

To pluralise belle, you just need to add an -s to the end of the adjective.

So, belle becomes belles, and to say the twins are beautiful, you would say:

Listen to audio

Les jumelles sont belles.

The twins are beautiful.

When should we pluralise beau in French?

Just as we would pluralise belle when describing more than one feminine object in French, we must use the plural form of beau when describing more than one masculine object, person or thing.

So, if you wanted to say that the clouds look beautiful, you shouldn’t use the word beau

Continue reading to find out how to describe them.

How do we pluralise beau in French?

Let’s return to our example in the paragraph above. If you want to say the clouds look beautiful, use the plural of beau, which is beaux.

All you’ll need to do is tag an -x to the end of beau to make this adjective plural.

Using bel instead of beau

But just when you might have thought that you’re beginning to understand, there’s another rule to keep in mind.

Don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.

If the noun has a vowel at the beginning, you must use the adjective bel to describe it.

Here’s an example:

Listen to audio

Le bel art est captivant.

The beautiful art is captivating.

Is there a plural version of the adjective bel in French?

What might make you sigh with relief is that there isn’t a plural version of the adjective bel.

There’s no need to add an -s or an -x to the end of the word–it’s always bel.

How are beau, belle, beaux, and belles pronounced?

To pronounce beau, think of the _eau _as an “ow” sound. _Beau _rhymes with “sow”.

To pronounce belle, consider that it rhymes with “bell”.

When you’re pronouncing beaux and belles, keep in mind that they are pronounced exactly the same as their singular counterparts because -x and -s are not pronounced in these words.

Emphasising how beautiful something is: Adding an adverb

On some occasions, you might be awestruck by the beauty of something and want to emphasise how beautiful it is. In situations like these, an adverb will add a touch of emphasis when describing the noun.

Some adverbs you might add include:

  • Vraiment
  • Le plus
  • Très

Here are some example sentences that feature these adverbs.

Listen to audio

Tes enfants sont très beaux.

Your children are very beautiful.
Listen to audio

Il était le plus beau de tous les concurrents.

He was the most good-looking/handsome of all the competitors.
Listen to audio

Nous sommes une très belle famille.

We’re a very beautiful family.

Where are the adjectives beau, belle, beaux, and belles placed in sentences?

Keep in mind that beau, belle, beaux, and belles always follow a noun or object in a sentence in French.

It’s not correct to say c’est une fille belle.

Instead, you’d say c’est une belle fille “she’s a beautiful girl”.

Alternative ways to say “beautiful” in French

If you’re searching for other ways to say “beautiful” in French, check out the table below or several more examples.

LE FRANÇAISExample sentenceEnglishEnglish sentence
MasculineFeminine
JoliJoli(e)Ta robe est si jolie !PrettyYour dress is so pretty!
MignonMignon(ne)Quel mignon petit chien.CuteWhar a cute dog
RavissantRavissant(e)C'est une robe ravissante.RavishingYour dress is ravishing.

Using the colloquial word canon in French

There’s another word that can be used to say “beautiful” in French, which is canon.

Canon translates to English as “hot”, or “good looking”. It’s normally used by young people to describe others.

So, if you wanted to say that a person you know looked “hot” or “good looking”, you might say:

Listen to audio

Cette femme est canon.

That woman is hot.

Use the same word if you want to say that a man is good looking or “hot” as well:

Listen to audio

Cet homme est canon.

That man is hot/good looking.

You’ll never see a plural version of canon because it doesn’t exist.

Also remember that when using canon, it also follows the noun as shown in the examples just above.

Use these terms to say “beautiful” in French

You’ll now need to try and remember some of these adjectives to use them in dialogues with French speakers.

If you’re an advanced student, you might be confidently using these in your dialogues all the time. But you might want to strengthen your listening skills by watching French movies or listening to French podcasts, and keeping an ear out for these adjectives in fast paced dialogues.

Use them regularly with French speakers in different contexts.

Enjoy expressing how much you appreciate beautiful things by using the adjectives in this guide.


What are other ways can you say ‘beautiful’ in French?

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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