beautiful-in-french

Different Ways to Say “Beautiful” in French

There are many reasons why you might want to say “beautiful” ( beau ) in French. From the landscapes and architecture to the food and people, there’s beauty everywhere you look in the French-speaking world. 

I’ll show you everything you need to know about describing people, places and things as beautiful in French. Plus, you’ll learn how to tell someone “You’re beautiful” along with some other compliments for both men and women.

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How to Say “Beautiful” in French

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc-France

The most common French word for “beautiful” is beau.  Like other French adjectives, we change its form depending on the gender and number of the noun it modifies.

FormAdjectiveExample
Masculine singularbeauun beau jour (a beautiful day)
Masculine singular before a vowel soundbelun bel été (a beautiful summer)
Masculine pluralbeauxde beaux paysages (beautiful landscapes)
Feminine singularbelleune belle chanson (a beautiful song)
Feminine pluralbellesde belles maisons (beautiful houses)

Sometimes, just a simple beau doesn’t cut it. To add more emphasis, you can say très or trop  before the appropriate form of beau. For example:

Cette robe est très belle. (That dress is so beautiful.)

Ce restaurant est trop beau. (This restaurant is so beautiful.)

We also use beau to mean “handsome,” “nice,” “fine” and “good,” among other things

Other French Words for “Beautiful”

Vue-de-la-croix-de-Cufelle-france

While beau is the most direct translation of “beautiful” in French, it’s not the only way to describe people, places or things as attractive or appealing.

We also commonly use the word joli (masc.) or jolie (fem.), which can be translated to “pretty” or “cute.” 

We usually use this word to describe women, babies or small children, as well as animals and objects like a pretty dress ( une jolie robe ) or a cute outfit ( une jolie tenue ).

I’ve compiled a list of other synonyms you can use to comment on the beauty around you. Some have just one form for masculine and feminine nouns, while others include both forms. 

Most of these adjectives generally come after the noun they modify.

FrenchEnglish
magnifiquemagnificent, gorgeous
splendidesplendid
charmant/charmantecharming
élégant/éléganteelegant
ravissant/ravissantelovely
superbesuperb
séduisant/séduisanteseductive
rayonnant/rayonnanteradiant
sublimesublime
gracieux/gracieusegraceful
envoûtant/envoûtantebewitching
distingué/distinguéedistinguished
exquis/exquiseexquisite
éblouissant/éblouissantedazzling
harmonieux/harmonieuseharmonious
attirant/attiranteattractive
divin/divinedivine
délicieux/délicieusedelicious
merveilleux/merveilleusemarvellous
radieux/radieuseradiant
enchanteur/enchanteresseenchanter

Here are a few examples of how to use these adjectives in the context of a sentence:

Le jardin est rempli de jolies fleurs. (The garden is filled with pretty flowers.)

Elle portait une tenue élégante lors de la soirée. (She wore an elegant outfit at the party.)

Les bijoux qu’elle portait étaient éblouissants. (The jewelry she wore was dazzling.)

How to Say “You’re Beautiful” in French

couple-in-front-of-Louvre-Museum-Paris

To compliment someone on their appearance in French, you can use some of the adjectives we’ve already learned. Note that these are all in the informal form, which you’ll most likely be using when giving these compliments. 

How to tell a woman she’s pretty in French

To tell a woman she’s pretty in French, you can say “Tu es jolie.” (You’re pretty). We only use the word jolie for females.

To tell a woman she’s beautiful, you’d say “Tu es belle” (You’re beautiful).

You can also tell a girl or woman she’s cute by saying “Tu es mignonne” (You’re cute). You’ll often hear teens describing their crush as mignon or mignonne, but I sometimes hear it used by adults as well.

How to tell a man he’s handsome in French

To tell a man he’s handsome in French, you can say “Tu es beau” (You’re handsome). The meaning of the word beau depends on the context, and when used to describe a man it typically means “handsome.” 

To tell a guy that he’s cute, you can say “Tu es mignon” (You’re cute).

Check out this video for some more ways to compliment someone in French:

Note that the text in the video uses T’es, the spoken form of Tu es.

How to Say Something is Beautiful in French

lavender-field-in-France

There are many different ways to describe things as beautiful in French. Just remember that the form of the adjective depends on the gender and number of the noun it’s describing. 

One of the most common phrases we use is C’est beau, which can mean “It’s beautiful,” “This is beautiful” or “That’s beautiful.” You can also say Que c’est beau ! (How beautiful!) or Comme c’est beau ! (How beautiful it is!). 

Here are some more examples of describing things as beautiful in French:

FrenchEnglish
Quel beau collier !What a beautiful necklace!
Ta tenue est si belle.Your outfit is so beautiful.
Ce parc est magnifique.This park is beautiful.
Le paysage ici est très beau.The landscape here is very beautiful.
La maison a une belle vue sur l'océan.The house has a beautiful view of the ocean.
Cette plage est superbe.That beach is beautiful.

Tes cheveux sont magnifiques.
Your hair looks beautiful.
Ses yeux sont trop beaux.His/Her eyes are so beautiful.
Le printemps est toujours beau ici.The spring is always beautiful here.
Nous avons passé un beau moment ensemble.We had a beautiful moment together.

If you’re visiting France, you’ll probably use phrases like these as often as I do. There are so many beautiful places and things to appreciate! 

How to Practice Using “Beautiful” in French

One of the best ways to practice these words and phrases is by seeing them used in authentic contexts. You can watch French TV shows and movies, especially of the romantic variety if you’re hoping to learn how to compliment someone. 

I also find that using flashcards is an effective way to memorize new vocabulary, and having a good flashcard app on your phone makes it super convenient and easy to practice whenever you have a few free minutes. 

Another great option is using an immersive language program like FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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Now that you know plenty of ways to say “beautiful” in French, it’s time to get practicing. 

See how many beautiful things (or people) you can find around you and comment on their beauty in French!

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