French flowers: Useful vocabulary and expressions

French flowers: Useful vocabulary and expressions

by Clara Avrillier

Updated November 9, 2022

Flowers can symbolize many different things depending on the country. If you find yourself strolling along a Sunday market in France, you will no doubt see an array of stunning flowers (fleurs), floral arrangements and bouquets. Many supermarkets and independent florists also sell flowers. In this article, we’ll share some names of popular French flowers, useful flower vocabulary and some floral expressions to help you sound like a local. Your French language skills are bound to bloom! 

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Names of flowers 

The truth is, there are too many beautiful French garden flowers to list. Even so, we’ve done our best to put together a list of the most popular ones. Below, you’ll find the names of each flower in both French and English. 

BluebellUne jacinthe des bois
ButtercupUn bouton d’or
CarnationUn œillet
Chrysanthemum*An important flower in France on All Saints’ DayUn chrysanthème 
DaffodilUne jonquille
DaisyUne marguerite
Fleur-de-lis*The national flower of FranceFleur de lys
Forget-me-notUn myosotis
FoxgloveUne digitale
FreesiaUn freesia
GeraniumUn géranium
HibiscusUn hibiscus
HydrangeaUn hortensia
IrisUn iris
JasmineLe jasmin
LavenderLa lavande
LilyUn lys
MarigoldUn souci
OrchidUne orchidée
PansyUne pensée
PeonyUne pivoine
PoppyUn coquelicot
RoseUne rose
SnowdropUn perce-neige
SunflowerUn tournesol
TulipUne tulipe 

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Flower vocabulary 

Now that you’ve learned the names of some popular French flowers, you can have a look at the various parts of flowers and common verbs.

PetalLes pétales 
StemLa tige
LeavesLes feuilles 
RootLa racine
Bud Le bourgeon
PollenLe pollen
A bouquetUn bouquet
A floristUn fleuriste

Flower verbs

To grow Pousser 
To plantPlanter 
To bloomFleurir 
To pickCueillir 

Floral expressions

In most languages, using expressions or idioms can elevate your language and earn you some brownie points. So here are a few floral expressions you can try using in French:

  • Voir la vie en rose: to look through rose-tinted glasses

This is probably the most well-known floral expression thanks to Edith Piaf’s iconic song La Vie En Rose. It’s a beautiful way to say that you should always look on the bright side of life.

  • A fleur de peau: hypersensitive 

Someone who is described this way is generally very sensitive and highly strung. 

  • Faire une fleur à: to do someone a favor 

This is a charming way to describe when someone does a favor or an act of kindness. 

  • La fleur au fusil: light-heartedly/without a care in the world

This expression refers to soldiers at the beginning of the First World War as they left for battle confident and courageous, unaware of the horrors that they would see. This idiom is therefore used when someone sets out with no preparation and no idea of what lies ahead.

  • La fine fleur de: the cream of 

A great expression to describe the best of something, for example, the best hotels in a city or the best group of students in a class.

Let your skills flourish 

So next time you’re heading to a dinner party and would like to offer a gift, you can pick up a beautiful bouquet of French flowers at your local florist to delight your host. And if you throw in a floral idiom, you’ll seriously impress! 

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Clara Avrillier is a writer, linguist and content manager living in the South of France. She loves getting out in nature, doing sport, reading and playing music. She also works with expats looking to move to France. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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