Countries in French: Vocab lists and grammar rules

Celine Segueg

Learning a language is one way to explore the world, allowing us to interact with people from different countries and cultures. Knowing how to refer to different countries in French is an obvious way to cultivate such intercultural interactions.

For some countries like France and Canada, the names are identical in both languages. But did you know that most country names in French are different from their English equivalents? We’ve prepared this post to help you learn every country in French!

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We’ll start off with some of the basic grammar rules regarding countries in French. We’ll touch on gender and articles, we mention capitalization, and then we’ll move on to a bigger section on prepositions. Then come the main sections of this post on French country names, broken down by region of the world, where for each one we provide a comprehensive list of country names in French.

We’ve tried to be very thorough, so even if you’re looking for an obscure country it’s probably here. So let’s get started and learn the names of every country in French!

Countries in French: Grammar rules

Before we get into our country lists, let’s just go over a few basic rules for talking about countries in French. We’ll start with genders, we’ll touch on capitalization, and then we’ll look at prepositions.


Even if you’re a total beginner in French, you’re probably aware of the fact that all French nouns have a gender: either masculine or feminine. And since countries are nouns, each one has a gender. In our vocab lists below we include a column next to each of the French country names to indicate whether its gender is masculine (m) or feminine (f).


For most countries in French, it’s standard practice to use the definite article when referring to a country. You do this in English for plural countries like The Bahamas or The Philippines, whereas in French we do it for nearly every country. This is actually useful for learning each country’s gender since we always say le Canada or la France, for example.

As a reminder, the definite articles are le, la, and les for masculine, feminine, and plural. For singular countries starting with a vowel, the article is contracted to l’. Again, these are all included in each list of French countries below.

There are a few exceptions to the rule of using articles. Most of these are essentially city-states like Monaco or Singapour, so we don’t use articles since we just refer to the name of the city. For certain other countries, however, like Cuba and Madagascar, they’re just exceptions that need to be learned. If there’s no article in our list, it’s because we don’t use one with that country.


Just like you do in English, French country names are capitalized. Where there are multiple words to a country name, we capitalize each word. Some multi-word names are hyphenated, though this isn’t a general rule. We do not capitalize the articles before a country name.


In English your prepositions are based on movement: you go to a country, whereas you are in a country. In French we use the same prepositions regardless of movement, and instead differentiate based on grammar rules. Our choices are en, au, aux, and à.

We use en with singular feminine countries, and with any countries that start with a vowel sound. We do not include the article when we use en.

  • Je vis en Pologne, mais mon père est toujours en Ukraine. – I live in Poland, but my father is still in Ukraine.
  • Nous sommes allés en Tunisie en hiver, et nous sommes retournés en France en avril. – We went to Tunisia in the winter, and we returned to France in April.

We use au with singular masculine countries. Au replaces the article le.

  • Je vis normalement au Canada, mais je vais souvent au Méxique en hiver. – I normally live in Canada, but I often go to Mexico in the winter.
  • J’ai vécu trois ans au Brésil mais je ne suis jamais allé au Chili. – I lived in Brazil for three years but I never went to Chile.

We use aux with plural countries, regardless of their gender or if they start with a vowel sound. Aux replaces the article les.

  • J’ai fait un trimestre aux États-Unis lors de mes études. – I spent a semester in the United States during my studies.
  • Nous allons aux Pays-Bas pour le nouvel an. – We’re going to the Netherlands for New Year’s.

We only use à with a few of the countries that don’t take articles we mentioned above, mostly city-states and small island nations. (For the bigger masculine countries, like Cuba and Madagascar, it’s still normal to use au. For bigger countries that are feminine or start with a vowel sound, like Haïti or Oman, it’s still normal to use en.)

  • Les chefs d’état se sont réunis à Singapour. – The heads of state gathered in Singapore.
  • Ma cousine a appris à plonger à Sao-Tomé. – My cousin learned to dive in Sao Tome.

In English you say you come from a country. This is similar in French with de, but we need to respect the article. We follow the rules for partitive articles: de la for singular feminine countries, de l’ for countries that start with vowel sounds, du for singular masculine countries, and des for plural countries.

  • Elle vient de la Tunisie et il vient de l’Algérie. – She is from Tunisia and he is from Algeria.
  • Je suis parti du Luxembourg en train ce matin parce que mon avion partai des Pays-Bas. – I left [from] Luxembourg by train this morning because my plane was leaving from the Netherlands.

All the country names in French

Now that we’ve covered the grammar aspects for talking about countries in French, we’re ready to introduce our vocab lists with all the country names in French.

We started with the 193 member states of The United Nations – Les Nations Unies (also known as The UN – l’ONU), and then added a few more (like England and Greenland) that are also generally recognized as nations. This post is certainly not intended as a political statement but strictly as a useful reference, so please forgive any inclusions or omissions. The goal here is to learn to learn how to refer to countries, and the following French countries lists hopefully include every nation you’re looking for!

To make things easier to find, we’ve broken down our French country lists by geography. Again, these sub-regions are slightly subjective, so try a neighboring list if the country you’re looking for is in the middle of a big continent.

We’ll start with a global section on continents and regions, and then introduce every country name in French!

Continents in French

Here we introduce the seven continents – les sept continents as we get ready to cross the world – le monde and explore the planet Earth – la planète Terre.

You’ll notice that we start this list with The Americas, since most French speakers use l’Amérique to refer to the entire continental mass from Canada to Chile. So whereas people from the United States of America often refer to their country simply as America, l’Amérique in French is much broader.

Also note that although Australia is generally considered to be a continent of its own, we’re including it as part of the bigger region of Oceania here since it’s already listed in our country lists below. For other region names, we’ll introduce them in their respective sections.

The Americas L’ Amérique f
North America L’ Amérique du Nord f
South America L’ Amérique du Sud f
Europe L’ Europe f
Asia L’ Asie f
Africa L’ Afrique f
Oceania L’ Océanie f
Antarctica L’ Antarctique m

North America – L’Amérique du Nord

We’ll begin our tour of countries in French with North America, as many of our readers come from its two biggest countries. Note that the abbreviation of USA is universally understood in French, although most French speakers simply use É‑U.

Canada Le Canada m
Mexico Le Mexique m
United States of America Les États-Unis d’Amérique m
Greenland Le Groenland m

Central America – L’Amérique Centrale

Moving southwards through the Americas, our next list of countries in French covers the isthmus of Central America.

Belize Le Belize m
Costa Rica Le Costa Rica m
El Salvador Le Salvador m
Guatemala Le Guatemala m
Honduras Le Honduras m
Nicaragua Le Nicaragua m
Panama Le Panama m

The Caribbean – Les Caraïbes

This next region is composed entirely of island states. We added Martinique and Guadeloupe to our list even though they’re technically overseas départements of France, just like Hawaii is to the United States. Here’s our list of Caribbean countries in French.

Antigua and Barbuda L’ Antigua-et-Barbuda m
Bahamas Les Bahamas m
Barbados La Barbade f
Cuba Cuba m
Dominica La Dominique f
Dominican Republic La République Dominicaine f
Grenada La Grenade f
Guadeloupe La Guadeloupe f
Haiti Haïti m
Jamaica La Jamaïque f
Martinique La Martinique f
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint-Kitts-et-Nevis m
Saint Lucia Sainte-Lucie f
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint-Vincent-et-les-Grenadines m
Trinidad and Tobago La Trinité-et-Tobago f

South America – L’Amérique du Sud

We’ll finish up our tour of the Americas with this list of countries on the South American continent. Again, we’ve added French Guyana even though it’s a French overseas département.

Argentina L’ Argentine f
Bolivia La Bolivie f
Brazil Le Brésil m
Chile Le Chili m
Colombia La Colombie f
Ecuador L’ Équateur m
Guyana La Guyana f
French Guyana La Guyane Française f
Paraguay Le Paraguay m
Peru Le Pérou m
Suriname Le Suriname m
Uruguay L’ Uruguay m
Venezuela Le Venezuela m

Africa – L’Afrique

Heading east across the South Atlantic we reach the African continent. Here the countries range from the Mediterranean coasts of the north, southwards across the Sahara and the Sahel, to the diverse rainforests of the Congo Basin, to the deserts of Namibia and the floodplains of Botswana, and eastwards to the island nations of Madagascar and Mauritius. We even include Mauritius’s neighbors Reunion and Mayotte, which are overseas départements of France.

Algeria L’ Algérie f
Angola L’ Angola m
Benin Le Bénin m
Botswana Le Botswana m
Burkina Faso Le Burkina Faso m
Burundi Le Burundi m
Cabo Verde Le Cabo Verde m
Cameroon Le Cameroun m
Central African Republic La Centrafrique f
Chad Le Tchad m
Comoros Les Îles Comores f
Côte D’Ivoire La Côte d’Ivoire f
Democratic Republic of the Congo La République Démocratique du Congo f
Djibouti Djibouti m
Egypt L’ Égypte f
Equatorial Guinea La Guinée équatoriale f
Eritrea L’ Érythrée f
Eswatini L’ Eswatini m
Ethiopia L’ Éthiopie f
Gabon Le Gabon m
Gambia La Gambie f
Ghana Le Ghana m
Guinea La Guinée f
Guinea Bissau La Guinée-Bissau f
Kenya Le Kenya m
Lesotho Le Lesotho m
Liberia Le Liberia m
Libya La Libye f
Madagascar Madagascar f
Malawi Le Malawi m
Mali Le Mali m
Mauritania La Mauritanie f
Mauritius Île Maurice m
Mayotte Mayotte f
Morocco Le Maroc m
Mozambique Le Mozambique m
Namibia La Namibie f
Niger Le Niger m
Nigeria Le Nigeria m
Republic of Congo La République du Congo f
Reunion La Réunion f
Rwanda Le Rwanda m
Western Sahara Le Sahara Occidental m
Sao Tome and Principe Sao Tomé-et-Principe m
Senegal Le Sénégal m
Seychelles Les Seychelles f
Sierra Leone La Sierra Leone f
Somalia La Somalie f
South Africa L’ Afrique du Sud m
South Sudan Le Soudan du Sud m
Sudan Le Soudan m
Tanzania La Tanzanie f
Togo Le Togo m
Tunisia La Tunisie f
Uganda L’ Ouganda m
Yemen Le Yémen m
Zambia La Zambie f
Zimbabwe Le Zimbabwe m

Europe – L’Europe

Now we’re ready to start learning all of the countries across the vastness of Eurasia – l’Eurasie. We’ll head eastwards, grouping our countries roughly by region. Let’s start with the countries of Europe. We include Russia on this list even though much of its landmass spans across all of Asia, since its political weight is arguably more European.

Albania L’ Albanie f
Andorra L’ Andorre f
Armenia L’ Arménie f
Austria L’ Autriche f
Belarus La Biélorussie f
Belgium La Belgique f
Bosnia and Herzegovina La Bosnie-Herzégovine f
Bulgaria La Bulgarie f
Croatia La Croatie f
Cyprus La Chypre f
Czech Republic La République Tchèque f
Denmark Le Danemark m
England L’ Angleterre f
Estonia L’ Estonie f
Finland La Finlande f
France La France f
Germany L’ Allemagne f
Greece La Grèce f
Hungary La Hongrie f
Iceland L’ Islande f
Ireland L’ Irlande f
Italy L’ Italie f
Latvia La Lettonie f
Liechtenstein Le Liechtenstein m
Lithuania La Lituanie f
Luxembourg Le Luxembourg m
Malta Malte m
Moldova La Moldavie f
Monaco Monaco m
Montenegro Le Monténégro m
Netherlands Les Pays-Bas f
Northern Ireland L’ Irlande du Nord f
North Macedonia La Macédoine du Nord f
Norway La Norvège f
Poland La Pologne f
Portugal Le Portugal m
Romania La Roumanie f
Russia La Russie f
San Marino Saint-Marin m
Scotland L’ Écosse f
Serbia La Serbie f
Slovakia La Slovaquie f
Slovenia La Slovénie f
Spain L’ Espagne f
Sweden La Suède f
Switzerland La Suisse f
Ukraine L’ Ukraine m
United Kingdom Le Royaume-Uni m
Vatican City Le Vatican m
Wales Le Pays de Galles m

The Middle East – Le Moyen-Orient

A strict definition of which countries comprise The Near East – Le Proche-Orient or The Middle East – Le Moyen-Orient is somewhat vague, so we’ve simply grouped the countries of the greater Arabian peninsula onto this list.

Bahrain Le Bahreïn m
Gaza Le Gaza m
Iran L’ Iran m
Iraq L’ Irak m
Israel L’ Israël m
Jordan La Jordanie f
Kuwait Le Koweït m
Lebanon Le Liban m
Oman Oman m
Palestine La Palestine f
Qatar Le Qatar m
Saudi Arabia L’ Arabie Saoudite f
Syria La Syrie f
Turkey La Turquie f
United Arab Emirates Les Émirats Arabes Unis m
West Bank La Cisjordanie f

Central Asia – L’Asie Centrale

Just like the Middle East, we’re not relying on a strict definition of Central Asia – L’Asie Centrale. Here we present the countries in the middle of the Eurasian land mass that generally surround the Caspian Sea. We include Mongolia on this list simply because its high steppe geography is so much closer to that of the Stans than that of its neighbors further south.

Azerbaijan L’ Azerbaïdjan m
Georgia La Géorgie f
Kazakhstan Le Kazakhstan m
Kyrgyzstan Le Kirghizistan m
Mongolia La Mongolie f
Tajikistan Le Tadjikistan m
Turkmenistan Le Turkménistan m
Uzbekistan L’ Ouzbékistan m

South Asia – L’Asie du Sud

India is this region’s epicenter. For South Asia – L’Asie du Sud, here’s its list of countries in French.

Afghanistan L’ Afghanistan m
Bangladesh Le Bangladesh m
Bhutan Le Bhoutan m
India L’ Inde f
Maldives Les Maldives m
Nepal Le Népal m
Pakistan Le Pakistan m
Sri Lanka Le Sri Lanka m

East Asia – L’Asie de l’Est

In East Asia – Asie de l’Est we clearly have China in the center, along with its neighbors to the east and south. In this list of countries in French we go all the way from the Korean peninsula and Japan in the northeast, southwards to the countries of Southeast Asia – L’Asie du Sud-Est and eastwards across the South China Sea.

Brunei Le Brunei m
Cambodia Le Cambodge m
China La Chine f
Hong Kong Hong Kong m
Indonesia L’ Indonésie f
Japan Le Japon m
Laos Le Laos m
Macau Macau m
Malaysia La Malaisie f
Myanmar Le Myanmar m
North Korea La Corée du Nord f
Philippines Les Philippines f
Singapore Singapour m
South Korea La Corée du Sud f
Thailand La Thaïlande f
Vietnam Le Vietnam m

Oceania – L’Océanie

The final region we’ll visit on this tour of the world’s countries in French is Oceania – L’Océanie. Here we include a panoply of island nations that are dotted across the South Pacific. Australia and New Zealand are the biggest countries of this region, while Papua New Guinea is probably its most culturally and biologically diverse. We include two French overseas territories on this list as well: French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

Australia L’ Australie f
Fiji Le Fidji m
French Polynesia La Polynésie Française f
Kiribati Kiribati f
Marshall Islands Les Îles Marshall m
Micronesia Les Micronésie m
Nauru Nauru m
New Caledonia La Nouvelle-Caledonie f
New Zealand La Nouvelle-Zélande f
Palau Les Palaos m
Papua New Guinea La Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée f
Samoa Le Samoa m
Solomon Islands Les Îles Salomon f
Timor-Leste Le Timor oriental m
Tonga Tonga f
Tuvalu Tuvalu f
Vanuatu Vanuatu m

Conclusion: Countries in French

Whew! That was quite the whirlwind tour of the world! We certainly enjoyed traveling to every country through this post, on every continent and in every region.

We started this post off with the grammar basics for talking about countries in French. From the essentials of gender, articles, and capitalization, we then got into how to use French prepositions with countries and regions.

Then came all our vocab. We broke down the world’s countries by continent and region, gradually making our way across the planet to introduce every single one of the world’s countries in French!

We recommend saving this post for reference, or even for inspiration. Now you’re ready to talk about where you live, where you travel, and where you’d like to go, with all the vocab for every country in French!