My favourite French songs (#2) Of course, this is a very personal choice ! French songs are based on the lyrics more than the music. They are generally nostalgic, with a slow beat, often triple time.
 
 The songs    What the lyrics mean.....

C....l....i....c....k...... ....o....n....... t.....h....e........ t....i....t....t....l....e........ t....o..... ...l....i....s...t....e....n.... ...t....o........ t....h....e........ ...s....o....n....g....------------------------------>

Pensées des morts.... by Georges Brassens (1970s)

 

Click : Thoughts of the dead... an Autumn meditation ; what the dead want to tell us ; a wonderful poem by Lamartine and a powerful message

Le temps des cerises ... by Yves Montand (1870s)

 

Click : The time of cherries ... a metaphor : what life will be at the time of cherries in the Spring time, meaning when a revolution will have changed social and economic conditions ; written during the Commune in 1871 ; if you are politically Right Wing you like this song less ...

Les corons .... by Pierre Bachelet (1960s)

 

Click : The mining village ... a man remembers his youth in a family of miners ; if you play this in the Northern part of the country, the region of former coal mines, half of the audience will cry

Parlez moi d'amour .... by Lucienne Boyer (1930s)   Click : Talk to me about love ... a woman tells her lover that he can talk endlessly about love : she will never be bored
Avec le temps ... by Leo Ferré (19670s)   Click : With time .... whatever has happened to you, you will forget it with time but you will never be the same
Hymne à l'amour ... by Edith Piaf (1950s)  

Click : An hymn to love ... there is nothing above love, greater than life ; Edith Piaf is said to have sung it in New York the day her lover Marcel Cerdan was killed in a plane crash

Ma plus belle histoire d'amour ... Barbara (1970s)   Click : My most wonderful love story is you.. a love song and, at the end, you understand that she is singing her love to her audience ; Barbara used to end her recitals with that song.

Ma bohème .... by Charles Aznavour (1970s)

 

Click : One is happy ... a successful artist remembers his youth in Montmartre when he was much poorer and much happier

Vous qui passez sans me voir ... by Jean Sablon (1930s)   Click : You who did not look at me ... to a woman who walked past me without giving me a look : please give me some hope, I am so sad ...
The lament of Maitre Pathelin ... by Roberto Alagna (from an opera by François Bazin - 1856)   Click : Maitre Pathelin, .... I think about you from the moment I wake-up ... I would love to tell you but I am too afraid of you ....
La montagne ... by Jean Ferrat (1960s)   Click : The mountain .... why did they move to the big city, work hard to make their living and have a stupid life when they were born in a beautiful region, enjoying their life ?

Warning ! Please don't ask for the lyrics in English. My page on French songs has between six and seven million hits per year : I can't answer specific questions. Try to find the lyrics in French (I give several very useful links) and try to translate them......

To related pages : French songs, more songs, regional and ethnic French songs, French movies, French literature,intercultural differences, etc...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

To email me Many sites about France give facts and information. This site does that too - with a plus. You'll get an insider's view of the Franco- American scene: working in Paris, tips about food, what's new, etc.. All these and much more from a Franco- American couple in Paris.