Sing your way to French: the most famous French songs

Songs are an important reflection of a country’s culture, traditions, and beliefs. It is also a mean to discover, learn, and practice the different linguistic pronunciations. If you love music and are currently learning French, then this article is definitely the one you need. Let’s see how one can learn French through songs. 

Sans aucun doute (undoubtedly), the process of learning french might be complicated and overwhelming at times. However, this might also mean that you are taking up too much on yourself and not enjoying the process of it all. There are many ways to make the learning process fun like watching French movies with English subtitles. Going to the cinema is never a bad idea. You can also read books. There are plenty of them for beginners (with illustrations too!). But the most fun of all is singing. It is very enjoyable to learn french through songs, especially when you dance along too. Let’s look at some of the most famous French songs ever made and understand their lyrics: 

Sous le ciel de Paris – Zaz: (Under Parisian sky by Zaz) 

Sous le ciel de Paris” is a song initially written for the 1951 French film Sous le Ciel de Paris. It was then sung by Juliette Greco and subsequent recordings by renowned artists like Édith Piaf and Yves and the song soon became a symbol of Paris and France for the whole world. Do not hesitate to check the link attached above. Here are some of its lyrics.

Sous le ciel de Paris (Under the Parisian sky)

S’envole une chanson (A song flutters away

Hum hum

Elle est née d’aujourd’hui (It was born today)

Dans le cœur d’un garçon (In a young man’s heart

Sous le ciel de Paris (Beneath the Parisian sky

Marchent des amoureux (Lovers walk about) 

Hum hum

Leur bonheur se construit (Their happiness built) 

Sur un air fait pour eux (Upon a tune made just for them) 

It is a very beautiful and emotional song. The clip is also very reflective of the Parisian atmosphere. You would want to go to Paris and discover everything by yourself. 

La bohème – Charles Aznavour: Bohemia – by Charles Aznavour 

learn french thorugh la boheme by charles aznavour

Charles Aznavour is not only the singer of this song but also the writer of its lyrics. He talks about Paris, Montmartre and how it changed through the years. He recalls certain souvenirs, sad ones as well as happy ones and describes Parisian landscapes. Here is an extract from the song:

Je vous parle d’un temps (Let me tell of a time) 

Que les moins de vingt ans (That those under twenty)

Ne peuvent pas connaître (Cannot know) 

Montmartre en ce temps-là (Montmartre at that time) 

Accrochait ses lilas (Hanged with flowers)

Jusque sous nos fenêtres (Up until under our windows )


La bohème, la bohème (Bohemia, bohemia

Ça voulait dire (It meant) 

On est heureux (We are happy) 

La bohème, la bohème (Bohemia, bohemia) 

Nous ne mangions qu’un jour sur deux   (We only ate every other day) 

La vie en rose – Edith Piaf: (Life in Pink – by Edith Piaf) 

french song la vie en rose

Remember the article we published on common french expressions? If you do, then you certainly know the meaning and significance of la vie en rose. If you don’t, it’s ok. You can always check it out. This is one of the most celebrated songs in french history. It sparks joy, hope, love, and happiness. So why not learn french through this songs? Let’s look at some of the lyrics: 

Quand il me prend dans ses bras (When he holds me in his arms

Il me parle tout bas (He speaks to me so softly) 

Je vois la vie en rose (I see la vie en rose )

Il me dit des mots d’amour (He tells me words of love) 

Des mots de tous le jours (Some words everyday )

Et ça me fait quelque chose (And it gives me this thing)

Il est entré dans mon coeur (He entered my heart and gave it)  

Une part de bonheur (A part of heaven )

Dont je connais la cause (And I know why) 

C’est lui pour moi (It’s him for me )

Moi pour lui (I for him )

Dans la vie (For / in life )

Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie (He told me and promised it for life) 

For better understanding, we have given you a more or less literal translation to the words so that it would be easier for you to catch the words in French. However, there is an english version to the song that is more lyrical and more rhythmical available online. One last thing, if you like Edith Piaf’s voice, do check her song Je ne regrette rien, you might already have heard it before. It’s pretty simple, and it will definitely help you learn some new french vocabulary. 

Tout donner – Maître Gims: Give it all by Maître Gims 

learn french by listening to tout donner

This is a more recent song by one of the most famous singers these last couple of years. Let’s leave the words speak for themselves: 

Ne me demande pas la Lune (Do not ask me the moon

J’ai beaucoup mieux pour toi (I’ve got better things for you) 

Mes pas sont lourds (My steps are heavy

Parce que j’ai beaucoup pris sur moi ( Because I have carried so much with me

Ton regard brille pour moi (Your look is shining for me) 

Ce que t’as dans la poitrine, c’est à moi (That which is in your chest is mine)

Ton regard brille pour moi (Your look is shining for me)

Ce que t’as dans la poitrine, c’est à moi (That which is in your chest is mine)

Allez je t’ai tout donné (Come on, I gave you everything)

Tout donné (Gave you everything)

Now that you have listened to different types of songs, do not listen to something you do not like and keep discovering. Do not try to understand everything from the first time you listen to a song. It is possible to learn french through songs, only if you like the song itself, the music, and the rhythm. So listen to the music at first, then read the lyrics and listen repetitively for a much better experience !