French Music for Your Ears!

The French versatile repertoire of songs covers all genres from nursery rhymes to metallic rock and there really is a song to suit each occasion. No matter your connection to France or the language, you’re sure to have come across French music sometime. We’ve compiled a collection of songs that could be added to your Spotify playlist or have you going, “Oh, I’ve heard this one before”!

For the Little Ones

Let’s start off young. If you’ve studied French in school, college or even at the Alliance Francaise (External link) , you may remember the lilting tunes of Allouette – which was all about a lark - or even Frère Jacques that speaks (or rather sings) of an old friar who has overslept and who needs to wake up to sound the bell for prayers. There’s also the famous children’s song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” that brings to life vivid images of a dance on Avignon’s famous bridge of the same name. Be sure to visit the bridge and break out in a jig the next time you find yourself in Avignon!

The LP, Walkman and Cassette Player Years

Who can forget the contributions of legends like Joe Dassin, Edith Piaf, Johnny Hallyday, Francoise Hardy and other greats in making French music a global phenomenon? There’s the timeless appeal of “La Mer” (the sea) sung by Charles Trenet or the extremely likeable and hummable “Les Champs Elysées” by Joe Dassin that make you want to be strolling along the Champs Elysées in Paris.

For those who can’t get enough of Paris, there’s also Edith Piaf’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” (Under the Parisian sky) that speaks of romance in undoubtedly the most romantic city in the world. While on Edith Piaf, can we forget her soulful “La Vie en Rose” credited to be one of the greatest French songs of all times?

edith piaf - liveAbout
Edith Piaf © LiveAbout

If you’re a Johnny Hallyday fan, you are sure to have heard L’Envie (the desire) that speaks of someone wanting a restart in life which was also one of his biggest hits. There’s also Francoise Hardy’s “Tous les Garcons et les Filles” about a lone soul in a world of happy couples.

johnny hallyday
Johnny Hallyday ©

There’s also Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s “Je T’Aime..Moi Non Plus” (I love neither) that was sung by Gainsbourg and his first girlfriend, the renowned actress now turned activist Brigitte Bardot and later he released a version with Jane Birkin and which become a worldwide hit!

Joe Dassin fans will surely want to include in this list, his well-known “Et Si Tu N’Existais Pas” (if you didn’t’ exist) which is a quintessential romantic track and can be used to woo your cherie!

Of Discmans, Ipods and Spotify Playlists

If you’ve ever listened to music on any of the above devices or platforms, then your idea of French greats includes Celine Dion, David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, DJ Snake, Mylene Farmer, Alizée and so on and so forth. If you are a romantic at heart, then Celine Dion’s “Pour que tu m’aimes encore” (so that you will love me still) will give you a few tips in holding onto the love of your life who seems to be on his /her way out. No surprise that this song was the biggest French song of her career.

If you are familiar with Mylène Farmer’s songs, then you are sure to have heard of “Desenchatée” (disenchanted) which created a storm on the French music scene in 1991.

mylene farmer desenchantee wikipedia
Mylène Farmer © Wikipedia

Then we’ve got Alizée who entered the French music scene in 1999 and incidentally was discovered by Mylène Farmer on a TV show. Alizée’s song, “Moi…Lolita” written by Mylène became a runaway hit and she became a new icon of the 2000’s.

alizee moi lolita discogs
Alizée © discogs

We also have France’s original rap superstar MC Solaar who appeared on the music scene in 1999 and captured the hearts of rap fans with his “Bouge de la” or (move from there). If you’ve been an avid Sex and the City fan, you are sure to have heard his “La Belle et le Bad Boy” which featured on the series finale of this epic TV show.

Of course, you’ve heard and danced to “Alors on Danse” (So we Dance) by the Belgian artiste Stromae or spent many an enjoyable night at the club swaying to the music of David Guetta, DJ Snake or Bob Sinclar, all of who have created their own niche with their electrifying chartbusters.

david guetta - aac booking
David Guetta © AAC Booking

If you haven’t already, then do include Matt Pakora’s “Si t’es pas la” (If you are not there), a song made for romantics to your playlist and which finds its way to the most popular song list of 2019.

matt pakora -
Matt Pakora ©