21 July 2018 | Top

15 French songs you absolutely need to know to feel French

You are coming to France, or you already are in the hexagon... You may already have heard some of those songs. It goes from the most famous all around the world to the ones famous only in France. If you mention one of those songs in a conversation with French people, you'll impress them for sure! No worries, my pleasure! :)

Edith Piaf - La vie en rose

To start with the obvious, Edith Piaf is THE French icon, that you’ll get to know as soon as you arrive in Paris. Her songs have been in people’s minds for more than 50 years now. She died in 1963, but left songs that became so popular we could consider them as national anthems.

Joe Dassin - Les Champs Elysées

Les Champs – Elysées might be the second most famous French song.. Joe Dassin is in love with this avenue and sings the experience !

Charles Aznavour - La Bohème

Charles Aznavour is an icon ! French kids learn his songs at school. He is still alive today, he is 93 old and his song named “La Bohème” depicts the bohemian life of artists who lived in the Montmartre area during the 1950s.

If you know this song, some French people may fall in love with you 😍

Jean Jacques Goldman - Quand la musique est bonne

Jean Jacques Goldman is bit more recent. The heyday of his career was during the 1980s. In France, the 1980s was a period of huge music proliferation. “Quand la musique est bonne”, which means “When the music is good”, is a 1980s anthem.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je t'aime... moi non plus!

Literally means “I love you… me neither!” One of the most iconic couple of the French culture, Gainsbourg & Birkin lived a passionate love story and everybody knows their songs in France.

 

George Brassens - Les copains d'abord

Literally means “Friends first”, this song is an hymn to eternal friendships. It is very famous in France, and once you listen to it, you’ve got it stuck in your head for weeks. It’s a good track to practice with your guitar as well.

Jacques Brel - Ne me quitte pas

One of the saddest songs ever written in French language, “Don’t leave me” is the story of a man, who begs his fiancée not to leave him. Jacques Brel was actually Belgian, and he wrote hundreds of songs.

Téléphone - Ça c'est vraiment toi

For many French people, if they had to mention only one French rock n’ roll band, they would say “Téléphone”. They are very often seen as the French Rolling Stones. 😉

 

Claude François - Comme d'habitude

Literally means “As usual”, you will recognize for sure the melody of this song. Frank Sinatra fell in love with the rhythm and decided to write his song “My way” on this melody. It’s about a man, who is stuck in his every day life routine, and his love story fades gradually away…

Renaud - Mistral gagnant

Mistral Gagnant is the sweetest and the most intimate romantic ballad ever written. Renaud describe his love with the vocabulary of a young kid. Because as a matter of fact,  simple words have deep impact.

Emile et Image - Les démons de minuit

If you end up in a French party, a marriage, an anniversary party, or whatever, and if people start to dance, you’ll hear this song for sure! It is from the 80s, so it’s quite different from what we are used to hear nowadays, but still very funny !

Louise Attaque - J't'emmène au vent

1997 was the year of Louise Attaque in France. The title means “I take you in the wind” and it makes now 20 years that we listen to this song in marriages, birthday parties, etc. It’s the kind of song that makes you wanna dance in the middle of the street.

Noir Désir - Le vent nous portera

This song is about wind as well. Noir Désir tells us that whatever you do in your life, the wind will blow it away. It was a huge hit in 2001. Just listen to it and enjoy! 🌬

Barbara - Ma plus belle histoire d'amour

Barbara represents the French woman, with elegance and style. She had a sublime voice and her songs are delightful. In this song, she says that her most beautiful love story, it’s basically with her public

Les Rita Mitsouko - Marcia Baila

The most ambiguous French song ever. Why? The melody and rhythm make you want to dance and get drunk. However, when you listen to the lyrics, it’s the story a young woman who is dying of a cancer. But it worked! It was a huge hit in 1984.

Now, you know all of this, you’re a true French person! 🇫🇷