15 Popular French Songs to Help You Learn French Faster
Let’s talk about the power of French songs.
French is a beautiful language, no doubt about it. But wrapping your head around the liaisons or getting stuck in grammar can make learning French seem like an impossible challenge.
Truth is, French is actually not that hard to learn, with the right approach. There are a lot of language hacks to help you pick up French quickly. One of the most important is to develop a passion for French culture and art.
I love listening to music to help me learn French. That’s partly because music is fun. But more important, studying French songs helps me pick up the language faster.
That’s what I want to help you with in this post.
Table of contents
- Why Study French With Songs?
- 15+ French Songs To Help You Learn French Faster
- 1. Dernière Danse by Indila
- 2. Aficionado by BB Brunes
- 3. Papaoutai by Stromae
- 4. La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf
- 5. Sympathique by Pink Martini
- 6. Je Veux by ZAZ
- 7. Color Gitano by Kendji Girac
- 8. Il Est Temps by Kyo
- 9. A Coup de Rêves by Ben L'Oncle Soul
- 10.Sous le Ciel de Paris by Yves Montand
- 11. La Tribu de Dana by Manau
- 12. Tombé Sous Le Charme by Christophe Mae
- 13. Elle Me Dit by Mika
- 14. Champs Elysées by Joe Dassin
- 15. The Ratatouille Song and Other French Songs for Kids
- 100+ More French Language Songs for Learning French
- Let’s Listen to French Music
Grab your headphones and a mic, and let’s dive into the French musical world!
Why Study French With Songs?
Here are a few of the biggest reasons why studying French through songs is a big advantage. Songs can:
Boost Your Memory
Probably the biggest benefit to studying with music is that it helps you remember vocabulary.
Mnemonics are one of my favourite tools for committing new vocabulary to memory. But mnemonics aren’t everything.
It turns out that our brains are hardwired to remember things through song. No wonder jingles remain stuck in your head years after watching a commercial.
Music is the ultimate mnemonic device!
Give You an Inside Look at French Culture
French songs give you an inside look into the way French speakers express themselves. You learn cultural nuances and expressions for all kinds of situations.
Improve Your Comprehension
Many French learners find listening to French a challenge. After all, native French speakers talk really fast.
Practising with songs will help bridge that gap and improve your listening comprehension.
Help You Sound Like a Native French Speaker
If you have a hard time getting French speakers to understand what you’re saying, then studying songs can help you master French pronunciation.
In fact, Spanish learner Jonross Swabby found that learning songs in Spanish and Portuguese made it easier for him to talk with native speakers.
Singing forces us to focus on the intonation and pronunciation of words in a way that repeating dialogues just can’t match.
15+ French Songs To Help You Learn French Faster
Not only have I put together a list of 15 songs that are ideal for French learners, but I have also included related recommendations to give you more choice. In total, you can choose from popular tunes.
I guarantee you’ll have at least one song to help you in your French journey by the end of this post!
Note: They’re in no particular order, because Des goûts et des couleurs, on ne discute pas (“Everyone’s tastes are different”).
1. Dernière Danse by Indila
With her haunting, clear vocals, Indila’s music is perfect for French learners.
This song is sung slowly, so you can pick up all the words (and learn about how Indila’s dancing helps her drown her sorrows.)
Indila is also famous for her songs Tourner Dans le Vide and SOS.
2. Aficionado by BB Brunes
A French rock song by the band BB Brunes, the lyrics are sung so clearly and slowly that you can’t help but pick up new words.
Plus the chorus is really catchy. You’ll find yourself singing along without even trying.
This is the great thing about catchy songs, like:
3. Papaoutai by Stromae
You have probably heard at least one of Stromae’s songs, whether it was at the club or on TikTok. If Papaoutai doesn’t ring a bell, maybe Alors On Danse or Tous Les Mêmes sound familiar.
Stromae has a peculiar style, and his songs tend to not be the most cheerful. But he articulates words well, uses many idioms, and doesn’t hold back on popular slang terms.
His lyrics often follow a logic thread, which can help you learn how to use French words in context.
Here’s an example from Alors On Danse:
|Qui dit étude dit travail||Who says study says work|
|Qui dit taf te dit les thunes||Who says job says money|
|Qui dit argent dit dépenses||Who says money says expenses|
|Qui dit crédit dit créance||Who says credit says debt|
|Qui dit dette te dit huissier||Who says debt says bailiff|
And there’s no denying that the beat is catchy. It’s what made Papaoutai a popular French song on TikTok, along with Copines by Aya Nakamura, Indila’s Tourner Dans le Vide and Douce Souffrance, and La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf.
4. La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf
One of the most celebrated songs in history, this Chanson (a specific style of lyrical song) is about as French as you can get.
While the lyrics are not too easy, singing this classic song in a room full of French people will get you some definite nods of approval.
5. Sympathique by Pink Martini
This song seems like it was pulled straight out of a lesson from a French language textbook.
The words are easy to understand and you get a virtual classroom by watching the music video with its vocabulary-boosting graphics.
6. Je Veux by ZAZ
This is an upbeat song with a great message, sung in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. Many of these are phrases and words you would hear spoken in daily conversation, which makes it even more useful for learning French.
ZAZ’s songs tend to be full of life and rhythmic, like On Ira and Qué Vendrá.
Yes, you’ve read that right: the title of the last song is in Spanish. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to hear Spanish, or find Hispanic influence, in French music.
7. Color Gitano by Kendji Girac
Kendji Girac is a gitan, and his song Color Gitano is full of vocabulary that describes his pride and love for his culture, as well as his everyday life.
Other songs by Kendji with useful vocabulary include Andalouse and Tiago.
8. Il Est Temps by Kyo
On the complete opposite side of the modern French music spectrum is this catchy pop tune by French boy band Kyo. Make sure you understand the lyrics for the full effect of this song about the end of a relationship.
9. A Coup de Rêves by Ben L'Oncle Soul
Ben L’Oncle Soul (born Benjamin Duterde), has a soulful song reminiscent of a Motown sound. If you like A Coup de Rêves then be sure to also check out Ailleurs, which has a slower feel and even easier-to-follow lyrics, and Soulman, which describes famous people in a verse!
10.Sous le Ciel de Paris by Yves Montand
Yves Montand, a well-known Italian-born French actor and singer, was actually discovered by Edith Piaf while working as a music hall singer. This song in the classic French crooner tradition is really easy to understand.
11. La Tribu de Dana by Manau
Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete list of songs without a bit of hip hop. One of the best selling French songs of all time, La Tribu de Dana (“The Tribe of Dana”) is an elegantly written song that tells the story of a battle between celtic warriors and the Dana Tribe.
12. Tombé Sous Le Charme by Christophe Mae
Christophe Mae writes heartfelt lyrics about life, everyday experiences, and feelings. He often uses idioms and even some commonly used French (bleeping) words. His unique voice and the catchy rhythm will make you want to learn his songs.
You can also try C’Est Ma Terre and Il Est Où le Bonheur by him.
13. Elle Me Dit by Mika
What post about French songs would not mention Elle Me Dit by Mika?
You might know Mika for his song Grace Kelly, but in France he is famous for another single. In Elle Me Dit, Mika describes what his judgy ‘mother’ thinks of him, and what he thinks of her in return.
14. Champs Elysées by Joe Dassin
(ZAZ also sang her own version!)
Let’s talk about Joe Dassin’s Champs Elysées, one of the vintage French songs you absolutely need to know. It might seem like a very cliché tune to learn, but it’s still popular in modern French culture.
Its catchy rhythm, slow pace, and simple vocabulary are perfect for beginner/ intermediate French learners.
If vintage French music is your (new) passion, you also have to listen to Charles Aznainvour’s La Bohème.
15. The Ratatouille Song and Other French Songs for Kids
Le Festin (“the feast”), also known as the Ratatouille song, is another popular French sound on TikTok. (If you’re on TikTok, come see what I do!) It’s from the 2007 Pixar-Disney movie Ratatouille that tells the story of Remy, a rat who loves to cook.
Other French songs for children include the French birthday song or some comptines (“nursery rhymes”) such as Alouette and A la Claire Fontaine.
100+ More French Language Songs for Learning French
Of course, these are just a few of my team’s favourites, but you can find a wide range of amazing French songs online.
There are also many fantastic resources to help you make the most of your French studies and find more songs in French.
Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
- 21 French Songs for French Learners: FrenchLearner.com have put together a helpful list of songs specifically for students of the French language. These include songs to learn the French Alphabet, days of the week, colours, and much more.
- 40+ Fun and Easy French Songs: This YouTube playlist includes over 40 songs perfect for beginner French learners.
- Learn French Fast Through Story and Song: Another YouTube Playlist with 24 songs to help you learn French quickly.
- Lyric Translations: Find your favourite song lyrics translated into other languages at LyricsTranslate. These are done by community members so keep in mind that the translations might not be perfect.
Let’s Listen to French Music
There you have it. Some great songs to help boost your French and additional links to keep your studies moving forward.
If you’re looking for more resources to help you learn French, take a look at my list of favourite tools and programs right here.