The best French songs of all time


Whenever I meet a new person and talk about my blog, it’s always the same reaction. First, the person ask me why so much interest in French music and second they ask me to recommend them something and are always curious to know what my favorite songs are.

To choose your favorite song(s) is a very serious and difficult matter and I just can’t help remembering Nick Hornby’s character in “High Fidelity”.

Running the risk of been cruelly unfair, one day I decided to take the challenge and just choose, once and for all, the top 10 best French songs of all time. But I realized I just couldn’t do it. So I decided to split the list in three parts: 1) French Classics, 2) French new scene and 3) The Serge Gainsbourg list (and this one I’m gonna publish later, because he deserves, not only a list, but a post of his own).

1) French Classics:

1. Non, je ne regrette rien – Edith Piaf
2. Douce France – Charles Trenet
3. Le moribond – Jacques Brel*
4. Que reste-t-il de nos amours* – Charles Trenet
5. La Mer* – Charles Trenet
6. Comme d’habitude* – Claude François
7. Quand on n’a que l’amour – Jacques Brel
8. J’ai deux amours – Josephine Baker
9. Avoir un bon copain – Georges Brassens
10. Jolie Mome – Léo Ferré

* All of this songs were translated to English and became a huge success worldwide. In order, the English names are: “Seasons in the sun”; “Beyond the sea” (responsible for making Bobby Darin famous); “I wish you love” (nowadays considered a jazz standard); and “My way” (sang by people like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra).

2) French New Scene:

1. Ton héritage – Benjamin Biolay
2. Sympathique – Pink Martini (I know Pink Martini is an American band, but this song is just so French, I just couldn’t leave it out of the list)
3. Fanny Ardant et moi – Vincent Delerm
4. Louise – Thomas Fersen
5. J’suis pas d’ici – Thomas Dutronc
6. Dis-lui oui – Bénabar
7. Bientôt – Coralie Clément
8. Comme des enfants – Coeur de Pirate
9. Soulman – Ben L’Oncle Soul
10. Celle de mes 20 ans – Mélanie Pain

And below you can listen to the first places of both lists:


About Author

I’m Gabriela Mudado, a Brazilian girl who has been in love with French tunes since… well, ever! I started a blog about French music (in Portuguese) in 2008 and recently decided to create an English version of it.

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