I’m flying into France in a couple of days.
I know. I know. I’m overjoyed, too. For those of us who are not going to Paris, however, I’ve compiled a thirty-minute getaway to help you feel like you’re having the time of your life, similar to the time of my life that I will soon be having (sorry, I’m feeling a little braggy).
Find a sweet potato fry, pretend to smoke it like a cigarette, and listen to the playlist here.
1.I Love Paris – Ella Fitzgerald Paris is the kind of place that inspires unconditional love.
Every time I look down on this timeless town
Whether blue or gray be her skies
Whether loud be her cheers or whether soft be her tears
More and more do I realize that
I love Paris
2.La Mer – Charlest Trenet My translation is either a little too literal on this one or this song is actually a bit stranger than I thought it was.
La mer (The sea)
Au ciel d'été confound (With the summer sky mixes)
Ses blancs moutons (Her white capped sheep)
Avec les anges si purs (With the angels so pure)
La mer bergère d'azur (The sea, azure shepherdess,)
3.Formidable – Stromae This song is definitely better for dancing to than for lyric analysis. Take my word for it.
Formidable, formidable (Wonderful, wonderful)
Tu étais formidable, j'étais très pitoyable, (You were wonderful, I was so pitiful)
Nous étions formidables (We were wonderful)
4.Les Cornichons – Nino Ferrer Les cornichons are gherkins. This song lists a wide variety of delicious picnic foods of France, from baguettes, to brie, to chocolate and champagne, but, for who knows why, it is the gherkins that get all the credit.
Le poulet froid (Cold chicken)
La mayonnaise (Mayonnaise)
Le chocolat (Chocolate)
Les champignons (Mushrooms)
Les ouvre-boîtes (The can-opener)
Et les tomates (And tomatoes)
Les cornichons (Gherkins)
5.Moi Je Joue – Brigitte Bardot Perhaps another French song that isn’t known for its lyrics, though there is some fun wordplay (for example, joue means both "play" and "cheek").
Moi je joue (Me, I play)
Moi je joue à joue contre joue (Me, I play cheek to cheek)
Je veux jouer à joue contre vous (I want to play at cheek against you)
Mais vous, le voulez-vous? (But you, do you want it?)
De tout cœur (From all my heart)
Je veux gagner ce cœur à cœur (I want to win this heart to heart)
Vous connaissez mon jeu par cœur (You know my game by heart)
Alors défendez-vous (So defend yourself)
6.Quelqu’un M’a Dit – Carla Bruni This track is exceptionally beautiful, music and lyrics alike. Carla Bruni herself is a deeply interesting person, but let’s try not to hold it against her that there’s rumors that she once dated Donald Trump (but still, ew).
On me dit que nos vies (I’m told that our lives)
Ne valent pas grand-chose (Aren’t worth much)
Qu’elles passent en un instant (That they pass in an instant)
Comme fânent les roses, (Like wilting roses,)
On me dit que le temps (I’m told that time)
Qui glisse est un salaud, (That slips by is a bastard,)
Et que de nos chagrins (And that our sorrows)
Il s’en fait des manteaux (It makes into coats)
7.Michèle – Gerard Lenorman Michèle is a beautiful song about young love lost. I dare you to listen to this song and not fantasize about falling in love in France.
Un jour tu as eu dix-sept ans (One day you were 17 years old)
Tes cheveux volaient dans le vent (Your hair was flying in the wind)
Et souvent tu chantais: (And often you were singing:)
“Oh! Yesterday!” (“Oh! Yesterday!”)
Les jeudis après-midi (Thursdays in the afternoon)
On allait au cinéma gris (We used to go to the gray cinema)
Voir les films, de Marilyn (To see Marilyn’s films)
Michèle, un soir en décembre (Michele, one evening in December)
La neige tombait sur les toits (The snow was falling on the roofs)
Nous étions toi et moi (We were you and I)
Endormis ensemble (Falling asleep together)
Pour la première fois (For the first time)
8.La Javanaise – Serge Gainsbourg No one like Serge Gainsbourg can teach you about love. And French, since he enunciates so clearly. Also, this rare music video documents the purest nonchalance I have ever seen.
La vie ne vaut d’être vécue sans amour (Life is not worth living without love)
Mais c’est vous (But it is you)
Qui l’avez voulu mon amour (Who wanted it that way, my love)
Ne vous déplaise (Whether it pleases you or not)
En dansant la Javanaise (In dancing the Javanaise)
Nous nous aimions (We loved each other)
Le temps d’une chanson (For the length of a song)
9.Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf This is a song that could also fit in last week’s playlist, To Feel Good In Your Own Skin. Put it on, belt it out, and pretend that you don’t have any regrets for at least a few minutes.
Balayées les amours (Wiped away the romances)
Et tous leurs tremolos (And all their instabilites)
Balayés pour toujours (Swept away for eternity)
Je repars à zero (I restart at zero)
Non, rien de rien (No, nothing at all,)
Non, je ne regrette rien (No, I regret nothing)
Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait (Not the good things they did to me)
Ni le mal (Nor the bad)
Tout ça m’est bien égal (May as well be the same to me)
10.La Vie En Rose – Louis Armstrong La Vie En Rose is the quintessential French song. We’ve all heard it, coming out of music boxes and in subway cars. This version is in English, through the voice of celebrated American trumpeter, composer, and singer Louis Armstrong. Though the lyrics are somewhat different, the gist is the same. In France, just like in love, life is pink.
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cat
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak, angels sing from above
Every day words seem
To turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
Again, the mix can be found here for your “I don’t know what they’re saying but I dig it” listening enjoyment.
Heureux de tomber amoureux de Paris.