10 Popular French Songs for Kids (lyrics and audio)
Photo by Samantha Hurley¹

10 Popular French Songs for Kids (lyrics and audio)

Young kids are wonderful (most of the time). Full of learning, enthusiasm, and chatter. I have two of them, so I know! So for my list of the top French songs for kids, I picked songs that are popular in France, but also those that tell an interesting story. With the lyrics in French and English, young children can follow along and sing-along too.

Some of the French songs on the list seem quite long, and the reason for that is, in France, kids learn to recite poetry by heart in school. These longer songs are a sort of pre-training for kids for when they reach elementary school.

If you have babies and toddlers, do check out my list of top French nursery rhymes. Those songs are a little simpler, with repetitive refrains that will are easy to listen to. And then is a particular emphasis on falling asleep, which will please parents everywhere!

Note: if you have a Spotify account, log on to your account in a different tab on your internet browser, to hear the full song below.

1. Pirouette, cacahuète

This fanciful song about a little guy named Pirouette Cacahuète is one of the most popular French songs for kids of all time. The poor postman suffers, but everyone else will be quite happy with this tune.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Il était un petit homme
Pirouette, cacahuète
Il était un petit homme
Qui avait une drôle de maison
Qui avait une drôle de maison
He was a little man
Pirouette Peanut
He was a little man
Who had a funny house
Who had a funny house
Sa maison est en carton
Pirouette, cacahuète
Sa maison est en carton
Les escaliers sont en papier
Les escaliers sont en papier
His house is made of cardboard
Pirouette Peanut
His house is made of cardboard
The stairs are made of paper
The stairs are made of paper
Si vous voulez y monter
Pirouette, cacahuète
Si vous voulez y monter
Vous vous casserez le bout du nez
Vous vous casserez le bout du nez
If you want to go up there
Pirouette Peanut
If you want to go up there
You will break your nose
You will break your nose
Le facteur y est monté
Pirouette, cacahuète
Le facteur y est monté
Il s’est cassé le bout du nez
Il s’est cassé le bout du nez
The postman went up there
Pirouette Peanut
The postman went up there
He broke his nose
He broke his nose
On lui a raccommodé
Pirouette, cacahuète
On lui a raccommodé
Avec du joli fil doré
Avec du joli fil doré
We fixed him up
Pirouette, peanut
We fixed him up
With pretty golden thread
With pretty golden thread
Le beau fil, il s’est cassé,
Pirouette cacahuète 
Le beau fil, il s’est cassé 
Le bout du nez s’est envolé 
Le bout du nez s’est envolé 
The beautiful thread, it broke,
Peanut pirouette
The beautiful thread, it broke
The tip of the nose is gone
The tip of the nose is gone
Mon histoire est terminée
Pirouette, cacahuète
Mon histoire est terminée
Messieurs, Mesdames, applaudissez
Messieurs, Mesdames, applaudissez
My story is over
Pirouette Peanut
My story is over
Gentlemen, Ladies, please applaud
Gentlemen, Ladies, please applaud

2. Promenons-nous dans les bois

Wolves play a bit part in French stories and childhood tales, probably because they used to be common in the French countryside. If you are looking for a gentle family of wolves, check out Petit Loup (little wolf) series of books and TV show.

This wolf though is supposed to be a bit more scary. He does put on underwear just like everyone else though.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
(Refrain)
Promenons-nous dans les bois
Pendant que le loup n’y est pas
Si le loup y était 
Il nous mangerait
Mais comme il n’y est pas
Il nous mangera pas
Loup y es-tu ?
Que fais-tu?
Entends-tu?
(Refrain)
Let’s wander in the forest
While the wolf is not there
If the wolf was here
He would eat us
But since he is not there
He won’t eat us
Wolf are you there ?
What are you doing?
Do you hear?
Le loup:
– Je mets ma chemise
The wolf:
– I’m putting on my shirt
RefrainRefrain
Le loup:
– Je mets ma culotte
The wolf:
– I’m putting on my underwear
RefrainRefrain
Le loup:
– Je mets mes bottes
The wolf:
– I’m putting on my boots
RefrainRefrain
Le loup:
– Je mets ma veste
– Je mets mes chaussettes
– Je mets mes bottes
– Je mets mon chapeau
– Je mets mes lunettes
– Je prends mon fusil
– J’arrive!
The wolf:
– I’m putting on my jacket
– I’m putting on my socks
– I’m putting on my boots
– I’m putting on my hat
– I’m putting on my glasses
– I’m getting my gun
– I’m coming!

3. Tête, Epaules, Genoux et Pieds

The classic Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes has come to France. There’s no toes here though, toes has been substituted for feet. If you are wondering what the French word for “toes” is, it is orteil.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds.
Genoux et pieds.
Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds.
Genoux et pieds.
Head, shoulders, knees and feet. Knees and feet.
Head, shoulders, knees and feet.
Knees and feet.
J’ai deux yeux,
Deux oreilles,
Une bouche et un nez.
Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds.
I have two eyes,
Two ears,
A mouth and a nose.
Head, shoulders, knees and feet.
RepeatRepeat

4. Un Eléphant qui se balançait

With visions of elephants balancing on a spiderweb, children will quickly learn to count to 10 in French with Un Eléphant qui se balançait.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Un éléphant qui se balançait
sur une toile, toile, toile,
toile d’araignée,
Et qui trouvait ce jeu
tellement amusant
Qu’il a cherché un deuxième éléphant
An elephant who was balancing
on a web, web, web,
spiderweb,
And who found this game
so funny
That he looked for a second elephant
Deux éléphants…2 elephants…
Trois éléphants…3 elephants…
Quatre éléphants…4 elephants…
Cinq éléphants qui se balançaient
sur une toile toile toile
Toile d’araignée et
il trouvait ça tellement amusant
Que tout à coup…
5 elephants who were balancing
on a web, web, web,
spiderweb,
who found this game so funny
That all of a sudden,
Bada Boom!Bada Boom!

5. Sur le Pont d’Avignon

The classic “Ringa ringa rosie” folkdance in English comes to French with the Pont d’Avignon. The song dates back to the 15th century, and is based on the actual bridge in Avignon, the Pont Saint-Bénézet. While a portion of the bridge is still standing, it doesn’t extend across the Rhône river anymore.

Either way, kids will still enjoy dancing to this little ditty.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
(Refrain)
Sur le pont d’Avignon, 
L’on y danse, l’on y danse, 
Sur le pont d’Avignon 
L’on y danse tout en rond. 
(Refrain)
On the bridge of Avignon,
We dance there, we dance there,
On the bridge of Avignon
We dance there in circles.
Repeat refrainRepeat refrain
Les beaux Messieurs font comme ça 
Et puis encore comme ça. 
The handsome Monsieurs do like this
And then again like this.
Refrain x 2Refrain x 2
Les belles dames font comme ça 
Et puis encore comme ça. 
The pretty ladies do like this
And then again like this.
RepeatRepeat

6. Le Bon Roi Dagobert

Before the French Revolution, there was the Bon Roi Dagobert around 600-639AD. He may have been the Bon Roi (“Good King”), but he is a bit daft.

The full song is quite long, but the children’s version restricts itself to 3 verses.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
C’est le Roi Dagobert, 
Qui met sa culotte à l’envers, 
Le Saint Eloi lui dit : 
“O mon Roi,
Votre majesté 
Est mal culottée” 
“C’est vrai, lui dit le roi, 
Je vais la remettre à l’endroit”
(Oh la la!)
It’s King Dagobert,
Who puts his underwear inside out,
The Saint Eloi said to him:
“O my King,
Your majesty
Is badly underwear-ed ”
“It is true, said the King,
I’m going to put it the right way”
(Oh dear!)
Le bon Roi Dagobert 
Chassait dans la plaine d’Anvers 
Le grand Saint Eloi lui dit : 
“O mon Roi,
Votre Majesté 
Est bien essoufflée” 
“C’est vrai, lui dit le Roi, 
Un lapin courait après moi!”
The good King Dagobert
Hunting in the plains of Anvers
The great Saint Eloi said to him:
“O my King,
Your Majesty
Is out of breath”
“It is true, said the King,
A rabbit was chasing after me!”
Le bon Roi Dagobert 
Avait un grand sabre de fer. 
Le grand Saint Eloi lui dit : 
“O mon Roi,
Votre Majesté 
Pourrait se blesser” 
“C’est vrai, lui dit le Roi, 
Qu’on me donne un sabre de bois!” 
The good King Dagobert
Had a large metal sword.
The great Saint Eloi said to him:
“O my King,
Your Majesty
Could get hurt”
“It is true, said the King,
Give me a wooden sword!”

7. Il était un petit navire

Il était un petit navire may be a little macabre, but this French song for kids is really popular, even if it is very long.

This is actually the short version of the song. In the long version, there are lyrics wondering what sauce to cook the sailor in and so on. Another couple of verses involve the young sailor praying to the sky, to the Virgin Mary and God to save him from being eaten.

Thankfully all turns out well in the end!

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Il était un petit navire
Il était un petit navire
Qui n’avait ja, ja, jamais navigué
Qui n’avait ja, ja, jamais navigué
Ohé, ohé…
There was a small ship
There was a small ship
Who had never, never sailed
Who had never, never sailed
Ohé, ohé…
Il partit pour un long voyage
Il partit un long voyage
Sur la mer mé, mé, Méditérannée
Sur la mer mé, mé, Méditérannée
Ohé, ohé…
It went on a long journey
It went on a long journey
On the sea mé, mé, Mediterranean
On the sea mé, mé, Mediterranean Ohé, ohé…
(Refrain)
Ohé, ohé Matelot
Matelot navigue sur les flots
Ohé, ohé Matelot
Matelot navigue sur les flots
(Refrain)
Ohé, ohé Sailor
Sailor sails on the waves
Ohé, ohé Sailor
Sailor sails on the waves
Au bout de cinq à six semaines
Au bout de cinq à six semaines
Les vivres vin, vin, vinrent à manquer
Les vivres vin, vin, vinrent à manquer
Ohé, ohé…
After five to six weeks
After five to six weeks
Food, the food starts to run out
Food, the food starts to run out
Ohé, ohé…
On tira à la courte paille, 
On tira à la courte paille, 
Pour savoir qui-qui-qui serait mangé, 
Pour savoir qui-qui-qui serait mangé, 
Ohé, ohé…
They pulled the short straw,
They pulled the short straw,
To find out who-who-who would be eaten,
To find out who-who-who would be eaten,
Ohé, ohé…
Le sort tomba sur le plus jeune
Le sort tomba sur le plus jeune
Le pauvre enfant se, se, serait mangé
Le pauvre enfant se, se, serait mangé
Ohé, ohé…
Fate fell on the youngest
Fate fell on the youngest
The poor child would be eaten
The poor child would be eaten
Ohé, ohé…
RefrainRefrain
Au même instant un grand miracle, 
Au même instant un grand miracle, 
Pour l’enfant fut-fut-fut réalisé, 
Pour l’enfant fut-fut-fut réalisé, 
Ohé, ohé…
At the same time a great miracle,
At the same time a great miracle,
For the child to be saved,
For the child to be saved,
Ohé, ohé…
Soudain les poissons dans navire, 
Soudain les poissons dans navire, 
Sautèrent par-par-par et par milliers,
Sautèrent par-par-par et par milliers, 
Ohé, ohé…
Suddenly the fish in the ship,
Suddenly the fish in the ship,
Jumped by-by-by and by thousands,
Jumped by-by-by and by thousands,
Ohé, ohé…
On les prit on les mit à frire
On les prit on les mit à frire
Et le jeune mousse, mousse, mousse fut sauvé
Et le jeune mousse, mousse, mousse fut sauvé
They took them and put them to fry
They took them and put them to fry
And the young sail-sail-sailor was saved
And the young sail-sail-sailor was saved
Si cette histoire vous amuse, 
Si cette histoire vous amuse, 
Nous allons la-la-la recommencer, 
Nous allons la-la-la recommencer, 
Ohé, ohé…
If this story amuses you,
If this story amuses you,
We’re going to start it again,
We’re going to start it again,
Ohé, ohé…
RefrainRefrain

8. Savez-vous planter les choux

Savez-vous planter les choux is another cheerful little ditty to learn the parts of the body.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
(Refrain)
Savez-vous planter les choux?
A la mode, à la mode,
Savez-vous planter les choux?
A la mode de chez nous.
(Refrain)
Do you know how to plant cabbage?
The right way, the right way,
Do you know how to plant cabbage?
The way we do it at home.
On les plante avec le pied.
À la mode, à la mode,
On les plante avec le pied.
À la mode de chez nous.
You plant them with your foot.
The right way, the right way,
You plant them with your foot.
The way we do it at home.
On les plante avec la main.
À la mode, à la mode,
On les plante avec la main.
À la mode de chez nous.
You plant them with your hand.
The right way, the right way,
You plant them with your hand. The way we do it at home.
RefrainRefrain
On les plante avec le coude.
À la mode, à la mode,
On les plante avec le coude.
À la mode de chez nous.
You plant them with your elbow.
The right way, the right way,
You plant them with your elbow.
The way we do it at home.
On les plante avec le nez.
À la mode, à la mode,
On les plante avec le nez.
À la mode de chez nous.
You plant them with your nose.
The right way, the right way,
You plant them with your nose.
The way we do it at home.
RefrainRefrain

9. Une Souris Verte

Une Souris Verte is one of those French songs whose lyrics sound a bit strange, even if children find them hilarious.

It takes a darker turn though, as the legend suggests that story is about a Royalist soldier during the French Revolution in the 1790s, who is tracked and tortured by the Republicans. Only a legend though, so who knows? Kids will love the idea of mouse poop though.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Une souris verte
Qui courait dans l’herbe
Je l’attrape par la queue,
Je la montre à ces messieurs
Ces messieurs me disent:
A green mouse
Who was running in the grass
I grab it by the tail, I show it to these gentlemen These gentlemen tell me:
(Refrain)
Trempez-la dans l’huile,
Trempez-la dans l’eau,
Ça fera un escargot
Tout chaud.
(Refrain)
Soak it in oil,
Soak it in water,
It will make the snail
All hot.
Je la mets dans un tiroir
Elle me dit qu’il fait trop noir 
Je la mets dans mon chapeau,
Elle me dit qu’il fait trop chaud
Je la mets dans ma culotte,
Elle me fait trois petites crottes
I put it in a drawer
She tells me it’s too dark
I put it in my hat,
She tells me it’s too hot
I put it in my underwear,
She makes three little droppings
Repeat from RefrainRepeat from Refrain

10. Si tu as d’la joie au coeur

Another English transplant is the “If you are happy and you know it.” In French though, it becomes “having joy in your heart”.

French Song LyricsEnglish Translation
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe des mains
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe des mains
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe des mains.
If you have joy in your heart
Clap your hands
If you have joy in your heart
Clap your hands
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
Clap your hands.
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Claque la langue
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Claque la langue
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Claque la langue
If you have joy in your heart
Clack your tongue
If you have joy in your heart
Clack your tongue
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
Clack your tongue.
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe du pied 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe du pied 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe du pied.
If you have joy in your heart
Tap your foot
If you have joy in your heart
Tap your foot
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
Tap your foot
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe des mains
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Claque la langue
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Frappe du pied.
If you have joy in your heart
Clap your hands
If you have joy in your heart
Clack your tongue
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
Tap your foot
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Si tu as d’ la joie au cœur 
Dis merci – merci.
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
If you have joy in your heart
Say thank you – thank you.
Untitled

So there you have it, the top French songs for kids! Which one is your little one’s favorite? Comment below and let me know.

A bientôt!

¹ Featured Image: Samantha Hurley for Shopify Burst

☞ RELATED POST: Au Clair de la Lune: The Risqué Nursery Rhyme

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10 Popular French Songs for Kids (lyrics and audio)

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