Learn French With Songs

Are you tired of just learning vocabulary and grammar through boring language lessons? Did you know you can also learn French with songs? It’s really fun, and what’s even better, there are a ton of them to choose from!

This is a great way to vary your learning techniques. You can look for French music online for free! You don’t have to spend a single dime.

In this article, we will share some songs that can help you learn French as well as some benefits and tips to make the most out of them.  Êtes-vous prêt? (Are you ready?)

How Can French Songs Help Me?

Young girl listening to music.

There are several benefits of listening to French songs. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Learn vocabulary. This goes without saying, but you can learn a lot of vocabulary through music. Singing along to your favorite songs is more fun than just repeating a word over and over at a class, isn’t it?

Learn slang. When you study any language, it’s equally important to learn both the formal and informal versions of it. After all, not all people speak formally all the time.

Improve your fluency. By singing a song over and over again, you can improve your speaking speed and your ability to express your ideas smoothly.

Practice your pronunciation. Be cautious with this one. Songs sometimes change the intonation or even the pronunciation of some words for the sake of rhythm, but it’s still a good way to practice your pronunciation.

Improve your memory. A scientific study proved that our brains store words more efficiently when they’re combined with rhythms and melody. Remember that song from kindergarten?

Improve your comprehension. By listening repeatedly to songs, you become used to spoken (or sung?) French. Listening comprehension is key to speaking any language.

How Do I Select Songs?

This is essential but shouldn’t be complicated. First of all, you have to like a song. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t feel motivated to continue. Don’t force yourself to like something.

You can select a song based on the rhythm, the genre, or the artist that sings it.

Try to be as specific as possible. You can google something like “French songs with present tense”, “French songs with slang”, “French songs with subjunctive”, or “French songs for beginners.”

As to where you can listen to them, there are a lot of options. You can try YouTube, YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, among streaming platforms. All you need is a laptop/smartphone and Internet, and you’re good to go.

A Few Tips

Thumbs up

To make the most out of your listening, I recommend the following:

  • Listen to a song as many times as you can. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it at first. Just get familiarized with it.
  • After listening to it one or two times, try to sing along. Try to form a mental picture of what is being sung.
  • Don’t rush into the lyrics. We might be tempted to read the lyrics as we listen to a song for the first time. Try to listen to it at least a couple of times before looking up the lyrics.
  • When looking up the lyrics, look them up in French, not in your native language. Translate in your head or preferably on paper as much as you can. Use a dictionary if necessary. 
  • Finally, analyze the song. What vocabulary or expressions did you learn? What grammar rules applied?

Make music a part of your learning experience. If you make a habit of it, you will improve your chances of learning.

Song Examples

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of listening to French music as well as a few tips, let’s take a look at some great songs all French learners should listen to.

“La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf

This a French classic and Edith Piaf’s signature song by far. There are many foreign versions of it, but none of them compares to the original.

“La Vie en Rose” is a romantic song full of feeling and emotions. It expresses what a woman feels when she is with her loved one. The song literally translates to life in pink, but a better translation would be “life through rosy lenses.”

The song only uses the simple present tense and is great for beginners.

“Papaoutai” by Stromae

Although the author and singer Stromae is Belgian, his song is one of the most famous, recent songs in the French world. The song title was misspelled on purpose and should read “Papa, Où T’es?” (Dad, Where Are You?).

The song is rather sad and tells us the story of a boy who yearns to see his father. His mother tries to make up excuses about his absence since not even she knows where he is.

“Papaoutai” is great for beginners. It’s written in the simple present tense and teaches us some vocabulary that people commonly use like work (travailler) and talk (parler).

“Champs Élysées” by Joe Dassin

I think all French teachers have recommended this song to their students. It shouldn’t surprise us since the tune is catchy and the song is easy to understand. 

The song title is self-explanatory. The song describes Paris’ most famous avenue and makes you want to visit it on the spot.

Make it a part of your playlist, and you will love it. Aux Champs Élysées, aux Champs Élysées

“Pour que tu m’aimes encore” by Céline Dion

Did you know that Céline Dion sings in French? It’s actually her native language since she was born and raised in French Canada. 

This romantic song tells us what a woman is willing to do to keep the love of a man.

Besides listening to Dion’s powerful voice, you can learn a lot from this song. It’s slow and easy to memorize. Additionally, it uses the simple present, the passé composé, the simple future, and the subjunctive. 

This song is for someone at an intermediate level.

“ Le retour des saisons” by Charles Trenet

This is another catchy song, easy to understand and memorize. 

It tells us about the seasons. You will learn a lot of vocabulary related to the subject. The song uses the simple present tense and is great for beginners and learners of all ages.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, learning French with songs has many benefits. We can improve our memory, our listening comprehension, our vocabulary, our pronunciation, our fluency, among other things.

Finding songs in French is very simple. You can find them anywhere and listen to them at home or on the go.

Try to find songs you like. This way it will be easier to stay motivated. Learning doesn’t have to be boring.

We provided you with some good songs to start your language learning through music. Of course, there are many more songs we could include, but this post would be too long. We will give you more recommendations in the near future.

Have you listened to any of the songs mentioned above? Which ones would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

If you liked this post, please don’t forget to like it and share it. Au revoir! 

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8 thoughts on “Learn French With Songs”

  1. I have used this a little with Spanish. I did not think of it as learning a language but can see how it would work. I wish I had seen this article or one like it 20 years ago.

    I don’t sing very well, but I can see how much help it would be. It would also help to remember and review.

    I think that the topic is one that will gain a lot of interest. Learning a new language opens of whole new channels of thought.

    • HI, Bruce,

      You don’t have to be a great singer. Many of us aren’t. However, using songs to learn a language helps us remember things more easily.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. What a great idea, first, I couldn’t think of a better time to be teaching yourself something new with the COVID-19 situation taking place, and secondly, whenever you put something to a song, it makes memorization of it so much easier. I actually used this method when teaching the kids their fundamentals in school. 

    Nice to point out that proper pronunciation can actually be affected by the rhythm of the song, but, that is a small easy fix. Overall, it’s a great idea. 

    • Hi,

      Yes, this is a good time to learn something new. Languages are really useful. What’s even better, we can do it all from our homes.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. What a wonderful idea. I learned French at school, but it’s been a long time since then lol. I liked it and I still like it very much. I often listen to French songs, for the pleasure of hearing how this beautiful language sounds. Of course I listened several times to “La vie en rose” -Edith Piaf, “Aux champs elisees” -Joe Dassin.

    • Hi, Carmen,

      Glad to hear you studied French. It’s a beautiful language, isn’t it?

      There are so many ways we can learn it. I will be sharing more tips. 

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Learning to speak French by listening to songs sounds so much fun.  I know that some time has to be spent with basic French language rules, the way words can be used, all the basic stuff.  But to know that you can also add the songs to change the way you are learning the words is such a game-changer for me.  

    I think I might be less afraid of the challenge with the help of songs.  Your selection of songs that you have suggested seems to be a nice range of interesting songs that could help.  The overall challenge to learn another language has always seemed too overwhelming.  I just didn’t want to try.  However, with the clever addition of song to learn and sing I could be successful as well.  

    I was interested in learning French because we were thinking that in a year or two we might travel to France.  This would give me time to get it done.  Thanks for the information, Sami

    • Hi, Sami,

      Learning French doesn’t have to be boring. It can be a somewhat long process, so why not make it fun?

      There are many resources at our disposal. I will be sharing more tips with you.

      Thanks for commenting.


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