Ah français! The language of love and romance. There’s no denying that music can convey romance incredibly well, but when you combine music with lyrics sung in an unmistakably amorous tongue, you get songs that possess an allure that is oh-so-appropriate for this particular day. Grab a box of macarons and a bottle of Sauternes, this is a list for lovers and Francophiles alike.
5. Yelle – “Que Veux-Tu”
A bright, catchy tune from Yelle’s sophomore album, Safari Disco Club, “Que Veux-Tu” tells the story of a timid, endearingly neurotic girl’s crush on a certain special someone. As she watches him from afar, she longs to work up the courage to speak to him, obsessing over what she should say and how she should say it. The first part of the ridiculously addictive chorus roughly translates to, “What do you want? I’m crazy about you / My heart doesn’t beat when I see you.” Awww.
4. Johnny Hallyday – “Je Te Promets”
With translated lyrics that begin, “I promise you the salt of my mouth’s kiss / I promise you the honey of the touch of my hand / I promise you the sky above your bed / Flowers and lace so that your nights are sweet,” Johnny Hallyday’s “Je Te Promets” was a no-brainer for this list. Often referred to as the Elvis Presley of France, this Parisian king of rock and roll was a 1960s icon. With lyrics like that, it’s not hard to see why.
3. Carla Bruni – “Raphaël”
You may already know Carla Bruni-Sarkozy from her illustrious modeling career, or perhaps as the former First Lady of France during Nicolas Sarkozy’s tenure as President, but did you know that she’s also a French folk singer? “Raphaël” is a stripped-down, playful track written about her then-lover Raphaël Enthoven, and it opens with the translated lyric, “Four consonants and three vowels, that is the name of Raphaël / I murmur it to my ear and each letter fills me with wonder.”
2. Renan Luce – “Camelote”
This quirky number from singer/songwriter Renan Luce tells the story of a man and a woman that marry using trinkets from the woman’s shop. It’s the details seen in such verses as “We chose the dwarf that seemed the wisest / To play the role of mayor and in the guise of witnesses / Two flowers that danced the Jerk when we clapped our hands” that make this story absolutely endearing.
1. Édith Piaf – “La Vie En Rose”
There’s really no other song I could put at Number 1. Édith Piaf is the ultimate iconic French chanteuse, and her signature song’s undeniable charm has stood the test of time for the last six decades for good reason. From its ethereal instrumentation to Piaf’s exquisite rapid vibrato to the song’s dreamy lyrics, “When he takes me in his arms / And speaks softly to me / I see life in rosy hues,” “La Vie En Rose” will undoubtedly remain one of the greatest love songs ever written.