tape-cassette-of-love-songs

25 French Love Songs to Ignite the Romance in Your Playlist

French is a romantic language, and the music is even more so.

In this post, you’ll get 25 French love songs that have captivated hearts for generations.

Whether you’re brushing up on your French or simply seeking soul-stirring tunes, you’re in the right place.

Join us as we explore the melodies that transcend language, painting vivid portraits of passion, longing and romance.

Contents


1. “Le passé” by Aya Nakamura

English title: The Past
Released: 2018

This danceable number from Aya Nakamura is about letting bygones be bygones in a relationship. The chorus states le passé, c’est le passé (the past is the past). The singer implores her lover to return because they’re destined to be together:

French lyricsEnglish translation
T'as pris mon cœurYou've taken my heart
T'as pris ma têteYou've taken my head
Tu m'a rendu dingue, dingue, dingueYou've made me crazy, crazy, crazy
Emmène-moi loinTake me far away
Elles veulent t'avoir mais t'es à moi, à moiThey want you but you're mine, mine

For more from Aya Nakamura, check out Djadja,” a chart-topper that hit number one not just in France, but also in Romania and the Netherlands. 

2. “Je ne peux vivre sans t’aimer” by Alex Beaupain

English title: I Can’t Live Without Loving You
Released: 2014

This song by French singer-songwriter Alex Beaupain is also featured in the 2012 film Les bien-aimés (Beloved), where it’s sung by the famous actress Catherine Deneuve. Something about Beaupain’s songwriting tends to make even the deepest heartache feel cozy:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Tu n’es plus là, rien n’a changéYou’re no longer here, nothing has changed
Le problème est le même tu saisThe problem is the same, you know
Je peux vivre sans toi, oui maisI can live without you, yes but
Ce qui me tue, mon amour, c’estWhat kills me, my love, is
Que je ne peux vivre sans t’aimerThat I can’t live without loving you

3. “La vie en rose” by Édith Piaf

English title: Life in Pink
Released: 1947

This is one of the most classic and all-time popular French love songs by legendary French singer and songwriter Édith Piaf. Known as La Môme Piaf (The Little Sparrow), her emotive voice and powerful performances made her an international icon. 

French lyricsEnglish translation
Quand il me prend dans ses bras,When he takes me in his arms,
il me parle tout bas,he whispers softly to me,
je vois la vie en rose.I see life in rosy hues.

If you’re a fan of Édith Piaf, you should check out the 2007 film La Vie en Rose,” starring Marion Cotillard as Piaf and the brilliant Sylvie Testud in a supporting role.

4. “Comme moi” by Édith Piaf

English title: Like Me
Released: 1958

“Comme moi” is another spectacular love song by Édith Piaf. It’s grand, soaring and unapologetically over the top. In the song, Piaf paints a dramatic picture of a woman comme moi (“like me”) awaiting and imagining the arrival of her lover:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Peut-être bien qu'ailleurs,Maybe someplace else
Une femme a le cœurThere’s a woman
Eperdu de bonheurWith a heart overwhelmed by joy
Comme moi...Like me...

5. “Et si” by Shy’m

English title: And If
Released: 2012

Here’s a slicker, more contemporary example of a French pop song. This song reflects on the riskiness of love and the emotions that come along with wanting to abandon oneself to it:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Étrange cette envie de te dire ce que je ressens pour toiStrange, this want to tell you what I feel for you
Au plus fort de mes désirs de ce cœur qui bat pour toiAt the height of my desires this heart beating for you
Moi qui ne dévoile que si peu, à mi-voix, à petit feuMe, who only reveals so little, softly, slowly

If you like this song, check out Shy’m’s Si tu m’aimes encore (If You Still Love Me).

6. “Mon amour, mon ami” by Marie Laforêt

English title: My Love, My Friend
Released: 1968

This song by Marie Laforêt proclaims a special love for a particular someone and has an obsessive and delightfully weird quality about it. The lyrics are extremely simple and the tune is so easy to get stuck in your head: 

French lyricsEnglish translation
Quand je rêve c’est de toiWhen I dream it’s of you
Mon amour, mon amiMy love, my friend
Quand je chante c’est pour toiWhen I sing it’s for you
Mon amour, mon amiMy love, my friend
Je ne peux vivre sans toiI can’t live without you

The song appears in the François Ozon film 8 femmes (8 Women), which is a musical murder mystery, and it matches the tone perfectly.

7. “Ne me quitte pas” by Jacques Brel

English title: Don’t Leave Me
Released: 1959

This classic by the Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel speaks of abject heartbreak. As in the Nakamura song at the beginning of the list, the singer is imploring a beloved to stay and arguing for letting the past go, only the tone here is decidedly more desperate:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Je ferai un domaineI will make a domain
Où l’amour sera roi, où l’amour sera loiWhere love will be king, where love will be law
Où tu seras reineWhere you will be queen
Ne me quitte pas…Don’t leave me…

Nina Simone also did a gorgeous cover of this song

8. Proverbes” by Jacques Dutronc

English title: Proverbs
Released: 1969

This rich, folksy love ballad has a deep, devoted quality about it that sounds almost mournful but also assured. Here, the singer talks about how he doesn’t believe the more cynical (or realistic, depending on how you see it) sayings about love and he believes the woman he loves will return to him:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Je t'en supplie reviens moi, reviensI beg you to come back to me, come back
Avec toi je veux voir le matinWith you I want to see the morning
Car sans toi le matinBecause without you the morning
Est tout noirIs in darkness

9. “Je t’aime trop tôt” by Vendredi sur Mer

English title: I Love You Too Soon
Released: 2019

Vendredi de Mer, a.k.a. Charline Mignot, is a fascinating Swiss artist known for what might be described as experimental lounge-pop, or as she puts it, “delicate rap.” In this song, she describes the experience of letting “Je t’aime” (I love you) slip too soon:

French lyricsEnglish translation
J'ai dit "je t'aime" trop tôtI said "I love you" too soon
Je sais pas ce qui m'a prisI don't know what came over me
Elle m'a tourné le dos le reste de la nuitShe turned her back on me for the rest of the night

To hear more from Vendredi sur Mer, check out her album Premiers émois (First Emotions).

10. “Non non non” by Camélia Jordana

English title: No No No
Released: 2010

Camélia Jordana came to fame after appearing on a music competition show, Nouvelle Star (New Star) and has collaborated with Alex Beaupain (see #2) on the song Avant la haine (Before the Hate). She put out this delightful track about not wanting to do anything when you’re pining over someone:

French lyricsEnglish translation
J’veux juste aller malI just want to feel bad
Y a pas de mal à çaThere’s nothing bad about that
Traîner, manger que dalleHang around, eat nothing
Écouter BarbaraListen to Barbara
Peut-être qu’il reviendraMaybe he’ll come back

11. “Quelqu’un m’a dit” by Carla Bruni

English title: Someone Told Me
Released: 2002

This is a very fun song to sing along with. Incidentally, this song helped Camélia Jordana (above) launch her career when she sang it on Nouvelle Star. In the lyrics, the singer brushes off the negative things people say about life and chooses to focus on just one positive:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Pourtant quelqu’un m’a ditBut someone told me
Que tu m’aimais encoreThat you still loved me
C’est quelqu’un qui m’a dit que tu m’aimais encoreSomeone told me that you still loved me
Serait-ce possible alors?So could this be possible?

12. “Je l’aime à mourir” by Francis Cabrel

English title: I Love Her to Death
Released: 1979

This poignant love ballad expresses an overwhelming love that transcends time, using vivid imagery to convey the depth of emotion. The song’s acoustic charm and heartfelt storytelling have made it an enduring classic, capturing the essence of timeless and all-encompassing love.

French lyricsEnglish translation
Vous pouvez détruireYou can destroy
Tout ce qu’il vous plairaAnything you want
Elle n’aura qu’à ouvrirShe only needs to open
L’espace de ses brasThe span of her arms
Pour tout reconstruireTo rebuild everything

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

English title: So That You’ll Love Me Again
Released: 1995

This song was written by Jean-Jacques Goldman and sung by the internationally famous Canadian singer Céline Dion. Céline’s powerhouse vocals convey the depths of love and longing, and the lyrics express the relatable willingness to do whatever it takes for a second chance at love:

French lyricsEnglish translation
J’irai chercher ton cœur si tu l’emportes ailleurs,I’ll look for your heart if you take it somewhere else
même si dans tes danses d’autres dansent tes heures.even if when you dance, others are dancing with you.
J’irai chercher ton âme dans les froids dans les flammes.I’ll look for your soul in the cold, in the flame.
Je te jetterai des sorts pour que tu m’aimes encore.I’ll cast a spell on you, so that you love me still.

14. “Je te promets” by Johnny Hallyday

English title: I Promise You
Released: 1986
 
Johnny Hallyday has invited various female singers to sing this timeless French ballad on stage with him, including Lara Fabian and Chimène Badi (above). The song encapsulates the singer’s commitment to enduring love, promising to weather life’s storms together:
 
French lyricsEnglish translation
Je te promets la clé des secrets de mon âme.I promise you the key to the secrets of my soul.
Je te promets la vie de mes rires à mes larmes.I promise you life from my laughter to my tears.
Je te promets le feu à la place des armes,I promise you fire instead of weapons,
plus jamais des adieux rien que des au revoir.no more goodbyes, just see you laters.

15. “Je t’aime” by Lara Fabian 

English title: I Love You
Released: 1996
 
If you grew up in the 90s or earlier, the music video for this song might bring you some nostalgia. Lara Fabian’s “Je t’aime” is a powerful declaration of love with emotive vocals and evocative lyrics. The song’s sweeping orchestration and Fabian’s passionate delivery reflect the intensity and vulnerability of deep love.
 
French lyricsEnglish translation
Je t'aime, je t'aimeI love you, I love you
Comme un fou, comme un soldatLike a fool, like a soldier
Comme une star de cinémaLike a movie star
Je t'aime, je t'aimeI love you, I love you

16. “Moi aimer toi” by Vianney 

English title: I Love You
Released: 2017

This is one of the catchiest songs on our list, and it’s definitely more upbeat than most of the other love ballads. Despite the cheerful tune, the lyrics are actually a bit dark, exploring the complexities of a passionate but possibly toxic relationship where there is love and pain:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Quand moi aimer toi blesser moiWhen I love you, you hurt me
Quand moi aimer toiWhen I love you
Si moi aimer toi blesser moiIf I love you, you hurt me
Si moi aimer toiIf I love you
Quand moi aimer toi moi blesser moiWhen I love you, I hurt myself

17. “Je veux” by ZAZ

English title: I Want
Released: 2010

Here’s another upbeat pop song about love. This one is a lively anthem of independence and a rejection of society’s materialistic desires. ZAZ sings about not wanting fancy things like Chanel jewelry or a suite at the Ritz hotel, and instead opting for love, joy and happiness:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Je veux de l'amour, de la joie, de la bonne humeurI want love, joy and happiness
Ce n'est pas votre argent qui fera mon bonheurYour money won't make me happy
Moi je veux crever la main sur le cœurI just want to die with a hand on my chest
Allons ensemble, découvrir ma libertéLet's go together, to discover my freedom

18. “Et si tu n’existais pas” by Joe Dassin 

English title: And if You Didn’t Exist
Released: 1975

In this song, Dassin’s velvety voice croons about a world without the existence of a beloved person. The poetic lyrics, set against a melodic backdrop, convey the depth of love and the profound impact a single presence can have on one’s life, creating an emotive and enduring track.

French lyricsEnglish translation
Et si tu n'existais pas,And if you didn't exist,
dis-moi pourquoi j'existerais.tell me why I should exist.
Pour traîner dans un monde sans toi,To drag along in a world without you,
sans espoir et sans regret.without hope and without regret.

If you like this song, check out the 2012 cover by Iggy Pop.

19. “L’été indien” by Joe Dassin

English title: Indian Summer
Released: 1975

This is another classic French love song from American-French singer Joe Dassin. The song nostalgically recalls a past romance that blossomed during an Indian summer, lamenting that they have since lost contact:

French lyricsEnglish translation
On ira où tu voudras, quand tu voudrasWe'll go wherever you want, whenever you want
et l'on s'aimera encore, lorsque l'amour sera mort.and we will still love each other when love is dead.
Toute la vie sera pareille à ce matinAll life will be the same as this morning
aux couleurs de l'été indien.in the colors of Indian summer.

20. “Mais je t’aime” by Grand Corps Malade & Camille Lellouche

English title: But I Love You
Released: 2020

This captivating French duet offers poignant verses and harmonious melodies that explore the complexities of love with its highs and lows. The song weaves a heartfelt narrative with a mix of singing and spoken words. Its lyrics compare love and relationship to a burning fire:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Nous on a craqué l'allumette pour l'étincelle de nos débutsWe lit the match for sparks of our beginnings
On a alimenté ce foyer de tous nos excès, de nos abusWe fed this fireplace with our overindulgence, with our exaggerations
On s'est aimé plus que tout, seul au monde dans notre bulleWe loved each other more than anything, alone in our own little world
Ces flammes nous ont rendus fousThese flames drove us crazy
On a oublié qu'au final, le feu ça brûleWe forgot that in the end, the fire burns

21. “Ma plus belle histoire d’amour” by Barbara

English title: My most beautiful love story
Released: 1967 

The lyrics lose a bit of their poetry and passion in the translation to English, but here is a pretty good interpretation

22. “Caroline” by MC Solaar 

English title: Caroline
Released: 1992

This hip-hop and ragga hit by French rapper MC Solaar reflects on a failed love story. Featured on his debut album, the song’s success in France propelled Solaar’s unique musical style. Describing the stages of love, the reflective piece uses a slow rhythm and pun-filled lyrics.

French lyricsEnglish translation
Une pyramide de baisers, une tempete d'amitieA pyramid of kisses, a friendship storm
Une vague de caresse, un cyclone de douceurA wave of caress, a cyclone of sweetness
Un ocean de pensees, Caroline je t'ai offert un building de tendresseAn ocean of thoughts, Caroline I offered you a building of tenderness
If you like this genre, check out more French rap songs here

23. “Ce soir” by Kyo 

English title: Tonight
Released: 2004

If you’re into rock music, this might be the French love song for you. Its lyrics talk about a transformative love experience with intense physical and emotional connection. Lead singer Benoît Poher sings of letting go of painful memories and learning to embrace life again after finding such a profound connection:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Et si elle veut la vieAnd, if she wants life,
Moi je lui donne la mienneWell I will give her mine
Elle a su m'affranchirShe knew how to free me
De mes souvenirsFrom my memories

24. “Voilà” by Françoise Hardy

English title: Voilà
Released: 1967

Françoise Hardy rose to prominence in the 1960s as part of the yé-yé music movement, known for its catchy pop songs. Hardy’s distinctive voice and elegant persona made her an iconic figure in French music. In this song, she frets about why she can’t tell someone how she really feels:

French lyricsEnglish translation
Tu es là, devant moi, toujours le mêmeThere you are, right in front of me, still the same
Oh, pourquoi ne puis-je pas te dire :Oh, why can't I say to you:
Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aimeI love you, I love you, I love you

25. “Mourir d’aimer” by Charles Aznavour 

English title: To Die of Love
Released: 1971

Aznavour’s emotive vocals bring to life the tragic narrative of a forbidden love affair, exploring the profound emotions and societal constraints that surround such romances. The haunting melody and Aznavour’s masterful storytelling create a timeless piece that captures the essence of love’s complexities.

French lyricsEnglish translation
Mourir d'aimerTo die from love
Comme on le peut de n'importe quoiAs one might from anything
Abandonner tout derrière soiLeave everything behind
Pour n'emporter que ce qui fut nous, qui fut toiAnd only carry what was us, what was you

How Love Songs Can Focus Your French Studies

If you happen to be a French learner or someone who’s considering acquiring the language, love songs have specific applications when it comes to learning French. Let’s briefly look at how exactly they can help you:

  • Practice your personal pronouns. Love songs are often directly addressed to another person, which makes them great for practicing personal pronouns, specifically first-person and second-person (often informal) ones. Keep an eye out for your tus and your tois (second person informal “you” as subject pronoun and stressed pronoun) as well as your jes and your mois (“I” and “me”).
  • See different tenses in use. Many sad French love songs use the imperfect to talk about the past, while others describe their current feelings in the present. Some also use future tenses to imagine what will happen with their lover. You’ll be able to find plenty of examples in the songs above.
  • Pick up on possessive adjectives. Possessive adjectives, or possessive pronouns, are often used to show your relationship to another person, such as in ma petite amie (my girlfriend). Possessive adjectives may also be used in love narratives in a variety of other ways, such as when reflecting on the searing gaze of tes yeux (your eyes).

In short, learning French with love songs is a great method because it helps you master tricky grammar topics through immersion. And songs are so catchy, so they’ll stick in your memory!

You can get more exposure to French grammar and vocabulary through an immersive language learning program like FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

 

The artists above give you a great glimpse into the world of Francophone love songs, past and present.

If you explore them in more depth, you’ll only find more beautiful music that tugs on your heartstrings.

And one more thing...

If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.

FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:

learn-french-with-videos

FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.

learn-french-with-movies

For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:

practice-french-with-subtitled-videos

Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."

practice-french-with-adaptive-quizzes

All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close