Look, “La Vie en Rose” is great.
But it shouldn’t be the only French song you know.
To learn up-to-date French language and culture, you should fill your headphones with the latest French music hits.
Spotify is the perfect tool to find it.
There are hours and hours of French music on Spotify for you to stream, as long as you know where to look.
We’ll give you the search tips you need to discover the latest French music you’ll love, plus seven hits from all different genres to start building your Spotify French music playlist.
How to Find French Music on Spotify
There are many ways to find French music on Spotify if you don’t know where to start or which artists to look for.
To find new music, search the current top charts by country and select France. While you’ll still see some English songs, you’re bound to discover some great new French hits as well.
You can also do a simple search for “French music” and select “playlists” when the results come up. Sift through the playlist categories, which include different genres, release years and themes, and begin following some of them.
As you listen to the playlists, you’ll discover new French albums that you can then add to your Spotify music library. Start creating your own playlist of favorite French songs as you come across ones you love.
Lastly, the ultimate trick is to change your country settings to France, so you’ll get loads of French music suggestions. If you don’t pay for ad-free Spotify, you’ll even hear French ads!
If you still want some more guidance, check out the following seven songs below to get you started.
Where to Find the Best French Music Streaming Now on Spotify
Julien Doré’s “Le lac” (“The Lake”)
Julien Doré is one of the more internationally known French pop singers.
He has tons of great songs for learners, but I particularly like “Le lac,” which is about a romance that takes place by a lake.
The lyrics are made up of very poetic language like “ton coeur sur mon corps qui respire” (“your heart on my body which breathes”) and “la rivière et l’or font prendre racine; j’ai trompé la mort” (“the river and gold take root; I cheated death”).
There are also many different verb tenses used, which is great exposure for learners. For example, Doré uses the infinitive when he sings aimer (to like or love), the future when he sings reviendrai (will come back) and the present with verbs like respire (breathe).
MIKA’s “Elle me dit” (“She Tells Me”)
Almost everyone knows MIKA, a Lebanese-born, British pop and rock singer.
“Elle me dit” is a hilarious French song about a woman—perhaps a mother or a girlfriend—nagging the singer about his life.
For example, she says things like “écris une chanson contente, pas une chanson déprimante” (“write a happy song, not a depressing song”) and “t’es trop nul” (“you’re so lame”).
The song’s lyrics are fantastic to practice the interrogative and the imperative in French, as almost all of the lyrics are either questions like “pourquoi tu gâches ta vie” (“why are you wasting your life”) or commands like “regarde le temps que tu perds” (“look at the time that you’re wasting”).
MIKA uses loads of great vocabulary as well, such as gâches (waste), nul (lame) and tant pis (too bad). These are words and phrases that you would expect to hear on the streets every day in France.
Don’t want to miss a word? The “Elle Me Dit” music video is also available on FluentU. That’s helpful because FluentU comes with interactive subtitles—click any word for an instant, in-context definition. There are also professionally translated English subtitles that you can toggle on or off, as well as flashcards, full transcripts and fun quizzes built-in.
You’ll find hundreds of other authentic French videos on FluentU with all of these language tools, including music videos as well as movie trailers, funny commercials, inspiring speeches and more.
Fréro Delavega’s “Le cœur éléphant” (“The Elephant Heart”)
Fréro Delavega is a French duo composed of Jérémy Frérot and Florian Delavega.
Their pop song “Le cœur éléphant” was released in 2015 and is about living life freely and loving others.
This song contains some great verbs in various tenses for learners, such as je suis parti (I left), prendra (will take) and construit (builds).
Furthermore, the vocabulary features a lot of words that have to do with the body, so this song is perfect for those looking to learn some basic language or review the body parts in French.
For example, the song uses words like les épaules (shoulders), main (hand) and cœur (heart).
Stromae’s “Alors on danse” (“So We Dance”)
Stromae, a Belgian musician, released “Alors on danse” in 2009. It’s a very catchy hip-hop song with lyrics about dancing and singing in order to forget your money, relationship, career and life problems.
The song’s lyrics contain lots of good basic French vocabulary such as études (studies), oublier (to forget) and travail (work). The lyrics are mostly made up of these everyday words that’ll come in handy no matter what subject you’re talking about.
Furthermore, the song uses a lot of repetition, which makes the vocabulary a little easier to remember since you hear it over and over again.
Lastly, pay attention to the pronouns such as lui (he/him/her/it) and te (you) that Stromae uses. Listening to the song is a great way to begin noticing where and how these pronouns are used in French.
Zaz’s “On ira” (“We Will Go”)
Most people have at least heard of the French artist Zaz, a very successful pop singer who began her music career in 2001.
“On ira,” released in 2013, is a song about the beauty of diversity. Zaz sings about the different people around the world, and how each culture has created invaluable art and poetry.
This song repeats a lot of the key lyrics, perfect for reinforcing the vocabulary. It also almost exclusively uses the pronouns nous (we), vous (you, plural) and on (we). It’s worth paying attention to each time Zaz uses them to see how the verbs that follow are conjugated.
The song also contains tons of great nature vocabulary like la plume (feather), le désert (the desert) and la mer (the sea). Try to see if you can hear them all!
Calogero’s “Un jour au mauvais endroit” (“One Day in the Wrong Place”)
Calgero is a French singer whose song “Un jour au mauvais endroit” was released in 2014.
The song pays tribute to two young students who were killed by a gang of other kids in a park in Échirolles, France in 2012.
As the title conveys, the song is about how these two young adults were cheated out of their entire lives simply because they were in the wrong place. The lyrics are extremely moving and speak out against neighborhood violence, calling for change.
From a language standpoint, the song provides many examples of French verbs in the past tense, such as étais (was), s’est arrêtée (stopped) and a mis (put). You can see the difference between the use of the l’imparfait (imperfect) and le passe composé (present perfect or simple past) tenses.
Furthermore, the song is a nice way to practice French vowel pronunciation because there are a lot of words one after the other that only have subtle vowel sound differences. For example, listen to the way the vowels in the line “dans les main des gamins” (“in the hands of the kids”) are pronounced.
Christophe Willem’s “Double je” (“Double I”)
French singer Christophe Willem’s pop song “Double je” is about the singer being many different people and speculating what he’ll be when he grows up.
This song’s lyrics also have lots of repetition, a benefit for language learners. The song contains a lot of basic verbs, such as j’ai peur (I am afraid), je ris (I laugh) and savoir (to know).
Apart from this verb overview, learners will benefit from practicing how to distinguish between very common French phrases that sound similar and may be confusing, such as qu’est-ce que (what), ce que (what, relative pronoun) and c’est (it is). You’ll see when to use one over the other.
With this French music on Spotify to start you off, you’re ready to browse for some new favorites. Turn the volume up and enjoy!
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:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
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."
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 FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Camille Turner is an experienced freelance writer and ESL teacher.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.