What’s the name of that French song?

You’ve heard it countless times but you can’t remember its name -or you never knew it. Some of the most famous French songs around the world.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime… moi non plus

What’s that French song with all the whispering that sounds really sexy? Well, it’s “I love you… I don’t anymore” by the provocative Serge Gainsbourg and his musical partner (and love interest at the time) Jane Birkin.

Here’s the original video from 1969.

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Dalida & Alain Delon – “Paroles, paroles

This duet isn’t hard to find if you remember a woman saying “parole, parole”. That’s Egyptian-French icon Dalida, and the man speaking is one of the biggest heartthrobs in the history of France: Alain Delon.

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Jacques Brel – “Ne me quitte pas

One of the most beautiful songs in the history of (French and worldwide) music, “Ne me quitte pas” (Don’t leave me) has been covered countless times, even by American great Nina Simone.

Still, it’s hard to beat such an emotional rendition by its author.

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Charles Aznavour – “La bohème

When you hear that piano, you just know that you’re in for a treat. “La boheme” is such a beautiful song, and Aznavour’s voice is unique.

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Charles Aznavour – “Que c’est triste Venice

Aznavour’s English version of his classic “Que c’est triste Venice” may not be the best (because of the translated lyrics, his strong accent, etc.), so I recommend listening to them all: the original French, Spanish, and Italian versions are just wonderful and the lyrics are different -but they all feature that marvelous music.

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Edith Piaf – “Non, je ne regrette rien

Who hasn’t heard Edith Piaf? “La Môme” has reached younger audiences thanks to Marion Cotillard’s role in the film of the same name, translated as “La vie en rose” for worldwide audiences.

No-one else can sing “No, I don’t regret anything” like she did.

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Edith Piaf – “La vie en rose

There are several covers of Piaf’s most famous song and I decided to include Louis Armstrong’s version because, even though the lyrics are much simpler, the sound of his trumpet is unmistakable.

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Charles Trenet – “La mer

You may know this song as (Somewhere) “Beyond the sea” which is Bobby Darin (and later, Robbie Williams)’s English cover.

If you’re a bit older and romantic like me, you might remember Kevin Kline singing the French version at the end of the movie “French Kiss”.

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Zaz – “Je veux

“Je veux” was a big hit in all of Europe, turning Zaz into one of the most popular French singers.

She’s famous for her fusion of French chanson and gypsy jazz.

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Vanessa Paradis – “Joe le taxi

Singer and actress Vanessa Paradis (also famous for having been married to Johnny Depp) recorded this song when she was just 14 years old.

It became a huge hit, topping the singles chart in France for 11 weeks and, uncommonly for a French-language song at the time, was released in the UK the following year where it peaked at number three

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Stromae – “Alors on danse

“Alors on danse” (So we dance) by Belgian musician Stromae reached number one in more than 15 countries, from his home country to Russia, also becoming successful in North America after being released in Canada.

It was the most-played Francophone (not only from France but in French) single of 2010 all around the world.

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Claude François – “Comme d’habitude

Outside of France, Paul Anka with his touching lyrics and Frank Sinatra with his incredible voice have “destroyed” (in a good way) Claude François’s romantic classic.

“My way” is one of the most famous songs of all time but “Comme d’habitude” (As usual) is still standing strong in its home country, where several artists such as Matt Pokora (a judge on the French version of The Voice) keep making covers.

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Classics you wouldn’t believe sampled other songs