Here are songs neither my mother nor my father taught me, since none of us spoke French when I was growing up, but that I learned subsequently and will now happily do what I can to help you to learn as well. Included with most songs is a bit of factology, a link to an online recording, some grammatical notes, the French lyrics, and an English translation.
A stroll to a favorite bathing spot turns into a lament for lost love and a meditation on what-might-have-been. With a haunting melody.
A "spinning" song of a different kind (i.e., it has nothing to do with spinning thread). A good song for increasing your monastic vocabulary.
The arch-typical traditional French song, recounting the nocturnal adventures of Pierrot, Lubin, and an unnamed third person.
A delightful song celebrating marital fidelity, whilst obliquely commemorating Louis XIV's bloody campaign to extend France's northern boundary.
The signature song (from 1969) of Joe Dassin. One of the positive remote effects of Hollywood blacklisting.
A Christmas carol that allows antiphonal singing, of a sort. It tells you everything you need to know about what happened at the Nativity.
One of several signature songs of the great Trenet, this one combines patriotic feeling with images of childhood and country life circa 1920.
The best of all children’s songs, full of drama, pathos, piety, humor, and with a rousing rhythm. On top of all which, it is neverending.
This song is now relegated to children, but its matter is far from exemplary: misbehavior on the part of cats, shepherdesses, and clergy.
A very happy song about a singer, who sings day and night… Very, very upbeat… From the incomparable Charles Trenet.
Why waste time on the usual boring French Christmas carols, when there are weird ones like la Marche des rois waiting to be learned?
France's stirring national anthem. Its "us versus them" sentiment can be (and has been) put to use in a multitude of situations.
Is it schmaltz or is it poetry? Possibly both. Another great song from the incomparable Charles Trenet.
A mountain song that may put you in mind of Rousseau's star-crossed Alpine lovers. My version of the melody is especially good if you like to yodel.
A wonderful song expressing the same sentiment as Camus's Meurseult: Je n'aime pas le dimanche.
A 15th-century Christmas carol with a haunting minor/modal melody. Weirdly dreamlike. It may be compared with our "Twelve Days of Christmas."
The Our Father in the version currently used in the RC liturgy in French. (Coming soon: a slight change to petition 6.)
Canada's national anthem in its original form. A good deal less bloody than la Marseillaise, and much easier to sing than O Say, Can You See.
A delightful dramatic monologue with a Hitchcockian twist. Its morals are those of its main character, not of all French people.
The quintessential Charles Trenet song, about loves past, but recollected in a pleasant nostalgic dreamy haze.