twinkle twinkle petite étoile
February 13, 2016 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Sadly I know very few French nursery rhymes and children's songs. Help me change this!

What are the classic French nursery songs? All I know is Frère Jacques, Fais do do and the bilingual "I went to the market." And who is the French Raffi? There's got to be the French equivalent of "Down by the bay where the watermelons grow...." Merci!
posted by St. Peepsburg to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
We used to sing Sur Le Pont D'Avignon and Au Claire de La Lune in my elementary school French classes.

And if you can stand the mixes that You Tube channel has a whole bunch of other songs.
posted by brookeb at 3:25 PM on February 13, 2016

posted by erst at 4:04 PM on February 13, 2016

The ones I can remember from my childhood are:

- Alouette, gentille alouette
- J'ai du bon tabac
- Le bon roi Dagobert
- Maman les p'tits bateau
- Dodo, l'enfant do
- Frère Jacques
- Sur le Pont d'Avignon
- Gentil coquelicot
- Il court le furet
- Il pleut, il pleut, bergère
posted by gin and biscuits at 4:17 PM on February 13, 2016

And who is the French Raffi?

Carmen Campagne and Suzanne Pinel come to mind.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:24 PM on February 13, 2016

In Quebec you are looking for Annie Brocoli.
posted by Cuke at 4:43 PM on February 13, 2016

We have this book which has a bunch of traditional rhymes and songs. It also includes a brief description/history of the rhymes in English in the back.
posted by defreckled at 5:33 PM on February 13, 2016

My French teacher taught us a version of "Toc toc toc Monsieur Pouce" (you'll find a bunch of versions on YouTube).

We also did "Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds" which is pretty much word-for-word translated from English.
posted by radioamy at 5:42 PM on February 13, 2016

This site seems to have some. I remember A la peche aux moules from my childhood in France in the 1950s. Also Fais dodo, Colas mon petit frere.
posted by mareli at 6:15 PM on February 13, 2016

Dansons la capucine?
posted by mogget at 7:02 PM on February 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

This Smithsonian Folkways album French Children's Songs for Teaching French has some of the traditional ones. For a contemporary take, Putumayo has French Playground. Finally, in the 1950's there was the Nos Vieilles Chansons series. There is a list of the 4 albums here, and if you click on each album title at the link, you will find the list of the songs included on the album.
posted by gudrun at 8:54 PM on February 13, 2016

L'arbre est dans ses feuilles is a great one, kind of like the "Old woman who swallowed a fly" - each verse is somehow nested into the previous verse, which makes it fun to sing.

Un petit cochon, la queue en tire-bouchon is also fun and repetitive as it goes through each day of the week. I can't find a video version of it, but we loved this one as kids.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:20 PM on February 13, 2016

Savez-vous plantez les choux?

It translates to "Do you know how to plant cabbages like we do at our house?" And then it goes through all the different body parts you can use to plant cabbages, teaching the children the French name for, e.g., the knee, foot, elbow, etc.
posted by essexjan at 2:18 AM on February 14, 2016

Un elefant qui se balançait is great, especially if you want to clap or act it out, like you would Ring Around the Rosy.
posted by headspace at 10:17 AM on February 14, 2016

Les fabulettes from Anne Sylvestre. (a couple of personal favorites 1, 2, 3)
posted by motdiem2 at 6:44 AM on February 17, 2016

Thanks everyone it's been educational! since I don't know which are veritable classics or not I marked the ones I liked best - earworms I could happily sing to my kid.

Paroles des chats - gets me every time, thanks :)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2016

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