‘Tis the season…to hear Christmas carols all day long. Even here in Paris, where playing carols in stores wasn’t a thing until recently, we now stumble through December dreaming of a Bing Crosby White Christmas.
With the strains of all these Anglophone carols in the air, you might think that there isn’t such a thing as French Christmas carols – but they exist!
Why not get into the holiday spirit (and practice your French) by learning a few of these carols? Singing in French is an excellent way of picking up new vocabulary and practicing pronunciation. And memorizing a song is a million times more interesting than, say, repeating phrases like “Madame Bouret a un chat. Le chat est noir…” and so forth.
Check out these five popular French Christmas carols below. We’ve picked videos that have subtitles so you can learn the words easier. As you listen, write down any vocab you don’t know and look them up later.
1. Petit Papa Noël
French children love this lullaby about Papa Noël (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) and French parents love the memories of past Christmases that the song brings.
2. Il est né le divin enfant
This catchy religious tune is usually sung at church, but it’s even a favorite among many non-church goers in France.
3. Vive le Vent (Jingle Bells)
Same tune, different words. It’s a fun one to learn from because you won’t have to think twice about the tune. Note that the lyrics aren’t translation of Jingle Bells… but it still presents a romantic image of winter and festiveness of the season.
4. Mon Beau Sapin (O Tannenbaum)
You’ll know this one as “O Christmas tree” or in the original German “O Tannenbaum.” Secret bias here: we love this one in French best. It’s just lovely.
- Douce Nuit (Silent Night)
Here’s another Christmas classic whose tune will be familiar to almost everyone.
Of course, there are many more. What’s your favorite French Christmas carol? Share below!