Learn French With Love Songs — Part Two!

If you want to improve your French oral comprehension and learn to speak more modern, everyday French, music can be a great tool! And if you want to sound more romantic when speaking French, there are plenty of French love songs to discover. Let’s look at one today!

Françoise Hardy is a famous French singer, and her song Message Personnel (= Personal Message) can help you express your love in French.

If you’ve never heard it before, you can watch the video below to listen.

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Let’s walk through this French love song’s history, and see how you could use some of its lyrics to express your own feelings in French!

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1) Françoise Hardy

Françoise Hardy became famous in the 1960’s. She was part of a new wave in French pop music: les yéyés.

They were a generation of young singers heavily influenced by American music. In fact, many of the songs they sang were actually American songs, but with French lyrics. And they said “yeah, yeah” a lot… hence their name!

Some famous names that were part of this generation:

  • Johnny Hallyday
  • Claude François
  • Sylvie Vartan
  • France Gall

Françoise fell in love with a talented artist from that era: Jacques Dutronc. They became the “it” couple of the 70’s.

In 1973, they had a son: Thomas Dutronc, who later became famous in his own right as a singer / songwriter / musician.

2) Message Personnel: Chorus Lyrics

In 1973, Françoise also met Michel Berger, a big name of French music from the 60’s to the 80’s. Together, they write a new song for Françoise to sing: Message Personnel.

The chorus was written by Michel, and it starts with:

Mais si tu crois un jour que tu m’aimes = But if one day you think you love me
Ne crois pas que tes souvenirs me gênent = Don’t think your memories bother me
Et cours, cours jusqu’à perdre haleine = Just run, run until you’re out of breath
Viens me retrouver = Come meet me

By the way, Viens me retrouver is a short, simple, and very romantic French sentence that you can use with your special someone!

3) Message Personnel: Spoken words

Before singing the chorus, Françoise Hardy starts the song with a spoken word introduction that she wrote herself.

Au bout du téléphone, il y a votre voix = At the other end of the phone, there’s your voice
Et il y a les mots que je ne dirai pas. = And the words I won’t say
Je voudrais vous les dire et je voudrais les vivre. = I’d like to tell them to you, I’d like to live them
Je ne le ferai pas. Je veux, je ne peux pas. = But I won’t. I want to, but I can’t.

She’s saying that communication with this person on the phone is hard… And she uses vous !

Using vous instead of tu is usually a way to add distance, not affection. Here, it’s a poetic choice: she uses le vouvoiement as if to shield herself from something that’s too intimate. Because it’s hard to share emotions!

The song goes on:

Je suis seule à crever, et je sais où vous êtes = I’m so lonely I could die, and I know where you are. (“Crever” is slang for “dying,” in a harsher, more vivid way.)

J’arrive, attendez-moi, nous allons nous connaître. = I’m coming, wait for me, we’re going to meet each other. (“Connaître” = to know, but also “to know of” or “to meet for the first time.” Here, she uses “nous” for the first time. It’s more intimate than “vous,” but it’s still formal.)

J’ai peur que tu sois sourd, j’ai peur que tu sois lâche. = I’m worried you’ll be deaf, I’m worried you’ll be a coward (“J’ai peur” = “I’m afraid, I’m worried”)

J’ai peur d’être indiscrète. = I’m afraid I’m intrusive.

Je ne peux pas vous dire que je t’aime peut-être. = I can’t tell you that I maybe love you.

That last line is the crux of the song. She’s afraid, and she keeps her distance with that final “vous”… but she finally gets the courage to use “tu” when sharing her doubts, and that final je t’aime” (= I love you.)

Did you notice that she changes the pronoun mid-sentence? That’s when the chorus kicks in, with all the lyrics using “tu”.

4) Message Personnel: End of the Chorus

The later parts of the chorus are also interesting:

Si le dégoût de la vie vient en toi = literally, “If the disgust of life comes into you” = “If you ever end up disgusted by life.”

Si la paresse de la vie s’installe en toi = “If you ever end up too tired to live.” (“la paresse” = sloth, laziness)

Pense à moi. = Think of me.

And again, Pense à moi (= think of me, think about me, keep me in your thoughts) is a simple, very romantic French sentence you can use to express tenderness.

Finally, the chorus loops back on itself, with a slight change:

Si tu crois un jour que tu m’aimes = If one day you think you love me
N’attends pas un jour, pas une semaine = Don’t wait a day nor a week
Car tu ne sais pas où la vie t’emmène = Because you don’t know where life might lead you
Viens me retrouver. = Come back to me, come meet me

And here we have a final, longer sentence for romantic French:

Tu ne sais pas où la vie t’emmène. Viens me retrouver.
= You don’t know where life might lead you. Come back to me / Come meet me.

I love François Hardy. I highly recommend checking out her beautiful French love songs, and try using them to learn French!

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Join the conversation!

  • Merçi, Geraldine! I grew up in Germany listening to Françoise Hardy, France Gall, Mireille Matthieu, and Michel Polnareff. I still listen to their songs nowadays, in my car in California. In those days in the 1960´s I would sing the words, having very little idea what they meant. I am now picking up my French where I left off in high school, about when dinosaures roamed the earth. 🤓

  • Merci Géraldine.
    J’aime écouter les chansons pour apprendre le francais,
    J’aime beaucoup “Si tu m’aimes” et “Je t’appartiens” par Lara Fabian. J’adore Lara Fabian. Elle est ma chanteuse préférée.

  • C’était la chanson romantiqe, comme les plupart de liryqes amoureuses. Je ne trouvais pas les mots et l’expressions très facile, cependant. Merci, Géraldine.

  • Salut Géraldine! Merci beaucoup pour partager cette chanson et traduire les lyrics pour nous! J’ai grandi avec les chansons de Françoise et les autres que tu en fais la liste. Aussi, je suis un grand fan d’Adamo! Je voudrais apprendre plus de cette manière! Bonne nuit!

  • Bonjour Géraldine merci pour cet leçon et merci pour me présentant à Françoise Hardy j’aime bien 👍
    Bonne journée
    Anne

  • Bonjour Géraldine
    I have enjoyed the music of Françoise Hardy for many many years. I think “mon ami la rose” was the first I heard. It was one of the reasons I began learning french. Cheers Jim.

  • Bonjour Géraldine
    Comment ça va ?
    Merci pour les mises à jour de votre liste de chansons – la vidéo de la chanson (ballade) de Françoise Hardy était au-delà de la beauté et son message personnel est magnifique et vous pouvez le voir dans son cœur.
    Et merci pour les quatre autres artistes, que je vais ajouter à ma liste.
    Quand le temps le permettra, je les explorerai.
    Merci de partager vos chansons préférées et votre perspicacité sans fin sur les styles de vie français avec nous!
    Rendez-vous la semaine prochaine et profitez de votre temps presque identique à celui de l’Idaho, aux États-Unis, à cette période de l’année.

    Ronald

  • Thank you for explaining intimate vous – I’ve been puzzled by this ever since I saw Un Homme et une Femme very many years ago!

  • I saw her perform in London in 196? Very sensual, very sexy. By the way, the French music you describe was influenced as much by England as the US. The first clip you show is a version of Yellow Submarine.

  • Merci beaucoup pour cette magnifique chante. 🙂 J’aime ca. Bonne apres midi Geraldine 🙂 Stay safe et porte votre mask. Abientot. 🙂 Katherine Marsh

  • Tout les garçons et les filles , Les Temps de L’amour, L’amour ne dure pas toujours…and perhaps Poupee de cire, Poupée de son

  • J’adore toutes les version, car je ne suis pas romantque 🙂 je préfère la version de Michel Berger plus que celles de Françoise Hardy, de France Gall, de Véronque Sanson.

  • Merci Géraldine, moi aussi, j’adore les chansons de Françoise Hardy – surtout, “Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge“. Mais “Love me, please love me” par Michel Polnareff est encore mieux!

  • Merci Geraldine. Ceci est un joli chanson, est votre explication est très literataire, comme une ctitique d’un poesie or un roman. Je vais lire les lyrics et écoute ce chanson plusieurs fois plus, pour comprend entierement sa voix. Peut-être aussi je vais chants aussi, mais seulement dans la douche quand ma femme n’est pas chez nous. ;^ )

  • Your emails in French are almost completely readable to me, with my 1960s school French, it is very encouraging. This lesson was very touching. Thankyou. Merci bien.

  • I have always loved Françoise Hardy! I had an album of hers
    I remember Tous les garçons et les filles de mon age……

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