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C’est Noël! Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

Well, not quite. Ce n’est pas encore Noël. But it will be soon enough. And it’s the perfect time to enjoy some Christmas music … en français.

Last week, John shared with you le chanson “Au Royaume du Bonhomme Hiver” (Walking in a Winter Wonderland).

There’s another holiday classic is often played on French airwaves during this season: “C’est Noël” (It’s Christmas). This is a French original and doesn’t have an equivalent in English. Written in 1956 by famous composer Henri Betti for the film Honoré de Marseille,  it was performed by the actor and singer Fernandel. Supposedly, Betti wrote the song for the first Christmas he celebrated with his daughter. The song switches between a modern Christmas celebration and a retelling of the nativity.

Here are the lyrics:


Un beau soir d’hiver près d’un grand sapin,
Naquit dans une humble étable,
L’enfant Jésus cet enfant divin,
Et depuis pour les bambins. 

C’est Noël, sous un ciel de lumière.
Les enfants, sagement à genou,
Ce soir là, font tout bas leur prière.
Doux Jésus, entends tu? Réponds nous!


Et Jésus descendu sur la terre
Plein d’amour en ce jour solennel
Fait surgir de partout
A plaisir des joujoux
Ce mystère c’est Noël

Cette belle nuit que le monde attend
Nous rappelle notre enfance
Par des souvenirs de Noël d’antan
Et depuis cet heureux temps
C’est Noël sous un ciel d’espérance
Les bergers messagers du seigneur
Vont chantant célébrant la naissance
De celui qui conduit au bonheur

Vocabulary:

les bambins–toddlers/little kids

les bergers–the shepherds

conduire (conduit)–to drive/to lead

d’espérance–of hope

notre enfance–our childhood

une humble étable–a humble stable

des joujoux–toys (informal)

ce jour solennel–this solemn day

la naissance–the birth

sagement–wisely

sapin–fir tree (referring to a Christmas tree)

You can listen to this classic chanson de Noël here:

Joyeux Noël à tous ceux qui le fêtent!

 

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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at http://www.imaginistwriter.com. A la prochaine!