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French Music – Michel Polnareff Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

As one season (l’été) turns into another (l’automne), I find it’s time for another song that evokes memory, loss, and the oncoming of fall.

I would be remiss in not noting the passing last week of former French president Jacques Chirac. M. Chirac, who was Maire de Paris (Mayor of Paris) for 18 years before serving two terms as president (1995 – 2007) leaves behind an impressive legacy. You can read more here, or see excerpts from his funeral services and le jour de deuil national (the national day of mourning) here.

Je me souviens, moi, Me, I remember,
De ce musicien That musician
C’était l’automne à It was fall at
La maison The house
Je me souviens, moi, I remember, I do,
De ce musicien This musician
C’était l’automne sur It was fall on
Son violon^ His violin
Le temps n’est plus But those days are gone
Où passaient les violons When violin players came by
Quand tu étais dans la maison When you were in the house
Il a tant plu, It has rained so much
Depuis tant de saisons For so many seasons
Le temps n’est plus aux violons… The time of violins is over…
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me … In the empty house
Dans la chambre vide In the empty (bed)room
Je passe l’été à écouter I spend the summer listening to
Cette symphonie That symphony
Qui était si belle That was so beautiful
Et qui me rappelle* And that reminds me
Un amour fini Of a love no more
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me .. In the empty house
Dans la chambre vide In the empty room
Je passe* l’été à regarder I spend the summer watching
Les oiseaux qui passent The birds that go by
Comme* des menaces Like an menace/bad omen
Et j’entends l’automne And I hear the fall
Moi, je n’attends personne Me, I’m not waiting for anyone
Je me souviens, moi, I remember,
De ce musicien The musician
Un soir d’adieu à la maison And a night of farewells at the house
Je me souviens, moi, I remember
De ce musicien The musician
Et de l’adieu sur And the farewell of
Son violon His violin
Et chaque année And each (every) year
Lorsque l’année finit When the year ends
J’entends le violon de septembre I hear the violin of September
Et le passé And the past
Comme* une symphonie Like a symphony
Fait son entrée dans cette chambre Makes its entrance into this room
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me … In the empty house
Dans la chambre vide In the empty room
Je passe* la nuit à écouter I spend the night listening to
Cette* symphonie This symphony
Aujourd’hui finie Now finished
Et qui me rappelle* But that reminds me
Que tu étais belle That you were beautiful
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me … in the empty house
Dans la chambre vide In the empty room
Je passe* ma vie à regarder I spend my life watching
Les oiseaux qui passent The birds that go by
Comme* des menaces Like threats
Et j’entends l’automne And I hear the fall
Je n’attends personne… I’m not waiting for anyone…
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me … In this empty house
Dans la chambre vide In this empty room
Je passe* ma vie à écouter I spend my life listening to
Cette symphonie This symphony
Qui était si belle That was so beautiful
Et qui me rappelle* And that reminds me
Un amour fini… Of a love that is no more
Moi… Dans la maison vide Me … In the empty house
Dans la chambre vide In the empty room
Je passe* ma vie à regarder I spend my live watching
Les oiseaux qui passent The birds go by
Comme* des menaces Like threats
Et j’entends l’automne And I hear the wall
Moi je n’attends personne… But I’m not waiting for anyone

^ I could not find any definitive proof, but one might imagine that Polnareff’s reference to violins and autumn references another famous song (and poem) that picks up the theme … and that played a part in la seconde Guerre Mondiale. For an updated take (or sorts) check out this great ’80’s song from the French group Gouts de luxe (Expensive Tastes).
* Notice the emphasis that Polnareff adds to the ‘e’ at the end of certain words. While the final ‘e’ is usually silent in French, remember that sometimes you can pronounce it.

You can enjoy another Polnareff song with les paroles (lyrics) and translation here.

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Cover image from Pixabay (via Pexels.com).

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


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