French Language Blog

French Music – Paris by night Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

One of the reasons why I enjoy driving in France so much is that so many of my favorite memories involve racing around Paris in a little red Peugeot 205 with my brother Fabrice on our way to some new adventure … many of which took place in Paris at night.


There is almost nowhere (at least anywhere I’ve been) as magical as Paris at night. Paris really is the city of light, and when dusk comes and night settles over the city, Paris really shines. For a kid from the country, the Parisian nightlife was a wonder to behold. This song by Bénabar (who we’ve featured before) really captures the magic and reminds me of all the fun times to be had in one of the world’s truly great cities. Enjoy!

J’étais super naze, I was wiped (out),
Grosse semaine de boulot. A big week at work.
Je me sentais d’occas’, I felt used up,
Besoin de repos. In need of a break (rest).
Faut être raisonnable Got to be reasonable
Pour faire des vieux os To make it to the end (lit. to make old bones)
Intraitable, savoir se coucher tôt. Nothing better, knowing when to go to bed (lit. knowing how to go to bed early).
J’ai dit : Les gars, sans moi, I said : Guys, (go) without me,
Je rentre, j’ai de la route I’m going home, I’ve got a commute
Non, n’insistez pas ! No, don’t try to convince me!
Bon, d’accord, cinq minutes. Ok, fine, five minutes.
J’aurais dû me douter I should have known
Que c’était qu’un début That it was just the beginning
Les meilleures soirées The best nights out
Ne sont jamais prévues. Are never planned (ahead).
Paris by night, Paris at night,
Au hasard de la nuit, Random nights,
Qui nous prend par la main That take us by the hand
Et nous laisse au matin. And leave us in the morning.
Paris by night Paris at night
Ce qui me réjouis What I enjoy
C’est qu’on regrettera demain Is that we’ll only regret in the morning
Que ce dont on se souvient. What we remember.
En sortant du bistrot As we left the restaurant
J’ai dit : Cette fois, j’y vais. I said : This time, I’m going.
On est sorti du resto We left the restaurant
Et quatre heures après… And four hours later…
Quelqu’un a dit : Someone said :
On se quitte pas comme ça You don’t just split up like that
Je sais plus trop qui, I’m not sure who,
Je crois que c’était moi. I think it was me.
On a pris un taxi We took a taxi
Parce qu’au volant, pas d’alcool ! Because no drinking in driving!
Il faut dire qu’aussi Plus,
On retrouvait plus la bagnole… We coudn’t find the car…
On a été dans un bar We were in a bar
Et dans un autre un peu mieux Then another a little better
En s’arrêtant pour boire We stopped for a drink
Un coup entre les deux ! In between the two !
[Refrain] [Chorus]
Il était tellement tard It was so late
Qu’il était presque tôt That it was almost early
On allait bientôt voir Any moment and we would see
Les gens partir au boulot. The people going to work.
On a été dans un club We went to a dancing
Dans une discothèque To a disco
Dans une boîte à la mode ! And to a popular club!
Là, ce fut un échec. Where we hit a wall (lit. There, it was a setback.)
Un videur nous a refoulé A bouncer pushed us back
Je lui ai demandé doucement : I asked him quietly
Si i’ savait qui j’étais If he knew who I was
Il m’a dit : Ouais, justement ! He said : Yes, exactly !
Pour laver l’affront To recover from the insult
On a pris un fallafel We had a falafel
Remis d’aplomb Back on our feet
On est reparti de plus belle ! We laid into it all again!
[Refrain] [Chorus]
On a fini en acteurs We wound up stars
Le jour allait se lever Sunrise was near
Un peu comme les vampires A bit like vampires
On voulait l’éviter. We hoped to avoid it.
On s’est promis en sortant On our way out we promised
Qu’on ne s’y reprendrait plus. That we would never do this again.
Cette promesse heureusement That is a promise that happily
On n’l’a jamais tenue !… We never kept ! …
[Refrain] [Chorus]
Et moi j’préfère… And I prefer…
Paris by night ! Paris at night !

Paris photo CC0 by Tim Hildreth (2018).

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.