French Music – Saying Goodbye to Summer Posted by on Sep 8, 2020 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

It’s only early September, but here in the northeastern United States, things are already sliding towards fall. It’s time to get back to school, to work, and to say …

Au revoir à l’été

La Madrague is a charming little chanson française that for years I thought was written for Brigitte Bardot by Serge Gainsbourg1Because somehow it made its way onto an album of Gainsbourg songs performed by famous French actresses.. … Turns out that was a mistake on my part.

La Madrague2madrague‘ is a term related to line fishing for large fish like tuna along the coast. (which is the name of Bardot’s famous home purchased in the 1950’s just outside Saint-Tropez) was written by Jean-Max Rivière to immortalize “les sentiments simples, joyeux, et nostalgiques que le lieu lui inspirait à travers” Bardot (the simple, joyous, and nostalgic feelings that the place inspired in him through).

Sur la plage abandonnée On the abandoned beach
Coquillages et crustacés Shells and shellfish
Qui l’eût cru! Déplorent la perte de l’été Who would have thought it? Deplore the loss of summer
Qui depuis s’en est allé That has since gone away
On a rangé les vacances We’ve put away vacation
Dans des valises en carton In cardboard suitcases
Et c’est triste quand on pense à la saison And it’s so sad to think back on the season
Du soleil et des chansons Of sun and of songs
Pourtant je sais bien l’année prochaine Even if I know well that next year
Tout refleurira, nous reviendrons Everything will bloom, and we will come back
Mais en attendant je suis en peine Until then I’m in pain
De quitter la mer et ma maison Leaving the sea and my house
Le mistral va s’habituer The mistral will have to get used to
À courir sans les voiliers Running without the sailboats
Et c’est dans ma chevelure ébouriffée And it is in my disheveled hair
Qu’il va le plus me manquer That I will miss it the most
Le soleil mon grand copain My dear friend the sun
Ne me brûlera que de loin Will only burn me from afar
Croyant que nous sommes ensemble un peu fâchés Believing that we’re both mad
D’être tous deux séparés To be separated
Le train m’emmènera vers l’automne The train will carry me towards the fall
Retrouver la ville sous la pluie To find the city under the rain
Mon chagrin ne sera pour personne I won’t share my sadness with anyone
Je le garderai comme un ami I’ll keep it like a friend
Mais aux premiers jours d’été But come the first days of summer
Tous les ennuis oubliés All our troubles forgotten
Nous reviendrons faire la fête aux crustacés We’ll come back to tease the shellfish
De la plage ensoleillée (x3) On the sunny beach (x3)
Et au revoir Annie Cordy … The Belgian singer who made her career in France as everyone’s loveable Tata Yoyo (among many other hits) sadly passed away on Friday. She leaves an amazing legacy and many sad hearts in France and in her native Belgium.

Click here to hear a newer version of the song by the French singer Angèle (et si vous l’aimez / and if you like it, be sure to check out some of her other songs … and see her very interesting videos! … like this one that spoofs familiar t.v. commercials or this one that takes on the bad behavior of certain males vis-a-vis women … or why not a duo for the musician in you.)

Photo by Travis Rupert from Pexels

  • 1
    Because somehow it made its way onto an album of Gainsbourg songs performed by famous French actresses..
  • 2
    madrague‘ is a term related to line fishing for large fish like tuna along the coast.
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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