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Hello Christmas – French Christmas Songs Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Culture, Music

There are many chansons de Noël (Christmas songs) that exist both in English and French. Par exemple (for example), Au royaume du bonhomme hiver is the French version of Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Cependant (however), there are also des chants de Noël that only exist in French!

"Last of Christmas 2011" by Jason Mrachina on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Last of Christmas 2011” by Jason Mrachina on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It takes a lifetime to learn all the small details of another culture. Between the importance of sending hand written letters and being sure to include une formule de politesse, there are a lot of new things to learn when you start learning French culture.

An easy place to start for un étranger (a foreigner) is la musique. There is a lot of musique that sometimes doesn’t cross cultural or language boundaries, and while it’s true that many of les chants de noël exist in many languages, there are some that do not.

Sometimes when listening to les chansons au marché de Noël, I hear des chansons that I’ve never heard before. It can be hard to figure out what the name of une chanson is when you have never heard it, so I have to muster up the courage to ask someone nearby if they know the name of la chanson.

Par exemple, there was une chanson that I thought sounded very nice, but I had never heard it before. I decided to ask le monsieur next to me about la chanson:

Excusez-moi, monsieur…
Oui.
Est-ce que vous connaissez le nom de cette chanson ?
Ah oui, cette chanson est « Bonjour Noël » !
Ah d’accord ! Merci monsieur !
De rien !

Excuse me, sir…
Yes.
Do you know the name of this song ?
Ah yes, this song is “Bonjour Noël”!
Ah alright! Thank you sir!
You’re welcome!

Et voilà ! I learned the name of la chanson!

Écoutez la chanson Bonjour Noël :

Voici les paroles avec la traduction anglaise :

Bonjour Noël
Voici que dans les rues
La neige est revenue
Comme un tapis tout blanc

Hello Christmas
Lo and behold the streets
The snow has returned
Like a white carpet

Bonjour Noël
Bonjour belles vitrines
Qui le soir s’illuminent
Pour la joie des passants
Les petits nez s’écrasent
Pour mieux les admirer
Et les yeux pleins d’extase sont tout émerveillés

Hello Christmas
Hello beautiful windows
That are all lit up at night
For the joy of passersby
The small noses all squished
To better admire the lights
And their joyful eyes are full of wonder

Bonjour Noël
Chacun fait sa demande
Toutes les mains se tendent
Vers les jouets rêvés

Hello Christmas
Everyone makes a wish
Everyone holding hands
Thinking of their dream toys

Bonjour Noël
Sonnez, sonnez clochettes
C’est aujourd’hui la fête
De la terre et du ciel

Hello Christmas
The church bells are ringing
Today’s the holiday
Of Earth and Heaven

Petit Noël
J’ai vu des tas de choses
Pardonnez-moi si j’ose
Vous demander tout ça
Un long tunnel
Pour mon train mécanique
Une boite à musique
Une poupée pour moi

Dear Christmas
I saw a pile of things
Forgive me if I dare
To ask you for all this
A long tunnel for my train set
A music box
A doll for me

Ils mettent leurs galoches
Il est minuit passé
Bonjour Noël
Dormez chers petits anges
Soyez sages, en échange
Vous serez exaucés

They hang up their stockings
It is past midngiht
Hello Christmas
Sleep dear little angles
Be good, and in exchange
your wishes will be granted

Bonjour Noël
Sonnez, sonnez clochettes
C’est aujourd’hui la fête
De la terre et du ciel

Hello Christmas
The church bells are ringing
Today’s the holiday
Of Earth and Heaven

Joyeux Noël
Oh ! J’ai ma panoplie
Moi ma poupée chérie
Et moi mon martinet
Joyeux Noël
Dans l’arbre qui scintille
Toutes les bougies brillent
Quelle belle journée

Merry christmas
Oh! I have my spinning top
My lovely doll
And my swift
Merry Christmas
In the sparkling tree
All the candles shine
What a beautiful day

Dansons, dansons la ronde
Autour du grand sapin
Dans tout le vaste monde
C’est le même refrain
Noël ! Noël !
C’est la joie sur terre
C’est le cœur qui espère
Du bonheur pour chacun

Let’s dance, let’s dance in a circle
Around the big tree
And everwhere in the whole wide world
It’s the same tune
Christmas! Christmas!
It’s joy on Earth
It’s the heart that hopes
For everyone’s happiness

Bonjour Noël
Sonnez, sonnez clochettes
C’est aujourd’hui la fête
De la terre et du ciel
En savoir plus sur

Hello Christmas
The church bells are ringing
Today’s the holiday
Of Earth and Heaven

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.