French Language Blog

In The Kingdom Of The Winter Snowman – French Christmas Carols Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Culture, Music

La période de Noël est ici (Christmas time is here) ! Every time I leave mon appartement (my apartment) I can hear les chants de Noël (Christmas carols) as I make my way to le marché de Noël to drink du vin chaud. While listening to la musique, I was surprised that many of les chansons (the songs) that I grew up with in English have French versions as well!

"Snowman" by Toshiyuki Imai on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Snowman” by Toshiyuki Imai on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Hearing a song you know par cœur (by heart) in another language can be a strange experience. It’s easy to hum along, but not knowing any of les paroles (the lyrics) can be frustrating.

L’autre jour (the other day), I heard a very familiar song that I could not chanter (sing): Au Royaume du Bonhomme Hiver.

I couldn’t chanter because I only know la chanson in English: Walking in a Winter Wonderland! After humming along and doing my best to listen to les paroles, I knew I would have to learn la chanson française.

Looking up les paroles taught me du nouveau vocabulaire (some new vocabulary) like le traîneau et le foulard (the sleigh and the scarf). It also taught me that la chanson is very different in french. Most importantly, I could chanter the next time I heard la chanson!

Écoutez la chanson (listen to the song) and get into l’esprit des fêtes (the holiday spirit):

Voici les paroles avec la traduction anglaise :

Écoutez les clochettes
Du joyeux temps des fêtes
Annonçant la joie
De chaque cœur qui bat
Au royaume du bonhomme hiver.

Listen to the bells
Of the joyful holiday times
Announcing the joy
Of each beating heart
In the kingdom of the winter snowman.

Sous la neige qui tombe
Le traîneau vagabonde
Semant tout autour
Une chanson d’amour
Au royaume du bonhomme hiver.

Under the falling snow
The sleigh wanders
Spreading all around
A love song
In the kingdom of the winter snowman.

Le voilà qui sourit sur la place
Son chapeau, sa canne et son foulard
Il semble nous dire d’un ton bonasse
Ne voyez-vous donc pas qu’il est tard ?

There he is smiling in the plaza
His hat, his cane, and his scarf
Seemingly telling us in a soft tone
Don’t you see that it’s late?

Il dit vrai tout de même
Près du feu, je t’emmène
Allons nous chauffer dans l’intimité
Au royaume du bonhomme hiver.

He speaks the truth anyway
Next to the fire, I’m taking you
Let’s go warm up in privacy
In the kingdom of the winter snowman.

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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.


  1. Jeanne Bauer:

    I love it!…. I am now singing “Winter wonderland ” in my head…..with a few French words!! Perfect way to learn new words in a new language !!

  2. Patrick:

    Ce qu’un moyen agréable d’apprendre. Merci beaucoup. (salutations et joyeux Noël de l’Irlande)