French Language Blog

Softly Singing About Snails – French Nursery Rhymes Posted by on May 16, 2019 in Culture, Music

This past weekend was la fête des Mères (Mother’s Day), or at least it was aux États-Unis (in the United States). If you’re French, ne vous inquiétez pas (don’t worry), it’s not Mother’s Day until next week!

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

This year was a particularly special fête des Mères for ma famille (my family). It was the first time ma petite soeur (my little sister) celebrated it as une mère!

The special occasion had me thinking about how there are a lot of cadeaux traditionnels (traditional gifts) for la fête des Mères. Cependant (however), for any nouvelle Maman (new Mom) with their hands full of dirty diapers and a hungry baby, I think one of the best gifts is anything that provides a few moments of rest.

Something like une berceuse (a lullaby) to put le nouveau-né (the newborn) to sleep or even just an offer to watch the lovely child for a few hours seems to be a safe bet.

Along those same lines, une comptine (a nursery rhyme) or un conte de fée (a fairly tale) that keeps the little one happy and entertained is a welcome source of relaxation. Something as simple as jouer a faire coucou (playing peekaboo) or singing a silly song can go a long way in making life easier for une Maman fatiguée (a tired Mom).

So while I was thinking about ma famille, I wanted to share a fun little comptine française about un petit escargot mignon (a cute little snail). As strange as it may sound for mes amis anglophones (my English speaking friends), les escargots are seen as cute and friendly even for French babies!

La comptine is called petit escargot (little snail) and is simple enough for anyone to follow along and sing to un bébé (a baby). It’s simple design makes it perfect for adding fun gestures that babies can follow and slowly learn.

Even if your French isn’t perfect, I’m confident you can sing along to petit escargot and help out une Mère in your life as a small gift for the holiday.

Take a listen to la comptine and try singing it to un nouveu-né to help out une Maman!

Voici la comptine avec les paroles et une traduction anglaise (here’s the nursery rhyme with the lyrics and an English translation):

Petit escargot
Little Snail

Petit escargot
Porte sur son dos
Sa maisonnette
Aussitôt qu’il pleut
Il est tout heureux
Il sort sa tête !

Little Snail
Carries on his back
His little house
As soon as it rains
He’s all happy
He comes out of his shell*!

*literally: His head comes out!

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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.