French Language Blog

Songs in French: Stephan Eicher Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Music

Stephan Eicher is a Swiss singer-songwriter who sings in many languages, including French, German, Italian, English, Swiss-German, and Romanche (a Romance language spoken in some areas of Switzerland). While his earliest success began in German-speaking countries, Eicher has become well known in French-speaking countries as well. Eicher debuted his career as a techno-punk artist, then gradually changed up his sound for more of a poppy, folk sound. Starting with the album Chansons Bleues in 1983, Eicher began to gain international critical claim, which continued with the albums Engleberg (1991), Lounages (1999), and Eldorado (2007). “Déjeuner en paix,” a single from Engleberg became a quick sensation in France with lyrics that hinted at the devastation caused by the Gulf War:

“J’abandonne sur une chaise
Le journal du matin
Les nouvelles sont mauvaises
D’ou qu’elles viennent


“L’homme est un animal”
Me dit-elle
Elle prend son cafe en riant
Et me regarde a peine
Plus rien ne la surprend
Sur la nature humaine
Ce pourquoi elle voudrait
Enfin si je le permets
Déjeuner en paix”


“I abandon yesterday’s newspaper

on a chair

The news is bad

no matter where it comes from.


“Men are animals,”

she tells me.

She drinks her coffee while laughing

and barely looking at me.

Nothing surprises her anymore

about human nature.

That’s why she would like,

well if I allowed it,

to have her breakfast in peace.”

These somewhat melancholy lyrics were written by the French novelist Philippe Djian during a period of frequent collaboration between him and Eicher.

One of my favorite songs by Eicher is a more uplifting one, called “Confettis” from his 2007 album Eldorado. It’s playful and light, and just a beautiful French folk chanson.

The lyrics from the first several verses are as follows:

“Il est tout a fait impensable
Il est tout a fait hors de question
Que tu viennes t’assoir à ma table
Que tu me fasses la conversation

Il est tout a fait indispensable
Que l’air puisse entrer dans mes poumons
Jamais tu ne seras invulnérable
Jamais tu ne pourras être aussi bon

Je te la laisse, je te la laisse
Ta place au paradis
Je te la laisse, je te la laisse
Fais-en… des confettis”

“It’s quite unthinkable

It’s completely out of the question

That you come to sit at my table
That you make conversation with me
It’s completely essential
That air can get into my lungs
You’ll never be invulnerable
You can never be as good.
I’ll let you have it, I’ll let you have it
Your place in paradise
I’ll let you have it, I’ll let you have it
Make it. . .confetti”

So, which Stephan Eicher song do you prefer?

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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!


  1. lilian waddell:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thank you so very much for sharing Stephan Eicher’s songs with us. I had never heard of him before. Anyway, I liked his song Confetti song better than the other one. But, I actually love all French songs. French is such a lovely language. Best of luck with your doctoral research!

    • Elizabeth Schmermund:

      @lilian waddell I agree about “Confetti,” Lilian! Thank you so much for your kind words.