French Language Blog

Thank you! Please check your inbox for your confirmation email.
You must click the link in the email to verify your request.

The Age Of Cathedrals – A Notre-Dame Song In French Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Culture, Music

With l’incendie (the fire) earlier this week in Paris, it’s not just les Français (French people) who are mourning, it’s the whole world. When one of humanity’s greatest structures is hit by tragedy, it’s impossible not to feel affected, no matter where you are from.

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

Great monuments suffering such a loss feels like something that only happens in history. Walking into Notre de Dame de Paris, there are plaques marking great catastrophes of the past, but they always seemed so far away and like relics of a time long lost to the annals of time.

Seeing Notre-Dame in flames was not just a moment of sadness, it was a reminder that our greatest achievements on Earth may one day fall to an unavoidable act of nature.

Cependant (however), like a phoenix rising from its ashes, la France already plans on restoring Notre-Dame and igniting the passionate flame that led to its creation in the first place.

Cet espoir (that hope) that comes with the act of rebuilding Notre-Dame is cause for joy in all of us. It also provides a better context to appreciate la cathédrale and all the history that Our Lady has witnessed.

It’s with that in mind, that I want to share a great song that comes from la comédie musicale (the musical) adapted from the great piece of literature from Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame).

For some people the story may be best known for its Disney adaptation, but no matter where the story comes from, the setting in Paris and what it means to l’histoire française (French history) remains the same.

La chanson dont je parle (the song I’m talking about) is called:

Le temps des cathédrales
The Age of Cathedrals

La version de la chanson (the version of the song) I want to share is sung by the amazing chanteur (singer), Bruno Pelletier. His voice is known in every corner of l’Hexagone (the Hexagon, colloquial term for France) for this song as Gringore in la comédie musicale its from.

Take a moment to celebrate the amazing Notre-Dame and listen to Le temps des cathédrales.

Voici la chanson avec les paroles et une traduction anglaise (here’s the song with the lyrics and an English translation).

Le temps des cathédrales
The Age of Cathedrals

C’est une histoire qui a pour lieu
Paris la belle en l’an de Dieu
Mil quatre cent quatre vingt deux
Histoire d’amour et de désir

This is a story that takes place
In fair Paris in the year of our Lord
Fourteen hundred eighty two
A story of love and of desire

Nous les artistes anonymes
De la sculpture ou de la rime
Tenterons de vous la transcrire
Pour les siècles à venir

We, the anonymous artists
Of sculpture and verse,
Will attempt to transcribe it for you
And for the centuries to come

Refrain :
Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre

The age of cathedrals has come
The world has entered
A new millennium
Man wanted to reach the stars
To write his story
In glass and in stone

Pierre après pierre, jour après jour
De siècle en siècle avec amour
Il a vu s’élever les tours
Qu’il avait bâties de ses mains

Stone after stone, day after day
From century to century with love
He saw the towers rise
That he had built with his hands

Les poètes et les troubadours
Ont chanté des chansons d’amour
Qui promettaient au genre humain
De meilleurs lendemains

The poets and the troubadours
Sang songs of love
That promised the human race
Better days to come

Refrain (x2)

Chorus (x2)

Il est foutu le temps des cathédrales
La foule des barbares
Est aux portes de la ville
Laissez entrer ces païens, ces vandales
La fin de ce monde
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille

The age of cathedrals has gone
The hoard of barbarians
Storms the city gates
Let them in, these pagans, these vandals
The end of this world
Is predicted for the year 2000
Is predicted for the year 2000

Translation from LyricsTranslate.

Want to hear more? Sign up for one of our newsletters!

For more language learning advice, free resources, and information about how we can help you reach your language goals, select the most relevant newsletter(s) for you and sign up below.

Share this:
Pin it

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. Lynn Quinlan:

    Thank you for sharing that John, I never would have found that on my own and will listen to and watch it many times. Best wishes!
    Lynn Q.