French Language Blog

Vacation Time Tunes Posted by on Aug 3, 2021 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

I’m taking a little vacation this week. The timing is right, since in France, August is traditionally the start of the période des grandes vacances. But it’s still a strange time to be travelling, so I’m staying close to home. But whether travelling near or far, nothing makes me feel more “in the mood for vacation” than a few good vacation time tunes.

Vacation Time Tumes

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Vacation time tunes

This song from the 80’s French pop group Élégance captures the spirit of a good summer vacation for me. If you want a few more modern options for tubes de l’été 2021 et de vos vacances1songs of summer 2021 and your vacations check out this list from Ladé or this one from


J’ai la montre arrêtée, My watch is stopped
J’sais même pas l’heure qu’il est I don’t even know the time
Le téléphone a sonné, j’m’suis pas réveillé The phone rang, I didn’t wake up
Direction: salle de bain, j’me fais couler un bain Heading : The bathroom to run myself a bath
Je m’regarde dans le miroir, pas beau à voir I look at myself in the mirror not looking too good
En retard sur l’horaire, plus besoin d’se presser I’m running behind, but no need to rush
Radio libre allumée, stop pas de publicité Radio Libre turned on, no more commercials
Cette chanson bien côtée, c’est le tube de l’été This well-liked song is the hit of the summer
Me fait flipper de la tête aux pieds Gets me going from head to toe (lit. to the feet)
Je commence à ranger car ce soir terminé Time to clean up ‘cause tonight I’ll be finished
Je serais sur la route avec Bison Futé I’ll be on the road with ‘Clever Bison’
J’suis pas seul à rêver du ciel bleu des palmiers I’m not alone, dreaming about blue skies and palm trees
Et des jours sans problèmes c’est la vie que j’aime And problem-free days are the life for me
Vacances j’oublie tout (Vacances) Vacation … I forget everything
Plus rien à faire du tout Nothing to do
J’m’envoie en l’air ça c’est super I enjoy life and it’s super
Folie légère Fun and frolic
Vacances j’oublie tout Vacation … I forget it all
Plus rien à faire du tout No more to do
J’m’envoie en l’air ça c’est super I enjoy life it’s super
Folie légère, c’est fou Fun and frolic, it’s crazy
Pas besoin de penser, on ne peut pas résister No need to think, no need to resist
Restaurants, boites de nuit, tout ce qu’on a envie Restaurants, night clubs, everything you want
On peut manger à minuit et se coucher à midi You can eat at midnight and go to bed at noon
Plus de temps, plus d’horaires, les vacances c’est super No more time, no more schedules, vacation is great
Allongé sur le sable et bercé par les vagues Lying on the sand and rocked by the waves
Notre petit corps bronzé était vêtu de moitié Our little tan bodies barely dressed
À l’abri du soleil sous ton chapeau de paille Protected from the sun by your straw hat
Tu te fous des regards qui se posent sur toi You don’t care about prying eyes
Je m’approche près d’elle, je souris et lui dit: I move closer to her, I smile and say:
“Qu’est-ce que vous faites ce soir?” « What are you doing tonight?”
“Rien de précis” elle me dit « Nothing special » she tells me
Petite boite de nuit, soirée champ’ et whisky A little club, a night of champagne and whiskey
Ambiance folie toute la nuit A night of celebrations
Refrain Chorus

Embouteillages, bouchons, et goulot d’étranglements …

Getting away for a well-deserved vacation isn’t always easy even in non-Covid times. Those travelling by car have to deal with traffic jams, back ups, and bottle necks. These three terms are familiar to anyone who has ever tried to escape la région parisienne en plein été2the Paris region at the height of summer.

All three French terms, according to this article from Le Figaro, share a common root … hidden right there in the word embouteillage. The word, which literally means bottling up contains the word bouteille.3bottle Bouchon means cork. And goulot refers to the neck of a bottle. No wonder so many people feel like they need a drink after spending hours stuck in traffic!

Bison Futé

Since the mid 1970’s – and one summer with a particularly bad 600 km bouchon in the south of France! – les Français have relied on the services of Clever Bison – an Indian guide who helps to find des itinéraires bis4alternative routes – to help them navigate le depart (et la rentrée) en période de vacances5the departure (and return) during annual vacations. This service of the French government allows travelers to get updates on the state of travel around the country to better plan their trip to avoid les embouteillages et les bouchons.

Today the service is less important thanks to the ubiquity of GPS, smartphone apps, and other services that help drivers avoid traffic, and the personnage6character might be dated. Still, Bison Futé was a major part of French culture for over 40 years.

You can learn more about l’histoire du Bison Futé in this clip from Télé Matin or listen to an audio history from Culture G here.

A French Geography Lesson

French Culture – Summer Music

French Culture – Songs, songs, songs

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    songs of summer 2021 and your vacations
  • 2
    the Paris region at the height of summer
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  • 4
    alternative routes
  • 5
    the departure (and return) during annual vacations
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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.