I feel that, coming from England, a major player in musical history, France, often gets overlooked. Mainly this is due to the language barrier, but probably also due to commercialism and the fact that Britain and America are pretty strong in the field of pop and rock music.

However, if you take a look, and don’t mind listening to someone singing in a language that you don’t understand (you won’t find many singalong’s here) then there is much to admire! Check this out…


Edith Piaf – Le Vie En Rose

I first heard this song when I watched Saving Private Ryan, and noted how lovely it was. I didn’t think any more of it, until Marion Cottilard played Piaf in the film of the same name as her biggest hit. Possibly the most famous French song of all?


Serge Gainsbourg – Melody

Many would say his most well known hit J’Taime Moi Non Plus, but for pure musical brilliance the first track on Gainsbourg’s 1971 album Histoire De Melody Nelson takes some beating. It has been sampled numerous times by the likes of David Holmes.


Francoise Hardy – Les Temps L’Amour

I have an infatuation with Hardy, both musically and with her in general. She is beautiful, talented, a style icon AND French! What’s not to like. And this song features in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom which makes it even cooler than it already was! If I could wind back to any moment in time, it would be mid-sixties Paris and I would introduce myself to Francoise!


France Gall – Laisse Tomber Les Filles

A song written by Serge Gainsbourg and a big hit for Gall. It is quite a rocky little number compared to her normal ye-ye pop. The song in question was covered in the English language by April March and featured on the Death Proof soundtrack. This version is cool though, in a sixties way.


Jacques Dutronc – Et Moit, Et Moi, Et Moi

The French Ray Davies apparently (I obviously don’t understand the lyrics so wouldn’t know). Dutronc was big in France in the sixties, and even went into acting and hooked up with Francoise Hardy. And he churned out some decent garage rock as well, this being a number two hit in France.


Joe Dassin – Les Champs Elysee

This cheerful chanson number never fails to put a smile on my face. I would have no idea of what else Dassin sings, but the fact that this featured at the end of Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited means he must be pretty good. Anderson doesn’t do bad soundtracks.


April March – Cet Air La

This one is a bit of a cheat because April March is actually American, but she does some great covers of French chanson and ye-ye hits of the sixties. Especially on her mini album Chick Habit. Her english language version of Laisse Tomber Les Filles, retitled Chick Habit, went on to feature in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. This is a cover of a France Gall song which has a real hazy, dream like quality to it.


Phoenix – Too Young

A cracker of a single released in 2000 and found on the Lost In Translation soundtrack (singer Thomas Mars is married to Sofia Coppola). Phoenix are, I guess, the equivalent of The Strokes. They followed this up with further successes such as 1901 and Lizstomania.

daft punk

Daft Punk – Around The World

Everyone’s favourite French, dance robots. Daft Punk have been around for ages, knocking out some big hits, culminating in last years worldwide mega smash Get Lucky. I actually think my favourite is this cool, but slightly repetitive number that was a hit back in 1997. It reminds me of mates holidays in Ibiza when I was a carefree teenager.


Air – Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi

Air were pretty big in the late nineties, with their release Moon Safari. I actually preferred the EP of their singles released around that time, Premiers Symptomes. The song I have chosen is just a really nice, chilled listen, perfect for headphones in bed at night.


M83 – Midnight City

The newest act on the list, but I heard this song just after watching the film Drive, and it has that similar 80’s neon feel as that film’s lauded soundtrack. It’s a great song for a night time drive with it’s cutting snyth and cool vocals.

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Lovely, but let’s not forget Charles Aznavour!

  2. Phoenix! Yes! Big fan obviously 🙂

  3. I am really enjoying all of your music posts! I’ve also loved Edith Piaf ever since watching the movie.

    • Thanks Alina! What is your kind of music that you enjoy the most?

      • Hard question! I pretty much enjoy all types of music, though my favorite artist at the moment (and for the last couple of years or so) is Janelle Moane.

      • Yeah she’s pretty cool. I have her first album, the one with Tightrope on it. R n b isn’t my kind of music really, but she does something a bit different.

      • Yeah normally it isn’t really my type of music either, but I just can’t get enough of Janelle! I like that every single one of her songs sounds unique. And I got the chance to see her perform live – she’s fantastic.

  4. Great picks! Air is one of my favourite bands of all time. Love them.

  5. I’ve been a fan of Édith Piaf, ever since I heard ‘La Vie en rose’, as a teenager, way back in 1994, when I watched ‘Sabrina’ (1954). I was already in love with Audrey Hepburn, and by then the song had entered my bloodstream as well. And I love Marion Cotillard, she was superb in that bio-pic.
    In Fact I did a post on Piaf, for her 50th Death anniversary, in Oct 2013, chk it out you might like it.
    I watched Serge Gainsbourg’s movie ‘Je t’aime moi non plus’ (1976), in Paris back in 2008-2009. The film was crap, but loved Serge Gainsbourg’s soundtrack, it was superb.
    We learnt Françoise Hardy’s ‘Tous les garçons et les filles’, again in my teens, for our French class, when I was sitting for my A/levels. And years later I re-heard the song when I watched ‘The Dreamers’ (2003), a favourite movie of mine. Who doesn’t love the 60’s, it’s thanks to that decade, the world is a better and more open minded place today (or rather should be).
    Daft Punk, too I enjoyed, back in 90’s, but it’s only last year I found what the duo looked like.
    I should stop now, otherwise this will end up being another post under your post.

  6. I think I’ve already mentioned two favourites, but here’s one more. So, Besides Édith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en rose’ I also love her ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’, and of course Françoise Hardy’s ‘Tous les garçons et les filles’, as I mentioned earlier.

  7. giorge thomas

    I thought that as an Englishmen you should hate the French?

  8. Great choices, Piaf had such a powerful and emotive voice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s