French Christmas Carols

French Christmas carols are beautiful to hear. The French language is romantic and tender, especially when raised in song. But in order to pull off a French caroling stint, first you must practice very hard to pronounce the vowels and different sounds correctly. While those who are not French may not notice, you never know who might appear within earshot when you take your newfound talents on the road for Christmas Eve caroling.

Traditional French Christmas Carols
Perhaps the most popular French Christmas carol is "Il Est Ne, le Divin Enfant," which is a song about the Christ Child. The lyrics don't rhyme but the sound is beautiful. The message is reminiscent of the American song "What Child is This."

As the verses wander down through the chorus, the carol depicts singing and rejoicing over the Promised Child who had been announced more than four thousand years earlier. It speaks of the Holy Child's humble beginnings in a stable but notes that He would rise to be a great king

Another inspiring carol, and certainly one of the most popular French Christmas carols with the children, is "Le Petit Renne au Nez Rouge," the French version of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

To learn a French Christmas carol, it's important that you know the melody and learn the lyrics and then practice until you feel you can do the language justice. Another way to learn French Christmas carols is to purchase a CD with French Christmas music on it, or purchase sheet music for the piano and hum along until you know it by heart.

Easy-to-Learn French Christmas Carols
"Vive le vent" in French is not the same as "Jingle Bells" in English, but it has the same melody. The song verses are printed below with the English wording placed beneath each line.

Vive le Vent

Vive le vent, vive le vent
(Live the wind, live the wind!)
Vive le vent d'hiver
(Live the winter wind)
Qui s'en va sifflant, soufflant
(Which goes whistling, blowing)
Dans les grands sapins verts
(In the big green trees)

Vive le temps, vive le temps
(Live the weather, live the weather)
Vive le temps d'hiver
(Live the winter weather)
Boule de neige et Jour de I'An
(Snowball and New Year's Day)
Et Bonne Annee grand-mere!
(And happy New Year, Grandma!)

At the end of your night of French caroling, tuck your little ones into bed to the melody of "Petit Papa Noel," a French lullaby that was originally a hit song by Tino Rossi. "Petit Papa Noel" is a lullaby strictly reserved for the Christmas season. 

Petite Papa Noel (Little Father Christmas)

It's a beautiful Christmas night
(C'est la bell nuit de Noel)
Snow spreads its white coat
(La neige etend son manteau blanc)
And eyes lift toward the sky
(Et les yeux leves vers le ciel)
On their knees, small children
(A genoux, les petits enfants)
Before closing their eyes
(Avant de fermer les paupieres)
Say a last prayer
(Font une deriere priere)

Little Santa Claus
(Petit Papa Noel)
When you come down from the sky
(Quand to descendra du ciel)
With thousands of toys
(Avec des jouets par milliers)
Don't forget my little stocking.
(N'oublie pas mon petit soulier)
But before you leave
(Mais avant de partir)
You should dress well
(Il faudra bien te couvrir)
Outside you will be so cold
(Dehors tu vas avoir si froid)
And it's partly because of me
(Ce's un peu a cauuse de moi)

The sandman has passed
(Le marchand de sable est passe)
The children are going to sleep
(Les enfants vont faire dodo)
And you will be able to begin,
(Et tu has pouvoir commencer)
With your sack on your back,
(Ave ta hotte sur le dos)
To the sound of church bells,
(Au son des closhes de eglises)
Your distribution of surprises
(Ta distribution de surprises)


I look forward to the day to come
(Il me tarde que le jour se leve)
To see if you brought me
(Pour voir si tu m'as apporte)
All the lovely toys that I see in my dreams
(Tous les beaux joujoux que je vois en reve)
And that I asked of you
(Et que je t'ai commandes)


And when you are on your beautiful cloud
(Et quand tu seras sur ton beau nuage)
Come first to our house
(Viens d'abord sur notre maison)
I wasn't always very good
(Je n'ai pas ete tous les jours tres sage)
But I ask for your forgiveness
(Mais j'en demande pardon)

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