French Christmas Songs

merry christmas in french with music note
Improve your pronunciation and learn the liaisons by singing the French Christmas song "Petit Papa Noel". Songs are an amazing way to master a language.
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Christmas in France

Traditions play a central role in celebrating Christmas all over the world. In France, Christmas decorations, songs, French food, and gifts take a lot of space in December. Christmas, the French way, is about customs that include setting up the Christmas tree and its ornaments, preparing the traditional Christmas Eve dinner, tasting the chocolate bûche, buying Christmas gifts, visiting Christmas markets, French Christmas songs, etc. In reality, Christmas in France is an important holiday.

Without songs, it wouldn't be Christmas

While all of these Christmas traditions in France are powerful, no one could imagine a Christmas without songs. Christmas traditions are expressed through music which explains why songs are essential during this festive season. In fact, there are plenty of French Christmas songs that celebrate the numerous traditions that surround this holiday.

Just imagine that the best selling song in French history is “Petit Papa Noel”, the famous Christmas song. The second best selling song of all time in France is “La danse des canards” (the “Chicken Dance”). As this is a French fact, I’ll consider covering this non-Christmas song in a future blog. 

Other classical French Christmas songs include: “Il Est Né, Le Divin Enfant”, “Mon beau Sapin”, “Vive le Vent”, and “Douce Nuit, Sainte Nuit”. Beyond Christmas songs, check out our article to discover famous French songs to help you learn the language with music.

French pronunciation and liaisons with Christmas songs

While it is known that developing a passion for culture is helpful when learning a country’s language. This is also true when learning French. Indeed, songs are an amazing way to conquer your French language learning. Here’s how:

  • Learn a new French vocabulary (e.g. French Christmas words)
  • Connect it to a context (e.g. Christmas in France)
  • Practice your French pronunciation (start singing)
  • Work the liaisons so that you start speaking like a native French (see the French language rules below)
  • Exercise your French listening skills (e.g., listen to a song)

This is exactly what you’ll learn to do in this article. First, I’ll present how French people celebrate Christmas. This description is far from being exhaustive. Then, you’ll discover the vocabulary of the wonderful song “Petit Papa Noël”. Each French sentence of this song is translated into English so that you better understand the meaning of the words. This will help you to better position these French words in the context of Christmas. The last part of this French exercise is to address the French pronunciation. We’ll do this by focusing on the liaisons which are an essential part of Spoken French today.

Christmas the French Way

How to say Christmas in French?

Many of you already know this. Christmas is Noël in French. Noël, as a word, is generally used alone (without an article), just like Christmas in English. However, Noël is a masculine noun.

Merry Christmas in French is Joyeux Noël

Noël is also a first name in France

You might not know that Noël is also a first name in France. This may come as a surprise. Noël is also a popular and old-fashioned first name. Noël is for a boy, it’s spelled Noëlle for a girl and they are both pronounced the same way.

Caroling in the streets is not a French tradition

That’s true, caroling is not really what French people are known for. At the same time, “Petit Papa Noël” is as popular as classics like “Jingle Bells”. It is a magical Christmas song that tells the story of Père Noël (or Father Christmas) arriving in the night with gifts.

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Christmas Songs to help you learn to speak French

Let’s study together Petit Papa Noël in French and after that, we will see how it can help you with improving your pronunciation.

Lyrics of the "Petit Papa Noël"

Part 1

C’est la belle nuit de Noël
La neige étend son manteau blanc
Et les yeux levés vers le ciel
À genoux, petits enfants
Avant de fermer les paupières
Font une dernière prière.

Refrain

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C’est un peu à cause de moi.

Part 2

Il me tarde tant que le jour se lève
Pour voir si tu m’as apporté
Tous les beaux joujoux que je vois en rêve
Et que je t’ai commandés.

Refrain

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.

Part 3

Et quand tu seras sur ton beau nuage
Viens d’abord sur notre maison
Je n’ai pas été tous les jours très sage
Mais j’en demande pardon.

Refrain

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Petit papa Noël

Pronunciation and liaisons in French Christmas songs

Do you want to sing like a French? Yes! Of course! So you have to do the following liaisons.

These liaisons have to be done:

  • “Des” or “Les” + groupe nominal (noun group). For example:
    • ‘Des églises’ is pronounced ‘dé zéglises’
    • ‘Les enfants’ is pronounced ‘lé zenfants’
  • Adjective + Noun. For example:
    • ‘Les petits enfants’ is pronounced like ‘les petit zenfants’
  • Est + groupe nominal. For example:
    • ‘C’est un’ is pronounced ‘ces tun’

You don’t have to do the following ‘liaisons’ but it’s better if you do it:

  • Avoir + participe passé (have + past participle). For example:
    • ‘M’as apporté’ can be pronounced ‘ma zapporté’
  • Adverbe + … (adverb). For example:
    • ‘Pas été’ can be pronounced ‘pa zété’
    • ‘Mais avant’ can be pronounced ‘mai zavant’
small eiffel tour happy christmas
Merry Christmas from France!

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël

Let this Christmas season be a time filled with love and care. Savor every minute with family and friends. Give yourself a life-changing gift and start caring for yourself. 

Take the opportunity to strengthen your French skills during the holidays. This is one of the most remarkable things you can do for yourself at the end of this year. It is never too late to start perfecting your pronunciation in French.

If you’re looking to improve your French pronunciation, I’d be glad to help to make your French brilliant. This blog is a free resource for persons who are looking to elevate their French language skills. 

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss any update. 

I’m also on various social media platforms, such as on YouTube and on Instagram, where I publish unique video content. 

Now, it’s time to listen to the original song. Listen here and enjoy Petit Papa Noël by Tino Rossi!

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