French Songs You’ve Heard But Don’t Know the Name Of

Whether they’re in the background score of your favourite movies or being danced to at talent shows, there are many songs that you can recognize from a single note. They always make you say ‘Oh, I know this song! What’s it called again?’  How many of those songs did you know were actually in French?

Here are just a few French songs you’ve heard but don’t know the name of:


  1. C’est Si Bon – Henri Betti

This song was originally composed by Henri Betti in 1947. He composed the melody while on a walk within ten minutes and immediately ran home to play it on his piano! The lyrics were later written by Andre Hornez and was popularised by jazz legend Eartha Kitt’s cover in 1953. Since then, it has been a song that has been synonymous with different portrayals French beauty.


Where you’ve heard it: Commercials for French brands such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent often feature this song. You may have also heard it in the score for movies such as the Wolf of Wall Street and X-Men: Days of Future Past.


  1. Habanera – Georges Bizet

Originally from his opera ‘Carmen’, Habanera by Bizet is one of the most recognised arias in the world – and you may not even know it! The lyrics of this song describe love as a ‘rebellious bird that no one can tame’ and the now iconic tune was actually denounced by critics when it first premiered!


Where you’ve heard it: This song is a Hollywood favourite. You may have heard it on the soundtracks of such movies as Up, Superman Returns and Meet the Parents. It also featured on the fan-favourite BBC drama Sherlock while introducing its iconic villain, Moriarty.


  1. The Can-Can – Jacques Offenbach

Saving the most recognised for last, this song features so heavily in everyday life that most people can recognise the song from just the first few notes. However did you know that this piece was written by French composer Jacques Offenbach? It’s from his 1858 opera ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’, his first full-length opera.


Where you’ve heard it: Apart from the countless ads, circus tunes and talent show acts, this song is most famous for inspiring a whole new style of dance. The can-can – a dance usually performed by women dancing in a line- is a mainstay of Vegas and Broadway stage-show choreography. You may also have heard it in the score of movies like Rush Hour 3.

Music is a language that transcends culture and learning the language behind the music can open doors to whole new worlds.  If you would like to begin your language journey now, click here. If you’d like more information, drop us a message or  call us.

Comment below and let us know what other songs people have heard but don’t know the name to!

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