Petit papa Noël

tino rossi

I have been writing about French Christmas carols. So far, I’ve been focusing on traditional, religious carols, many centuries old. But French Christmas music includes several of the Santa-snowman-elves variety too. One of the sweetest ones is “Petit Papa Noël.” It was first recorded in 1946 song by a French singer, Tino Rossi. No other French single has ever sold as many copies – over 5.7 million.  It’s also probably one of the most covered songs ever.  You can almost go through the alphabet listing all the singers who have crooned this song: Roberto Alagna, Boney M., the Chipmunks, Céline Dion…the list goes on and on. I’m particularly fond of the version by Josh Groban. Here are the lyrics, with my literal translation.

Boney M

C’est la belle nuit de Noël (It’s the beautiful night of Christmas)
La neige étend son manteau blanc (The snow spreads its white coat)
Et les yeux levés vers le ciel (And eyes lifted toward the sky)
À genoux, les petits enfants (On their knees, the little children)
Avant de fermer les paupières (Before closing their eyelids)
Font une dernière prière. (Make a final prayer.)

Petit papa Noël (Little Father Christmas)
Quand tu descendras du ciel (When you come down from the sky)
Avec des jouets par milliers (With toys by the thousands)
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier. (Don’t forget my little shoe.)
Mais avant de partir (But before leaving)
Il faudra bien te couvrir (You must cover up well)
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid (Outside you will be so cold)
C’est un peu à cause de moi. (It’s a little because of me.)

Il me tarde que le jour se lève  (I can’t wait for day break)
Pour voir si tu m’as apporté (To see if you brought me)
Tous les beaux joujoux que je vois en rêve (All the beautiful presents that I see in my dreams)
Et que je t’ai commandés. (And that I ordered from you)

Petit papa Noël (Little Father Christmas)
Quand tu descendras du ciel (When you come down from the sky)
Avec des jouets par milliers (With toys by the thousands)
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier. (Don’t forget my little shoe.)

Dalida

Le marchand de sable est passé (The sandman has passed)

Les enfants vont faire dodo (The children are going to go to sleep)

Et tu vas pouvoir commencer (And you are going to be able to begin)

Avec ta hotte sur le dos (With your basket on your back)

Au son des cloches des églises (At the sound of the church bells)

Et quand tu seras sur ton beau nuage (And when you are one your beautiful cloud)
Viens d’abord sur notre maison (First come on our house)
Je n’ai pas été tous les jours très sage (I wasn’t very good every day)
Mais j’en demande pardon. (But I’m asking forgiveness.)

Petit papa Noël (Little Father Christmas)
Quand tu descendras du ciel (When you come down from the sky)
Avec des jouets par milliers (With toys by the thousands)
N’oublie pas mon petit soulier. (Don’t forget my little shoe.)
Petit papa Noël (Little Father Christmas)

Josh-Groban-Petit-Papa-Noel-456478

Did you notice that the French Santa fills shoes, instead of stockings, and carries the gifts in a basket like grape pickers use during harvest, instead of a sack? I love little details like that between our two cultures. I can relate to the need to admit that I haven’t been very good EVERY day, but I’m hoping for some leniency from whoever is willing to slip a little something under the tree for me.

51AevxBKLvL__SL75_Petit Papa Noël by Josh Groban

Advertisements

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s