The 5 best chansons about the sea

French chansons are among the best-known and most beautiful songs of all. Chansons are about love, friendship, melancholy, wine, war, peace, wealth or poverty – in short: about life itself. So it stands to reason that some chansons also sing about the sea. La Bretonelle has compiled the best French chansons about the sea.

Charles Trenet – La mer

One of the most popular French chansons is “La mer” by Charles Trenet. A native of Narbonne in southern France, Trenet wrote “La mer” in the 1930s during a train ride along the Atlantic coast – on toilet paper! The song captures the mood at the sea musically perfectly; the many cover versions of the evergreen do not come close to the atmosphere of the original. Here is a recording from 1975 in which Trenet sings his chanson in the Paris “Olympia”, the most famous concert hall of the chanson.

Michel Sardou – Les bateaux du courrier

The chanson “Les bateaux du courrier” is set in Brittany! Michel Sardou describes a woman who waits longingly for the courier boat between the islands of Molène and Belle-Île. She braves the wind and weather of Brittany with a trembling heart, even though she seems to suspect that her longing will remain unsatisfied.
Michel Sardou, a self-confessed Sarkozy fan, is not without controversy in France; many of his texts, for example on bullfighting, celibacy or the death penalty, have caused upset controversy.

Renaud – Dès que le vent soufflera

Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan, “Renaud” for short, has recorded almost 20 albums to date. Along the way, the Parisian has starred in numerous films and also directed his own. The multi-talent is known in France not only for his artistic versatility, but also for his social commitment. His chanson “Dès que le vent soufflera” dates from 1983. By the way, one of his most popular chansons, “Mistral gagnant”, is one of the favourite songs of the French.

Yves Duteil – Quand les bateaux reviennent

This song is from the album “J’attends”, released in 1976. Even though Yves Duteil is not necessarily one of the international superstars of French chanson, his voice is not entirely unknown in Germany either, thanks to recordings with Reinhard Mey. Duteil also wrote another song with a reference to the sea: “Le bateau”.

Henri Dès – Ohé le bateau

A beautiful children’s song by the fantastic songwriter Henri Dès. The lyrics are catchy, at the latest the chorus of the sailors’ chorus carries away small and big. The successful video, which we have linked here, fades in the verses of the chanson in the subtitles and, in combination with pictures and music, is an excellent opportunity to learn some French vocabulary about the sea!