“champs-Élysées” – Joe Dassin

Nowadays the Champs-Élysées have taken on quite a different connotation what with all the Gilet Jaune protests. For weeks protestors and riot police have been assembling on the avenue and at the Arc de Triomphe and there have been disruptions and outbreaks of violence. We’d like to use this song by Joe Dassin as a reminder of the charm of this famous avenue and to look back at a simpler time.

Joe Dassin, the singer, was actually American but recorded songs in French and English as well as other European languages. This song is one of his biggest hits and it was released in 1969. It is essentially what it says on the tin, a song about a short love story taking place on the Champs-Élysées. It’s the type of song that makes you want to take a leisurely, romantic stroll on the avenue.

“Champs-Élysées” was actually adapted from a British song called “Waterloo Road” released by the band Jason Crest. Pierre Delanoë, a French lyricist, changed the words to make the song about the Champs-Élysées instead. French football fans have made their own adaptation of the song about the footballer N’golo Kante (it’s definitely worth a listen).

Discover more French music HERE.


Je m’baladais sur l’avenue, le cœur ouvert à l’inconnu
J’avais envie de dire bonjour à n’importe qui
N’importe qui et ce fut toi, je t’ai dit n’importe quoi
Il suffisait de te parler, pour t’apprivoiser

Aux Champs-Élysées, aux Champs-Élysées
Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit
Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées

Tu m’as dit “J’ai rendez-vous dans un sous-sol avec des fous
Qui vivent la guitare à la main, du soir au matin”
Alors je t’ai accompagnée, on a chanté, on a dansé
Et l’on n’a même pas pensé à s’embrasser


Hier soir deux inconnus et ce matin sur l’avenue
Deux amoureux tout étourdis par la longue nuit
Et de l’Étoile à la Concorde, un orchestre à mille cordes
Tous les oiseaux du point du jour chantent l’amour

[Refrain] x 3

The lyrics talk about how you’ll find anything you’d like on the Champs-Élysées no matter what the weather or the time. The juxtaposition of the refrain with the verses detailing the story of these spontaneous characters really sets the scene of this love story taking place on the avenue. You can just imagine the romantic setting leading them together.