French Song: La Mer 

As the month of July is so often spent by the sea, what could be a more appropriate song to choose than ‘La mer’ by the French showman Charles Trenet?

The song, which describes his love of water and the ocean, was released in 1946 and was a surprise hit for the singer. Reportedly, Trenet wrote the lyrics of the song at just aged 16, long before he established a melody for it. According to popular folklore, the inspiration for the tune apparently came to him in 1943 on a train ride between Montpellier and Perpignan in the South of France. Indeed, this is a region with a stunning coastline, so it is not hard to see why Trenet was so inspired by the French landscape!

Listen to the song HERE:


Here are the lyrics:

La mer
qu’on voit danser le long des golfes clairs
a des reflets d’argent,
la mer,
des reflets changeants
sous la pluie.

La mer
au ciel d’été confond
ses blancs moutons
avec les anges si purs,
la mer bergère d’azur

près des étangs,
ces grands roseaux mouillés.

ces oiseaux blancs
et ces maisons rouillées.

La mer
les a bercés
le long des golfes clairs
et d’une chanson d’amour,
la mer
a bercé mon cœur pour la vie.


The lyrics of this song are very similar to that of a poem. Why not try and write your own? Here is a short list of some seaside vocabulary in French to give you some inspiration:

  • Le sable = sand
  • La vague = a wave
  • Une plage de galets = a round pebble beach
  • Une dune de sable = a sand dune
  • Une falaise = a cliff
  • Une baie = a bay
  • Une péninsule = a peninsula
  • Un rocher = a rock
  • Une côte = a coast
  • Une île = an island
  • Les mouettes – seagulls
  • Une algue – a seaweed
  •  Le phare = a lighthouse