Édith Piaf – Sous Le Ciel De Paris Lyrics (with English Translation)

Sous Le Ciel De Paris Song Background

Sous Le Ciel De Paris” (pronunciation: su lə sjɛl də paʀi) is a French song made famous by France’s two most legendary singers, Edith Piaf and Yves Montand. The the meaning of the song’s title is: “Under The Sky of Paris”. The song was originally made for the 1950 movie Sous Le Ciel De Paris with Hubert Giraud writing the music and Jean Dréjac writing the lyrics. After analyzing the lyrics, we believe “ciel” (sky) is symbolic for God and His love for the city of Paris and its people.

Become an expert in French song lyrics!
French Learner offers extensive material covering the lyrics to famous French songs including La Vie En Rose and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (both by Édith Piaf), Dominique (by The Singing Nun), Ne Me Quitte Pas and Le Port d’Amsterdam (by Jacques Brel), La Bohème (by Charles Aznavour), Les Feuilles Mortes and C’est Si Bon (by Yves Montand), La Mer (by Charles Trenet) and Les Champs Eleysées (by Joe Dassin). More recent songs include Alors On Danse, Papaoutai and Formidable (by Stromae) and Dernière Danse (by Indilia).

In addition to Piaf and Montand, other notable French recordings were made by Mireille Mathieu and Zaz. The Dutch violinist Andé Rieu did an instrumental recording set in Paris on the River Seine.

Sous Le Ciel De Paris came to symbolize both Paris and France. And English version, Under The Sky of Paris, was written by Kim Gannon and notable English recordings were made by Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Sam Cooke and Jane Morgan.

Sous Le Ciel De Paris – Synopsis and Lyrics Analysis

In the following section we have hand-selected lines of the song which we believe offer interesting insights into learning French grammar and vocabulary. We also explore the song lyrics’ symbolism.

Song synopsis

The song, Sous Le Ciel De Paris is a poetic celebration of the beautiful city of Paris. The lyrics paint a picture of lovers singing and dancing in the streets, thousands of people gathered under the iconic Bercy bridge, trouble brewing near Notre Dame (perhaps referring to France’s frequent protests), the homeless being lulled to sleep by a beautiful song and people gathering in the city from all over the world.

The lyrics go on to describe the sky (perhaps a metaphor for God) raining down with thunder on the beloved Île Saint Louis (island in the center of Paris on the Seine River) and its millions of adoring residents and visitors. Then, the song ends with the sky showing a rainbow over the city.

Lyrics analysis

Sous le ciel de Paris

The title to the song has two translations: “Under the sky of Paris” or “Under the Paris sky”. The preposition sous translates to “under”. The preposition de translates to both of and from.

S’envole une chanson

We translated this line to “A song flies away”. The reflexive verb s’envoler translates to “to fly away” or “to flee” and “to soar up”.

Elle est née d’aujourd’hui

This line translates to “she was born today”. The verb “naître” (to be born) uses être (to be) as an auxiliary verb in the passé composé (a French past tense).

Leur bonheur se construit, Sur un air fait pour eux

We translated these two lines to “Their happiness builds, Upon a tune maid for them”. The word “air” has multiple meanings including air, appearance and tune.

Sous le pont de Bercy, Un philosophe assis

These lines translate to “Under the Bercy bridge, A philosopher is seated”. The song lyrics make reference to the Bercy bridge, which connects the 12th and 13th arrondissements of Paris along the Seine River.

Deux musiciens, quelques badauds, Puis les gens par milliers

These two lines translate to “Two musicians, a few onlookers, And then thousands of people”. The infrequently used word “badaud” translates to onlooker.

Jusqu’au soir vont chanter, L’hymne d’un peuple épris, De sa vieille cité

These three lines translate to “They’ll sing until the night, The song of people in love, With their old city”. The adjective “épris“, which is used twice in the song lyrics, translates to “in love” or enamored”.

The song puts heavy emphasis on the peoples’ appreciation for their beloved city.

The word cité is synonymous with ville (city).

Près de Notre Dame, Parfois couve un drame

These two lines translate to “Near Notre Dam, Sometimes a drama is brewing”. We’re not 100% sure but we think these lines may refer to France’s frequent protests and demonstrations.

A figurative usage of the verb couver is to be brewing or simmering. The literal translation is to brood or sit on (in the context of a hen sitting on eggs).

Oui mais à Paname, Tout peut s’arranger

These two lines translate to “Yes but in Paris, Everything can be worked out”. The word “Paname” is an affectionate slang term used to refer to Paris.

The reflexive verbs’arranger” has multiple meanings including mange, work out and come to an agreement.

Quelques rayons, Du ciel d’été, L’accordéon, D’un marinier, L’espoir fleurit, Au ciel de Paris

These short lines translate to “A few rays, From the summer sky, The accordion, Of a sailor, Hope blooms
In the Paris sky”.

The lyrics are making reference to French accordion music, which can often be heard both on the sidewalks and into Paris métro.

Sous le ciel de Paris, Coule un fleuve joyeux

These two lines translate to “Under the sky of Paris, A joyous river flows”. We believe the lyrics are making reference to the River Seine which flows through the center of the city, separating it into the Rive Droite (north of the Seine) and Rive Gauche (south of the Seine).

Il endort dans la nuit, Les clochards et les gueux

These two lines translate to “During the night it puts to sleep, The homeless and down-and-out people”. The word clochard is slang for homeless person. The word gueux (gueuse in the feminine form) is a literary word for pauper, down-and-out or social outcast.

Les oiseaux du Bon Dieu, Viennent du monde entier, Pour bavarder entre eux

These three lines translate to “Birds of the good Lord, Come from all over the world, To chat among themselves”. We believe the oiseaux (birds) could be symbolic for tourists and visitors from all of the world who come to Paris.

Et le ciel de Paris, A son secret pour lui

We translated these to lines to “And the sky of Paris, has a secret for Himself”. The French pronoun lui has many translations including him. We believe the ciel (sky) is a metaphor for God and therefore translated “lui” to Himself in this line.

Depuis vingt siècles il est épris, De notre Île Saint Louis

These two lines translate to “He has been in love for twenty centuries, Of our Saint Louis island”. L’île Saint-Louis refers to one of two natural islands located in the middle of the Seine River. The other island is l’Île de la Cité, where Notre Dame is located.

Quand elle lui sourit, Il met son habit bleu

These two lines translate to “And when she smiles at him, He puts on his blue outfit”. We believe “elle” (she) refers to the previously mentioned island and “lui” (at him) simply refers to the sky (God in the context of the song). We believe the blue outfit (habit bleu) is symbolic for the blue sky.

Quand il pleut sur Paris, C’est qu’il est malheureux

These lines translate to “When it rains on Paris, It’s that he’s unhappy”. Il pleut is a French weather expression that means “it’s raining out”.

Again, the lyrics personify the sky into “God”, with the “il” in this line meaning “He” or “God”.

Quand il est trop jaloux, De ses millions d’amants

These two lines translate to “When he is too jealous, Of her millions of lovers”. The word amant means lover. Here, the lyrics are referring to both the millions of residents and visitors who love the city.

Il fait gronder sur nous, Son tonnerre éclatant

These lines translate to “He rumbles over us, His bursting thunder”. The verb gronder means to rumble or sold. Tonnerre means thunder and the verb éclater means to bust or explode.

Mais le ciel de Paris, N’est pas longtemps cruel, Pour se faire pardonner, Il offre un arc-en-ciel

The last four lines of the song “Sous Le Ciel De Paris” translate to “But the sky of paris, Isn’t cruel for long, To get forgiven, It offers a rainbow”.

The song ends on a very positive note, suggesting that the sky (or God) shows its love to Paris and its people by presenting it with a rainbow.

Sous Le Ciel De Paris – French Lyrics & English Translation

Sous le ciel de Paris
S’envole une chanson
Hum hum
Elle est née d’aujourd’hui
Dans le cœur d’un garçon
Sous le ciel de Paris
Marchent des amoureux
Hum hum
Leur bonheur se construit
Sur un air fait pour eux

Under the sky of Paris
A song flies away
Hum hum
It was born today
In a young man’s heart
Under the sky of Paris
Lovers walk around
Hum hum
Their happiness builds
Upon a tune made for them

Sous le pont de Bercy
Un philosophe assis
Deux musiciens, quelques badauds
Puis les gens par milliers
Sous le ciel de Paris
Jusqu’au soir vont chanter
Hum hum
L’hymne d’un peuple épris
De sa vieille cité

Under the Bercy bridge
A philosopher is seated
Two musicians, a few onlookers
And then thousands of people
Under the sky of Paris
They’ll sing until the night
Hum hum
The song of people in love
With their old city

Près de Notre Dame
Parfois couve un drame
Oui mais à Paname
Tout peut s’arranger
Quelques rayons
Du ciel d’été
D’un marinier
L’espoir fleurit
Au ciel de Paris

Near Notre Dam
Sometimes a drama is brewing
Yes but in Paris
Everything can be worked out
A few rays
From the summer sky
The accordion
Of a sailor
Hope blooms
In the Paris sky

Sous le ciel de Paris
Coule un fleuve joyeux
Hum hum
Il endort dans la nuit
Les clochards et les gueux
Sous le ciel de Paris
Les oiseaux du Bon Dieu
Hum hum
Viennent du monde entier
Pour bavarder entre eux

Under the sky of Paris
A joyous river flows
Hum hum
During the night it puts to sleep
The homeless and down-and-out people
Under the sky of Paris
Birds of the good Lord
Hum hum
Come from all over the world
To chat among themselves

Et le ciel de Paris
A son secret pour lui
Depuis vingt siècles il est épris
De notre Île Saint Louis

And the sky of Paris
has a secret for Himself
He has been in love for twenty centuries
Of our Saint Louis island

Quand elle lui sourit
Il met son habit bleu
Hum hum
Quand il pleut sur Paris
C’est qu’il est malheureux
Quand il est trop jaloux
De ses millions d’amants
Il fait gronder sur nous
Son tonnerre éclatant
Mais le ciel de Paris
N’est pas longtemps cruel
Pour se faire pardonner
Il offre un arc-en-ciel

And when she smiles at him
He puts on his blue outfit
hum Hum
When it rains on Paris
It’s that he’s unhappy
When he is too jealous
Of her millions of lovers
He rumbles over us
His bursting thunder
But the sky of paris
Isn’t cruel for long
To get forgiven
It offers a rainbow

Listen to Sous Le Ciel De Paris

The following YouTube video is of Edith Piaf singing Sous Le Ciel De Paris:

In this video Yves Montand sings the song:

This a video of Zaz singing Sous Le Ciel De Paris:

The following is a video of Pomplamoose singing the song:

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.