Le plus nous sommes ensembles
Un soir dans sa cabane
Dans le bois
Dans la forêt lointaine
Enfilons les aiguiles du bois
Le furet du bois
Nous n’irons plus au bois
Chevaliers de la table ronde
Fanfan la Tulipe
Le chevalier du Guet
Les fourmis marchent
Last updated: 11/8/2015 10:04 AM
The songs below are part of ‘Allons-y!’ The French collection
compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear
To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:
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C’est Gugusse O
A lively song played by village fiddlers and danced in Champagne, Vosges and the Lorraine departments of France since the Second Empire.
Children each take a partner and stand in a circle holding hands with ‘Gugusse’ in the centre.
La mistenlaire O
This dance, known as ‘Bransle Gay’ in the 16th century, was popular at weddings, banquets and public holidays especially through the 17th century.
A cumulative game song where the participants mime playing the various instruments. Others might include: mistenaccordéon, misteviolin, mistencaisse. Finish with the first couplet. Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-2SR2DSjKc
Le plus nous serons ensemble O
Sing this cheerful little song in one of many languages, here it is in French. The lyrics remind us of the value of friendship and teamwork.
Try this song using the names of children in each group in the third line:
‘Nous avons Lois et
Un soir dans sa cabane O
A popular camping song in the French and English speaking world where it is sung as ‘Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah’ with the chorus of ‘Fee-fi-fiddley-i-o’.
Children love songs with nonsense words and phrases and even the youngest will pick up the words of the chorus quickly. Substitute with other phrases: eg Boum chiqua, boum chiqua, boum ha-ha! or Oumbala, oumbals, oum oh, oh!
Begin in groups of three. Two children hold hands to make a house for the third child who stands inside. Swap roles at the beginning of each verse so each have a turn as the little man in the centre.
Dans la forêt lointaine O
In this familiar song children mime the actions of the birds, animals and trees. Aim to make the singing and acting atmospheric by setting the scene beforehand.
Enfilons les aiguilles de bois O
A game played in a similar manner to ‘The alley alley O’.
Children stand in line holding hands, the one at the end places their hand against a wall to form an arch. The leader (the needle) threads the line through that arch so the last person to go under will find their arms now cross their chest. The game continues with the needle threading through subsequent arches until all children have crossed arms. The two end children then join hands to make a circle.
Listen to Thierry Maucarré at:
Nous n’irons plus au bois O
A children’s dance from the 15th century. The first few notes in this music were taken from the Kyrie of the Catholic mass.
More charming verses about the birds and other creatures of the woods can be found online; watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67hjF9fd_0Q&feature=related
The child standing in the centre can mime these. The simple game below allows for constant repetition and learning of a more limited vocabulary.
La secouette O
This dance from Brittany can be accompanied by the beating of drums or tambours to make a fine sound and lift the dancing to another level.
Begin in a circle of pairs, side by side, with hands crossed in front skating style.
Le furet du bois joli O
In this traditional ‘pass the ring’ game the children stand in a circle holding a long piece of string behind them. A ring is threaded over the string and the ends are tied. One child stands in the centre of the circle and attempts to work out the whereabouts of the ring as it is passed surreptitiously from hand to hand. If correct that child swaps places with the child who has the ring. If incorrect they try twice more before swapping.
A jolly video can be found at:
A more lively version is played below. Divide the class into three equal size circles with a child as the ferret in each one.
Chevaliers de la table ronde O
‘We’re the knights of the round table.’ The joyful rhythm of this drinking song makes it particularly suitable for dancing.
Watch Dorothée at:
Stand side by side in pairs in a circle.
Fanfan la Tulipe O
Fanfan la Tulipe is the archetypal Gallic hero. He plays a role
central to the French national identity, as a soldier in Louis XVs regiment
Watch Dorothée at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfwtp5pCTns
Two lines of four children face each other about 1½ metres apart.
Le Chevalier du Guet O
This song is the story of a conversation between the knight of the Guet, a night watch officer who patrolled the streets of Paris on horseback, and the Company of the Marjolaine, a guild of perfumers. The soldier of the watch, whose order dates from the time of Charlemagne, wishes to marry one of their daughters. Gold and silver is spurned by the Compagnon, but he is given leave to choose any of their daughters when he offers his heart.
Below are just a couple of the many verses, providing a showcase for its delightful tune. The rest of the verses and the full story can be found easily online.
Divide the class into two lines, ‘les chevaliers’ and ‘les compagnons’, who face each other.
Les fourmis marchent O
Ants know how to eat healthily and bring home more than their five helpings of fruit and vegetables! The translated version has been adapted to rhyme with each number.
This is another familiar tune known in the English language as either ‘The animals went in two by two / Noah’s Ark’ or ‘When Johnny comes marching home’.
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