The best French music you can find in France

My list of top 10 french singers very popular and loved by the French plus my 5 current music likes that I could not resist to share with  you

I’m not the music maniac or any music specialist. I’m an average person listening to the radio and being easily influenced by the top hits. Yes, I’m the best example for a person who loves the hits that are catching your ear.  But I’m also a bit unique character and when it comes to music I like to refer to my moods so I don’t care what’s the most popular at this moment but how relevant that is to my mood …therefore I listen to anything from hard rock to classical music…from the todays’ hits to the very old ones.The best French music you can find in France1

Anyways, I don’t want to talk more about my music taste but I want to present you a bit of the French music which I discovered in France and liked more or less but mostly I got to know that this music is loved by all French. The French music is beautiful and you deserve to discover at least some of the most popular in France singers of all times. So here you are, the top 10 french singers very popular and loved by the French and my 5 current music likes I discovered in France:

  1. Jean-Jacques Goldman. One to the top French singers which really deserves the 1st place here. I have never heard about him before coming to France and now he is one of my favorite singer and songwriter. First time when they showed me Goldman I have almost laughed: simple guy dressed in  a simple pair of jeans and t-shirt, nothing flushy or colorful to show he is a star. He had nearly 40 years music career and even now at his retirement the whole France sing his songs. Why is he so super, special, french star?  Not only does Jean-Jacques write for himself, but he’s also the pen behind a number of famous artists including Céline Dion and Yannick Noah. He was also part of the Les Enfoirés charity collective from 1986 to 2016, and got his most notable official recognition in the English-speaking world for winning a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1997, as a co-author of three tracks on Céline Dion’s Falling Into You.

    Jean-Jacques Goldman
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  2. Edit Piaf. I do not need to make introductions here, do I? She was famous not only in France but also worldwide. Her phenomenon? The combination between her  distinctive voice and the incredible lyrics she used to portray her complex emotions. Born in misery in 1915, Edith Piaf grew neglected by her parents, ignoring water and hygiene. After having followed her father for a few years in traveling circuses, she fled the family home at the age of 15 and began to sing in the street and then in the dancehalls. She ended up being spotted by Louis Leplée, who introduced her into the world of cabarets, where she has been immediately acclaimed by the whole Paris and  quickly rose to the rank of the international star. Despite this phenomenal success, Édith Piaf was unhappy in her personal life – in particular because of the sudden death of her daughter Marcelle in 1935, and her companion Marcel Cerdan in a plane crash. She died of a rupture of aneurism in 1963, at only 47 years old.

    Edit Piaf.
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  3. Johnny Hallyday. Not my favorite one but so much loved by others. Having the reputation as being the Elvis Presley of France, he was a French rock and roll and pop singer and actor, credited for having brought rock and roll to France. During a career of 57 years, he released 79 albums and sold more than 110 million records worldwide, mainly in the French-speaking world, making him one of the best-selling artists in France and in the world.. He won 5 diamond albums, 40 golden albums, 22 platinum albums and 10 Music Victories. Credited for his strong voice and his spectacular shows, he sometimes arrived by entering a stadium through the crowd and one time by jumping from a helicopter above the Stade de France, where he performed 9 times. Hugely popular in France, he was referred to as simply “Johnny” and seen as a “national monument” and a part of the French cultural legacy. He died recently, from cancer in 2017. His death was followed by a “popular tribute” during which a million people attended the procession and 15 million others watched the ceremony on TV. 

    Johnny Hallyday.
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  4. Georges Brassens. He was a French singer-songwriter and a poet. He wrote and sang with his guitar, more than a hundred of his poems, as well as texts from many others such as Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, or Louis Aragon. In 1967, he received the Grand Prix de Poésie of the Académie française. Between 1952 and 1976, he recorded fourteen albums that include several popular French songs such as Les copains d’abord, Chanson pour l’Auvergnat, La mauvaise réputation, and Mourir pour des idées. Most of his texts are tinged with black humour. That’s his style. 

    Georges Brassens
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  5. Serge Gainsbourg. He is another major French singer, songwriter, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor and director. Born in Paris in a family of Russian immigrants, Jews, painters and musicians, that the war of 1940 forces to flee and hide. It was a traumatic event for young Serge, who has suffered from this feeling of rejection throughout his life. Serge Gainsbourg began in 1954 as a pianist in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and followed the very diversify artistic road. Gainsbourg’s varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize manong which we can list: jazz, mambo, world, pop, yé-yé, to rock, funk, disco etc. Gainsbourg wrote over 550 songs, which have been covered more than 1,000 times by a range of artists. Not happy in the love life, the artist was surrounded by many scandals, drunk, psychologically damaged, and displayed  a provocative image in the media. Sick, Serge Gainsbourg died on March 2, 1991 at his home in Paris.

    Serge Gainsbourg
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  6. Mylène Farmer. Mylene Gautier, is a French singer, songwriter, occasional actress, writer, and entrepreneur, born in the city located around 20km away from Montreal in a happy, wealthy family. In the early 70’s, the family moved back to France, in the city of Ville d’Avray, which has been traumatic to Mylene. Isolated in the grey environment of the Parisian suburbs, she had been missing her more cheerful Canada. At 18 years old, she left high school two days after she started it and then decided to begin an artistic career. She would start by theater and enrolled at the famous Cours Florent and attended Daniel Mesquish (comedian) classes. It was at this time that she met one of the most important people for her career: Laurent Boutonnat. For many years, he distributed and composed her music and video clips. In 1984, they recorded her very first song “Maman a tort”, a childish song that met a quite honorable success. This was when she abandoned her name to become Mylene Farmer. She has sold more than 18 million records in France and is among the most successful recording artists of all-time in France..She holds the record for the most number-one hits in the French charts, with twenty to date – eight of which were consecutive. Fourteen of her albums have also reached number one in France.

    Mylène Farmer.
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  7. Claude François. Known under the pseudonym “Cloclo”, was a French pop singer, composer, songwriter, producer, drummer and dancer. While he was at the height of his glory, he died suddenly in 1978, after being electrocuted in his bathtub. Claude François knew poverty. It was only after being a bank employee that he had decided to try the song. In 1961 he decided to try his luck in Paris, supported by his wife Janet Woollacott, but also Sacha Distel and Brigitte Bardot. In 1962, after some failures, he knew his first success came with the tube Belles! Beautiful! Beautiful! From then on, Paul Lederman took control of his career, thanks to whom Cloclo connected the tours at a frantic pace, and his successes has always more numerous. In 1963 alone, he received two gold records, and the following year, he broke all records and starred in the Olympia. His appearances always created scenes of hysteria, especially among young women. His hits, most often speaking of difficult love breaks, continue to follow one another, and he even started an international career in 1976, translating and interpreting his greatest hits in English.

    Claude François
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  8. Francis Cabrel. The talented French singer-songwriter-composer and guitarist, loved for his sophisticated melodies and sensitive lyrics, become a big star in the 1980’s. Known for his extremely likeable character, as popular with other singers and musicians as he is with millions of adoring fans, is now one of the most prominent figures on the French music scene. He has released a number of albums falling mostly within the style of folk but also into blues or country. Several of his songs, such as “L’Encre de Tes Yeux,” “Petite Marie,” “Je l’Aime à Mourir” or “La Corrida,” have become the favorites in French music. Cabrel is considered one of the most influential French musical artists of all time. His first hit song was “Petite Marie”, in 1974. Since then he has sold 21 million albums. 

    Francis Cabrel
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  9. Daniel Balavoine. He was hugely popular singer and songwriter in theF rench-speaking world, and inspired many singers in the 1980s, such as Jean-Jacques Goldman, Michel Berger, his closest friend, or the Japanese pop-rock group Crystal King. Balavoine earned his own place with his powerful voice, his wide range, and his lyrics, which were full of sadness and revolt. He was emphatic, and his songs, for the most part, talked about despair, pain, and death, although hope was present as a theme as well. He sold more than 20 million records during his career.

    Daniel Balavoine.
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  10. Renaud Séchan. Known as Renaud, is a popular French singer, songwriter and actor. His characteristically ‘broken’ voice makes for a very distinctive vocal style. Several of his songs are popular classics in France, including the sea tale “Dès que le vent soufflera”, the irreverent “Laisse béton”, the ballad “Morgane de toi” and the nostalgic “Mistral gagnant”. However, with the exception of a recording of “Miss Maggie” in English[ and a franglais recording of “It is not because you are”, his work is almost unknown outside the French-speaking world. Now you have a chance to get to know it…

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And now My Top 5 Current French Music Tastes I discovered in France and cannot resist to share with you: 

  1. Stromae. Not my top favorite but I cannot resist to dance and sing to his bizarre music and style and also, he might be the most well-known artist (musician, rapper, singer and songwriter ) on this list. His 2009 hit “Alors On Danse” hit No. 1 in 19 countries.  After such a huge success, he became a bit quiet, but he’s still known as one of the most popular hip hop and electronic artists in Europe. In 2013, his second album Racine carrée was a commercial success, selling 2 million copies in France alone and nearly 600,000 units elsewhere. He has sold over 8.5 million records worldwide. His music is primarily sung in French and very successful. 

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  2. Vianney Bureau. Better known simply by Vianney, is a French singer-songwriter.  He comes from a music-loving family, he grew up playing Georges Brassens, Maxime Le Forestier and François Béranger.  Naturally, at the age of 12, he became passionate about music and wrote his first songs. A Young, handsome, talented with the amazing French voice and beautiful lyrics, is my top, top of the French current tastes. At I don’t listen to him everyday but he is ideal for certain moods. Vianney, at the age of 24 years, won the award for performing artist of the year at the “Victoires de la musique 2016” one year after having been named in the revelations of the “Victoires de la musique 2015”. His debut album Idées blanches was certified platinum. His second album was released on 25 November 2016 and was certified double platinum. The success continues…

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  3. Zaz. I would just say: an exceptional, amazing French voice loved by me and many others and on top very nice, kind personality! She is a French singer-songwriter who mixes jazzy styles, French variety, soul and acoustic. From 2001 to 2008, Zaz played in different groups with blues and jazzy accents before starting a solo career. 2009 marks a turning point in her career. She was declared first in the “Le Tremplin Génération” competition in Paris and the doors finally opened. Her first album was released in 2010, half of whose songs were from her own composition. The title ‘Je veux’, was a real success and TF1 chose it as a hit of the summer. Even if she sometimes seems a bit ironic about her punk look, Zaz has won the hearts of many. His career has launched and the awards started to come: the Charles-Cros Academy’s Revelation Song Prize, the Victoire de la Musique of the original song, and the European Border Breaker Awards. The singer performs all around the world and everywhere the public acclaims her: from Russia to Japan, passing by the United States, and many European countries.

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  4. Pokora. Here, you are going to laugh. He is the most cheesy French music artist I can think of, however he makes me smile and bring positive humor when I am listening to his cheesy music. Being a bit sarcastic, I need to say that I admire him. He is not only a singer but also a great showman who loves challenges, experiments. He is very ambitious and never gives up when going to get his dreams come true…but surely i know that because even if he is a real French singer, he has strong Polish roots. He started off, in 2003, thanks to the show Popstars, broadcast on M6, which made him well known. In 2004, he released his first solo album, Mr. Pokora. The album was a great success and it was certified gold. Another big success, his single, Dangerous, becomes No. 1 sales and reaches the top 10 in several countries around the world. His third album, MP3, was released in March 2008. It was certified gold. The following year, Mr. Pokora won the Eska Music Award in Poland in the category International Pop Artist of the Year. During the summer of 2010, he began a new tour … his career has been flourishing and does not want to stop. He is gaining new fans but I need to admit he is more popular among young French audience. Not long ago, in 2017, he joined the jury of the sixth season of The Voice alongside Zazie, Florent Pagny and Mika. On the private side, the artist is very discreet.

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  5. Christine and the Queens. Very particular choice, I know.  But I decided to introduce this new star, who has a very particular style. Héloïse Letissier is a French singer and songwriter from Nantes. Her stage name is Christine and the Queens, and she produces an eclectic melange of music, performance, art videos, drawings and photography. Letissier studied in Lyon and later lived in Paris and London. It was the British capital that inspired her to work with local drag queen musicians. They began to accompany her during her early concerts and consequently became the backing band known as the “Queens.” She identifies her music genre as “freakpop,” and released her debut EP, Miséricorde, independently. In 2012, she released her second EP, Mac Abbey, and was awarded the Best Discovered Act, known in France as the Découverte du Printemps de Bourges

    Christine and the Queens
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I am afraid this cannot be more comprehensive list as there are other French singers that should be mentioned here or elsewhere. However, I count on you, if you know or like any other French singers worth listening to, please share with me. Thank you!


I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

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