Your Nostalgic French Summer Playlist Essentials

A boat sitting on top of a sandy beach next to the ocean

Imagine yourself on a beach, somewhere on the Côte d’Azur. You’re tired of Cannes La Croisette and Nice seems like a bore too, so you’re just swimming in the Mediterranean, trying to show off your tanned body to Serge Gainsbourg or Alain Delon. Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot are there too, lounging on the boat. Ah to spend summer in the South with the golden age crew! While they haven’t yet invented a time machine, this list of songs will temporarily transport you to those summer days.

Pink Martini – “Sympathique”

Je-ne-veux-pas-travailler, because who really wants to work in the summer? This is almost the unofficial summer hymn.

Brigitte Bardot – “Ne me laisse pas l’aimer”

There’s no Côte d’Azur without Brigitte Bardot. And every girl knows this feeling of just falling for the wrong guy but letting yourself fall anyway knowing the danger.

Jacques Dutronc – “J’aime les filles”

Dutronc sings about the really difficult life of liking many girls at the same time… oh how tough!

Charles Aznavour – “La Boheme”

No list can exist without Charles Aznavour. Here’s a little bit of melancholy to your summer too.

Peter Sarstedt – “Where do you go to my lovely”

This one’s in English, but it’s about France and has such a laid back, summer vibe. “When you go on your summer vacation / You go to Juan-les-Pines / With your carefully designed topless swimsuit / You get an even suntan, on your back and on your legs.” Oh, and there’s another seaside town to visit—the lovely Juan-les-Pines.

Aline – “Je Bois et Puis Je Danse” 

Drink, dance, and start all over again? Sounds like summer all right.

Eartha Kitt – “C’est si bon”

Leaving somewhere, no matter where, just to leave and enjoy somewhere else. This song has the light, wanderlust-bitten summer vibe.

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime moi non plus”

Was there ever a greater love story than Birkin and Gainsbourg? The womanizer Serge and the sex-kitten Kate really poured their entire relationship into this song. Quite a bit tempting and scandalous for the time being, isn’t this how we hope every summer vacation ends?

Joe Dassin – “Le Petit Pain Au Chocolat”

We dare you to watch this video without smiling. You have the young stud Dassin singing so passionately about a pastry… well, not really a pastry it turns out.

Françoise Hardy – “Je suis d’accord”

Hardy was quite the opposite of Birkin in a way; her charm was quite innocent and almost child-like. Yet, she drove the nation crazy.

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