If you want to support les Bleus in an authentic environment (i.e., surrounded by French people) you’ll encounter a few songs you may not be familiar with. Every country has their songs and chants that they sing to support their team. For France, there are essentially three anthem songs that you should know.
1. “I Will Survive” by Hermes House Band
Adopted as an anthem: 1998
Yes, this is the Gloria Gaynor song, “I Will Survive,” but remixed by Dutch pop group Hermes House Band. The big difference between this song and Gaynor’s is that this one has a series of “la la la la la’s” that you should be ready to yell and jump up and down for. As for why an American song remixed by a little-known Dutch group became the anthem of France’s soccer team, you can read the back story here.
2. “Tous Ensemble” by Johnny Hallyday
Adopted as an anthem: 2002
Johnny Hallyday is the closest thing to an American rockstar France has ever had. In 2002, he recorded the song “Tous Ensemble” for that year’s World Cup. Unfortunately, France did poorly that year so it’s not quite as associated with success as “I Will Survive,” which was the favorite song of the team who won the World Cup for France in 1998.
“Tous Ensemble” is overly dramatic, as you can see in the music video above (and it’s perfectly acceptable to sing it an overly dramatic way). If you want to hear a more quality recording, try this one.
3. “La Marseillaise” by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Adopted as a (national) anthem: 1795
You need to know it. It will be sung at the beginning of the game, and at some point at the end if they win. (Note: French people don’t sing “La Marseillaise” as theatrically as Americans sing “La Marseillaise,” so be careful not to embarrass yourself.)
BONUS: “Coupe de Boule” by La Plage
Adopted as an anthem: never
Unlikely that you’ll hear this at a French World Cup watch party, but it’s worth familiarizing yourself with. “Coupe de boule” means “headbutt,” which is exactly what happened at the 2006 World Cup. France’s star player Zinédine Zidane head-butted Italy’s star player Marco Materazzi during the extra time awarded after the 1-1 tie game’s first 90 minutes. Zidane was sent off the pitch, and Italy subsequently won the Cup title in penalty kicks.
The song was written and recorded in just 30 minutes the day after the World Cup, as a parody of the song “Zidane y va marquer” (“Zidane will score”) which was released in May before the World Cup as a sort of rallying anthem. The parody was meant to be just a joke among friends, but it spread through the internet and quickly hit #1 on the French and Belgian charts.