Don’t let language be a barrier – there’s some great French music out there

If you have ever thought there’s no point listening to French music because you don’t speak the language, I would so urge you to think again. If you love music, you will still get the feeling even if you don’t understand the words.

If you don’t know where to start here are some artists that you might look at to get your toe in the door.

  • David Guetta is a DJ, songwriter and record producer into electronic dance music, electro house and house music. He has sold over 9 million albums worldwide so if this is your genre, check him out.
  • Noir Désir might be about the most famous French rock band. If Arctic Monkeys are your cup of tea, have a listen to ‘Le Vent Nous Portera’.
  • Vanessa Paradis: You might know of her first single ‘Joe le taxi’ which she released at the precocious age of 14, or you might be more aware of her more high- profile relationship with Johnny Depp. Either way, there’s line of albums out there to listen to.


  • Maxime le Forestier: Like all French men Forestier had to perform military service and got the inspiration for his most famous song ‘parachutiste’ from his time in the parachute regiment. If you want a good place to start, I like the song ‘né quelque part‘. It sounds a little like a funky updated French Paul Simon from the album Graceland.
  • Sniper is a hip-hop band and though it sounds odd to suggest a hip-hop band because the words are so key, the sense is all there and set against a great backtrack which is full of depth and lyricism.
  • Stromae is technically a Belgian although his songs are in French. ‘Alors on danse’, his biggest hit, got to number 1 in 19 countries. His music is hip-hop and electronic.
  • Indila: This woman has a beautiful and haunting voice, which she uses in a haunting and introspective way. ‘Dernière Danse’ is possibly her biggest hit to date, but try ‘Love Story’ to get a real feel for her wonderful voice at work.


  • Zaho is a R&B singer with a great upbeat vibe. Start with ‘Laissez-Les Kouma’ which has a great rap section in the middle of the song and has more than 10 million YouTube hits.
  • Daft Punk: You probably have heard of them because of ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Strong’ but perhaps didn’t register that they’re French.
  • Julien Doré is clearly influenced by rock and folk music with a pulsing beat which makes his music hummable even if you don’t get exactly what he is singing about.
  • Kassav: Influenced by the Caribbean, this band has been around since 1979, but their great beat and rhythms on music you can dance to are upbeat and happy.

French music is as broad and deep as any in the world, so if there’s nothing here which appeals there’s bound to be something great out there.