There are few cities that have influenced global culture as strongly as Paris. From fashion to cuisine, art to architecture; the imprints of Paris are widespread. Everything from the clothes we wear to the bread we eat has its roots in France. Music is no exception. This playlist hopes to showcase both the historically great French songs that have ingrained themselves into our culture, as well as the best contemporary music to come out of Paris today.
1. Je ne sais pas – Joyce Jonathan – 2010
Once called the French Taylor Swift, Joyce Jonathan burst onto the Parisian musical scene with her debut album Sur mes gardes in 2010. The album immediately went platinum and she received the NRJ Music Award for Francophone Breakthrough of the Year. None of her later albums received the same critical acclaim, but Jonathan remains one of France’s most popular singer-songwriters.
2. L comme liason – Dandies – 2013
One of France’s most exciting young bands, Dandies have drawn comparisons to other indie stars such as The Artic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend. Their single L comme liason also featured vocalist Pete Doherty singing in French.
3. J’attends – Ben Mazue, Pomme – 2018
Featuring two of the biggest names in French indie on this duet, J’attends helped both Ben Mazue and Pomme improve their reach among a global audience interested in French indie. Both released their debut albums that year to critical acclaim.
4. Desole – Sexion D’assault – 2010
The original social-conscious French hip-hop group, Sexion D’assault’s debut album L’ecole des points vitaux went quadruple platinum and launched them into the French musical mainstream after nearly a decade of cultivating underground influences and fanbases. They have released four studio albums, although each of the individual members have also gone on to have stellar solo careers.
5. Amoureuse – Clio – 2019
Originally from Besancon but currently operating out of Paris, Clio’s album Deja Venise was one of her most popular, with her single Amoureuse charting on major European billboards.
6. Mon chevalier – Alizee – 2013
One of France’s most globally recognized stars, Alizee has matured from teenage pop princess to fully fledged star. She still holds many of France’s best-selling records. She has released six studio albums and is one of France’s best-selling artists of all-time.
7. Pas la – Vianney – 2016
One of France’s most enigmatic singer-songwriters, Vianney has attended military school, business school and a college for the arts before settling on a career in music. He has since released two studio albums, the first of which went double platinum.
8. Elle m’oubliera – Aline – 2013
One of France’s most popular indie bands of the 2010’s, Aline’s album Regarde le ciel grew into a cult classic for the French indie pop audience.
9. La derniere fois que je parle de toi – KIKESA – 2018
Drawing on a variety of different influences, KIKESA is a French rapper who brings unique instrumentation with cutting lyrics and musicianship.
10. Jour 1 – Louane – 2015
Known by her stage name Louane, Anne Peichert was a semi-finalist on the second season of the Voice in France. She has since released two studio albums, both of which have been certified platinum in France.
11. Le grand amour – Albin de la Simone – 2017
One of France’s most famous singer-songwriters, de la Simone was a keyboardist and arranger for many different French artists including Vanessa Paradise, Miossec, Keren Ann and Salif Keita. He is also an accomplished artists with his works exhibited at the Philharmonie de Paris and other galleries.
12. Hera – Georgio – 2016
One of France’s rising talents in hip-hop, Georgio has released five studio albums and collaborates widely with other artists in French hip-hop.
13. Voyager leger – Amelie-Les-Crayons – 2012
With an emphasis on absurd humor and bizarre theatrics, Amelie-Les-Crayons provides one of the most unique musical performances in France. She has released six studio albums as well as several concert DVD’s.
14. Le lac – Julien Dore – 2016
A former reality casting star, Julien Dore has since embarked on a more serious musical career. He has released five studio albums and continues to perform folk-pop and acoustic sets throughout the country.
15. Folie arcadienne – Arcadian – 2017
Formed in 2015, Arcadian is a pop-rock band made up on Yoann Pinna, Florentin Cabezon and Camille Lou. They released their first album in 2017.
16. Je veux – Zaz – 2010
Known for her jazz-inspired takes on musical styles, Zaz is most famous for her global hit Je veux in 2010. She has released four studio albums, each of which, has been certified platinum in France.
17. Non, je ne regrette rien – Edith Piaf – 1987
A true French icon, Edith Piaf is one of the country’s most recognizable stars. She released dozens of albums and captivated the French public while bringing the Chanson Francaise style of singing to the global mainstream. She is the subject of numerous films and her gravesite in Paris remains a site for pilgrimage for French music fans.
18. Ou va le monde – La Femme – 2016
Psych-punk band La Femme is France’s most popular band of the genre. They released two studio albums and have been active since their formation in 2010.
19. La Boheme – Charles Aznavour – 1966
One of France’s most influential and enduringly popular singers, Azvanour sold more than one hundred eighty million records world-wide. He was named one of the top entertainers of the 20th century and was globally voted more influential than both Bob Dylan and Elvis Presely. He recorded more than twelve hundred songs in a career spanning more than seventy years.
20. Je suis – Bigflo & Oli – 2017
With four albums in five years, Biglo & Oli is one of France’s most prolific French hip-hop groups. Composed of brothers Florian and Olivio Ordonez, the duo have been active since 2005.