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At the end of Summer, crocuses are blooming in the meadows and clearings. When French people sing about them, we know that Autumn in near: Colchiques dans les prés…

About the song

Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments
Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments

Colchicums are flowering plants which grow in Europe. Also known as  “autumn crocus“, these crocus-like flowers bloom in meadows and clearings heralding the end of Summer. Colchicums are best known in France through a popular song: Colchiques dans les prés.

Composed by Jacqueline Debatte (lyrics) and her friend Francine Cockenpot (music) in 1942-1943, the song was first intended to scouting camps. It is often sung by children as a rhyme.

The French lyrics

Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments
Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments

Couplet 1 :

Colchiques dans les prés fleurissent, fleurissent,

Colchiques dans les prés : c’est la fin de l’été.

Refrain :

La feuille d’automne, emportée par le vent,

En ronde monotone tombe en tourbillonnant.

Couplet 2 :

Châtaignes dans les bois se fendent, se fendent,

Châtaignes dans les bois se fendent sous les pas.

Couplet 3 :

Nuages dans le ciel s’étirent, s’étirent,

Nuages dans le ciel s’étirent comme une aile.

Couplet 4 :

Et ce chant dans mon coeur murmure, murmure,

Et ce chant dans mon coeur appelle le bonheur.

English translation

Verse 1:

Autumn crocuses in the meadows are blossoming, blossoming

Autumn crocuses in the meadows: it’s the end of Summer


The Autumn leaf, taken by the wind,

In a monotonous ring falls in a swirl.

Verse 2:

Chestnuts in the woods are cracking, cracking

Chestnuts in the woods are cracking under our steps.

Verse 3:

The clouds in the sky are stretching, stretching,

The clouds in the sky are stretching like a wing.

Verse 4:

And this song in my heart is whispering, whispering,

And this song in my heart is calling happiness.

Find out more about Autumn in France.

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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