Last Updated: 4 February 2023

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...

Colchicums in the French Alps / Colchiques dans les Prés © French Moments

Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments

Colchiques dans les Prés

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

Couplet 1

Colchiques dans les prés fleurissent, fleurissent,

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


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.

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Colchiques dans les prés © French Moments

The 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.

Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments

Colchicums in the French Alps © French Moments

Other versions of the song

Read more on the French wikipedia page of the song for more adaptations.

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

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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  1. I remember singing this when I was at school in1957. Today I spotted some autumn crocuses in a cemetery in the Isle of Man. It brought to mind the song.

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