Last Updated: 7 February 2023

Il pleut il pleut bergère is a traditional French song with lyrics dating from the 18th century.

The story of the song

Il pleut il pleut bergère is a song from the one-act comic opera "Laure et Pétrarque", written in 1780 by Fabre d'Églantine (1750-1794), a French actor, dramatist, poet, and politician of the French Revolution.

Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine 1793

Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine, 1793

The music is by Louis-Victor Simon (1764-1820) who was born into a family of musicians from Metz. His father was a musician at the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Metz.

The song first became known under the title Le Retour aux champs before it took on its present title around 1787. It is also known by other names: L'Orage or L'Hospitalité.

The French Revolution

Therefore, the song was popular a couple of years before the beginning of the French Revolution (1789). 

It would have been sung the day after the storming of the Bastille in July 1789, when the National Guard was created.

Thus, the shepherdess would be Queen Marie-Antoinette of Austria who liked to play the shepherdess in the Queen's hamlet in the park of the Palace of Versailles.

Hameau de Marie-Antoinette Versailles 03 © French Moments

Hameau de Marie-Antoinette, Versailles © French Moments

The storm mentioned in the first verses would refer to the troubles of the French Revolution. 

Legend has it that its author, Fabre d'Eglantine, hummed the song on 5 April 1794 as he stepped onto the guillotine's scaffold.

A double meaning song

Like most nursery rhymes from this period, the seemingly innocuous lyrics have a double meaning for adults on closer inspection.

Il pleut il pleut bergere 1903

Il pleut il pleut bergère

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

Il pleut il pleut bergère

The lyrics in French

The original song of Il pleut il pleut bergère has 6 verses.

Couplet 1

Il pleut, il pleut, bergère
Presse tes blancs moutons
Allons sous ma chaumière
Bergère vite allons
J'entends sous le feuillage
L'eau qui tombe à grand bruit
Voici venir l'orage
Voici l'éclair qui luit

Couplet 2

Entends-tu le tonnerre ?
Il roule en approchant
Prends un abri, bergère
À ma droite en marchant
Je vois notre cabane
Et tiens voici venir
Ma mère et ma soeur Anne
Qui vont l'étable ouvrir

Couplet 3

Bonsoir, bonsoir ma mère
Ma soeur Anne, bonsoir
J'amène ma bergère
Près de nous pour ce soir
Va te sécher, ma mie
Auprès de nos tisons
Soeur, fais lui compagnie
Entrez petits moutons

Couplet 4

Soignons bien, oh ma mère
Son tant joli troupeau
Donnez plus de litière
À son petit agneau
C'est fait allons près d'elle
Eh bien donc te voilà
En corset qu'elle est belle
Ma mère, voyez-la !

Couplet 5

Soupons, prends cette chaise
Tu seras près de moi
Ce flambeau de mélèze
Brûlera devant toi
Goûte de ce laitage
Mais tu ne manges pas ?
Tu te sens de l'orage
Il a lassé tes pas

Couplet 6

Eh bien voilà ta couche
Dors-y jusques au jour
Sur ton front pur ma bouche
Prend un baiser d'amour
Ne rougis pas bergère
Ma mère et moi demain
Nous irons chez ton père
Lui demander ta main

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

It rains, it rains, shepherdess
Press your white sheep
Let's go under my thatched cottage
Shepherdess, let's go quickly
I hear under the foliage
The water falling with great noise
Here comes the storm
Here comes the lightning

Verse 2

Can you hear the thunder?
It rolls as it approaches
Take shelter, shepherdess
To my right as I walk
I see our hut
And here comes
My mother and my sister Anne
Who are going to open the stable

Verse 3

Good evening, good evening my mother
My sister Anne, good evening
I bring my shepherdess
Close to us for this evening
Go dry yourself, my dear
By our fireplaces
Sister, keep her company
Come in little sheep

Verse 4

Let's take good care, oh my mother
Her so pretty flock
Give more bedding
To her little lamb
It's done, let's go near her
Well then, here you are
In a corset she is beautiful
My mother, see her!

Verse 5

Let's have a meal, take this chair
You'll be near me
This torch of larch
Will burn before you
Taste this milk
But aren't you eating?
You feel the storm
It has wearied your steps

Verse 6

Well here is your bed
Sleep on it until the day
On your pure forehead my mouth
Take a kiss of love
Do not blush, shepherdess
My mother and I tomorrow
We'll go to your father
To ask for your hand

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Il pleut, il pleut, bergère © French Moments

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 Discovery Courses and books about France.

Like it? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Transparency: Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. If you are planning a trip, the use of these links helps us to run the site. There is no additional cost to you. All you have to do is click on the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. Thank you for your support!

Escape to France with every email! Get insider insights, travel guides, cultural gems delivered and exclusive offers to your inbox twice a week. Your journey to Paris and France begins when you sign up!



24 Places to See in France in 2024