Last Updated: 8 February 2023

La bonne aventure ô gué (also known as Je suis un petit poupon) is a traditional French nursery rhyme intended for the very young so that they learn to be good, and to listen to their parents.

The story of the song

The nursery rhyme is a children's song from 1870 recorded by Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin.

Although the lyrics are from the 19th century, the melody goes back much further, to 1550.

Its first version was written in the castle of Bonne-Aventure near Vendôme.

Château de Vendôme © French Moments

View of Vendôme from the castle © French Moments

Le Gué-du-Loir

Near Vendôme, the hamlet of Le Gué-du-Loir (commune of Mazangé) used to have a ford instead of the present-day bridge. At this point, the river Boulon, fed by the river Mazangé, flows into the Loir (not the Loire!) after having travelled about 30 kilometres.

Le Gué du Loir in Mazangé © Jovil41  licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Le Gué du Loir in Mazangé © Jovil41 licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The manoir of Bonaventure

Nearby, the manor of Bonaventure (or de la Bonne Aventure) hosted the Duke of Vendôme, Antoine de Bourbon and his wife Jeanne d'Albret.

From 1150 to 1223, the estate was owned by the Templars.

Then, from 1223 to 1440, the Franciscans occupied the manor and are said to have dedicated it to Bonaventure, the great Italian theologian of the 13th century.

According to the legend, the name of Bonaventure was associated the very lively and drunken parties held in the manor, of which French poet Ronsard was perhaps a part. Thus, the song "la bonne aventure ô gué" (good fortune at the ford) immortalised the name (but with different lyrics than those of the nursery rhyme which were added much later, in the 19th century).

Manor of Bonaventure in Mazangé © Chatmouettes  licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Manor of Bonaventure in Mazangé © Chatmouettes licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

From 1537 to the 19th century, the family of Alfred de Musset had owned the manor of Bonaventure. The French composer often stayed there as a child and eventually sold the estate in 1833.

La bonne aventure

In the 11th century, the French word "aventure" meant fate, destiny, "what must happen to someone". This meaning is now only found in the expression "dire la bonne aventure", which means to predict someone's future, whether it is good or bad.

La bonne aventure ô gué. Photo yanadjana via Envato Elements

Photo: yanadjana via Envato Elements

La bonne aventure ô gué

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

La bonne aventure ô gué

The lyrics in French

The original song of La bonne aventure ô gué has 3 verses.

Couplet 1

Je suis un petit poupon

De bonne figure

Qui aime bien les bonbons

Et les confitures.

Si vous voulez m’en donner,

Je saurai bien les manger

La bonne aventure ô gué,

La bonne aventure.

Couplet 2

Lorsque les petits garçons
Sont gentils et sages,
On leur donne des bonbons,
De belles images,
Mais quand il se font gronder
C’est le fouet qu’il faut donner.
La triste aventure ô gué,
La triste aventure

Couplet 3

Je serai sage et bien bon

Pour plaire à ma mère,

Je saurai bien ma leçon

Pour plaire à mon père.

Je veux bien les contenter

Et s’ils veulent m’embrasser,

La bonne aventure ô gué,

La bonne aventure.

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

I'm a little baby
With a cute face
Who likes sweets
And jams.
If you want to give me some,
I'll eat them well
Good fortune, oh gué,
Good fortune.

Verse 2

When little boys
Are nice and good,
We give them sweets,
And beautiful pictures,
But when they are scolded
It's the whip that must be given.
Bad fortune oh gué,
Bad fortune

Verse 3

I will be wise and good
To please my mother,
I will know my lesson well
To please my father.
I will please them well
And if they want to kiss me,
Good fortune, oh gué,
Good fortune.

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La bonne aventure ô gué © 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.

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