7 March


Le carillon de Vendôme is a French nursery rhyme from the 15th century, in the form of a canon. It takes its name from the carillon (a set of bells used as a musical instrument), and from the town of Vendôme.

The story of the song

The song was created in the kingdom of France to describe the last possessions of the dauphin Charles in 1420.

In the 15th century, during the Hundred Years' War, the dauphin Charles, having been disinherited following the Treaty of Troyes signed in 1420, found himself in possession of the towns of Orléans, Beaugency, Cléry, Vendôme and Bourges.

What today has become a children's song describes this state of affairs.

Orleans Cathedral. Photo RossHelen via Envato Elements

Orleans Cathedral. Photo RossHelen via Envato Elements

The four towns of the song

Orléans, Beaugency, Cléry and Vendôme are four communes in the present-day Centre-Val de Loire region and the former province of Orléanais. Notre-Dame de Cléry refers to the Notre-Dame de Cléry-Saint-André basilica (département of Loiret).

Château de Vendôme © French Moments

View of Vendôme from the castle © French Moments

  • In Vendôme, in Loir-et-Cher, the song is heard every hour from 7 am to 9pm, preceding the strokes of the Saint-Martin clock.
  • In Beaugency, it is played from the Saint-Firmin bell tower three times a day, at 8.10 am, 12.10 pm and 7.10 pm.
  • In Cléry-Saint-André, it is played at 7.00 am, morning and evening, as well as at noon, by the bells of Notre-Dame de Cléry.
Beaugency Clocher Saint-Firmin © Patrick Rouzet - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Beaugency - Clocher Saint-Firmin © Patrick Rouzet - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Dauphin, future Charles VII

Charles VII, the "petit roi de Bourges" (little king of Bourges), had several other territories of greater importance than those listed in the song. 

Charles VII

Charles VII

In addition to Bourges, capital of the loyal duchy of Berry, there was also Poitiers, capital of the duchy of Aquitaine, where the dauphin's parliament was based, and Chinon, the vast fortress where Joan of Arc recognised him.

Bourges Cathedral by Renaud MAVRÉ (public domain) from Wikimedia Commons

The cathedral of Bourges by Renaud MAVRÉ - Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Le carillon de Vendôme

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

Le carillon de Vendôme

The lyrics in French

The original song of Le carillon de Vendôme has 2 verses, however it is the first one that is best known.

Couplet 1

Mes amis, que reste-t-il ?
À ce Dauphin si gentil ?
Orléans, Beaugency,
Notre-Dame de Cléry,
Vendôme, Vendôme !

Couplet 2

Les ennemis ont tout pris
Ne lui laissant par mépris
Qu'Orléans, Beaugency,
Notre-Dame de Cléry,
Vendôme, Vendôme !

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

My friends, what is left?
To this kindly Dauphin?
Orléans, Beaugency,
Notre-Dame de Cléry,
Vendôme, Vendôme!

Verse 2

The enemies have taken everything
Leaving him in contempt
Only Orléans, Beaugency,
Notre-Dame de Cléry,
Vendôme, Vendôme!

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

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Le carillon de Vendôme © 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:

French Nursery Rhymes Cover by French Moments
French Nursery Rhymes
A la claire fontaine © French Moments
Ah ! dis-moi donc bergère © French Moments
Ah ! Les crocodiles © French Moments
Ah ! vous dirai-je, maman © French Moments
Ainsi font, font, font © French Moments
Alouette gentille alouette © French Moments
Au clair de la lune © French Moments
Au feu les pompiers © French Moments
Au royaume de Diguedondaine © French Moments
Auprès de ma blonde © French Moments
Aux marches du palais © French Moments
Blanc Blanc Blanc belle rose © French Moments
Bon voyage Monsieur Dumollet © French Moments
Buvons un coup ma serpette est perdue © French Moments
C'est la mère Michel © French Moments
C'était Anne de Bretagne © French Moments
Cadet Rousselle © French Moments
Car c’est un bon camarade © French Moments
Chère Élise © French Moments
Chevaliers de la table ronde © French Moments
Colchiques dans les prés © French Moments
Compagnons de la Marjolaine © French Moments
Dame Tartine © French Moments
Dans les prisons de Nantes © French Moments
Dansons la capucine © French Moments
Dodo, l'enfant do © French Moments
En passant par la Lorraine © French Moments
Fais dodo © French Moments
Fleur d’épine © French Moments
Frère Jacques © French Moments
Gentil coquelicot © French Moments
Il court, il court, le furet © French Moments
Il était un petit cordonnier © French Moments
Il était un petit navire © French Moments
Il était une bergère © French Moments
Il pleut, il pleut, bergère © French Moments
J'ai du bon tabac © French Moments
J'ai un gros nez rouge © French Moments
J'fais pipi sur le gazon © French Moments
Je te tiens par la barbichette © French Moments
Joyeux anniversaire © French Moments
La bonne aventure ô gué © French Moments
La danse des canards © French Moments
La légende de saint Nicolas © French Moments
Le bon roi Dagobert © French Moments
Le carillon de Vendôme © French Moments
Le coucou © French Moments
Le facteur n'est pas passé © French Moments
Le fermier dans son pré © French Moments
Le temps des cerises © French Moments
Le temps du muguet © French Moments
Le vieux MacDonald © French Moments
Les filles de La Rochelle © French Moments
Maman les p'tits bateaux © French Moments
Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre © French Moments
Meunier, tu dors © French Moments
Mignonne allons voir si la rose © French Moments
Mon âne © French Moments
Mon père m'a donné un mari © French Moments
Ne pleure pas Jeannette © French Moments
Nous n'irons plus au bois © French Moments
Ô gai, vive la rose © French Moments
Passe passe passera © French Moments
Pirouette Cacahuète © French Moments
Plantons la vigne © French Moments
Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api © French Moments
Pomme, pêche, poire, abricot © French Moments
Promenons-nous dans les bois © French Moments
Savez-vous planter les choux ? © French Moments
Sur la route de Dijon © French Moments
Sur la route de Louviers © French Moments
Sur le pont d'Avignon © French Moments
Sur le pont du nord © French Moments
Tout va très bien madame la marquise © French Moments
Trois jeunes tambours © French Moments
Un éléphant ça trompe énormément © French Moments
Un kilomètre à pied © French Moments
Un, deux, trois, nous irons au bois © French Moments
Une chanson douce © French Moments
Une poule sur un mur © French Moments
Une souris verte © French Moments
V'la le bon vent © French Moments
Voici le mois de mai © French Moments
Y avait dix filles dans un pré © French Moments
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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