13 February


Meunier tu dors is a French nursery rhyme composed at the beginning of the 20th century which refers to the dozing of a person like the song Frère Jacques.

The story of the song

Meunier tu dors is based on a song by Léon Raiter (1893-1978) and Fernand Pothier composed at the beginning of the 20th century.

The song illustrates the difficult task facing the miller (le meunier) of the windmill (moulin à vent). He has to work 24 hours a day to take advantage of the wind. In addition, the miller has to keep an eye on the changing direction of the wind to adjust the orientation of the wings if necessary.

Around Aix-en-Provence - Bertoire Windmill, Lambesc © Mathieu BROSSAIS - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Bertoire Windmill, Lambesc (Provence) © Mathieu BROSSAIS - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Not too fast, miller!

A bell ringing at each turn allowed the miller to evaluate the speed of his mill.

If he went too fast, there was a risk of explosion due to the particles of flour, dust and others suspended in the air and to the fact that the millstones containing flint could generate sparks.

It was better not to sleep!

Santenay © French Moments

The windmill of Santenay, Burgundy © French Moments

The windmill in Europe

The windmill became widespread in Europe around the 11th century.

It first developed on the coast of the northern countries: Great Britain, the Netherlands. It then expanded in the countries on the Atlantic coast: Portugal, France, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and on the islands, including the Mediterranean Sea.

They are found on hilltops, either isolated or grouped in series, as well as in places far from watercourses.

Ivry Windmill moulin

The Ivry windmill near Paris © French Moments

The first windmills in France

The first evidence of a windmill in France dates back to 1170 when it was mentioned in a charter of the town of Arles.

It developed in the 11th century in regions with windy coasts (Cotentin, Pays de Caux, Brittany).

Daudet Windmill - Stock Photos from ladderadder - Shutterstock

Daudet Windmill - Stock Photos from ladderadder - Shutterstock

The end of windmills

The widespread use of electricity in the countryside and the appearance of industrial flour mills led to a rapid decline in windmills during the 20th century.

They were also disadvantaged by the harshness of the miller's trade and by the periods of unemployment often imposed by the absence of wind.

You can still see many windmills across France, including in Paris, Provence and the Loire Valley.

Montmartre Walking Tour 13 April 2016 07 © French Moments

The Radet Windmill, rue Lepic in Paris © French Moments

Meunier tu dors

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

Meunier tu dors

The lyrics in French

The original song of Meunier tu dors has 3 verses and a chorus.

The nursery rhyme is sung to the child to teach them to move their arms and sing along to a crescendo rhythm. The children stand in a circle and turn louder and louder to the melody of the rhyme.

Couplet 1

Meunier, tu dors : ton moulin va trop vite.
Meunier, tu dors : ton moulin ton moulin va trop fort !


Ton moulin, ton moulin va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin va trop fort
Ton moulin, ton moulin va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin va trop fort

Couplet 2

Meunier, tu dors et le vent souffle souffle.
Meunier, tu dors et le vent souffle fort.

Couplet 3

Meunier, tu dors ; voici venir l’orage.
Le ciel est noir : il va bientôt pleuvoir.

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

Miller, you sleep: your mill goes too fast.
Miller, you sleep
: your mill your mill is going too hard.


Your mill, your mill goes too fast
Your mill, your mill is going too hard
Your mill, your mill goes too fast
Your mill, your mill is going too hard

Verse 2

Miller, you sleep and the wind blows.
Miller, you sleep and the wind blows hard.

Verse 3

Miller, you sleep; here comes the storm.
The sky is black: it will soon rain.

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Meunier tu dors © 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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