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Last Updated: 17 February 2023

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api is a famous French nursery rhyme that refers to two varieties of apples.

About the song

The two varieties of apples mentioned in the song are:

Pomme d'api - The api apple is a variety of apple that is often green or yellow, with a bright red part. The apple is sweet, crunchy and juicy.

Pomme de reinette - The reinette apple (French for Little Queen) is the name of a number of apple cultivars.

Pomme d'api

Api apple

Pomme de reinette

Reinette apple

D'api or Tapis?

To simplify the song for children, the line "D'api d'api rouge" (difficult for children to understand) was substituted with the simpler "Tapis, tapis rouge" or "Petit tapis rouge" (literally "Red carpet", which is at odd with the song's theme).

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api

In Italian too!

An Italian nursery rhyme was derived from the song, where the refrain, by a process of corruption of the original pattern, became a nonsense:

« Ponte ponente ponte pì

Tappetà Perugia

Ponte ponente ponte pì

Tappetà perì. »

Apples and apple trees in France

The apple, fruit of the Tree of Life and Knowledge, has been, since the dawn of time, the universal symbol of seduction and offering, of Good and Evil

3,000 years ago, the apple was eaten by the Chinese. It arrived via the Silk Road to the Arabs, Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder later listed about one hundred varieties. Today, there are more than 20,000 varieties, of which 7,000 are cultivated throughout the world.

The Gauls

For the Gauls, the apple tree, a word of Celtic origin, was a sacred tree like the oak. It was often laden with the sacred mistletoe revered by the Druids. The Celts, who invaded Gaul in the first millennium, were very fond of the apple. The fruit was a symbol in their traditions.

Appletree, spring time in Alsace © French Moments

A magnificent apple tree © French Moments

Apples made in Normandy

In the Middle Ages, Normandy was the country's main orchard. Monasteries and convents played an important role in the development of apple growing.

Around the 18th and especially in the 19th century, apple growing became widespread and spread to a large part of Brittany and Normandy, resulting in the sparkling cider we know today and the chubby, crisp apples on our tables. Not forgetting delicious apple tarts!

Tarte aux Pommes © French Moments

Apple Tart from Normandy © French Moments

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api

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

The lyrics in French

The original song has 1 verse.


Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api

Tapis tapis rouge

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api

Tapis tapis gris

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:


Api apple and Reinette apple
Red carpet (red api)
Api apple and Reinette apple
Grey carpet (grey api)

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api © 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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