Que reste-t-il de nos amours: the story of the song

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Que reste-t-il de nos amours ? (I wish you love)

The song talks about what is left of love with a personal and poetic touch and is set in Autumn. As it was written during the war, it referred to the “beaux jours” (the good old days) with a nostalgic touch attached to it.


About the song

Que reste-t-il de nos amours ? (literally “What is left of our love?“) is a popular French song originally recorded in 1942. It is known in English as “I wish you love”.

The song was composed by Léo Chauliac with lyrics by French singer Charles Trenet (1913-2001). It was featured for the first time in François Truffaut’s movie “Baisers volés” (Stolen Kisses) in 1968.

The song was adapted in English by Albert A. Beach and sung for the first time in 1957 by Keely Smith. The English lyrics do not mention the season of Autumn nor “a small village, an old bell tower, a countryside so well hidden” which definitely refer to rural France.

Many other singers have released a version of the song either in French or in English: Chet Baker, Shirley Bassey, Patrick Bruel, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Daliday, Arielle Dombasle, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Joao Gilberto, François Hardy, Patricia Kaas, Gloria Lynne, Dean Martin, Eddy Mitchell, Yves Montand, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Laurent Voulzy, Rachael Yamagata.


The French lyrics of “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”

Ce soir le vent qui frappe à ma porte
Me parle des amours mortes
Devant le feu qui s’ éteint
Ce soir c’est une chanson d’ automne
Dans la maison qui frissonne
Et je pense aux jours lointains

{Refrain:}

Que reste-t-il de nos amours
Que reste-t-il de ces beaux jours
Une photo, vieille photo
De ma jeunesse
Que reste-t-il des billets doux
Des mois d’ avril, des rendez-vous
Un souvenir qui me poursuit
Sans cesse

Bonheur fané, cheveux au vent
Baisers volés, rêves mouvants
Que reste-t-il de tout cela
Dites-le-moi
Un petit village, un vieux clocher
Un paysage si bien caché
Et dans un nuage le cher visage
De mon passé

Les mots les mots tendres qu’on murmure
Les caresses les plus pures
Les serments au fond des bois
Les fleurs qu’on retrouve dans un livre
Dont le parfum vous enivre
Se sont envolés pourquoi?


The English Literal Translation: “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”

Tonight the wind that slaps at my door
Speaks to me of past love affairs
Before the fire that wanes
Tonight it’s a song of Autumn
In the house that shivers
And I think of days long ago

{Refrain: }

What is left of our love?
What is left of these beautiful days?
A photo, an old photo
Of my youth
What is left of the love letters
Of months in April, of rendez-vous
A memory that follows me
Incessantly

Withered good times, wind in hair
Stolen kisses, moving dreams
What is left of all that?
Tell me

A small village, an old bell tower
A countryside so well hidden
And in a cloud the dear face
Of my past

The words the tender words that one murmurs
The caresses most pure
The vows deep in the woods
The flowers one finds again in a book
The perfume of which inebriates you
That disappeared why?


The English Lyrics of “I wish you love”

Goodbye, no use leading with our chins
This is where our story ends
Never lovers, ever friends
Goodbye, let our hearts call it a day
But before you walk away
I sincerely want to say
I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this
I wish you love
And in july a lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade

I wish you health
But more than wealth
I wish you love
My breaking heart and I agree
That you and I could never be
So with my best
My very best
I set you free
I wish you shelter from the storm
A cozy fire to keep you warm
But most of all when snowflakes fall
I wish you love


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About 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. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French 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.

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