Last Updated: 9 March 2023

Sur la route de Dijon is a military march originating in Burgundy in the 17th or 18th century that became very popular in France in the 19th century.

The story of the song

Sur la route de Dijon is a song about soldiers in Dijon meeting Marjolaine. Popularised by Aristide Bruant (1851-1925), the story of the pretty Marjolaine who cried beside a fountain has survived the ages.

romantic destinations in France: Dijon in Burgundy © French Moments

Rue de la Chouette and Notre-Dame church, Dijon © French Moments

Which fountain does the song refer to? Tradition has it that it is the Fontaine Sainte-Anne, which was once outside the city of Dijon and formed a charming stream that flowed into the Ouche River.

A good song for phonetics!

Its word games develop the children's phonetics and help them with good articulation. It also familiarises them with the "on" endings.

Around Dijon. The view from the tower of Philip the Good, Dijon © French Moments

The city of Dijon © French Moments

Sur la route de Dijon

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

The lyrics in French

The original song of Sur la route de Dijon has 8 verses.

(Please note the children's version usually subtracts verse 7 because of the saucy nature of this passage.)

Couplet 1

Sur la route de Dijon,
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Sur la route de Dijon,
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Il y avait une fontaine
La digue dondaine
Il y avait une fontaine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 2

Près d'elle un joli tendron
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Près d'elle un joli tendron
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Pleurait comme une Madeleine
La digue dondaine
Pleurait comme une Madeleine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 3

Vint passer un bataillon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Vint passer un bataillon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Qui chantait à perdre haleine
La digue dondaine
Qui chantait à perdre haleine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 4

Belle comment vous nomme-t-on?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Belle comment vous nomme-t-on?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
On me nomme Marjolaine
La digue dondaine
On me nomme Marjolaine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 5

Marjolaine c'est un doux nom
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Marjolaine c'est un doux nom
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
S’écria le capitaine
La digue dondaine
S’écria le capitaine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 6

Marjolaine, qu'avez-vous donc?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Marjolaine, qu'avez-vous donc?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Messieurs j'ai beaucoup de peine
La digue dondaine
Messieurs j'ai beaucoup de peine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 7

Parait que tout le bataillon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Parait que tout le bataillon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Consola la Marjolaine
La digue dondaine
Consola la Marjolaine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.


Couplet 8

Quand vous pass'rez par Dijon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Quand vous pass'rez par Dijon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don
Allez boire à la fontaine
La digue dondaine
Allez boire à la fontaine
Aux oiseaux, aux oiseaux.

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

On the road to Dijon,
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

On the road to Dijon,
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

There was a fountain
La digue dondaine
There was a fountain
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 2

Near it a pretty young girl
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Near her a pretty young girl
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Weeping like a Madeleine
La digue dondaine
Weeping like a Madeleine
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 3

A battalion came by
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

A battalion came by
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Who sang breathlessly
La digue dondaine
Who sang breathlessly
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 4

Beautiful what do they call you?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Beautiful what do they call you?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

They call me Marjolaine
La digue dondaine
They call me Marjolaine
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 5

Marjolaine is a sweet name
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Marjolaine is a sweet name
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Exclaimed the captain
La digue dondaine
Exclaimed the captain
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 6

Marjolaine, what's wrong with you?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Marjolaine, what's wrong with you?
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Gentlemen, I'm in great sorrow

La digue dondaine
Gentlemen, I'm in great sorrow

To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 7

It seems that the whole battalion
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

It seems that the whole battalion
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

Comforted Marjolaine
La digue dondaine
Comforted Marjolaine
To the birds, to the birds.


Verse 8

When you pass through Dijon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

When you pass by Dijon
La belle digue di
La belle digue don

You'll have to go and drink from the fountain
La digue dondaine
Go drink from the fountain
To the birds, to the birds.

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Sur la route de Dijon © 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.

Like it? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Transparency: Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. If you are planning a trip, the use of these links helps us to run the site. There is no additional cost to you. All you have to do is click on the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. Thank you for your support!

Escape to France with every email! Get insider insights, travel guides, cultural gems delivered and exclusive offers to your inbox twice a week. Your journey to Paris and France begins when you sign up!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER AND GET THE FREE EBOOK

20 OFFBEAT PLACES IN PARIS

Ebook 20 amazing offbeat places in Paris front cover