9 March


Sur la route de Louviers is a popular song from the Ile de France region whose origin and author are unknown.

The story of the song

Some people think that Sur la route de Louviers refers to the chores (les corvées) that the inhabitants had to do to build the roads in the 18th century. 

In the 19th century, the song inspired several authors, including Aristide Bruant, who added verses in their own way, sometimes saucy, sometimes more socially critical. The song is said to have been created in the early 19th century.

Where is Louviers?

Louviers is a small town in Normandy, located in the Eure department. The town has some remarkable buildings, such as the 11th-13th century Gothic church of Notre-Dame, and a few manor houses and timber-framed houses.

Louviers © JC Allin - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Half-timbered houses in Louviers © JC Allin - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Louviers - church of Notre-Dame by Theoliane (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Louviers - church of Notre-Dame by Theoliane (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Sur la route de Louviers

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

The lyrics in French

The original song of Sur la route de Louviers has 4 verses.

Couplet 1

Sur la route de Louviers (bis)
Y avait un cantonnier (bis)
Et qui cassait (bis)
Des tas d'cailloux (bis)
Et qui cassait des tas d'cailloux
Pour mettre sur l'passage des roues.

Couplet 2

Un' belle dam' vint à passer (bis)
Dans un beau carrosse doré (bis)
Et qui lui dit (bis)
"Pauv' cantonnier" (bis)
Et qui lui dit "pauv' cantonnier
Tu fais un foutu métier"

Couplet 3

Le cantonnier lui réponds (bis)
"Faut qu' j' nourrissions nos garçons (bis)
Car si j' roulions (bis)
Carrosse comme vous (bis)
Car si j' roulions carrosse comme vous
Je n' casserions point d' cailloux"!

Couplet 4

Cette réponse s' fait remarquer (bis)
Par sa grande simplicité (bis)
C'est c' qui prouve que (bis)
Les malheureux (bis)
C'est c' qui prouve que les malheureux
S'ils le sont c'est malgré eux !

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Verse 1

On the road to Louviers (bis)
There was a roadman (bis)
And who broke (bis)
A lot of stones (bis)
And he broke a lot of stones
To put in the way of the wheels.

Verse 2

A beautiful lady came to pass (bis)
In a beautiful golden coach (bis)
And who said to him (bis)
"Poor roadman" (bis)
And who said to him "poor roadman
You do a damn job" (bis)

Verse 3

The roadman answers (bis)
"We have to feed our boys (bis)
Because if we drove (bis)
A coach like you (bis)
For if we drove a carriage like you
I won't break any stones"!

Verse 4

This answer stands out (bis)
By its great simplicity (bis)
This is what proves that (bis)
The unfortunate (bis)
That's what proves that the unhappy
If they are, it's in spite of themselves!

Download the Lyrics for FREE!

No need to type name or email 😀

Sur la route de Louviers © 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
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Au clair de la lune © French Moments
Au feu les pompiers © French Moments
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Auprès de ma blonde © French Moments
Aux marches du palais © French Moments
Blanc Blanc Blanc belle rose © French Moments
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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
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Il était une bergère © French Moments
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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
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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
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Sur le pont du nord © French Moments
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Une chanson douce © French Moments
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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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