La Vie en Rose Lyrics and English Translation – Edith Piaf [Original Version]

La Vie en Rose lyrics and translation articulate timeless themes of love, romance, and resilience – it’s one of Edith Piaf’s most famous and beloved songs. It has been covered and interpreted by many famous artists, including Louis Armstrong (who sang an English interpretation of the lyrics) and Lady Gaga, who sang it in French in “A Star is Born.” La Vie en Rose is about finding new love after a trying time, and many people saw it as an anthem of hope as it was released shortly after the end of World War 2. French lyrics and English translation below.


Vocabulary and an explanation of the translation and phrases will follow the video and lyrics translation. Enjoy!

Below the translation you will find an analysis of the song and translation, a breakdown of the vocabulary, and a video of Edith Piaf performing “La Vie en Rose” live.

La Vie en Rose Lyrics and Translation

French English
Des yeux qui font baisser les miensA gaze that make me lower my own
Un rire qui se perd sur sa boucheA laugh that is lost on his lips -
Voila le portrait sans retouchesThat is the un-retouched portrait
De l'homme auquel j'appartiensOf the man to whom I belong
Quand il me prend dans ses brasWhen he takes me into his arms
Il me parle l'a tout basHe speaks to me softly
Je vois la vie en roseAnd I see life through rose-colored glasses
Il me dit des mots d'amourHe speaks words of love to me
Des mots de tous les joursThey are every day words
Et ça m' fait quelque choseAnd they do something to me
Il est entré dans mon coeurHe has entered into my heart
Une part de bonheurA bit of happiness
Dont je connais la causeThat I know the cause of
C'est lui pour moiIt's only him for me
Moi pour lui dans la vieAnd me for him, for life
Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vieHe told me, he swore to me, for life
Et, dès que je l'aperçoisAs soon as I notice him
Alors je sens en moiI feel inside me
Mon coeur qui batMy heart beating
Des nuits d'amour à plus en finirEndless nights of love
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa placeBring great happiness
Les ennuis, les chagrins, s'effacentThe pain and bothers fade away
Heureux, heureux à mourirHappy, so happy I could die
Quand il me prend dans ses brasWhen he takes me into his arms
Il me parle tout basHe speaks to me softly
Je vois la vie en roseAnd I see life through rose-colored glasses
Il me dit des mots d'amourHe speaks words of love to me
Des mots de tout les joursThey are every day words
Et ça m' fait quelque choseAnd they do something to me
Il est entré dans mon coeurHe has entered into my heart
Une part de bonheurA bit of happiness
Dont je connais la causeThat I know the cause of
C'est lui pour moiIt's only him for me
Moi pour lui dans la vieAnd me for him, for life
Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vieHe told me, he swore to me, for life
Et, dès que je l'apercoisAs soon as I notice him
Alors je sens en moiI feel inside me
Mon coeur qui batMy heart beating
Lalalala, lalalalaLalalala, lalalala
La, la, la, laLa, la, la, la

La Vie en Rose Vocabulary, Analysis, and Explanation

The great thing about this song is that it uses relatively simple vocabulary to convey the very deep and heartfelt experience of new love. This song captures so many of the small gestures that we associate with falling in love: feeling your heart race as soon as you spot your new love, looking away when they look at you, etc.

Click here to see our list of the best resources to learn French.

baisser: to lower

Des yeux qui font baisser les miens: literally “eyes that make me lower my own”
I’ve chosen to translate that as “a gaze that makes me lower my own” because in the context she is talking about the way he looks at her, rather than his actual eyes. I think we all know the feeling: when someone you really like looks at you and you look away because it’s just too uncomfortable to hold their gaze (even though you want to).

Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche – this is a tough line to translate.
un rire: a laugh
se perdre: to lose itself (oneself)
la bouche: mouth

I’ve chosen to translate this as “a laugh that is lost on his lips;” literally it would be translated “a laugh that loses itself on his lips.” I think that she is referring to the moment when someone laughs a short, fleeting laugh that seems to dance across their lips.

retouche: a correction, amendment, or as we would translate it for a photo “retouching”.

tout bas: literally “all low” but in this context it means “softly” or “quietly”.

OK and now for the chorus/title – how to best translate “la vie en rose”? We use this phrase occasionally in English, and my preference would be to leave it in French since there isn’t a saying in English that is as elegant. However we do have the saying “to see life through rose-colored glasses.” I feel that this sounds a bit awkward, and not nearly as nice as saying “I see la vie en rose,” which would literally translate as “I see life in pink” or “I see life in rosy-hues.”

Il me dit: He speaks to me or he tells me
les mots d’amour, les mots de tous les jours: words of love, everyday words
Here Édith is telling us that her love whispers sweet nothings to her, but also every day words. I like the way she pairs these two lines. By coupling them she seems to be suggesting that both words of love and everyday words are equally precious when they come from the man she loves. How romantic is that?

jurer: to promise, to swear

dès que je l’aperçois: From the moment I perceive him (am aware of him)
Dès que (time): When (time), or as soon as

Dès translates as “from” in the sense that it marks the beginning of a period of time. Dès que means “as soon as” (in French you can also say “aussitôt que”).

à plus finir: endless
I believe this is a shortened version of the more correct: à n’en plus finir, which means “endless”. Often in songs some syllables are dropped (I’m sure you can think of many examples of this in English songs as well.)

s’effacer: to fade

Edith Piaf Performing La Vie en Rose Live

This is from the TV show “La joie de vivre” where Edith Piaf performed live on March 4, 1954. Enjoy!

What do you think of this translation? Do you have any additional questions? Leave them in the comments below! Thank you. 🙂

68 Comments

  1. enna

    Love what you have done – the translation on the video and the write-up below.;I appreciate the work you put into it. But It surely elevated my appreciation for the song..

    Notwithstanding my lack of understanding of the meaning of the song, ( my French is elementary) La Vie en Rose is my favorite French song. I love all the artists who sing this song, including Mirelle Mathieu but Edith Plaff’s interpretation is simply heavenly..

    With better understanding of the song, I can now sing this with more feelings. Ha! ha!

    Thank you very much.

    • Michael Rondas

      Thank you so very much for your translation and interpretation and most of all for the passion you put into this.

      I am returning from a funeral of my grandmother during which my godmother (her daughter) sang this song. She sang it because it was the song that played when my grandmother met my grandfather.

      I have always felt this was one of the greatest love songs of all time. You can only imagine that today has solidified this feeling in stone.

      Having Dutch as my mother tongue, French as second and English as third language you for ever find yourself in analysing language and looking for a deeper or true meaning behind words. Simply because when you learn a language, it teaches you literal translations only get you so far; in fact it is all about the art of interpretation and you did it wonderfully well. True art in my humble opinion.

      You may have written this many years ago, but I hope that so many years later these words of appreciation for the love of language still reach you.

      Mike

      • Darby

        Wow thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. 🙂 My condolences for your loss and I’m glad that you enjoyed the translation. I do really try to preserve the heart of the meaning and help keep the passion of the lyrics because I agree it is one of the greatest love songs of all time. And of course Edith Piaf’s performance is iconic. I hope I’ve captured the soul of the song for an English-speaking audience.

    • Rose Eneri

      Love this translation of one of my favorite songs.
      Mirelle Mathieu can’t hold a candle to Edith Piaf. The amazing thing about Edith was her vibrato in full voice. Contrast this with Mirelle, who sounds like she is growling with her exaggerated r’s.

  2. Salma

    Very lovely translation ,, much better than the English version .. I am totally in love with this song and I enjoyed the way that you translate it cuz it’s so romantic
    Thank you very much
    Best translation ever

  3. Rob

    Nicely done thank you. My French is rusty and this helped greatly. It also make much sense as I can still translate a piece of this I think your explanations are great and reinforce the subtleties within

    • Darby

      My pleasure! Yes the explanations are really necessary to truly understand the song. Translating songs is an art and a science, and as a French learner myself (for many years now) I think enjoying French music is a great way to learn!

  4. Edi

    Fantastique!

    French to english translation deosnt do justice to the subtleties of the language, but such a beautiful song. Thanks for the translation

    • Darby

      You’re very welcome, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes Google Translate just wouldn’t do it justice would it? 😉 It’s such a lovely song.

  5. TSmith

    That was the best translation/understanding I have ever read of a song that is not in English. I really appreciate the time you took to break down the different parts and explain them. Thank you for doing so.

    • Darby

      It was my great pleasure! It’s too beautiful a song just to plug it into Google Translate. 😛 I hope that I’ve captured the heart and soul of the song.

  6. David Cottam

    I found your translation and discussion of the nuances in the poem perfect. I am trying to memorise the words in French because they have a simplicity and emotional directness that is very touching.
    Thanks for your insights

  7. Roland Michael Soucy

    Bravo, that song has always touched my heart, when I hear it I’m reminded of my Mother humming and singing along with it with her best British forced french accent,ahh the memories of love even tho I was but a wee young boy when we were stationed in France in 61 62 63 I still recall it and my heart once again transports me back,my Mother was English and survived hitlers bombings of liverpool one sister was not so lucky and was killed with her husband and children when the bombs fell on the church they were seeking shelter in,so thank you ever so much on behalf of my Mother and all the people’s who were and forevermore Will be the “Greatest generation” and of course the incomparable Edit Piaf I go to listen to it again, and again and again.

  8. Jerry Braunstein

    Yes, leave la Vie en rose in French. Seeing life through rose colored glasses connotes hopeful pessimism — seeing life better than it really is. There is another possible translation “coming up roses” ( I see life coming up roses ) from Ethel Merman’s signature song in the 1959 Broadway musical, Gypsy, lyrics by Sondheim whose notes reveal his intent was to convey a sense of exuberant optimism – certainly expressed in her performances, not dissimilar to Piaf’s. I believe the matter depends on the intent of the lyricist – which adds a mysterious note to a mystical, enchanting song.

    • Darby

      Oh interesting! Thank you for sharing this. I may be due to update this translation a little bit and help with a bit more historical context and reference to other cultural touchstones.

  9. Miracular

    A couple of small suggestions . . .

    First stanza:
    • “Eyes that make me lower mine” [better meter; physical eyes are more in keeping with the idea of a portrait and perhaps elicit a stronger, more direct experience in the listener because they’re less conceptual]
    • “A laugh that loses itself on his lips” [not as good a meter, but more poetic and more evocative for the listener, closer to the actual sense of the French]
    • “Of the man I belong to” [“I belong to” instead of “to whom I belong”; although the latter may be traditionally “correct” (although linguists now disagree about the notion of the “dangling preposition” convention), the vernacular is more in keeping with the idea of the “everyday words” that are likely used by both characters]

    Second stanza:
    • “When he takes me in his arms” (“in his arms” instead of “into his arms”; “in” is idiomatic here; it’s also more poetic that way)

    Other:
    • “everyday words” instead of “every day words” (here, “every” and “day” get fused into an adjective)
    • “And it does something to me” instead of “And they do something to me” (here, would use the vaguer “it” that refers to the whole of the experience, rather than to just the speaking of the words or to the words themselves)—again, more poetic and evocative since it has the listener do a “transderivational search” of his or her own experience and thus produces a kind of altered state as desired
    • “It’s him for me and me for him” [instead of “It’s only him for me and me for him” (the language structure is similar to that of “All for one and one for all” and expresses allegiance in a slightly stronger way without the extra word)]

    • Wow! I’m digging the care and time which you devoted to shedding even more light (and nuance) on the translator’s already very well-crafted and insightful translation and commentary. I wish there was a forum somewhere devoted exclusively to translation and naunced commentary on popular songs (and art songs too, perhaps). This is incredibly helpful for students of language, culture, and singing. Thank you!

  10. Nat

    I saw one of my friends post this line:
    Il me dit des mots d’amour
    Des mots de tous les jours
    Et ça me fait quelque chose
    I had no idea what it meant, and found my way to your beautiful translation, so I just wanted to say
    Thanks for your work!

    • Darby

      Oh wonderful, I’m happy to help! I love translating songs, and especially this one as it’s one of my absolute favourites. 🙂

      • Neil

        This is one my most favorite songs too. I once saw a movie titled “The Dinner.” I believe it was a French movie, black and white, and there were a number of different people with different concerns. I have watched the movie twice but do not quite understand everything it had to say.

  11. Sarah

    Thank you for this. A lovely explanation and well explained. I have enjoyed trying to understand the words and your explanation and translation enhances the song and performance.

    • Darby

      I’m happy to help – it’s such a beautiful song that it really needs more than just a word-for-word translation. The passion has to be communicated so it helps to explain parts of the song. 🙂

  12. Marie Walsh

    I sing this song in French with only half an understanding of the words but it moved me nonetheless, never really knowing why. Having read your translation, I see now what I could not explain, that I am capable of feeling such passion. What a revelation! And so liberating! Thanks.

  13. Norma Fredette Stankaitis

    Love it…nothing to add. It is a beautiful song in French. Loses a lot in English….can’t compare. Now that I have the translation, I will be singing it often. Merci beaucoup.

    • Darby

      Thank you so much. Yes songs are never as good in translation so I wanted to do my best to help English speakers understand this beautiful classic.

  14. Remarkable achievement in keeping the soulful and beautiful poetic meaning of this purely ever romantic Edith Piaf’s song trough your translation. Exceld by perfect explanations which painted the portrait of ‘La Vie an Rose’ with poetic art.

    Leeds to believe all other translations may be equally good! Well done! Although one has to agree that even without translation or knowledge of French Edith Piaf’s voice, feeling, tone said it all! Enchanté!

  15. Frank V Leone

    I wish I had read this days ago, but I didn’t know I was going to hear the song at a cabaret as I did last night. My “heard” French is awful.
    It’s much easier for me to read it. My Italian helps. Your comments were insightful. I am a linguist. Thank yo very much.

  16. This is incredible! You are a gifted translator and communicator. What a lovely service to humanity you offer. I am ecstatic to have found your site. Keep up the great work! Thank you!!!

    • Darby

      Oh thank you so much Craig for your kind words. 🙂 I love doing these translations so it’s my great pleasure. (And Edith Piaf is one my absolute favourites!)

  17. Carole

    Thank you, so much for this translation.
    This song caught my ear as a child, (Edith Piaf was the “voice”!) and was enchanted. Not until, Lady Gaga’s version in the movie”A Star is Born”; did I find I was enchanted once again! It is a truly beautiful love story.

  18. Julia B

    Amazing thank you so much for translating – I was getting half of the words and it meant that I was concentrating on the translation rather than enjoying the song – now I can really appreciate it so much. Thanks a million

  19. Jojo Powers

    Is “Je vois la vie en rose” not “I see life in pink”? Where do “rose-colored glasses” come in?

    • Darby

      Well literally “la vie en rose” would translate directly to “life in pink.” But to see “la vie en rose” is a saying that means you are seeing the world optimistically. Just like in English when we say “let’s Netflix and chill” we don’t mean we’re going to watch Netflix in a freezer. To “get your shit together” doesn’t mean you literally collect a pile of poop. 😉 So to see “la vie en rose” means to see life with a very optimistic and “Pollyanna” perspective. One way we say this in English is to say that we see life “through rose coloured glasses.” That’s why I went with that translation, which captures the meaning. 🙂

  20. tom

    Hi,

    Thanks for this. Your translation is truly helpful

    It is interesting that Edith sings some slightly different repeat verses. These are often omitted by lyric sites, and also by karaoke tracks. (I often sing this song in uk pubs)

    So instead of;
    C’est lui pour moi
    Moi pour lui dans la vie

    She actually sings:
    C’est toi pour moi
    Moi pour toi dans la vie

    Which is an even more intimate lyric!

    Also instead of :
    [Et, dès que je l’apercois]

    She sings; [je t’apercois]

    Thank you so much for your hard work.

    Tom

  21. Dominique

    I love your translation of this beautiful song and think it is the best translation I have seen, especially your reasoning behind the translation . Well done keep on going .

    • Tom

      It is a beautiful translation. I have one very minor quibble.
      “Ile est entre dans mon coeur une part de bonheaur”
      The “Il” is not “He”; it is an idiomatic use and means “There has entered into my heart…” It’s similar to “il y a” but is more formal and less often used. Here’s an example:
      Il est des choses qu’une mère ne peut raconter à son fils.

  22. Christiane Shaffer

    Darby, please reconsider the part of the song: “Des niuts d’amour a plus finir
    Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
    Les ennuis, les chagrins s’effacent
    Heureux, heureux a mourir.”
    I am a German native, my mother was French.
    I pretty much understand the opposite meaning of your translation.

  23. Vicky Nollam

    I have loved this song for over 40 years, but until now have not tried to truly understand all the word. I am only now trying to refresh my learning of the French language and am so thankful to you for your translations of this wonderful song. As you have said before, translating just the words does not convey the intended meaning. I have always wanted to be able to sing the words, now, perhaps I have a new challenge! Thank you so much!

  24. Kiriwai Pitihira

    Thank you … Mum & Dad were soulmates … buddies, pals & friends, husband, wife & parents. Both of them loved this song & as kids ..we grew up listening to Edith Piaf . Now I understand why they both loved this song & Edith Piaf .. beautiful 👏💜🤗😎

  25. Cheryl

    Wow, you really felt this song and it shows in your translation of it. You read into it and appreciate how you explained how you came into the translation, example: putting in gaze instead of eyes. Beautifully done and it puts much more meaning and depth into it . Captures the essence. Thank you!

  26. Vic

    I served in the RCAF and was stationed in France from June 1963 to July 1967, and in Germany from August 1967 to August 1968.
    I remember when Edith Piaf died in October 1963 the massive turnout for her funeral, and the amazing outpouring of grief and sense of loss.
    My wife and I celebrated our anniversary in Paris in May 1964 and Edith Piaf’s voice was everywhere, especially Place Pigalle.
    She was, and remains, a French national treasure.
    La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je ne regrette rien”, as performed by ‘The Little Sparrow’ are 2 of my all time favourite songs.
    Darby, thank you so very much for your very enlightening interpretation of these beautiful love songs.
    I am grateful for your brilliant work.

Leave a Reply

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.