La nourriture

Allons chercher l’herbette

J’aime la galette

La danse des legumes

Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api

Rondin picotin

Trempe ton pain Marie


Dansons tous ensemble!

À la Monaco

La Bigue Biguette

Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser?

Tous en rond dansez



Last updated: 2/16/2016 8:47 PM


The songs below are part ofAllons-y!’ The French collection

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

To listen to music from these songs click on O

To watch the author of this website sing a song click on the title at:


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Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.



Allons chercher l’herbette O


Feeling hungry? Let’s make an omelette. What will we need? Make a list of ingredients, in French of course!


This game can be played in a circle or with couples dispersed about the room.












Allons chercher l’herbette,

Pour faire l’omelette,

Virons-là, tournons ,

L’omelette dans la plat!

Let’s put herbs in our basket,

So we can make an omelette,

Turn it over, turn it quick,

The omelette is on the dish!

Couples walk side by side holding hands crossed in front.

Raise hands over heads and turn under. Repeat this in the opposite direction.

On the last line pairs dance round in a circle.

























J’aime la galette O


Galettes des Rois (King’s cake or Twelfth Night cake) has been eaten in France since the Middle Ages in celebration of the Epiphany. It is also eaten in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. Galettes des Rois a puff pastry pie is filled with frangipani made from almond paste and eggs. A ‘fève’, a lucky charm, is hidden inside: a bean, coin or small trinket. The one who finds it wears a paper crown and becomes king or queen for the day.

Watch at: 


You can find a recipe and further information at

Make simple paper crowns for the children to wear during this game. Those left over from Christmas crackers would be timely at Epiphany.















J’aime la galette, 

Savez-vous comment?

Quand elle est bien faite,

Avec du beurre dedans.

Tra la la la, tra la la la lère,

Tra la la la, la la la la la,

Tra la la la, tra la la la lère,

Tra la la la, la la la la la.

How I love the king’s cake,

I like it made well.

Made with lots of butter

What a lovely smell!

circle dance.jpgTra la la la etc.

1. Holding hands in a circle children advance towards the centre.

2. Move out again.


3. Walk round to the left.


4. Walk round to the right.



During ‘Tra la la....’ with a partner walk round in a small circle. Next place hands on hips and do-si-do – walk back to back round each other.



































La danse des lègumes O


What do the vegetables get up to in the moonlight? Find out in this circle game and learn the French names of vegetables. Add others with suitable movements. Names of more fruits and vegetables can be found at .


Watch at: and at


Not an easy tune to memorise but worth persevering, it’s lots of fun.



















Tous les lègumes,

Au clair de lune,

Étaient en train de s’amuser HE!

Ils amusaient HE!

Tant qu’il pouvaient HE!

Et les passants les regardaient HE!

Out in the moonlight, oh, what a great sight,

For all the vegetables were dancing! HEY!

They had such fun HEY!

‘Til night was done HEY!

And everyone who saw were stunned HEY!



Les cornichon tournaient en rond,

Les artichauds sautaient à petits sauts,

Les cèleris valsaient sans bruit,

Et les choux-fleurs se dandinait avec ardeur.

The gherkins hot turned on the spot,

The artichokes did some jumps for a joke,

The celery waltzed so quietly,

The cauliflower he waddled backwards hands stretched out! 

Walk facing clockwise, in a springy way, round the circle without holding hands. On each HE! Jump and turn in the air while raising an arm. Stop, put hands to eyes look left and right.








Turn round on the spot. Make little disorderly jumps into the circle.

Waltz with the nearest person.

Waddle, with arms horizontal, backwards to reform the circle.
































Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api O


The refrain is a great favourite with French toddlers as they roll arms, beat fists and hide them behind their backs to be tapped.

Pomme de reinette is a pippin apple ‘apple of the little queen’. Pomme d‘Api or Lady’s apple has been cultivated in France over 300 years and is attributed to the Greek, Claudius Appius from the Peleponnese. It is a small apple with a red blush, the size of a ping pong ball. A winter dessert apple it is popular in Christmas wreaths and on Christmas trees.


Watch at:


Choose four or five apple farmers who walk round picking apples off the ground.




















Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api,

Petit api rouge, (or d’api, d’api, rouge)

Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api,

Petit api gris.

Queen pippin apple, apple red,

Rosy little apple,

Queen pippin apple, apple red,

Little apple grey.


Cache ta main dernière ton dos,

Ou je te donne un coup de marteau!


Hide your hands behind your back,

Or I’ll tap you with my hammer.


C’est la halle, Que je m’installe,

C’est à Paris, Que je vends tous mes fruits,

C’est à Paris, le capitale de France,

Here in the market, sitting at my stall,

I’ll sell my fresh fruit in Paris today,

Right here in Paris, capital of France,

I’ll sell my fresh fruit in Paris this way.

The ‘apple trees’ march round with arms rolling one way then the other.

Strike closed fists alternately.



Stand still with fists behind back as the apple farmers walks round tapping apples off the trees. Repeat





Farmer takes them to market stall the children come and buy them.










































Trempe ton pain, Marie O


Translated as ‘Knead your bread’ or ‘Eat your bread’, the literal ‘Dunk your bread’ is used here. Nankeen, a yellow or pale buff cotton cloth was originally made in Nanking in China. Nankeen also refers to trousers made of this material. Bazin is another type of prestige cloth from West Africa also known as damask and often hand decorated.


The refrain can be sung as a round. A more energetic and complex dance can be found on video at .

















Trempe ton pain, Marie,

Trempe ton pain, Marie,

Trempe ton pain dans la sauce.

Trempe ton pain, Marie,

Trempe ton pain, Marie,

Trempe ton pain dans le vin.

Dunk your bread, Marie,

Dunk your bread, Marie,

Dunk your bread in the sauce bowl.

Dunk your bread, Marie,

Dunk your bread, Marie,

Dunk your bread in the wine.


Nous irons dimanche,

À la maison blanche,

Toi z’en nankin,

Moi z’en bazin,

Tous deux en escarpins.

Sunday we will go out,

Off to see the white house,

You in cotton,

Me in linen,

Both in our best shoes.



Le long de la Seine,

Allons à Surenes,

Pour manger des gâteaux,

Et pour voir passer les petites bateaux.

We will go to Surenes,

By the Seine so well-dressed,

Cream cake we will eat,

On the river, see

Little boats floating by.


Face a partner and holding hands bend knees as both bob up and down in time to the strong rhythm.

The more adventurous might bob up and down alternately.





Skip around the room side by side weaving in and out of other pairs.




Sit opposite partner moving back and forth holding hands in a rowing movement.





Rondin picotin O


Throughout the regions of France many games traditionally centre on food, especially cake and bread. Sing this song while making of bread. Enjoy the wonderfully sensual experience, feeling and smelling the warm dough and learn about the effect of yeast as the dough rises.

Listen at:


This is one of several French ring games where the finale is a sudden squat. Great fun!
















Rondin picotin,

La Marie à fait son pain,

Pas plus gros que son levain,

Le levain était moisi,

Le pain est tout a-pla-ti.

Tant pis!

Warm brown, crusty too,

Mary’s bread is round and smooth,

But oh dear, it did not rise,

In old yeast the problem lies,

My bread’s fallen flat!’ she cries.

Too bad!

Holding hands run round in a circle with little tiptoe steps.

Walk round looking sad.

Walk with bent knees.

Bring joined hands up and over into circle and squat down on the word ‘aplati’.

On ‘Tant pis!’ jump up, throw hands out

with palms up in front and shrug shoulders.
































À la Monaco O



La Monaco is a traditional song of war from the Ile de France. In England ‘la chaine anglaise’ is known as ‘the French chain’!


Label each child A or B in sequence round the circle. Children hold hands or alternatively for more challenge, place hands on their neighbour’s shoulders.



















À la Monaco, l’on y danse, l’on y danse,

À la Monaco, l’on y danse comme il faut.

In Monaco, you can dance, yes, you can dance the right way,

In Monaco, like this, you can dance away.



Les demoiselles qui ne savant pas danser,

On leur fait faire la chaîne anglaise.

All the young ladies who’re learning to dance,

They’ll do the French chain, oh so very nicely.

All the young ladies who’re learning to dance,

They’ll do the French chain, oh so very well.

Gallop sideways to the left for the first eight bars then to the right for the next eight.


B turns anticlockwise to face A and join right hands as in shaking hands. They then pass each other offering a left hand to the next child followed by the right and so on round the circle in a weaving motion for the first eight bars.

Facing the last child they place their right hand round waist and hold left hand in the air. Hop and skip round for four bars. Change arms and then hop skip in the opposite direction.
























La Bigue Biguette O


Are you smart, have you got agile legs and nimble feet? You’ll need all of these to perform this miller’s dance from Gascony.


Begin in a circle holding hands. Once the dance is familiar find different ways to jump.


















Pour danser la Bigue Biguette,

Il faut être dégourdi!

Il faut avoir la jambe agile,

Et le pied bien délicat!

If you want to dance the Biguetta,

You will have to be very smart!

You will need two legs that are nimble,

And two feet that move from the start!



Pour danser, pour danser,

Il faut sauter, sauter, sauté!


For to dance, for to dance,

You will need to jump, jump, jump!

Skip clockwise in a circle.









Jump on the spot with feet together while holding hands facing the centre.






















Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser? O


Known as ‘La Bastringue’ this dance belongs to the musical legacy of both Cajun and French-Canadian folk. Watch a circle version of this dance at .


In the game below the children stand in two facing lines, girls on one side boys on the other.











Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser?

Youpia! Youpia!

Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser?

Youpia! La mazurka!

Mad’moiselle would you like to dance?

Youpia! Youpia!

Mad’moiselle etc. Youpia! The mazurka!


Oui, Monsieur je veux bien danser.

Youpia! Youpia!

Oui, Monsieur je veux bien danser,

Youpia!La mazurka!

Yes, Monsieur for I dance so well etc.


On se prend par la main,

Youpia! Youpia!

On se prend par la main,

Youpia! La mazurka!

By the hand hold each other now etc.


On se prend par le bras ...

By the arm…


On se prend par la taille ...

By the waist

Holding hands boys advance towards the girls singing and bow. They then retreat. Girls clap hands.

Repeat movements




Girls do the same movements as above and curtsey as the boys clap.




Holding right hands with partner opposite skip round.

Skip to the left.



Partners link elbows and turn in small circles to the right. Repeat to the left.


Facing each other, one step to the left place right arms around waist and turn. Repeat with left arm.

































Tous en rond dansez O


Dance first as a whole class then in ones, twos and more. Finally gather together once again as a large group. It will be difficult for some children to organise themselves into groups of three for example but this is an opportunity for children to learn to be flexible in their groupings in order for the game to run smoothly. It is not easy deferring to the choices of others when you are inexperienced! A less contentious version would be to double up each time – one, two, four, eight etc.















Tous en rond dansez, tous en rond dansez,

Tous en rond dansez, tous en rond dansez,

Tous ensemble, tous ensemble,

Tous ensemble, tous en rond.

In a circle dance, in a circle dance,

In a circle dance, in a circle dance,

All together, all together,

All together in a ring.


Un par un dansez, un par un dansez,

Un par un dansez, un par un dansez,

Tous ensemble, tous ensemble,

Tous ensemble, tous en rond.

We’ll dance one by one…etc


Deux par deux dansez… etc.

We’ll dance two by two … etc.


Trois par trois dansez… etc.

We’ll dance three by three …etc.


Continue until all are dancing together


Une grande ronde, une grande ronde…etc.

In a circle large, in a circle large… etc.

In a large class circle skip to the left.

Skip to the right.

Skip into the centre of the circle.

Skip out again.






Dance freely individually making up own dance.



Join with another child, hold hands, skip one way then the other. Sway from side to side.


In groups of three skip round one way then back the other. Hold hands high into the centre then out.

Repeat as groups grow (some will need to split to make other sets larger) until all children are in one group circle. Dance as above.



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