11 French Poems for Beginners

Embarking on a journey into the world of French poetry can be a delightful and enriching experience for learners of any level, and beginners are no exception.

This collection introduces you to eleven carefully selected French poems, each chosen for its level of difficulty and cultural significance.

From renowned poets like Victor Hugo to classic works such as "Les Fleurs du Mal," these poems offer a gateway to both the language and the literary heritage of France.

Let's delve into this poetic adventure, exploring the beauty of the French language through some of the country’s most celebrated poets.

Note to beginners: The following poems should be ready with a dual-lingual book. Please do not expect to understand French poems word for word as a complete beginner.

Table of Contents

  • Where to Find French Poetry (Famous French Poems)
  • "Demain, dès l'aube" by Victor Hugo
  • "Le Corbeau et le Renard" by Jean de la Fontaine
  • "La Vie Était" by Arthur Rimbaud
  • "Qu'il Est Comique" by Paul Verlaine
  • "Le Pont Mirabeau" by Guillaume Apollinaire
  • "La Chanson" by Alphonse de Lamartine
  • "Les Regrets Aussi" by Pierre de Ronsard
  • "Sans Faire de Bruit" by Charles Baudelaire
  • "J'irai par la Montagne" by Paul Éluard
  • "Les Feuilles Mortes" by Jacques Prévert
  • "La Montagne" by Victor Hugo
  • French Poems for Kids
  • How to Learn the French Language With Poems
  • FAQ
  • Summary

Where to Find French Poetry (Famous French Poems)

French poetry can be accessed from any online marketplace, with plenty of free PDFs also available online.

Renowned French poets, including Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire, have left their indelible mark on French literature, which means their work is very easily accessible.

So, it’s easy to delve into anthologies dedicated to French poetry or visit online platforms specializing in literary classics.

If you’re not a fan of digital platforms when it comes to reading, just head to libraries, bookstores, and any other space dedicated to literature.

Audiobooks are also a great way to digest (not literally) French language material, especially if you’re on the move frequently without the ability to read actual text.


To find audiobooks with French poems, you can explore various online platforms that offer audiobook services. Some popular options include:

Audible: Audible has a vast collection of audiobooks, including French poetry. You can browse their selection and find audiobooks featuring classic and contemporary French poems.

Lingopie: Lingopie is a language learning platform dedicated to learning French through TV shows, movies, music videos, podcasts, and audiobooks. But you knew that already, of course…

YouTube: Many audiobooks, including French poetry readings, are also available on YouTube. It’s easy to find channels dedicated to French literature. Just search for specific poets and poems.

French Poetry Audiobooks Websites: Some websites specialize in French literature and offer audiobooks, including poetry. Google is a wonderful thing…just search for websites that focus on French culture and literature.

Remember to check the availability of English translations if you want to understand the meaning of the poems while listening.

Alright, let’s dive into the full list of French poems for beginners.

1. "Demain, dès l'aube" by Victor Hugo

Why it's great for beginners

Victor Hugo's poignant poem, "Demain, dès l'aube," is an excellent starting point for beginners due to its straightforward language and emotional depth.

It follows a simple ABAB rhyme pattern, making it easy to grasp. This introspective piece reflects on love, loss, and the journey through nature.

2. "Le Corbeau et le Renard" by Jean de la Fontaine

Why it's great for beginners

Jean de la Fontaine's fable "Le Corbeau et le Renard" is perfect for beginners as it combines a moral lesson with simplicity.

Through animal characters, this poem imparts wisdom and its rhythmic narrative aids in understanding the French language effortlessly.

3. "La Vie Était" by Arthur Rimbaud

Why it's great for beginners

Arthur Rimbaud's "La Vie Était" is a captivating exploration of life and memory.

Its vivid imagery and emotional resonance provide beginners with an opportunity to delve into the surrealistic movement while enhancing their language skills.

4. "Qu'il Est Comique" by Paul Verlaine

Why it's great for beginners

Paul Verlaine's playful poem "Qu'il Est Comique" introduces beginners to the wit and charm of French poetry.

Its lighthearted tone and rhythmic flow make it an engaging piece for language learners.

5. "Le Pont Mirabeau" by Guillaume Apollinaire

Why it's great for beginners

Guillaume Apollinaire's "Le Pont Mirabeau" offers a melancholic reflection on love and time.

Its melodic language and emotional depth provide beginners with a chance to explore complex themes while improving their language skills.

6. "La Chanson" by Alphonse de Lamartine

Why it's great for beginners

Alphonse de Lamartine's "La Chanson" is a lyrical exploration of nature and emotions.

Its simplicity and descriptive language make it accessible for beginners, allowing them to appreciate the beauty of French poetry as its finest.

7. "Les Regrets Aussi" by Pierre de Ronsard

Why it's great for beginners

Pierre de Ronsard's "Les Regrets Aussi" is a sonnet expressing the poet's longing and regrets.

Its structured form and romantic theme provide beginners with exposure to classic French poetry and its emotional nuances.

As with the other French poems listed in this article, you will appreciate these works most if you have a dual-lingual book, or the ability to translate words quickly into your native language.

8. "Sans Faire de Bruit" by Charles Baudelaire

Why it's great for beginners

Charles Baudelaire's "Sans Faire de Bruit" explores the theme of solitude and introspection. Perfect for anyone seeking some downtime to read poetry alone, right?

Its concise yet powerful verses offer beginners a glimpse into Baudelaire's unique style and the darker side of French poetry.

As your French develops, you’re likely to start to appreciate more complex works by Charles Baudelaire.

9. "J'irai par la Montagne" by Paul Éluard

Why it's great for beginners

Paul Éluard's "J'irai par la Montagne" is a surrealist love poem that beautifully combines vivid imagery with emotional depth.

Beginners will appreciate the romantic aspects of French poetry while enhancing their language skills.

And let’s be honest, no French poem is complete without the inevitable touch of romance. This is the language of love, after all.

10. "Les Feuilles Mortes" by Jacques Prévert

Why it's great for beginners

Jacques Prévert's "Les Feuilles Mortes" explores the melancholy beauty of autumn (fall). If your aim is to be as pretencious as possible, you could read this poem while walking around Paris’ Le Marais district during the fall.

On a serious note, though, the simplicity and evocative language of this French poem make it an ideal choice for beginners to connect with French poetry and seasonal themes.

11. "La Montagne" by Victor Hugo

Why it's great for beginners

A list of the best French poems would be incomplete without at least a couple of references to the great Victor Hugo.

His "La Montagne" is a celebration of nature's grandeur and another great pick for beginners in French.

The descriptive language and majestic imagery in this work provide beginners with an opportunity to engage with the poetic expressions of one of France's literary giants.

French Poems for Kids

When embarking on a journey to learn French through poetry, never underestimate the effectiveness of poems designed for kids.

Children’s poems like "Une Souris Verte" and "Alouette," offer a playful gateway for beginners with their simple, less challenging language, and starting with poems for children can make the learning process far more rewarding.

As you gain confidence, venture into more enchanting pieces like Jacques Prévert's "Le Cancre" or any other poem listed above.

How to Learn the French Language With Poems

Start by selecting simple poems that are either provided in both French and your native language, or written specifically for children. Then, you can start to progress to more complex poems.

As with any book, try to translate the verses to understand their meanings, and note down unfamiliar words.

Additionally, do not worry if you are unable to understand words or sentences to their entirety. This is all part of the learning process.


Now that you have seen our top picks, we can provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Victor Hugo is widely regarded as one of the most popular French poets. His profound impact on French literature, evident in works like "Les Misérables" and poignant poems like "Demain, dès l’aube," has solidified his status as a literary giant.

What is French poetry called?

French poetry is often referred to as "poésie française." It encompasses a rich tradition of poetic expression, featuring various forms such as sonnets, ballads, and free verse. Notable French poets, like Baudelaire and Verlaine, have significantly contributed to the diversity of French poetic styles.

What is the French poem about light?

"La Courbe de Tes Yeux" by Paul Éluard is a French poem about light. This surrealist piece beautifully describes the luminosity of a loved one's eyes, using vivid imagery and metaphors to convey the radiance and magic associated with the curve of the eyes.

How do you memorize French poems?

To memorize French poems effectively, start by understanding the meaning. Read the poem aloud multiple times, focusing on pronunciation. Break it into smaller sections for easier memorization. Utilize repetition, recite from memory, and gradually reduce reliance on the text. Engage with audio resources to reinforce pronunciation and rhythm, enhancing overall memorization.


Summing up: French Poems for Beginners

Embarking on the journey of learning French through poetry is not only educational but also deeply enriching and we recommend it to all language learners, no matter their age.

These carefully selected poems offer beginners a diverse range of themes, styles, and linguistic intricacies, providing a holistic introduction to the world of French literature.

By delving into the verses of celebrated poets, learners can simultaneously enhance their language skills and immerse themselves in the cultural tapestry of French poetry.

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