How to Sing 'Silent Night' in French and English (Douce Nuit)

Douce Nuit -Silent Night French Christmas Carol
Adyna / Getty Images

Here are the French lyrics with a literal translation, followed by the traditional English lyrics. The tune is the same, but as you can see, the French version of this Christmas carol is quite different. Listen to a video of "Douce Nuit" on YouTube — the song takes some time to start but it does eventually, with the lyrics underneath which is convenient if you'd like to learn it in French.

Douce Nuit With Literal English Translation

Douce nuit, sainte nuit!
Dans les cieux ! L'astre luit.
Le mystère annoncé s'accomplit
Cet enfant sur la paille endormi,
C'est l'amour infini ! x2

Sweet night, holy night!
In the skies, the start shines.
The announced mystery is taking place
This child asleep on the straw,
He is infinite love!

Saint enfant, doux agneau !
Qu'il est grand ! Qu'il est beau !
Entendez résonner les pipeaux
Des bergers conduisant leurs troupeaux
Vers son humble berceau ! x2 

Saint child, sweet lamb!
How tall! How beautiful!
Do you hear the pipes
Of the shepherds who lead their herds
Towards his humble cradle!

C'est vers nous qu'il accourt,
En un don sans retour !
De ce monde ignorant de l'amour,
Où commence aujourd'hui son séjour,
Qu'il soit Roi pour toujours ! x2 

It’s towards us he is running,
In a gift without end !
Of this world ignoring love,
Where today starts his stay,
Let him be king for ever!

Quel accueil pour un Roi !
Point d'abri, point de toit !
Dans sa crèche il grelotte de froid
O pécheur, sans attendre la croix,
Jésus souffre pour toi ! x2

What a welcome for a king!
No shelter, no roof!
In his manger he is shivering with cold
O sinner, without waiting for the cross,
Jesus is suffering for you!

Paix à tous ! Gloire au ciel !
Gloire au sein maternel,
Qui pour nous, en ce jour de Noël,
Enfanta le Sauveur éternel,
Qu'attendait Israël ! x2

Peace to all ! Glory to heavens !
Glory to the maternal breast,
Who for us, on this Christmas day
Gave birth to our eternal Savior,
Who Israël was waiting for.

Lyrics to Silent Night

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.3

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.2

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "How to Sing 'Silent Night' in French and English (Douce Nuit)." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. (2020, August 25). How to Sing 'Silent Night' in French and English (Douce Nuit). Retrieved from Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "How to Sing 'Silent Night' in French and English (Douce Nuit)." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2023).