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L’Hexagone, une chanson de Renaud

September 26, 2012

L’Hexagone is the title of a very famous song by the French singer Renaud. It was released for the first time in 1975. The title refers to France, one of the nicknames of France being hexagon because of its peculiar shape.

The song depicts month by month the life of the French aam aadmi, the events commemorated and the festivals celebrated. It is a very virulent critic of French society and was initially banned on the national radio.

Listening to this song is an excellent way to memorize “les mois de l’année” !

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Here is a summary of the different subjects tackled, month by month :

  • Janvier: New year celebrations (“la nouvelle année”) versus the fact that the country and people’s mentality don’t change.
  • Février: The Charonne metro station affair (in 1962, the Communist Party organized a demonstration in Paris to denounce the Algerian war ; when the police charged to disperse the demonstration, people tried to take refuge in the metro station and 9 people died in the rush) and in a more general way, the police (“La France est un pays de flics”).
  • Mars: The execution in 1974 in Spain by the Francoist government of two anarchist activists which provoked indignation in France versus the fact that in France death penalty was not yet abolished (death penalty was abolished in France in 1981).
  • April : The traditionalist mentality of French people ; the paragraph starts with a quotation of a famous proverb (“En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil”) advising not to take off clothes in April as the weather is still chilly.
  • May : Victory of the Right at the elections after the revolutionary movement of May 68 (in May-June 1968 students and workers were united in the largest general strike to date ; the movement had a strong strain of anarchism ; it is considered as an important turning point in French politics).
  • June : Commemoration of the Normandy landings (“le débarquement de Normandie”) which started on 6 June 1944 ; versus forgetfulness toward the Collaboration with Germany, led by the Marshal Pétain (ex-hero of the WWI).
  • Juillet : Celebration of the French National Day commemorating the French Revolution and the assault on the Bastille on 14 July 1789 versus the fact that poverty and exploitation are still a reality in France.
  • Août : Summer vacations during which people invade coastal areas of France, Spain and Greece, “polluting all the beaches”.
  • Septembre : Reaction of France to the Chilean coup d’Etat (11 September 1973).
  • Octobre : Wine and “camembert” (type of cheese) as national symbols (October is the month of grape harvest, “les vendanges” in French).
  • Novembre : The Paris Motor Show (“le Salon de l’Automobile”) and whatever helps the French to forget their condition (La bagnole, la télé, l’tiercé / C’est l’opium du peuple de France”, meaning : Cars, TV, betting, that is the French people’s opium)
  • Décembre : Christmas celebration.
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