Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill)

By Thomas Keyes
May 30, 2005

The original “Moulin Rouge” is a beautiful French song written by Georges Auric (1899-1983). Georges Auric was a distinguished classical composer and a member of Les Six, a clique of modern French composers that flourished in the first half of the twentieth century.

This song was the theme song of the initial production of the film of the same name, premiered in 1952. There was a French version and an English version. I don’t know which preceded, as I didn’t see the film. Whether it has anything to do with the 2001 production of “Moulin Rouge” starring Madonna, I don’t know.

I like to learn songs in their original languages, and though I don’t know for a fact that the French lyrics were first, I think that, considering the composer and the subject, it should be considered a French song. So I have learned the French version. I don’t know the published English version at all.

The Moulin Rouge is a cabaret in Paris, France. I’ve seen it in person, but I did not go in.

At the URL below, the song can be heard sung most charmingly by Mireille Mathieu, a famous French chanteuse:


Here’s Mireille’s picture:


Even though the lyrics appear at that website, I have reproduced them below, along with my own literal translation.

MOULIN ROUGE (French Lyrics)

Moulin des amours,
Tu tournes tes ailes
Au ciel des beaux jours,
Moulin des amours.

Mon coeur a changé
A tes ritournelles
Sans mêmes y penser,
Mon coeur a changé.

Ah, mon Dieu, qu’ils étaient jolie
Ces yeux qui valsaient dans les miens!
On s’aimait presqu’à la folie
Et cet amour te plaisait bien.

Des mots de bonheur
Chantaient sur tes ailes,
Des mots de bonheur,
Simples comme mon coeur.

Dis-moi chéri, dis-moi que tu m’aime.
Dis-moi chéri que c’est pour la vie.

Comme on a dansé
Sur tes ritournelles,
Tous deux enlacés,
Comme on a dansé.

Que de fois l’on a répété
Ces mots qui chantaient dans mon coeur,
Et pourtant que m’est-il resté
De tant des rêves de bonheur?

Moulin des amours,
Tu tournes tes ailes,
Moulin des amours,
Rouge comme mon coeur.

Dis-moi chéri, dis-moi que tu m’aime.
Dis-moi chéri que c’est pour la vie.

MOULIN ROUGE (Literal English Translation)

Windmill of loves,
You turn your vanes
Under the sky of fair days,
Windmill of loves.

My heart has danced
To your revolutions
Without even thinking of it,
My heart has danced!

Oh, my God, how beautiful are
Those eyes that dance in mine.
One falls in love almost to the point of madness
And this love pleases you well.

Words of happiness
Sing in your vanes.
Words of happiness,
As simple as my heart.

Tell me, dear, tell me that you love me.
Tell me, dear, that it’s for life.

How they’ve danced
To your revolutions,
The two in embraces,
How they’ve danced.

How many times one has repeated
Those words that sing in our heart,
And nonetheless I still have
So many dreams of happiness?

Windmill of loves,
You turn your vanes,
Windmill of loves,
As red as my heart.

Tell me, dear, tell me that you love me.
Tell me, dear, that it’s for life.


About the author Thomas Keyes: I have written two books: A SOJOURN IN ASIA (non-fiction) and A TALE OF UNG (fiction), neither published so far.

I have studied languages for years and traveled extensively on five continents.

Email: udikeyes@yahoo.com

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