Eurovision Fest

Fud Leclerc – Messieurs les noyés de la Seine


In 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest marked its inaugural edition, aiming to foster unity through music in Europe, which was still recovering from the ravages of World War II. Among the pioneering artists, who took part in this historic event, was Belgium and one of its representative Ferdinand Urbain Dominic Leclerc (professionally known as Fud Leclerc) with his poignant song “Messieurs les noyés de la Seine” (eng. Gentlemen Drowned in the Seine).

“Messieurs les noyés de la Seine” is a melancholic chanson, a genre characterized by its lyrical storytelling and deep emotional content. The song’s title refers to the unfortunate souls who met their end in the Seine River, a waterway that flows through the heart of Paris. The lyrics, imbued with a sense of sorrow and reflection, tell the tale of these drowned men, capturing the listeners’ imaginations and hearts with its somber narrative.

Fud Leclerc’s delivery of the song was marked by a subdued yet powerful expression, which, combined with the haunting melody, created a lasting impression. The orchestration, typical of the era, featured lush strings and subtle accompaniments that underscored the song’s emotional depth without overwhelming the vocal performance.


Release date Genre Length Language Country
24 May 1956 Chanson Réaliste 3:38 French Belgium
French English
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
Ouvrez-moi les portes de l’eau
Je suis fatigué d’user mes semaines
Sur le pavé noir de Puteaux
The drowned men of the river Seine
Open the water gates for me
I’m tired of spending my weeks
On the black paving of Puteaux
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
Ouvrez-moi les portes de l’eau
J’ai tant voyagé sous son ciel de laine
Que le vent m’a brûlé la peau
The drowned men of the river Seine
Open the water gates for me
I’ve been travelling so long under its woollen sky
So the wind has burnt my skin
Je suis depuis toujours marié à la misère
Je n’ai connu l’amour que sur un lit dе pierre
Le solеil pour les riches, la lune pour les gueux
Pourquoi, si tout le monde triche, jouer encore le jeu?
I’m married to misery forever
I’ve never known better than love on a stone bed
The sun for the rich, the moon for the clochards
Why playing the game, when everyone cheats?
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
Ouvrez-moi les portes de l’eau
Je suis fatigué de n’avoir pour ciel
Que les ponts rouillés de Puteaux
The drowned men of the river Seine
Open the water gates for me
I’m tired of only having for heaven
The rusty bridges of Puteaux
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
J’ai tant regardé les bateaux
Que d’Aubervilliers jusqu’à Bourg-la-Reine
Je porte Paris sur mon dos
The drowned men of the river Seine
I’ve watched the boats so much
That from Aubervilliers to Bourg-la-Reine
I’m carrying Paris on my back
La fille que j’aimais ne m’a jamais aimé
Les copains que j’avais m’ont tous abandonné
Je fais le tour du monde pour trouver le printemps
Mais comme la terre est ronde, ça peut durer longtemps
The girl I loved, never loved me
The friends I had, have all left me
I’m travelling around the world to find springtime
But since the earth is round, it might take a long time
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
Ouvrez-moi les portes de l’eau
Je suis fatigué de voir la dégaine
Des enfants trahis de Puteaux
The drowned men of the river Seine
Open the water gates for me
I’m tired of watching the strange appearance
Of the betrayed children of Puteaux
Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
Paris me doit bien un berceau
Je m’endormirai sans amour ni haine
Entre ses bras de ѕable et d’eаu
The drowned men of the river Seine
Paris owes me a cradle
I’ll fall asleep without love and hate
Between its arms of ѕand and wаter

While the scoring system of the first Eurovision Song Contest remains shrouded in mystery, with a detailed record not publicly disclosed, it was well-known that Switzerland won with Lys Assia’s song “Refrain” back then.

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