Pierre Perret’s French anthem takes a sarcastic look at a terrible summer camp

“Les Jolies Colonies de Vacances” (Pretty Summer Camps) is kind of like the French equivalent of Allan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,” in that it’s a popular anthem referencing a summer camp that is anything but ideal.

Like Sherman’s popular tune from three year’s earlier, Pierre Perret’s 1966 song is about a child who writes home about how “wonderful” camp is – the food is terrible, the counselors are drunks and they are forced to swim in a polluted river.

Roughly translated into English, the chorus of “Ah les jolies colonies de vacances / Merci papa, merci maman / Tous les ans je voudrais qu’ça r’commence” is “Ah the lovely summer camps / Thank you Dad, thank you Mom / Every year I would like to come back.”

The song was Perret’s first big hit and for some reason was initially censored on French television.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.