Le P’tit Quinquin, the lullaby of the children of the north

It was my friend Brigitte who first told me about “Le P’tit Quinquin” many years ago.

We were coming back from a walk. After doing a tour of Lille citadel, we passed by Quai du Wault and walked through Foch Dutilleul Square, and at the end of the square, where it joins Nationale Street, there was this marvellous statue of a mother with her baby. That’s when Brigitte told me about this lullaby and the story behind it.

It was an interesting story which – I assure you – I listened to with attention and enthusiasm, but which unfortunately I can’t remember for the life of me. That’s why I now have to cheat and quote Wikipedia:

“P’tit Quinquin” is a song by Alexandre Desrousseaux which was written in the Picard language in 1853. Picard is closely related to French, and is spoken in two regions in the north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia.

This simple lullaby (P’tit quinquin means “little child”) demonstrates the revival of Picard in the area, to the extent that it became the marching song of the northern soldiers leaving for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

Today it could be called the unofficial anthem of the French city of Lille, and more generally of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France…

Here’s how the song begins, in Picard:

Dors, min p’tit quinquin,
Min p’tit pouchin, min gros rojin
Te m’fras du chagrin
Si te n’dors point ch’qu’à d’main…

In French:

Dors, mon petit enfant,
Mon petit poussin, mon gros raisin,
Tu me feras du chagrin
Si tu ne dors pas jusqu’à demain…

And in English (again thanks to Wikipedia):

Sleep, my little child,
My little chick, my plump grape,
You will cause me grief
If you don’t sleep until tomorrow…

And to wrap it up, here is an old rendition by Louis Lynel:

Want to see more? Get a free account here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
8 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments.

Maryse D
Explorer
Learner
6 years ago

I have a dream…… listen to Pejman singing this northern greatest hit !
Maybe tomorrow ?

P H
Reply to  Maryse D
6 years ago

You have very big (and impractical) dreams Maryse… ;-)

Juliette C
Rookie
Learner
2 years ago

It’s an amazing story, I will look for this statue in this park! I have already heard this song in movies. I think I also read something about it at the Museum of the Second World War in the north of France.

Nathalie V
Explorer
Learner
Active Learner
2 years ago

In my family, we don’t speak the Picard (except my son Laurent with his friends) but we liked singing this lullaby with my sisters for fun.
I saw this very beautiful statue many months ago (yes, I didn’t know it…) and I would highly recommend seeing it one day. Perhaps, you’ll enjoy a walk to Lille too, this very interesting city.

Nathalie V
Explorer
Learner
Active Learner
2 years ago

As you know, the P’tit Quinquin is represented in the form of a statue made by Eugène Déplechin, where is the monument to Alexandre Desrousseaux and visible square Foch, a few steps from the Grand’Place.
But, did you know that it was a replica? The original statue was restored by the sculptor Philippe Stopin and was moved away to the city hall of Lille. We can see it in the old hall! 😊

Nathalie V
Reply to  Nathalie V
2 years ago

exposed in the foot of the monument to Alexandre Desrousseaux Square Foch

See the correction:
displayed/exhibited at the foot of… Foch Square

Last edited 2 years ago by P H
Nathalie V
Explorer
Learner
Active Learner
2 years ago

This story makes me want to speak about a French mini-series in four episodes, called “Ptit Quinquin” too.
It’s a burlesque story (reminding us of B. Keaton) directed by Bruno Dumont, a local director, and filmed in Audresselles, a little lovely village next to Boulogne/mer.
Did you know this French mini-series?

Nathalie V
Reply to  Nathalie V
2 years ago

Do you know this French mini-series?

8
0
Would love to hear your thoughts...x
()
x