This is normally a girls circle game. The girls make two circles, one smaller than the other, then the two circles turn in opposite directions. The smaller circle sings the first verse and then the larger circle answers with the next verse.

Ah ! Mon beau château ! - French Children's Songs - France - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


*Translated for the sound of the words. Literally it means, "My aunt, pull, read, read" but it's really meaningless.

I found this version which makes more sense:

Ah mon beau château !
Ma tatan, vire, vire, vire,
Ah mon beau château !
Ma tatan, vire, vire beau.


Oh my beautiful castle!
My Auntie, turns, turns, turns,
Oh my beautiful castle!
My Auntie, turns, turns beautifully.

Source: "Chansons populaires de l'Ain" by Charles Guillon (1883)


In some versions there are more verses between the 3rd and 4th verse that go:

À coups de canons… (With cannon shots).

Ou à coups de bâtons… (With whacks of a stick).

Nous le referons… (We'll make it again).

Encor' bien plus beau… (Even more beautiful).

Game Instructions

After the smaller circle offers beautiful jewels and they're turned down, they go on offering other things (beautiful shoes, etc…) until the bigger circle answers, "Nous en voulons bien" ("We will accept them"). Then the girl chosen as "this one" leaves the bigger circle to join the smaller one. The game goes on until the circle that started out as the largest one has only two or three girls left, and thus it has become the smaller one and then the game starts again.



Many thanks to Edit' Dupont for contributing and singing this song for Mama Lisa's World.


Many thanks to Monique Palomares for singing this song for us!

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Monique Palomares for the midi tune. Translated by Monique Palomares and Lisa Yannucci. Illustration from "Chansons et rondes enfantines" (1859) by Théophile Marion Dumersan and Gustave Jeane-Julien.

Merci beaucoup!

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