“The Poor People of Paris” is the English name of a popular song from France.
The original French language song was “La goualante du pauvre Jean” (“The Ballad of Poor John”), with music by Marguerite Monnot and words by René Rouzaud. Edith Piaf had one of her biggest hits with the original French version.
The song was adapted by American songwriter Jack Lawrence in 1954, and he wrote English lyrics, which are considerably different from the French. The English-language title arises in part from a misinterpretation of the French title, as “pauvre Jean” was taken for the same-sounding “pauvres gens,” which translates as “poor people.”
Lawrence’s lyrics, which pronounce Paris in the French style, as “PaREE,” are seldom heard. Most of the popular recordings of the song in the English-speaking world have been instrumentals.