The song that probably everyone in the world knows.
By singing I Did It My Way Frank Sinatra established one of the most popular songs ever.
But do you know the origin of this song?
It is a French song called “Comme d’habitude“.
Yes, it was composed in 1967 by Jacques Revaux with music by Claude François and Gilles Thibaut.
Allegedly the song was created while the 3 of them were sitting at the swimming pool of Claude François’ Dannemois Mill home.
Let’s visit the place and take a look where exactly this hit song My Way Frank Sinatra sung was originally born!
My Way Frank Sinatra
The song was a huge hit in France.
It was translated in English by Paul Anka in 1969 to My Way Frank Sinatra’s monster hit.
Even Elvis Presley covered the song. But also Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Robbie Williams, to name only a few.
Not surprisingly the My Way Frank Sinatra sung is the most popular version, except in France of course.
Despite the successful hit My Way Frank Sinatra landed, the 2 never met.
The reason for Claude François’ popularity was the wave of new sounds, music and shows he created – no one had ever seen or heard something like that before in France.
That, and his sudden death at the age of 39.
He electrocuted himself when he tried to adjust a light fixture while having a bath at his Paris apartment.
Le Moulin de Dannemois
Dannemois is a small sleepy village near Paris, about a 70 minute drive away.
Claude is buried at the small Dannemois cemetery, alongside his mother and father.
You can visit the François family tomb, it is a 5 minute walk from his old home.
It is 1964.
Claude François is looking for a peaceful place to escape the spotlights, pressure of his popularity and streams of admirers, but also a place to start a family.
He loved this area because he came here often to visit his friend Brigitte Bardot who lived nearby.
He turns the old mill into a family home, a place to receive friends and throw parties. Claude François lived in le Moulin until his death in 1978.
The place went downhill until 1998 when the present owners bought and renovated it.
We booked tickets online for a (French only) guided tour, 15 euros per person.
Our tour guide is clearly a passionate Claude François fan.
We visit the barn that was transformed in a tastefully decorated living room and music room by himself.
And it looks amazing.
The property was abandoned and neglected for a long time. This space was even a restaurant at one point and a slab of concrete covered the original floor. Thankfully it was renovated and put back in its original shape.
Next door is the famous swimming pool where My Way Frank Sinatra’s hit was allegedly composed, Comme d’habitude in French.
This is the place right here!
Back in 1964 this was the largest private swimming pool in Europe.
Can you believe that!
So now you know the origin of the monster hit My Way Frank Sinatra sung: it was written at Dannemois Mill’s swimming pool by Claude François and friends!
Where the sauna area used to be is now a small museum where Claude François’ original costumes and personal items are displayed.
We walk further down to the tennis court and the beautiful gardens with plenty of trees and the little l’Ecole river that flows peacefully by.
We end our visit in the little gift shop, where the current owner Marie-Claude Lescure stops by to thank everyone for their visit and to tell us how important Claude’s legacy is to her.
The guided visit is a must, our guide was very talkative and had plenty of extra information to share. She would answer all of our questions.
The tour lasted almost 90 minutes, and we were very pleased with it.
Restaurant Les Disques d’Or
The restaurant at le Moulin de Dannemois is called Les Disques d’Or, French for The Golden Discs.
It is open every day. However on Tuesdays and Wednesdays it is reserved for large groups.
The website says exclusively by reservation, however we walked in without reservation and staff happily showed us to a free table.
You can sit outside or inside.
We loved our table in the shade overlooking the garden and river.
If you sit inside a giant screen broadcasts Claude François’ best concerts and rare and mostly unpublished images.
There is a menu offer: starter, main and dessert for 49 euros.
Or choose à la carte.
We decide to just have one main course to keep it light for lunch, which is absolutely no problem.
The waiter brings a small appetizer: refreshing watermelon gazpacho with mint, yum!
Our plates are absolutely delicious and copious: rack of lamb in herb crust with darphin potatoes (24 euros), and slow roasted suckling pig with grenaille potatoes (24 euros).
No dessert for us, just coffee accompanied by a small pistachio cake.
Do we recommend Le Moulin de Dannemois?
If you are a Claude François fan, absolutely!
And even if you are not, it is still a memorable visit to do in a beautiful, pristine and unknown part of France.
A car is absolutely a must.
What a mythical place this is, visiting the very spot where the song My Way Frank Sinatra sings was written.
The tour is captivating and very informative.
We highly recommend the restaurant as well!
Le Moulin De Dannemois
32 Rue Du Moulin