The song is bilingual, with the main verses in Algerian Darja and the chorus in French. The chorus repeats the phrase (translation in parenthesis and italics). The harmonies of the chorus part are heavily inspired by the single FACE by NU'EST.
On va s'aimer (We shall love each other) On va danser (We shall dance) Oui c'est la vie (Yes, this is life) Lala, lalala..
The song is considered to be a comeback for Khaled in France after a three-year absence in the charts. Released in July 2012, the song entered the official French Singles Chart at number 30 and later peaked at number 4. In addition to its success in France, it became very popular throughout Belgium and Slovakia, where it reached the top 10. In 2013, the single was certified platinum by the Belgian Entertainment Association. The song also charted in the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, and Switzerland and received radio airplay in Canada. "C’est La Vie" sold over one million copies in the European market, 1.8 million copies in the Middle East and North Africa, and over 4 million copies worldwide. The album reached number 5 on SNEP, the official French Albums Chart.
In 2017, Anthony's former wife Jennifer Lopez covered the song in her "Spotify Session" as a tribute to his late mother and her former mother-in-law. As of October 2020, the music video for Anthony's version of the song has received over 943 million views on YouTube.
Israeli singer Gad Elbaz created a new version of the song calling it "Hashem Melech" (in Hebrew ה' מלך) as a sort of contemporary Jewish worship song based on and adapted from "C'est la vie".
The Israeli version released in January 2013 as a duet between Gad Elbaz and his singer father Beni Elbaz contains Hebrew and French lyrics, though the Hebrew lyrics are not related to Khaled's all-French original lyrics and more geared to religious content. The chorus repeats the phrases (translation in parenthesis and italics)
Hashem Melech (The Lord is King) Hashem Malach (The Lord was King) Hashem Yimloch (The Lord will be King) Le'olam Va'ed (Forever and ever)
Elbaz also released an all-Hebrew version of the song. "Hashem Melech" was a minor hit in Israel and in Orthodox Jewish circles worldwide.
The Hebrew lyrics in the refrain are the same as those of a famous song also titled "Hashem Melech" by the well-known Jewish singer Yosef Karduner.
In September 2015, Elbaz released another limited version featuring additional vocals by the young Israeli child singer Yosef Chaim.
In 2016, Elbaz teamed with Hasidic rapper Nissim (full name Nissim Baruch Black, born Damian Jamohl Black and a convert from Islam to Christianity and eventually to Judaism) to create a rap-infused version of the song now titled "Hashem Melech 2.0" to distinguish it from the original Elbaz version. The rap by Nissim is primarily English language, and is said to dominate the song, wrapping around and throughout the elements of the original "1.0" song.
Still a bilingual song, "Hashem Melech" now featured Hebrew and English lyrics instead. Elbaz' original French lyrics were dropped in favor of English in the new version, but his Hebrew lyrics were retained for the new version. Nissim's rap segments were all in English. The popularity of the second version far exceeded that of the first.
Daniel Finkelman created a sophisticated, exuberant, multiracial dance video of the new version, set against the New York City skyline and streetscape. The New-York themed music video features Elbaz and Nissim dancing and delivering their religious message dancing joyously through the New York city streets and on skyscraper rooftops, amidst a changing New York skyline, encouraging listeners to believe in a better tomorrow.
In 2017, the Dutch rapper Ali B released the single "Voy a Bailar", largely an adaptation of the Khaled song but with adaptations from the Latin "Vivir Mi Vida" cover from Marc Anthony. Ali B added rap lyrics in Dutch. The release featured additional vocals by Boef, Rolf Sanchez and RedOne.
The song became popular in Indonesia, a majority-Muslim country. A political campaign there in early 2017 developed a theme song called "Kobarkan Semangat Jakarta". Based on "C'est la vie" and "Hashem Malach", it created controversy as no attribution was given to either work. This sent the Khaled French version and surprisingly the Elbaz Hebrew version "Hashem Melech" to trend on Indonesian Twitter.