Distel, best known for a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, started out in music as a professional jazz guitarist at the age of 16.
He went on to become a household name across the world during a career which peaked with his cover version of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
He died on Thursday in Rayol-Canadel in the region of Var, the AFP news agency reported.
Distel scored his first hit with Scoubidou in 1958 and went on to record more than 200 songs.
He worked alongside some of the music greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones.0