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If learning the French language is on your radar, French podcasts are a wonderful way to supplement your learning. Grammar drills, textbooks and reading can only take you so far.
After 8 years of Canadian education and French classes, I emerged from high school knowing very little French and vowing never to speak another word of the French language again. However, after a trip to Quebec, I grew a genuine adoration for French and began looking for unconventional ways to learn a language.
While textbooks and grammar drills, admittedly, do have their time and place, I was looking for tools that would keep my boredom at bay. I knew I’d come across something special when I discovered a wide range of French podcasts.
Keep scrolling to view 17 of the best French podcasts for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.
Editor’s note: To reach fluency faster, combine these podcasts with other resources, such as apps, books, online courses, movies and YouTube channels. For your convenience, we’ve compiled an epic list of 50+ French learning resources, including FREE ones. Read it, save it, and share it!
Why use podcasts to learn French?
There are a variety of methods and materials available for French learners: French learning apps like Babbel, websites like Italki where you can find French tutors online, and of course, French textbooks and audiobooks.
These options have their merits but French podcasts, in particular, are highly effective in tackling an extremely important aspect of your learning journey: listening comprehension. The last thing you want is to be able to read an entire book in French, yet not be able to understand a native speaker.
French podcasts are a great way to immerse yourself in the sounds, expressions and nuances of the language. With a range of themes and topics, French podcasts are sure to keep you from getting bored of language learning; plus, you can listen to podcasts anytime and anywhere!
Best French podcasts for beginners
Babbel, one of the world’s leading online language learning spaces, came out with a great podcast that starts with the basics of learning French. With time, the podcasts get increasingly difficult as you build your vocabulary and French listening skills. Best part? Now you can stream all of Babbel’s French podcasts on their app so you can keep track of your listening history and get updates with each new podcast.
Designed to be listened to during a short break (a coffee break!), these episodes span a mere 10 to 25 minutes per episode. Although this podcast is here in the beginner section, Coffee Break French has beginner, intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced podcast series; A little something for everyone! They also have a diverse video library to supplement your podcast listening.
A great addition to learning about conversation styles in French, this podcast series has audio lessons that include basic conversations in French. They then break each part of the conversation down for you. This is a great podcast to use if you’re travelling to a French-speaking region and need to touch up your basic conversation skills. Although there aren’t a ton of podcasts on JeFrench, it’s a great beginner’s resource to dabble in the language and see if you want to take it any further.
FrenchPod101 is one of the most popular French podcasts and language learning tools out there. From beginner to advanced French, FrenchPod101 offers podcasts, lessons, resources and tutors for French learners. A free subscription gets you a limited number of lessons on the app and website. Upgrade this subscription to get access to lesson notes, line-by-line audio dialogues and other French learning tools.
With over 4,000 episodes analyzing, discussing and teaching the French language, Daily French Pod is another one of the best podcasts to learn French. This podcast is also one of the only daily French podcasts releasing new content every day. Each podcast ranges between only 4 minutes to up to 30 minutes, so if you’re lacking in the time department you can choose a short podcast and be on your way within minutes!
Best French podcasts for intermediate learners
This is one of my favorite podcasts for listening to French. If you’d like to listen to daily world news while learning French, this is the podcast for you. Covering topics that span the globe, News in Slow French slows down the language for intermediate learners without omitting the complexities of the language. For this podcast, you’re best off knowing some basic vocabulary and both present and past tense in French before you begin.
French Blabla is an amazing French podcast that emphasizes how to “speak like a native.” Including slang, common phrases, and not-so-grammatically-correct ways of speaking French, you’re sure to find something that helps you with your conversational French. This is a good podcast for those who have a solid foundation in basic French. It’s also a very beneficial podcast to listen to if you’re going to travel to a French-speaking region and want to have genuine conversations with the locals.
Learn French with Alexa is an amazing podcast for French learners. Alexa is a wonderful and engaging language teacher whose podcasts, learning materials, courses and YouTube videos are très populaire in the French language learning community. To receive access to her podcasts you need to subscribe to one of her online course options. If you aren’t sure whether she’s a good fit as your language teacher, check out her YouTube videos to sample her teaching style.
Less of a language podcast, per say, and more of an immersion into French culture, this podcast series examines French culture, language, food, music, theatre, and much more. It’s a wonderful way to connect culture and language which, in the end, helps you along your language-learning journey. In the study of language, culture plays a big role in the ways we speak and the phrases and parables we use within our daily conversations. Studying the culture(s) of the language you’re learning can really aide in language-acquisition and keep things interesting; it’s not all about grammar and perfect spelling.
One Thing a Day in French is exactly what it sounds like… One thing in French a day! These short tidbits examine French culture, news, food, and much more. For those of you who don’t have a lot of time on your hands (and for those of you who want to supplement your other podcasts with shorter podcasts), this is a great choice.
Duolingo is a leading resource in language learning. Amongst their library of in-app games and stories lies a series of podcasts, great for beginner, intermediate and advanced speakers. Duolingo’s podcasts offer riveting and inspirational stories, sure to keep your attention for the entire span of each episode. They are available on Spotify, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts. The Duolingo app also has a story feature where they offer both audio and text versions of short stories so that you can combine your listening and reading skills at the same time. These stories are super fun for any age!
Best French podcasts for advanced learners
12. Kiffe Ta Race
For advanced learners and speakers, this is a great podcast with analysis and commentary on race relations around the world. Twice a month, podcast creators Rokhaya Diallo and Grace Ly explore racial experiences through conversation with various guests. They provide in-depth podcasts for both advanced French learners and native speakers alike.
Calling all true-crime lovers! This advanced French podcast breaks down current and relevant true-crime, conspiracy theories and strange stories. Distorsion is a great podcast to listen to if you feel comfortable with your French listening skills and have a wide range of advanced vocabulary. Beware: this is not a podcast for the faint of heart! Covering topics that range from ex-cult members to murder mysteries, there’s surely something here you can cozy up to on a dark and rainy evening.
14. Sur La Route
Based in France, this French podcast serves as a commentary on relevant news, French culture and includes news stories focused throughout the world. This is a great place for advanced French learners to improve their listening skills while brushing up on world news. This podcast is meant for native French speakers as well, so it’s a great resource to test out how well your listening skills really are!
15. Villes Mondes
Villes Mondes, or in English, World Cities, is a French podcast that takes you all around the world exploring cities and their cultures. This is a podcast that serves as both a language learning experience and a virtual tour around the world with commentary and ideas from a French perspective.
GÉOPOLITIQUE is another French news podcast focused on geopolitical news around the world. Pierre Haski is a popular French editor and journalist who specializes in geopolitical relations and travel journalism. This is a wonderful advanced French podcast if you’re interested in world relations, or if you are learning French specifically for business reasons. These podcasts have a lot of advanced political jargon which may interest those going into International Relations or various fields of Business Relations.
17. French Spin
A French podcast geared towards French speakers and not language learners, French Spin focuses on relevant news and tech with a comical spin. I think it’s really important as language learners to not only consume content for language learners, but for native speakers as well. Typically, content aimed at native speakers has a more conversational tone and is spoken in a way that native speakers actually speak. While you might not understand the jokes at first, French Spin is sure to help you understand French humor and amp up your language learning to native speaker levels.
Tips for learning with French podcasts
Take notes. Keep a notebook while you listen and jot down any words you don’t understand. Often times during a podcast, you’ll find the same words popping up again and again since the podcasts are usually themed. You can use Google Translate or a dictionary to help you find the meanings and then you can listen to the podcast again.
Slow down the audio. Often times there will be an audio settings feature where you can slow down the audio to where you feel comfortable. Definitely use this! Just because something feels too fast doesn’t mean you have to give up. Slow down the audio and, in time, you will eventually need to speed it back up.
Use the transcripts. If there is a transcription of the podcast, use it! Reading along while listening helps immensely: it teaches us the flow and pronunciation of the words. Often times you’ll understand more of the podcast if you have the words in front of you to read. French is a language full of silent letters, so reading the words while listening to the language will help you with both your reading and listening comprehension.
It is my hope that you find a podcast here that you can connect with. Learning French is a fun, challenging and rewarding experience. The journey to fluency doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. Connect with others learning the same language and find a podcast you both enjoy; this way you can talk with someone about what you’re listening to and share your language learning experiences with each other.