19 Top Sites to Find Authentic Resources for Your French Class
Do your students know what authentic Francophone culture looks like?
The truth is, teaching with authentic materials is the way to go. It works like a charm, engages your students and greatly enhances whatever material you’re already teaching.
We’re going to share with you some superb places online from which you can draw fresh, diverse authentic French material over and over again.
So read up and discover how to find and use high-quality authentic materials for French class!
- TV and Videos
- Podcasts and Radio
- Magazines and Newspapers
- Why Use Authentic French Resources in Class?
- How to Introduce Your Class to Authentic French Resources
Mama Lisa’s World: International Music & Culture
This site features songs, rhymes, lullabies and other authentic materials from around the world. Perfectly suitable for children or beginner French students, this is a place to discover uplifting and simple yet highly cultural musical content.
We particularly recommend their selection of children’s songs from France, which includes favorites such as “Alouette, gentille alouette” (Lark, kind lark) or “Am stram gram” (see some background here).
You also don’t want to miss out on the beautiful collections of songs from French regions such as Alsace or from French-speaking countries like Belgium or Gabon.
This section of the TV5MONDE site features a collection of lyrics from popular songs in French along with top-quality teaching materials and worksheets to use in your French classroom.
Not all songs include worksheets, but you can find lots by heading over to the “Paroles de clips” section. These worksheets and videos will keep your students busy for some time. You can browse songs by difficulty level and theme.
This site is a great place to discover emerging artists from Africa, Canada and European French-speaking countries through the extensive lyrics library. There are over a thousand sets of lyrics from well-known songs to discover and read, but our ultimate favorites remain “Premier Gaou,” (First Fool) an Ivorian song by the popular band Magic System and “Encore un soir” (Another Night) by Quebec superstar Céline Dion.
Universal Music France
Just like its U.S. counterpart, Universal Music France hosts some of the biggest names in French music. They have a YouTube channel your students to subscribe to if they want to stay updated on the newest music worth discovering.
Some of the names they might want to look out for include the Lady Gaga-esque Yelle and pop sensation Jenifer. Since it’s mainly a music channel, though, it doesn’t have supplementary materials like quizzes and worksheets.
Still, it’s a great way to get your students immersed in authentic French material—all while discovering new musical artists to love!
TV and Videos
Are you looking for Belgium’s most popular and trusted TV shows and videos? Then you should head over to RTBF.
A good way to introduce this channel to your students is to discuss its name: RTBF stands for “Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française,” which means “Belgium radio and TV station for (Belgium’s) French-speaking community.” If you’re teaching the Belgian variant of French, this is a good resource to start with.
The site features neat content, but we particularly recommend checking out the “Auvio” section and focusing on general shows such as “On n’est pas des pigeons!” (We are not pigeons!) or language shows like “À portée de mots” (Within word range).
Who doesn’t love la télévision québécoise (Quebec TV)? Télé-Québec is an informative and educational public TV channel that features content from popular French-Canadian TV shows, children’s programs and documentaries available for streaming. No matter the level of your students, they’re bound to find something good here if they want to familiarize themselves with Quebec French.
We particularly love the very adorable show “100% Animal,” a kid and family-friendly show filled with tips and stories about our favorite four-legged furry friends.
Radio Télévision Suisse
Attracted to the serenity of the green Swiss mountains? What better way to transport your students to the Suisse (Swiss) countryside than immerse them in a real Swiss environment?
Radio Télévision Suisse (Swiss Radio-Television) is the leading TV network for Switzerland’s French-speaking community. Incredibly informative, Radio Télévision Suisse gives you access to a wealth of multimedia content and premium TV shows.
Without a doubt, our favorites are:
- “Couleurs locales” (Local flavor), an approachable program focused on local French-Swiss news, cultures and trends
- “À bon entendeur” (You’ve been warned), a trusted consumer show featuring reviews, tests and buying tips, perfect for learning the vocabulary of argumentation and retail products
France 3 Régions
Ever wished there was a way to familiarize your students with the diversity of accents in metropolitan France? France 3 Régions is a popular watch in the Hexagon that features regional TV programs.
Programs alternate French speakers with regional accents and interviews featuring real people who speak the particular dialect of the region with French subtitles.
We particularly recommend focusing on accents from Alsace, Provence and Aquitaine, since they’re common but also difficult.
FluentU is a language learning program that offers a wide variety of authentic French video material through its website or app. The great thing about these videos is that they contain interactive subtitles your students can use to look up definitions, pronunciations, example sentences, and tips on how they’re used.
Plus, FluentU saves you time drafting quizzes from scratch, as their material comes with quizzes to check your students’ comprehension of the content. Because the videos feel like something a native speaker would watch, they can help your students feel immersed in authentic material and further cement what they’ve already learned in class.
Podcasts and Radio
Rire et Chansons
Because comedy is always welcome, your students will absolutely enjoy this popular radio station and their collection of podcasts. You’ll also find jokes, videos and detailed bios of your favorite French-speaking comedy artists, perfect for framing a lesson and filling it with information. Don’t forget to remind your students to pay attention even when they’re in between laughing fits!
The station features iconic and new one-man-shows along with legendary comedy artists and emerging talents, such as Gad Elmaleh and Coluche (both of whom have a typical Parisian accent) and Jamel Debbouze (known for his heavy Moroccan accent).
Looking for something melodious? Let your students be captivated by the singing accents from Marseille and the Provence region by tuning in to Mistral FM.
This local radio station features a wealth of programs and podcasts, including the upbeat “Les Blagounettes de Jicé,” (JC’s jokes of the day), a bite-sized dynamic comedy show featuring well-delivered jokes and lots of colorful French idioms and expressions.
Mistral FM isn’t all about music, though. Students can also tap “L’Actu” (The News) and choose any section that’s to their liking, whether it’s current events or traffic (which can be useful if they’re traveling to a specific area)
Bring your students closer to the French-Canadian culture and expose them to authentic Quebec radio by streaming ICI Radio-Canada’s incredible selection of news and high-quality shows.
Very diverse, this well-respected local radio station gathers together political, societal, cultural and lifestyle topics from all over Quebec. No matter what you want to discuss in class, you’re bound to find something here.
You’ll particularly want to check out:
- “Aujourd’hui l’histoire,” (Today in History), an investigative, highly-captivating history program filled with anecdotes and stories
- “La Nature selon Boucar,” (Nature According to Boucar), a fascinating science and biology show for educating your students about the planet and life.
Magazines and Newspapers
If you’re looking for a website specifically targeted towards French-speaking youth, 1jour1actu is a good place to start. This website is packed with tons of news articles, videos and podcasts, so your students will have fun and be challenged while they’re learning.
As a teacher, you can create an account with them, which allows you to download posters, videos and quizzes. You can dive into content on subjects ranging from outer space, sports and even Harry Potter!
Mon Quotidien (My Daily Newspaper)
This kid and teen-friendly French daily newspaper is the perfect resource for quality, accessible French and world news on subjects including politics, the economy, science and society. You’ll need to subscribe for a membership, but you’ll be happy you did.
Members can access fresh articles with highlighted keywords along with explanations, images and activity ideas, as well as comprehensive research on newsworthy topics, infographics and more. You’ll find it all by clicking on the “Dossiers thématiques” (Thematic files) category.
Alternatively, sign up for a free account and read one article of your choice every week. You can also access videos and contests for free and without registration.
L’Actu (The News)
More advanced than Mon Quotidien, this daily newspaper is specifically targeted at French high school students looking for a more comprehensive yet insightful look at French and international news. Also membership-based, you’ll get access to in-depth, annotated articles and theme documents to guide your students during their reading.
Students can also register for free, read one article per week and access the study flashcards and infographics used by French teenagers to prepare for the French baccalaureat exam.
Together, these are fantastic materials to deepen their cross-cultural knowledge of French subjects and acquire proper terminology on concepts taught in a French high school syllabus.
All You Can Read
This news aggregator gathers all the leading French-speaking online news sites in one place so you can conveniently find, browse and read news from any French-speaking country for free. You can browse content by country or territory, including France, Algeria, Mayotte or even Reunion.
Be sure to bookmark your favorite outlets found throughout this site, as you’ll notice that staying on top of so much content can easily become overwhelming.
Since there are so many choices, I recommend starting with the likes of Courrier International (a fairly manageable read for intermediate readers), Le Monde and RFI.
Le Quotidien (The Daily)
This trusted Senegalese newspaper will become your resource of choice for in-depth information and reporting from and about Africa. Completely independent, it’s been publishing a glossy weekly newspaper since 2003 and now continues the good work online.
This is a great place to expose your students to African politics, economy and society in French using content that Senegalese locals read and value. You’ll also find superb investigative articles, opinion pieces and debates, articles about Africa’s rising and famous artists and politicians as well as breaking news content.
Alliance Française is an organization that aims to promote everything French all over the world through various media including movies. They usually hold film screenings that you can ask your students to attend if they want to take their language learning to the theater. They have a vast collection of movies ranging from the classics to the contemporary.
But you don’t have to wait for their film festivals to roll around. You can also contact them and ask if they’d be willing to partner with your school for special screenings. Chances are, they have a local chapter near you!
The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection has a tremendous number of Francophone films, and many of these are considered exemplary pieces of art. They used to have a partnership with Hulu, but they’ve since stood on their own as a website where you can find a vast collection of movies. For your students, you can browse their collection of beginner-friendly films.
In particular, I recommend “Les quatre cents coups” (The 400 Blows), by François Truffaut, “Au revoir, les enfants” (Goodbye, Children) by Louis Malle, “Les heures d’été” (Summer Hours) by Olivier Assayas and “Panique au Village” (A Town Called Panic) by Stéphane Aubier.
You don’t have to spend a pretty penny to introduce your students to the wonders of classic French literature—and neither do your students! Project Gutenberg hosts free ebook versions of the greats, such as the works of Voltaire and Hugo.
If your students are more theatrically inclined, they can also go for anything by Molière, Corneille and Racine. Looking for specific works rather than authors? Get started with a few easy-read French books, including the fairy tales by Jean de La Fontaine.
If you’ve got a couple of intermediate to advanced readers on your hands, no worries—there’s plenty out there for them as well. Watch with amazement as verb tenses start to click in learners’ brains!
Why Use Authentic French Resources in Class?
Let’s face it. Authentic materials are more likely to get your students’ attention than artificial, learner-focused content.
That’s because real native documents have the credibility of being genuinely “French”—that is, used and loved by people immersed in a French-speaking culture and country. As a result, they’re jam-packed with information and elements that will heighten your students’ curiosity and eagerness to learn.
It exposes your class to French-language culture.
Using a diversity of authentic French resources opens your students’ horizons to new possibilities and reinforces their exposure to the French-speaking world.
Rather than restrict yourself to Metropolitan French resources, authentic resources from countries across the Francophonie is a sure way to enrich your students with real-world knowledge about some of the most vibrant, fastest-growing communities.
It puts quality content to good use.
Authentic resources showcase proper usage of the French language, including traditional and new words as they’re introduced along with proper spelling, colorful expressions and unique idioms used by the native French speakers of a given zone or region. This helps to create an authentic learning experience.
How to Introduce Your Class to Authentic French Resources
Put the resource in context, but keep it brief.
Depending on your students’ level, include additional text, images or video clips related to the topic in question, or even a more detailed introduction about the resources they’ll be discovering. Pre-teach any keyword or expression that will help support their understanding.
Teach your students the differences between accents.
When using resources with audio, always make it a point to start by asking your students to identify which part of the Francophonie the content comes from. Ask them to give you specific elements to back their stance, including the intonation, melody, rhythm, words and idiomatic expressions used.
Aside from helping them recognize and understand a variety of authentic French accents, this is a fun way to introduce what the Francophonie is all about to your students and help them realize the full importance of learning French.
Encourage your students to research and investigate.
Ask students to use all the tools available to them to make sense of what’s being discussed in/by the resource on their own—or, better yet, with a small team of fellow students. In this case, tools can include print and online dictionaries, thesauri and, of course, the team’s own knowledge and brainstorming power.
Ask them to come up with a brief report answering essential questions regarding the resource: What’s it about? What’s happening and how? Who are the main players (e.g., people who contribute to a project, people who oppose it)? Why are they doing what they’re doing? What are your team’s opinions about whatever issues have been raised?
Have them report their findings.
Then, the teams should concoct a lively five-minute TV-style presentation to discuss the issues raised in the resource. Ask them to take an objective, journalistic approach to the matter—that is, focus on facts rather than opinions, and use proper speech level and terminology.
Give them the option to split the team into script writers and presenters (up to two presenters for this option). Allow everyone to contribute as a presenter by splitting speaking time into one-to-two-minute segments between team members.
This exercise can also include the presentation of the issue and a brief field documentary with a “journalist” interviewing people appearing in the video or audio clip, for example. (These might be members of government or society who have an interest in a project or cause mentioned, whether they support or oppose it.)
Optional: Have them pitch their material.
As an alternative or complement to the Reporter Game, ask teams to now pitch the content or program as if it were a TV or radio ad. The goal is to make it fun and catchy!
Ask them to focus on the most interesting elements to a mainstream audience, such as what they’ll learn, why it’s worth watching or what they’ll particularly enjoy. This is a fun activity that will also help students build their argumentative and persuasive skills.
Now that you know where to find authentic French resources from all over the Francophonie, we have no doubt that your students will come to fully understand the beauty and diversity of the French language and the cultures that speak it.