14 Awesome French Podcasts for French Learners at Every Level
French podcasts are a great way to improve your listening skills, but you might quickly feel overwhelmed after trying to navigate the numerous ones on the internet.
To save you the hassle of spending hours interrogating search engines, I’ve put together a review of the best ones for beginner or advanced level learners.
Here are 14 truly awesome French language podcasts for you to improve your French through listening!
- Beginner Level
- Intermediate Level
- Advanced Level
- All Levels
- Why Listen to French Podcasts?
- How to Actively Listen to French Podcasts
- And one more thing...
1. Coffee Break French
Cost: Free, premium content available
Summary: Practical lessons by French language teacher Mark as he coaches his student, Ana.
Why not listen in as someone else learns French? Learning at the same time as somebody else is a fantastic way to make the words, grammar and phrases stick in the mind.
What’s more, it’s not as intense or as boring as being in the classroom yourself. The lessons are easy to follow, last for about 10-15 minutes and are aimed at the beginner.
2. One Minute French
Cost: 10 episodes for $12, course booklet included
Summary: French language basics to help you converse during a vacation or business trip.
These short, sharp lessons pack in quite a bit of good information for the French language beginner. They cover the absolute basics for you to survive in a French environment.
Yes, it is possible to learn so much with so little material. They may be called One Minute French, but each French-language podcast lasts for two to four minutes.
3. One Thing in a French Day
Cost: Free, ebooks available to purchase, transcripts available through newsletter
Summary: Follow a Frenchwoman through the events of her daily life
Each short podcast concentrates on a different daily event, such as having a croissant after a visit to the hairdressers, going for a nighttime walk and shopping in an organic store.
They are presented by native speaker Laetitia who discusses each day’s event in normal speed French. Her diction is crisp and clear, and the words are easy to make out.
4. Cultivate Your French
Cost: Free, transcripts available through newsletter
Summary: Practice listening to slow French in bite-sized episodes
Made by the same creator, each audio track is based on the episode of One Thing in a French Day that is released on the same day. While the other podcast comes out three times a week, this one comes out once a week.
Here Laetitia introduces the topic in English first and then switches to French, giving you the chance to settle into the episode.
5. Daily French Pod
Summary: Listen to short news stories in under five minutes
This podcast centers on a short news story presented by the host, Louis. He covers a variety of topics such as current events, science news and an occasional dialogue.
The pace of spoken French is normal speed and each episode is about three minutes long. Although Louis enunciates as he speaks, these French podcasts are not suitable for the absolute beginner.
6. LanguaTalk Slow French
Summary: Learn about France and French culture through clearly spoken French
These episodes may not be as slow as the title suggests, but the host, Gaëlle, enunciates and speaks clearly for intermediate listeners and above.
Gaëlle explains expressions and vocabulary in English and sometimes does interviews that are entirely in French. The topics cover French culture and topics related to French language learning.
The best part is that a transcript, vocabulary list and learning tips are provided with every episode.
7. Inner French
Cost: Free, transcripts available upon signing up
Summary: Social issues, politics, history and language topics tailored for French learners
This one is best for confident intermediate learners and above, as it’s entirely in French and the episodes are a bit longer.
The topics covered are a bit more challenging, but Hugo, the host, speaks clearly and not too fast so that you can keep up.
You’ll have to sign up for a free account to get access to the transcripts. If you’re inspired to learn even more, Inner French also has a YouTube channel and full French courses available for enrollment.
8. French Voices
Cost: Free, transcripts available to purchase
Summary: Interviews about people’s jobs in naturally spoken French conversation
To bridge the gap between upper-intermediate and advanced, French Voices is a good one to practice listening to French conversation.
Jessica, the host, interviews French people from all walks of life about their livelihoods. She speaks with a diplomat, a stay-at-home mom, musicians, artists and even a spiritual medium.
The audio is entirely in French, but there’s a summary and vocabulary list in English provided for every episode.
Summary: Short episodes on international relations and political news
Géopolitique (Geopolitics), by France Inter, a part of the Radio France network, is a short and snappy podcast on international news with each episode clocking in at a maximum of four minutes.
Each episode has a short summary on the website, along with additional resources, like maps and references. The best part is that there is a transcript of the episode which will allow you to follow along.
10. Grand reportage
Summary: In-depth, sensitive, on-the-ground audio documentaries
During the week, Grand Reportage (Great Report), by Radio France International, draws attention to the diversity of lived experiences in the face of political conflict and environmental issues.
Episodes are uploaded daily and are accompanied by a written article. That way you can get the best of both worlds by reading and listening to the story content.
11. Sur les épaules de Darwin
Summary: Beautiful and eclectic soundscapes with readings of texts by scientists and poets alike.
Sur les épaules de Darwin (On Darwin’s Shoulders) is hosted by Jean-Claude Amelson and each episode is centered around the marvels of the natural and human world.
It’s an intersection of science and art, and Amelson’s narration is poetic and full of depth. The website provides a summary and a list of sources which you can explore further if you want to dive more into the topic.
12. News in Slow French
Cost: Free trial with subscription
Summary: News stories read out in slow French
News in Slow French is a podcast series where news stories are read out in French at a much slower speed than you would hear on the television or radio.
The enunciation is perfect, allowing the listener to hear every word distinctly. It’s slow French that will help you learn quickly.
Each podcast is broken down into a number of sections, and features different stories, conversation between the hosts, a few points of grammar and some common idiomatic expressions.
13. Learn French by Podcast
Cost: Free, full transcript and exercises available to purchase
Summary: Natural-sounding conversations about everyday matters
Learn French by Podcast is a comprehensive series of audio lessons for beginners all the way through to advanced language learners.
The episodes discuss everyday situations such as discussing a football match, introducing yourself and buying travel tickets. Each podcast is divided into different sections, so that the listener gets the most out of every episode.
14. French Pod 101
Cost: Free, subscription version available
Summary: Comprehensive French language learning through audio format
French Pod 101 has a deep pool of French language podcasts for all levels, from the absolute beginner to the advanced French language speaker.
Each lesson offers a mixed bag of language learning goodies including dialogues, cultural insights and plenty of information about traveling through and living in the country.
The podcasts are hosted by a native French teacher and a native English speaker who’s also fluent in French. If you’d like to know about French Pod 101, check out our full review here.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Why Listen to French Podcasts?
In case you didn’t get the memo, learning French through podcasts is extremely effective. So why should you listen to French podcasts?
- There are podcasts for all levels of French learners.
- Podcasts are delivered in an easy-to-use portable format that allows you to learn when you want and at your own pace.
- You control the flow of information delivered to you.
- They let you get a sense of French culture, and all you have to do is put on a set of headphones.
- The best podcasts are produced very professionally, and they’re often free and come with transcripts.
In other words, it’s an immersive way to learn and entertaining, too. As this video suggests, there are a huge range of podcasts depending on your French level and interests.
If you love listening but would like to add a visual component as well, you can use videos to your advantage.
Try watching French videos on YouTube to practice everything you learn from your French podcasts or access more structured learning through a specialized language learning program.
How to Actively Listen to French Podcasts
- Translate. Start off with an oral translation (French to English) to get yourself warmed up, and then move on to a written translation, working as literally as possible. I recommend working with a 30-second clip.
- Transcribe. Next, write down exactly what you hear, as you hear it. This exercise also works best with 30-second clips. After you have completed a written transcription, read it aloud. This is a great way to practice speaking clearly, quickly and precisely, essential for oral fluency.
- Outline. After listening to an episode, make a summary. Try to condense your outline into a single paragraph, paying close attention to transitions. This is for checking your understanding and practicing your French comprehension.
- Reformulate. At the end of each podcast, try to reconstruct the episode orally, as if you were explaining the podcast’s content to a friend. Make an audio recording and play it back to yourself. How can you improve your intonation and pronunciation?
- Express yourself. Once you have done all of the above, insert yourself into the episode, as if you were there yourself with the host. What would you say? How would you respond?
Podcasts are a great way to practice your French listening comprehension, hear the natural flow of the language and even throw in some reading practice with transcripts.
So what are you waiting for? Get listening to some French to get closer to fluency today!
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)