So many French podcasts, so little time!
Which ones are worth listening to?
With so many French podcasts, it can be a challenge to find ones that match what you’re looking for.
The internet is filled with thousands of language learning podcasts of varying degrees of quality. Some are entirely free while others offer a few complimentary lessons before introducing paid options. Many have transcripts which accompany the podcast.
To save you the hassle of spending hours interrogating search engines, we’ve put together a review of 10 truly awesome French language podcasts.
Wait a Sec – Why Listen to French Podcasts?
In case you didn’t get the memo, learning French through podcasts is extremely effective.
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.
10 Great French Podcasts for Learning French
Without further ado, here are our 10 picks.
Daily French Pod (website)
Give your French language learning an Eiffel Tower-sized lift with Daily French Pod. With a series of well-planned and succinct lessons these podcasts are a superb introduction to the language. They are based on everyday situations that may be encountered in France. The lessons are conducted entirely in French and alternate between narration by Louis and his conversations with other speakers. The pace of spoken French is normal speed, although it slows down when Louis is speaking directly at the listener. Some prior knowledge of French is useful, so these French podcasts are not suitable for the absolute beginner. PDF supporting materials including transcripts are available for download.
Coffee Break French gives the listener a front row seat to a series of highly practical lessons by French language teacher Mark as he coaches his student Ana. 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. One of the most likeable aspects of this podcast series is Mark’s engaging personality that draws in the listener. To help students get the most out of each podcast there are accompanying notes. The podcast series is produced by the Radio Lingua Network, one of the most experienced providers of language courses on the web.
French Podcasts.com (website)
There is a wonderful concept behind French Podcasts.com and that’s to present the French language student with a series of real-life topics. In some podcasts this includes audio recordings of actual events such as a civil wedding ceremony. Most of the time the audio of these events is of good quality, but occasionally it can be difficult to make out every world clearly. However, that’s not a big problem as there are accompanying transcripts to fill any gaps. The podcasts are conducted in normal speed French and are suitable for beginners and intermediates. However, if you have no previous knowledge of the language you may find them a little hard going at first.
Above all, spending a few minutes each day hearing native speakers converse is an excellent way to become accustomed to the language’s speed, the way sentences are constructed and the intonation of words.
One Thing in a French Day (website)
This is a really great premise for a podcast series. One thing in a French Day presents a “small slice of a Frenchwoman’s day”. 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. New podcasts are published on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Learn French by Podcast is a comprehensive series of audio lessons for beginners all the way through to advanced language learners. They feature natural-sounding conversations about everyday matters such as discussing a football match, introducing yourself and buying travel tickets. It’s almost like you’re in a Parisian café eavesdropping on the table next to you.
Each podcast is divided into different sections. First, the listener hears the French conversation, parts of which are then repeated once or twice. This is followed by an analysis of the grammar and some of the phrases. During this part of the programme some sentences are repeated several times with good-sized pauses between them to allow the listener to make their own attempts. The analyses are thorough and detailed.
One of the contributors is a native of Ireland, and though his French pronunciation is excellent you can detect he’s not a native speaker. Every lesson is accompanied by supportive material that includes a full transcript and exercises.
Je French.com (website)
Je French offers the beginner a superb grounding in basic vocabulary, common expressions, verbs, nouns and the way the language sounds. No need to get lost in France with the language anymore. All the lessons are spoken by native French speakers and follow a simple format. Each one starts with a short dialogue composed of a small handful of sentences. These are repeated twice to help familiarize the listener with what is being said. Then comes a line by line translation from the French into English. This is followed by an English conversation between the presenters. Here they discuss how some of the expressions you have just heard are used.
There is also a very valuable focus here on pronunciation. The conversational aspect to each podcast is a good learning tool. Rather than being taught at, the listener can glean just as much by ‘eavesdropping’ on what the presenters are saying to each other.
Yes it is possible to learn so much with so little material. These short, sharp lessons pack in quite a bit of good information for the French language beginner. Teacher Pierre-Benoit takes the listener through enough French language basics to help them converse during a vacation or business trip. They may be called ‘One Minute French’ but each French language podcast lasts for two to four minutes.
Learn Out Loud: Survival Phrases (website)
You’re time pressed and need to learn some French quick, but don’t want to wade through books or hours’ worth of lessons – what can you do? Survival Phrases is your French language learning SOS, a podcast series for the beginner. The audio lessons are designed to get the listener speaking the basics with the correct pronunciation in no time at all. Each lesson focuses on just one phrase such as the French for “Your welcome” and how to say “Thank You”. During the podcast the teacher repeats the phrase a number of times and then breaks it down into component syllables to help you pronounce it like a French-speaking native.
The title says it all really. News in Slow French is a wonderful 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. News in Slow French is suitable for the beginner and intermediate, and to aid learning, a transcript of each lesson is also available. The absolute beginner may struggle at first, but the pace of the spoken French is slow enough not to frighten anyone away. And it doesn’t take too long for the listener to accumulate a lot of new vocabulary.
French Pod 101 (website)
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 travelling 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. There are also lots of scenes of everyday French life that are voiced by native French speakers. The lessons are well structured and well thought out, and the assortment of approaches within each podcast ensures the listener’s attention doesn’t wane.
Other Resources on French Podcasts
Here are some other great resources for both beginner or advanced level learners to improve French by podcasts.
Learn French for Free with These Top Ten French Podcasts: A post similar to this one. It covers some of the same podcasts, as well as many new ones.
Podcasts for advanced French lessons: A helpful post that takes a look at popular French podcasts from an advanced learner’s perspective.
And one more thing…
If you like learning French with podcasts, then you won’t want to miss FluentU. FluentU makes it possible to learn French from music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks. With FluentU, you learn real French – the same way that people speak it in real life. FluentU has a wide variety of videos like movie trailers, funny commercials, and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach.
For example, if you tap on the word “suit,” then you see the following::
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s “learn mode.” Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending you videos and examples. Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.
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