french-youtube-channels-with-subtitles

Looking for French YouTube Channels with Subtitles? Here Are 10!

Already bored of the French you started learning not so long ago?

Or maybe you feel like you’ve already learned quite a lot of French, and are wondering what the next step is?

Whatever your language woes, the solution is simple: Why don’t you begin relaxing and enjoying native content on YouTube?

I’m not talking about movies (although that’s a fantastic idea if that’s what you like).

I’m talking about something you can watch while commuting or while waiting for your meals to cook.

“But that’s way too difficult, I can’t understand a thing,” I hear you saying.

Psst…read the title above about the titles below.

Yep. Cue subtitles! They’ll become your BFF if you give them a chance.

So, what do you say? *puppy face*

I’ll take that as a yes.
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

The Role of YouTube and Subtitles in Language Learning

At this stage of the game, we should all know that YouTube is not only the place where you go to watch cats getting scared by cucumbers or Lady Gaga’s last music video.

It’s a platform where creators from all over the world share their work for the rest of us to enjoy. This means, among many other things, that the content you can find there is by no means exclusively in English. YouTube is an open bar of culturally and linguistically diverse material within a few clicks’ reach. You can drink just as much you want, linguistically speaking, for free.

However, most of this content is usually created by natives for natives, which tends to mean it’s way too fast or colloquial for language learners. Luckily for us, YouTube enables creators to add subtitles to their videos in multiple languages.

Wait, how do I turn on the subtitles?

First, something you might want to do is add a filter to your YouTube search so that it only shows you videos with subtitles. Once you’ve typed whatever you’re looking for in the search box, you just need to click on the “Filter” button right under and choose “Subtitles.”

Then, once you’ve opened the video, you just have to look for the “Subtitles” symbol on the bottom of the video. Click on it and boom! Magic! You now have subtitles on your video.

You can also adjust them by changing the color, size, font, etc. from the “Settings” menu. But more importantly, from “Settings” you can choose between all the available subtitles if there’s more than one language. Be careful, though, not to use the auto-generated ones. They don’t work very well, especially with very informal content.

Why not just use English subtitles, then?

I’m glad you asked that.

First of all, if the content is in French, it’s much more likely to have subtitles in French rather than in English, or any other language. But let’s say it does have subtitles in your native language. Wouldn’t it be much better to use those?

For basic understanding, at first, maybe. But using subtitles in a language you’re learning helps you develop two very important aspects of the language. One is very obvious: Your listening skills. The other is associating the sounds you hear with written words, however informal or colloquial they are.

What would happen if you only used your mother tongue’s subtitles? You’d be missing the second part, and if you’re serious about getting to the next level in your French learning, you don’t want that to happen.

So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s dive right into the list of wonderful channels I’ve gathered for you.

10 French YouTube Channels with Subtitles for Fun Learning

Bear in mind that subtitles for these channels are mostly provided by viewers, which means that not all videos will necessarily have them (although at least a good amount of them do) and that availability is subject to change.

To identify the videos that do have subtitles within these channels, look for the subtitles icon under each of them.

Before we dive in, keep in mind that FluentU is your most reliable source for authentic videos with optional (and accurate!) bilingual subtitles for any and all levels. FluentU takes real-world videos—including those from vloggers like Cyprien (see below), movie trailers, news, music videos and more—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Science, History and Language

1. e-penser

If you’re a general science fan, this is a channel you’ll probably enjoy watching, but if physics is your thing, then you’ll absolutely love it. In addition to that, the host speaks clearly and not particularly fast. Thanks, Bruce!

Oh, that’s right, Bruce Benamran, that’s the name of e-penser’s creator. He has been making videos since 2013, starting with relatively simple topics like Pourquoi le Soleil nous réchauffe ? (Why does the sun warm us?), and moving on to more complex ones such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (Théorie de la Relativité).

Don’t be put off, though, if you think this all sounds too high-minded for you. He also makes generally interesting videos like Le lieu le plus dangereux de France (The most dangerous place in France) or 10 choses insensées que votre cerveau sait faire sans e-penser (10 crazy things your brain can do without thinking about it).

Now for the question you’ve all been wondering about: What does “e-penser” mean? It’s a pun. “e-penser” sounds like the French y penser, which means “to think about something.” Pretty clever, huh?

More videos to check out:

Pourquoi les feux rouges sont rouges ? (Why are traffic lights red?)

Faux souvenirs (False memories)

Les files d’attente (Waiting lines)

2. Linguisticae

Interested in linguistics? Prepare yourself to learn with Romain Filstroff, Linguisticae’s creator, about the origin of expressions, the Indo-European languages, the evolution of French, the use of languages in wars and a long etc.

The further back you go on his videos, the easier it will probably be for you to understand him, since he used to speak at a slower pace than he does now.

Take, for instance, Pomme d’Adam (pourquoi le fruit défendu est une pomme ? (Adam’s Apple: why is the forbidden fruit an apple?) in which he talks about the origin of this French expression, pomme d’Adam, equivalent to the English “Adam’s apple.”

Now, see Les langues juives [1/3] (hébreu et araméen) (The Jewish languages [1/3]: Hebrew and Aramaic) and notice the difference in speed. It’s up to you to judge which one is best for you.

More videos to check out:

Les français ont-ils un problème avec l’anglais ? (Do the French have a problem with English?)

Les langues Indo-Européennes (The Indo-European languages)

Le français du futur (The future French)

3. Nota Bene

History nerds, hear me out!

What could be better than practicing your French while learning about awesome battles, myths, Vikings or even what historical facts “Game of Thrones” is based on? That’s right, nothing, and that’s why Benjamin Brillaud has created this YouTube channel.

As you can expect, there are lots of historical terms in his videos that are not exactly the most common words you’ll hear in day-to-day life, but his speech is nice and clear with some slang here and there to add a humorous tone.

Videos to check out:

25 erreurs historiques dans Braveheart (25 historical mistakes in “Braveheart”)

Un bâtard peut-il accéder au trône ? (Can a bastard ascend to the throne?)

Pourquoi la croix gammée ? (Why the swastika?)

4. DirtyBiology

“Meh,” you say, “History is so not my thing. I’m more into natural sciences.” Okay, then, what about some DirtyBiology? Hey, don’t look at me like that, it’s Léo Grasset you need to question about that name.

Pretty much like with Nota Bene, Léo doesn’t speak particularly fast or in a very colloquial way, but it depends a lot on the video and the tone. And also, just as in the other cases above, you’re likely to find some technical vocabulary here and there, but if you’re into biology then I guess that won’t scare you off, right?

Videos to check out:

Des races dans l’humanité ? (Humankind races?)

Combien vaut la Nature ? (How much is nature worth?)

Pokémon Go et la science (Pokémon Go and science)

Humor and Sketches

5. Cyprien

If you’ve ever read or heard anything about French YouTube then you’ve already heard about Cyprien Iov. He’s the French YouTuber, with the biggest channel in the country. So of course there are those willing to make subtitles for his videos.

As you may already know, his content is mainly comedy-related. He often takes a seemingly simple and general topic like food, school or technology and builds a bunch of jokes and sketches around it.

He occasionally also makes some short films and slightly different videos like this one where he travels to different French-speaking countries to thank his fans for the 10 million subscribers milestone.

But is it easy to understand him? Well, he sure uses lots of slang and colloquialisms, because most of his audience is made up of teenagers and young people, but that’s what your subtitles are for!

More videos to check out:

Les réunions 2 (Meetings 2 — in which he imagines what big company meetings must look like)

“Technophobe” (short film)

Snapchat

L’école (School)

6. Golden Moustache

Golden Moustache is a bit different in the sense that there’s not only one person behind it, but a group of people.

Also, lots of their videos are little short films related to a comical situation like the ones I’ve selected for you to take a look at below.

Is it difficult to get what they say? It can certainly be a bit challenging in the same sense that films are: They speak fast, with slang and in a very colloquial way, but again, subtitles are there to help you!

Videos to check out:

L’Insomnie (Insomnia)

L’Handicapé (The handicapped)

S.T.R.E.S.S

Video Reviews

7. MrAntoineDaniel (What the Cut)

If you’re not very familiar with the “video review” concept, it simply consists of taking videos and making comments about them. Antoine Daniel was one of the first YouTubers in France to start using this concept, the other one being Mathieu Sommet (unfortunately for us, his videos don’t usually include subtitles).

If you’re the kind of person who likes “what the hell is this?” kind of videos, you’ll have a great time watching Antoine Daniel’s “What the Cut” show, where he goes crazy while taking a look at people who make contemporary art performances while dancing on butter, frustrated rappers who share their compositions on YouTube, a guy who enjoys eating cigarettes and a very, very long etc., believe me.

I’d say Antoine is probably the YouTuber on the list who uses the most informal language, so this channel will be particularly useful if you’re interested in learning that kind of vocabulary.

Be careful if you have sensitive ears, though, he likes to yell a little bit (meaning a lot).

Videos to check out:

What the Cut #37 — Temple, cérémonie et cosmos (Temple, ceremony and cosmos)

What the Cut #31 — Poteau, pinceau et l’aventurier (Pole, paintbrush and the adventurer)

Spécial vidéos russes (Russian videos special)

(Note: He no longer uploads video reviews on a regular basis, but you still have tons of videos to watch.)

Gaming

8. Joueur du Grenier

Retro gaming? Anyone?

If you’re into old school consoles and video games, Frédéric Molas and Sébastian Rassiat will take you back to your childhood with their tests on not-so-successful games on NES, Super Nintendo, Megadrive and other retro consoles. But even if you’re not a gamer yourself, you can still enjoy their hilarious videos full of sketches, jokes and even songs! I’ve personally never been a huge gaming fan and I’ve watched all of their videos, how about that.

Videos to check out:

Les jeux Disney (The Disney games — includes their own versions of some classic Disney songs)

Takeshi’s Challenge N°1

Home Alone

Slightly Different Channels Equally Worth Watching

9. Axolot

Patrick Baud is the creator of Axolot, a quite unique channel where you’ll find videos that include unusual history, curiosities and wonderful content in general.

Language-wise, it’s not the easiest of channels, not because of the speed at which Patrick speaks, but rather due to the higher register of language he tends to use. In terms of clarity, his voice is great because he speaks both very clearly and in a tone that perfectly fits the narrator role he takes on during his videos.

Videos to check out:

Sous Terre (Underground)

Le Véritable Indiana Jones (The real Indiana Jones)

L’île la plus étrange du monde (The world’s strangest island)

10. Data Gueule

Just by the name of this channel you should be able to see that it’s not exactly like the others. At Data Gueule (something like “data in your face”), they try to take a look at all the data we’re all constantly bombarded with and put it into perspective using lots of graphics and constantly moving images.

In older episodes, their videos used to be shorter (up to 5 minutes) and all the images you could see on screen used to be little parts of a bigger one you would see at the end, but nowadays they’ve changed their format a little bit, making longer videos (up to 12 minutes) and dividing them into two halves, the first one explaining the facts and the second one including some interviews with relevant people in the domain.

The speed and diction of the voice-over is perfect for learners.

Videos to check out:

Sucrez, sucrez-moi ! (Sweeten, sweeten me!)

Migrants, mi-hommes (Migrants, half-men)

La faim du travail (The hunger for work)

 

So what are you waiting for?

Why aren’t you already watching some of the videos in this post?

I promise you’ll have a great time.


Beatriz Moreno is the creator and hands behind the language blog Anything but language, where she shares her love for all things language in both her native Spanish and in English.

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