Pining for the music, voices, and sounds heard in the streets of Paris?
Look no further than your very own smartphone!
Thanks to today’s technology, you can have a native French speaker in your ear within moments.
Native French podcasts are the answer to your accent woes, as well as your lack of hip French idiomatic expressions, proverbs and street slang.
It is just common sense, plain and simple, that listening to native French speakers via podcasts will boost your listening comprehension tremendously, at the same time upping your French cultural knowledge.
Download, plug in and listen now: the podcasts provided here are ideal for intermediate and advanced language learners absorbing French outside France. It’s the next best thing to making real life French friends and chatting them up while eating authentic French cuisine and spending nights out on the town.
Why Learn French with Native Podcasts?
You’re already immersing yourself in the web’s best French videos with FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
The answer is simple: native French podcasts make the world your classroom! Listen to your favorite podcast while driving to work, riding on public transport, doing crunches at the gym or even in bed as you’re falling asleep.
Even if you don’t catch every word, a native French podcast can help you further immerse yourself in French. That’s always a good idea, particularly for advanced learners. Without even consciously realizing it, you’ll be absorbing French and becoming more familiar with the sounds of the language.
While several podcasts exist for French language learners, once you’ve reached a more advanced level of French comprehension, native French podcasts are leagues better for improving your vocabulary and overall fluency. Native French podcasts won’t coddle you. They’ll throw out any word that helps convey their message to their French-speaking listeners. It’s up to you to keep pace!
In fact, as explained in this video on FluentU’s French YouTube Channel, there are many podcasts available for beginner to advanced learners, some of which are native French podcasts.
These podcasts can be aimed at learners themselves, offering new vocabulary and grammatical information in a lesson-style environment. Podcasts can even be aimed at native French speakers themselves, and completely in French! These podcasts in particular are a great way to train your ear and hear the French that real French speakers use.
For more videos like this one to improve your French listening, check out FluentU’s YouTube Channel.
Learn French with Native Podcasts: 5 Favorites You’ll Love
The best way to choose a podcast to help you improve your French is, without a doubt, to pick a podcast that explores a topic that is of interest to you. The more interested you are in the content of the podcast, the more likely you are to understand, and the more useful your new vocabulary will be when you’re speaking with your Francophone friends!
With that in mind, we’ve uncovered 5 of the best native French podcasts in a variety of themes to help you find the one that will be the most useful – and the most interesting!
1. Newsworthy Listening: A French News Podcast
If you’re all about staying abreast of the most recent news stories, a French news podcast is the thing for you. France 24’s news podcast is the ideal way to introduce yourself to the world of French news. New stories are up every day, with some as short as two minutes.
An added bonus with this podcast is the video portion. This aspect of the podcast means that you can use context clues from the video portion to help you understand new words and phrases. Once you’ve been watching for a while, you’ll get to know a whole new vocabulary unique to the world of news journalism.
Bolster the terms you learn and the stories you follow in this podcast by reading a French newspaper online, like Le Monde or Le Figaro. The more exposure you have to the world of French current events, the more varied your vocabulary will be. Reading also has the added benefit of helping you more easily identify words you may not understand on first listen. Seeing a somewhat familiar word on the page may help you identify it aurally the next time you hear it.
2. Rockin’ Tunes! A French Music Podcast
French radio is a great way to learn all about French music, particularly given French regulations that require that all French radio stations play a certain percentage of French songs, but a music podcast may be an even better way to gain French music vocabulary.
France Musique music podcasts are the ideal way for people who love music and French. Some podcasts are fairly song-centered, but many include interesting information from experts as well.
- Petites musiques d’une grande guerre explores the music that was popular during the First World War. It’s an interesting glimpse into the past that was created in honor of the centennial of the war. Stories include soldier-musicians during the war, international music and musicians inspired by the war.
- Les grandes voix de la musique traditionnelle delves into the world of international traditional music, particularly in the hands–or voices–of modern artists. Several different international musicians make up each podcast, with artists hailing from Egypt, Cuba, Iran, Italy, America, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more.
- Je vous fais mon cinema offers a great resource for those interested in both French music and French film. Hints are given by the presenter to try to help you guess what movie the next song is from; with a good amount of movie knowledge and a bit of comprehension skills, you’ll be playing along in no time!
3. Stay Informed with a Cultural French Podcast
Many French learners fall for the language after falling for the culture, and it’s no wonder! From music to art to literature, there’s a lot to love about France, and France Inter’s culture podcast is just the thing to help you stay abreast of everything that is new and interesting, culture-wise, in Paris. The podcast is intended for those living in Paris and gives suggestions of what to do in the city.
But even if you’re not in Paris, it can be interesting to hear about all the new things going on in the French capital, especially given the wide range of topics. Podcasts may include history lessons on early 20th century Paris, reviews of hip hop shows or documentaries, or analyses of photo exhibits.
The wide variety of topics addressed in this podcast will help flesh out your vocabulary when it comes to talking about art, history, music, theater and a whole lot more. As an added bonus, the next time you find yourself in Paris, you’ll have no trouble knowing what’s going on.
4. All About Alexandrins with a Poetic French Podcast
For literary-minded listeners, there’s nothing better than France Culture’s Poetry Podcast. The podcast is sponsored by the Comédie Française with the goal of offering a new poem every day from Monday through Friday. The podcast is a shorter one, just 2 minutes long on average, but the interpretation by the Comédie Française actors of classic French poetry will bring the verses to life.
Because the podcast is relatively short, you can use it as a makeshift dictée, if you’re so inclined. Dictées are a common exercise used in French elementary and middle schools. They’re particularly useful given the number of homophones in French; by using your listening comprehension skills, you should be able to tell which word is being said in the poem, especially after a few listens.
Try copying down what you hear, checking it against the grammar rules you know, then checking it against an official version of the poem that you’ll easily be able to find online to make sure you got everything right. It will help with your listening comprehension as well as your conjugation, so you’ll be having no more trouble distinguishing é, er, ais, ait, aient and so on.
5. Improving your Coup de Fourchette with a French Recipe Podcast
No French podcast list would be complete without a nod to the infamous French cuisine. France Bleu’s le Grand miam (the big yum!) podcast brings you delicious treats from Rodolphe Martinez, Chef Jésus and Philippe Vigier. Every day from Monday to Friday, this hour-long podcast brings you easy recipes based on an ever-changing product of the day.
The podcast also explores food events like markets, restaurant openings and food blogs. The podcast is based in the Gironde region of France, which is one of the most famous food locales in the country. Home to the Bordeaux wine region and Arcachon Bay, land of the famous oysters, it’s the perfect jumping off point for an exploration of the world of French cuisine… right from your own living room!
These are just some of the many native French podcasts available online. Subscribe to your favorites to boost your FluentU skills!