Read the News in French: 34 French Newspapers to Pick Up Today
Reading the news in French will teach you all sorts of trending vocabulary—while keeping you updated with what’s happening in the French-speaking world (and beyond).
While television shows, French music and French movies have helped many learn French, news junkies know that nothing captivates your attention like a well-written news article.
Let’s check out the top 34 newspapers for French learners!
- 34 French Newspapers
- Le Monde
- Le Figaro
- Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France
- Metro/20 Minutes
- Les Echos
- La Croix
- Le Point
- Sud Ouest
- La Presse
- Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace
- Le Canard enchaîné
- Le Progrès
- La Tribune
- Courrier International
- Nord Éclair
- L’Est Républicain
- Le Devoir
- La Libre
- La Montagne
- Le Journal du Dimanche
- Les Dépêches de Brazzaville
- La Provence
- Le Soleil
- Le Temps
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34 French Newspapers
Who it’s for: Learners who want more analytical reporting
History: Le Monde is one of France’s best-known daily newspapers, and it has been published continuously since 1944. It’s one of the only remaining newspapers in the country that’s published in the evening, meaning that the following day’s edition hits newsstands in the late afternoon.
Slant: The publication’s editorial line is generally center-left, so it’s comparable to an American publication like the New York Times or the United Kingdom’s The Guardian.
Who it’s for: Right-leaning learners
History: Along with Le Monde, Le Figaro is France’s other most well-known news publication. In fact, the two are often referred to as France’s newspapers of record. It’s also the country’s oldest newspaper, founded back in 1826 as a satirical publication.
Slant: Le Figaro has historically been the standard-bearer of France’s center-right, although it’s not as heavy on business and finance as comparable newspapers in the U.S. or U.K., such as the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times.
Instead, you can expect to find the conservative take on the most pressing issues of the day in its editorials and opinion pieces.
Who it’s for: Advanced learners
History: The daily newspaper Libération is younger than Le Monde and Le Figaro, but it can claim a much more prestigious founder. It was started by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and journalist Serge July in 1976.
Slant: While the newspaper has long since shed its more revolutionary outlook, it still occupies an important position on the French left. It’s particularly known for its provocative front pages, traditionally dominated by a large photo and accompanying headline.
Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France
Who it’s for: Learners who like both news and human interest stories
History: Le Parisien is a daily newspaper that’s distributed widely in Paris and the surrounding region. Its sister publication, Aujourd’hui en France, often carries many of the same articles and is available outside the Paris area.
Slant: While the publication has no overt political bias, critics often claim that it sensationalizes stories and spends too much time covering the more sordid aspects of French political and social life. However, it would be unfair to compare it to British tabloids or an American publication like the New York Post.
Who it’s for: Busy learners
History: These two publications might just have been started in the 2000s, but they’ve come to dominate the daily life of the French. They’re among the largest newspapers in France by circulation, and they’re distributed freely in metro stops and train stations across the country.
Slant: Because these newspapers are optimized for mass consumption, they feature little or no political bias. Like Le Parisien, though, they’re often criticized for sensationalizing the news and focusing too much on scandals and gossip.
Who it’s for: Learners who are passionate about social issues
History: L’Obs is a French news magazine that has been publishing articles every week since 1950. It remains one of the most well-known magazines in France, with a mix of local news, international coverage and opinion and culture pieces.
Slant: L’Obs has always been left-leaning, and the founder—Claude Pedriel—even describes its slant as social-democratic and leftist. A lot of its pieces are actually opinion-based or investigative, with coverage of social issues such as women’s rights, political corruption and state crimes.
Who it’s for: Learners who want more journalistic sports coverage
History: L’Equipe is a daily newspaper covering sports. It’s been the home to many of the world’s most venerated sports journalists, such as Jacques Goddet, former director of the Tour de France and Gabriel Hanot, who is credited as being one of the masterminds behind the creation of the UEFA Champions League.
Slant: While it certainly has a penchant for supporting French athletes in international sporting competitions, L’Equipe harbors no particular loyalties when it comes to sports. The newspaper format, which is becoming less common for sports coverage, means that the publication conserves a more journalistic and analytical approach to its coverage than you’ll often find with sports.
Who it’s for: Business-minded learners
History: Les Echos translates to “The Echoes,” and it’s actually France’s first-ever daily financial newspaper. Founded in 1908 by brothers Émile and Robert Servan-Schreiber, it’s still quite popular until now and comes in both digital and physical formats.
Slant: Due to its almost exclusive focus on economy and finance, Les Echos’ slant is slightly right of center, and is politically aligned to economic liberalism.
This ideology advocates for free market capitalism, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes and opposition to trade unions. Despite this, Les Echos also covers left-aligned topics such as green technology.
Who it’s for: Learners who are sports fans
History: With more neutral coverage in French of all international sports, Sports.fr is a well-balanced alternative to L’Équipe. If you’re more of a general sports enthusiast, you’ll likely appreciate that the site offers a blend of stories on soccer, basketball, rugby and more.
Slant: Since it’s a sports magazine, Sports.fr is fairly politically neutral, with plenty of news articles about the results, analyses and forecasts of current games. However, it also delves into the personal lives, opinions and scandals of many athletes, with occasional interviews.
Who it’s for: Learners who are interested in investigative pieces
History: Published in French, English and Spanish, Mediapart is an advertisement-free site that’s divided into two major sections: news and investigative reporting. It promotes independent journalism and is the only popular magazine in France with a section where readers can contribute their own articles.
Slant: Mediapart specializes in no-holds-barred investigative journalism, and it says that it doesn’t have a specific ideology. In fact, it rose to prominence because it featured several controversial issues in France, to the point that it led to political figures stepping down and even being sentenced to jail.
Who it’s for: Learners who are members of the Roman Catholic Church
History: La Croix is a major daily newspaper that has been published continuously since 1944, and it’s one of France’s best-known papers. While it has historically been affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church—and in some ways still is—it has since eased some of its focus on religion and stylizes itself as a general interest newspaper.
Slant: La Croix takes no official political position of the left-to-right spectrum, but it does often adopt the stance of the Roman Catholic Church on certain issues. As such, it’s safe to say that this newspaper is right-leaning, but is by no means a mouthpiece of conservatism or the Church.
Who it’s for: Right-leaning learners who want weekly updates on popular news topics
History: Le Point is one of the most well-known newspapers in France, and its site features continual updates throughout the day. With a heavy focus on current French President Emmanuel Macron, the site can be a great place to get one’s feet wet in the world of French politics.
Slant: Although it was originally based on Time Magazine when it was founded in 1970, Le Point is considered a conservative, center-right magazine that focuses on politics and economics. One of its most interesting sections would be the Debats section, which has discussed topics like immigration, cancel culture and the health system in France.
Who it’s for: Left-leaning learners
History: The word l’humanité translates to “humanity” in English, and this newspaper was founded in 1904. It originated as a newspaper for the French Communist Party. While it has had a turbulent history ever since, its circulation still reached 40,000 in 2020.
Slant: Since it was once an arm of the French Communist Party, it’s safe to say that this newspaper leans pretty far left. In fact, it was once believed that this newspaper survived the Cold War with donations from the Soviet Union itself.
As expected, much of its coverage focuses on current events, corruption, human rights and rampant capitalism.
Who it’s for: Learners who want local news from specific French regions
History: Ouest-France translates literally to “West France,” and its original area of focus was the western French regions of Pays de la Loire, Brittany and Lower Normandy. Despite this, it’s quite a popular French newspaper, estimated by some to be the most read in France with over 2 million readers. Currently, it has 47 distinct editions across 12 French regions: east, west, north and south.
Slant: Being a high-circulation publication, Ouest-France often treads the line of political centrism. It has historically been pro-European Union and is considered slightly right-wing because it’s affiliated with European Christian democracy.
Who it’s for: Learners who are interested in the southwest regions of France
History: In the same way Ouest-France is a newspaper from the western regions of France, Sud Ouest is from the southwest (hence the name). It was founded in 1944 in Bordeaux, and today it mainly serves Gironde, the Pyrénées Atlantiques, Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne, Charente and Charente-Maritime.
Slant: Being a regional newspaper, Sud Ouest is politically neutral. There’s an opinion section where commentators from all along the political spectrum contribute, but on the whole, Sud Ouest doesn’t predominantly lean in one direction or the other.
Who it’s for: Canadian French learners who are interested in Quebec news
History: This next newspaper on our list comes from Montréal, Canada. La Presse means “The Press,” and it was founded in 1884. Today, it can be found exclusively online as La Presse+.
Slant: Being one of the largest newspapers in Québec, La Presse has a pretty politically diverse slant. Rather than treading a neutral line for its readers, it features different columnists of varying political leanings, and over the years has supported legislation from all across the political spectrum. For example, it has been a supporter of both Canada’s Conservative Party and Liberal Party at differing times.
Who it’s for: Canadian French learners who want to know more about Toronto and Ontario
History: L’Express is a shortened version of its former name, L’Express de Toronto. This newspaper caters to French speakers in Toronto, Canada as well as Francophone communities in the province of Ontario. It was founded in 1976.
Slant: Being a local newspaper, it doesn’t publicly endorse any political party or candidate. Rather, it takes a neutral route to reporting news with some commentators from all political stripes contributing.
However, due to the French language’s minority status in Ontario, the newspaper often takes a pro-French stance, supporting candidates that promise funding for French-language services and education. Recently, this has meant that L’Express has not been supportive of Ontario’s ruling Conservative Party who have slashed funding for such areas in recent years.
Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace
Who it’s for: Learners who are interested in the Alsace region
History: Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (The Latest News from Alsace) is a regional newspaper that focuses on the French region of Alsace. Alsace has historically spoken French and a dialect of German similar to Swiss German, so this newspaper was also published in Standard German until 2012.
Slant: Due to the unique culture of the Alsace region, this newspaper has often had a pro-Alsace stance. While it doesn’t explicitly express nationalist tendencies, it has been supportive of pro-Alsace candidates and those who seek to preserve the unique culture and status of the Alsace region.
Le Canard enchaîné
Who it’s for: Learners who enjoy satire
History: Even though its name translates to “The Chained Duck,” the word canard is slang for “newspaper,” so it also has the meaning of “The Chained Paper.” This is a nod to the French government’s censorship campaigns when the newspaper was founded in 1915, at the height of World War I. Today, this newspaper’s primary purpose is satire and commentary, and it enjoys quite a large readership in France.
Slant: Historically, Le Canard enchaîné was tied to the communist and socialist movements in France during its founding, but for most of its publication, the newspaper has not had any formal political affiliation.
In fact, it mocks and criticizes political candidates and parties of all stripes, so it’s quite politically neutral that way. It’s interesting to note that the newspaper doesn’t accept any advertisements, and it has often been exceptionally critical of the clergy and upper class.
Who it’s for: Learners interested in the Rhône-Alpes region of France
History: Le Progrès translates to “The Progress,” and this newspaper was founded in 1958. It’s a regional paper that focuses on news and happenings related to the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
Slant: There’s no predominant political leaning in Le Progrès due to its function as a regional newspaper. It reports widely on happenings in the region and has columns and commentaries from contributors of all political leanings.
It did feature prominent journalist René Diaz who wrote for the newspaper for 30 years. Diaz’s work focused on the trials of former Nazis.
Who it’s for: Learners who want business and financial news
History: La Tribune was founded in 1985. The focus of this newspaper is business and the economy with its slogan being partageons l’économie (let’s share the economy). Fun fact: it had to be bailed out by the French government on two separate occasions, and in 2012, it switched to a weekly format.
Slant: The slant of this newspaper is fiscally conservative, given that it focuses primarily on business and the economy. That doesn’t mean that La Tribune is excessively or exclusively right-wing though.
Like other newspapers on our list, the opinion section is open to commentators who identify with various political ideologies.
Who it’s for: Learners who are looking for diverse international news
History: Courrier International (International Mail) is published in three languages: French, Portuguese and Japanese. It even collects and republishes excerpts from over 900 newspapers around the world. This model has proven particularly successful since it has allowed the newspaper to remain on top of developing stories.
Slant: Because of the varied nature of Courrier International, the political spectrum is particularly well-represented. In fact, news stories are often reported from multiple angles, allowing readers to get a well-rounded and complete view of a given situation.
The newspaper found itself in hot water, however, when it published a marketing campaign that featured shortened Twin Towers with the slogan apprendre à anticiper (learn to anticipate).
Who it’s for: Learners interested in areas along the France-Belgium border
History: Nord Éclair translates to “North Lightning” in English, and that’s quite fitting because this newspaper is headquartered in the northern city of Roubaix, France. Right along the border with Belgium, Nord Éclair was founded in 1944 with the purpose of relaying news for the French region of Nord. It also has a Belgian edition.
Slant: Since this newspaper is regional to Nord, the political slant isn’t very apparent. There are commentators from time to time that take a stance on a particular issue, but Nord Éclair is pretty neutral most of the time. It covers local stories fairly evenly, and even local elections are reported on without much endorsement.
Who it’s for: Learners who want a balanced political perspective
History: L’Est Républicain (the Republican East) was founded in 1889, with the goal of opposing a French conservative quasi-dictator. Later on, it grew steadily, creating the first Braille newspaper in Europe and acquiring other local publications in its home region of Meurthe-et-Moselle.
Slant: While initially a newspaper that opposed the right-wing tendencies of George Boulanger, L’Est Républicain has been all over the political spectrum over the years, with a particular focus on French sovereignty.
In recent years, it has maintained a somewhat balanced approach, taking on commentators from all political positions.
Who it’s for: Canadian French learners who advocate for the independence of Québec
History: Le Devoir is a newspaper that comes from Montréal, Canada. It was founded in 1910, and its name means “Duty.” It was founded in the name of Québec nationalism and separatism, and even though that has softened over the years, the newspaper continues to support the recognition and inclusion of French-speaking people in Canada.
Slant: Historically, the focus of Le Devoir has been Québec nationhood, and it was very supportive of this position during the referendums that would make Québec an independent country from Canada during the 1980s and 1990s.
Today, it has taken a more left-wing stance advocating for pacifism, minimal military intervention abroad and social democracy.
Who it’s for: Learners who want to learn more about Belgium, especially Brussels
History: La Libre is a newspaper that’s published in Belgium. Its name translates to “The Free,” and it was founded in 1884 under the name Le Patriote (the patriot). Today, La Libre is published six days a week, and it’s one of the top-selling French newspapers in Belgium alongside Le Soir.
Slant: When it was first published, Le Libre was known for its right-wing and Christian stance. While it has become more liberal over the years, it’s still considered to be more right-leaning than other major Belgian newspapers such as Le Soir.
Who it’s for: Left-leaning learners
History: The translation of La Montagne in English is “The Mountain.” This newspaper was founded in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, a place known for lakes, rivers and mountains. It’s a daily newspaper that focuses on that region, and it has been running since 1919.
Slant: Even though it’s tempting to believe that this newspaper is named after the beautiful mountains of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, it was actually a nod to a political movement in France called The Mountain.
This movement was one of the major groups during the French Revolution, and the name was selected to show its alignment with the traditional values of the French Revolution itself. It has further been described as an independent and socialist publication.
Le Journal du Dimanche
Who it’s for: Learners who are curious about Paris or surrounding areas
History: Le Journal du Dimanche is a newspaper that’s published once weekly on Sundays (as you can tell from the name!). It was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Paris, France.
Slant: Due to its weekly nature, it’s often seen as a “Sunday round-up” of major news stories from France and around the world.
It tends to lean a little more right in nature but is largely seen as a neutral publication, reporting on happenings from various perspectives and employing commentators from multiple political positions. There’s a heavy focus on politics and the economy, though.
Les Dépêches de Brazzaville
Who it’s for: Learners who are interested in African French
History: The word dépêche in French means “telegram” or “wire,” so the name of this newspaper means “The Brazzaville Telegram” or “The Brazzaville Wire.” This newspaper is headquartered in Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo. French has become a lingua franca in the Republic of the Congo since French colonization in the 1800s, so it acts as a principal language for newspapers.
Slant: Media is heavily censored in the Republic of the Congo. For example, during the 2009 national elections, journalists from major worldwide news agencies such as the BBC and Radio France International were harassed and assaulted by government forces for their coverage.
As such, print media is filtered through the government before publication. Because of this, Les Dépêches de Brazzaville offers a rather positive view of the government and the state of the country, ignoring much of the reality and hardship that the everyday Congolese face.
Who it’s for: Learners who prefer a non-mainstream perspective on news
History: France-Soir, which means “France Evening” in French, was founded as an underground newspaper in World War II when France was solidly occupied by German forces. After France’s liberation, the readership of France-Soir exploded, with a circulation of over 1.5 million. By 2011, readership plummeted to 30,000, and the newspaper relaunched as an online-only enterprise in 2013.
Slant: France-Soir has adopted various political leanings over the years, but today it can be described as predominantly right-wing.
Recently, it has been accused of publishing conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, NewsGuard, a company that rates the journalistic integrity of newspapers and other media agencies, has said that the newspaper no longer adheres to widely accepted journalistic standards.
Who it’s for: Left-leaning learners who want to know more about Marseille and other areas in France’s southeastern region
History: La Provence is published in Marseille, France. It was founded in 1997, and it focuses primarily on local news to the Marseille and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Its founder, businessman Bernard Tapie, has been in hot water before as a member of the Parti radical du gauche (Radical Party of the Left), and he has been accused of swaying the direction of the newspaper based on his political views.
Slant: Due to Bernard Tapie’s purchase of the newspaper, the slant has tilted to center-left in recent years. Bernard Tapie was also a politician before buying the newspaper, so one can expect that his publication often publishes stories that align with his political views. That said, the newspaper does have an opinions section, and writers from all political positions have written for the paper.
Who it’s for: Learners who want a glimpse of contemporary urban life in Quebec
History: Le Soleil means “The Sun” in French, and it’s a daily newspaper based in Québec City, Canada. It was founded in 1896 and is a fairly local publication, available on newsstands mostly in Québec City, Montréal and Ottawa.
Slant: Being originally a newspaper for the Liberal Party of Canada, it’s safe to say that this newspaper politically leans to the left. The newspaper did officially cut ties with the Liberal Party back in 1957, but it still retains its strong ties of liberal thought and left-wing politics.
Who it’s for: Learners who are curious about local news in specific parts of Belgium
History: Based in Belgium, this newspaper’s name means “The Future” in English. It was originally founded in Namur, Belgium in 1918. Today, the newspaper publishes nine distinct editions for various French-speaking locations in Belgium.
Slant: Since each edition of this newspaper is specific to a city or region in Belgium, a predominant political position isn’t evident. It features news stories and opinion pieces specific to whichever region the edition is for. It does, however, hold a pro-French stance because it’s in the French-speaking region of Belgium.
Who it’s for: Learners who want to practice Swiss French
History: Le Temps is the only newspaper on this list to come from Switzerland. It’s published in Lausanne, Switzerland and is the only nationwide French daily newspaper in the country. It was founded in 1998 and brings together the writing of over 100 columnists and reporters throughout Switzerland, Europe and the world.
Slant: Le Temps is often regarded as a politically center newspaper. As such, it treads the line between the two political positions rather successfully, though it has at times been called a socially liberal newspaper.
Whether you’re into current events, finance, sports or even gossip, you have a lot of choices for French newspapers—and they’re all available online.
If you’re still starting out with French, you can also ease into reading news with this beginner-friendly guide.
You can also practice with French news clips on FluentU, which breaks down each video for you with learning tools like interactive subtitles, transcripts and flashcards.
When you’re ready to dive in, choose a French newspaper, binge on the latest happenings and improve your French all at the same time!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)