Think of something you love to do.
An activity you enjoy on a daily or weekly basis.
Maybe you have a favorite brunch place where you meet friends for waffles, coffee and the latest gossip.
Learning French could be like that.
No chaos, no strain. Just a fulfilling part of your routine that makes you happy.
It’s possible when you learn French with videos.
Whether you’re just starting off with your French learning or looking to improve your existing knowledge, videos are a fun and frequently free way to study the language.
Life is short, right? So why not use French learning videos to make things easier and more fun?
Just fire up one of these 19 top sites and YouTube channels to learn French with videos–and enjoy every minute of it.
How to Learn French Using Online Videos
Make no mistake, even if you’re a pure beginner, video learning still makes sense for you. Not only are there plenty of instructional videos out there for newbies, but you can easily bring native videos into the mix, too. In a minute, we’ll look at some specific video resources you can use to learn French. But first, here are some quick tips on how to maintain your learning.
- Use one to two main video learning resources at a time, with others to supplement. Having a go-to resource or two is crucial to focused French learning. It makes for the kind of mindset that helps you look forward to knowing and learning more. Also, it creates familiarity and a sense of security.
If you want to learn with authentic videos at any level, you can keep track of them on a single platform by using FluentU (more on this below). And YouTube channels that produce language learning videos are often organized neatly into playlists, which makes it easy to follow your learning just by subscribing.
- Target your most immediate learning needs first. It makes sense to focus on the French that you’re going to actually use the soonest. So if you’re leaving next week for a trip to Paris, it’s okay to start cramming travel phrases now, and worry about grammar later.
Whatever you do, don’t waste too much time worrying about what you should be learning. And once you choose a general area of study, stick with it for a bit. Aim the one to two main resources mentioned above at your current learning needs.
- Regardless of what you learn first, speak along with/back at the videos. Maybe your sole goal in learning French is to be able to read the latest French-language literature, and you never intend to interact with a native French speaker. Speaking aloud can still help. Not only does it help you engage with the language in an active way, but it also enhances the connection you’ll have to words when you hear or read them.
Now let’s look at some incredible resources to learn French with videos!
Watch and Learn! 19 Top Video Resources for a Full French Learning Plan
This list of French learning video resources is organized into categories, so you can pick and choose what you need. But don’t panic if you feel that what you really need are French lessons on the basics. While many of the resources on this list can be used through the advanced levels, the list itself is still geared towards French for beginners, and I’ll explain what each type of resource is for.
If you want to learn to communicate in French as soon as possible, you’ll probably want to start with one of the videos in this first section. If you’re looking to lay a stronger foundation for the language, the section after that will give you resources that offer long-term guidance.
Videos to Learn Basic Survival French Fast
“Learning French – Basic Phrases for Paris” from Holiday Extras Travel Guides
If you’re literally on the plane to Paris right now and you only have five minutes to learn some basic French, this is the video for you.
In it, a native speaker gives a quick rundown of essential phrases for communication, along with some cultural notes.
“Beginning French for Travelers with Trish Feaster” from Rick Steves Travel Talks
This hour-long video is a more extended crash course in travel French. You’ll learn correct pronunciation, and words and phrases for common travel scenarios.
“Basic French – First week in Paris” Playlist from WorldCitiesPics
If you’re looking for more extended, targeted travel learning, this playlist is one to bookmark for your studies.
It includes a total of 14 videos divided into helpful categories, including “Arrival at the Airport,” “Transportation” and “Arrival at the Hotel.” There’s even a section on sightseeing in Paris.
French Video Resources for Beginners and Beyond (That Won’t Bore You)
Now let’s consider the long term. These resources are ones that you can use over an extended period of time. I would highly recommend using at least one of these as a primary French learning resource. If you stick with it, you’ll start to see real progress before you know it!
You can think of FluentU as a sort of dashboard for all the native French video material you want to study. There’s real YouTube content here—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—all arranged for your convenience and turned into personalized language lessons.
Start off as a beginner by learning from children’s TV clips and simple short videos, and gradually move up to more advanced vlogs, skits, interviews and more. All the videos are conveniently organized by level.
So what do we mean by personalized language lessons? Well, first of all, FluentU videos come with interactive captions. Hover over words to see definitions, images, grammar notes and additional usage examples while you watch. You can also get customized quizzes that are either based on individual videos or word lists of your choice.
Everything is super easy to organize and navigate, so you can keep track of your daily progress in a way that’s fun and satisfying. The best part is that you know you’ll be learning the kind of real French that native speakers are used to speaking and hearing.
FluentU is great for putting the knowledge you learn in instructional videos to the test, or for using on its own. It’s comfortable and convenient for everyone.
As a bonus, you can learn multiple languages on multiple devices (iOS and Android) if you like. Your progress for each language is saved and synced individually.
Maybe you’ve already come across the FrenchPod101 channel on YouTube. That’s Innovative Language. By subscribing on their website (via the link above), you can get additional video lessons, podcasts and PDF notes, plus access to a learning community.
Their friendly and helpful videos cover vocabulary, grammar, culture and just about anything else you might need to know. And their hosts are entertaining and down to earth. If you’re looking to have language concepts explained to you in a setting that’s more casual than a classroom, Innovative Language could be just the ticket.
This channel is unique in its approach to teaching beginner French—at least, I haven’t seen anything else like this on YouTube. It’s an immersion channel for the basics of French, meaning that it teaches you the basics of French in French. The host, Thomas, uses exaggerated facial expressions, images and other visual cues to convey meaning.
As a beginner, you can start off with Learn French for Beginners, a playlist that currently has 65 videos and counting. These cover numbers, greetings, the alphabet, basic verbs and much more. There’s even a video for bathroom vocabulary.
Thomas seems to have a lot of fun with these videos, so you’ll probably find it easy to have fun, too.
This channel is a good option for learners looking for straightforward instructional videos that don’t need to be watched in any particular order. Or learners who remember some bits and pieces of past French lessons but need to fill gaps in their knowledge of the basics.
Cindy is a native French speaker who provides learning material and vlogs for learners of all levels. You’ll find everything from verb explanations to common vocabulary sets to practical advice. If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a playlist covering French for beginners.
This is a cute teacher-created channel that helps you learn French basics with original drawings. Videos range from dictations to straightforward grammar explanations to recipes, and playlists clearly divide subjects and series.
Despite the whimsical presentation, what you really get here are classroom-quality lessons. The way the material is delivered is deliberate and strategic.
While the content is split up neatly, it might be a little difficult for brand-new learners to know how to proceed here. But like with the channel above, those returning to French after a break may find it perfect as a main resource for brushing up. And complete beginners who are more independent or adventurous may love it, too.
French Video Lessons That Teach Through Songs, Books and Movies
Now it’s time to think about supplementary materials as you learn French with videos. In the beginning stages of learning a language, people often don’t venture outside of the one class or course they’re using. This can make things uncomfortable later on when they start trying to understand authentic materials like movies or TV.
So it’s helpful to use different types of materials early on. Unfortunately, it can sometimes seem like there’s not much variety for early learners. But here are a few resources that stand out from the crowd and give you interesting and entertaining content.
“French Practice with Movie Clips” Videos from Mixed Martial Animations
This channel has three videos that outline basic French concepts with interspersed clips from movies:
- French Alphabet Practice with Movie Clips
- French Verb Practice with Movie Clips
- French Number Practice with Movie Clips
It’s unusual to be able to learn basic concepts for the first time with real-world examples, but that’s what you get here. While there are only three of these, the videos are sure to be helpful to beginners who want something beyond the usual textbook stuff.
While this channel may not have a song for teaching every French beginner subject you can think of, they’ve got quite a few! Many of these are verb conjugation songs, but there are also songs that cover numbers, the alphabet, days of the week, colors and more.
Sure, these might not be winning a Grammy anytime soon, but they’ll give you a big memory boost. You could learn quite a bit of French from these songs alone, or use them to target specific vocabulary or concepts you’re struggling with.
“Learn French with Children’s Stories” Playlist from Rachael HELPS
Rachael is an American expat living in France who offers this YouTube playlist containing a few high-quality readings of French stories. The book is shown during the reading, so you can follow along with the text and pictures.
The first reading is also followed by a slower one, which gives you time to watch how each sentence is constructed.
You may have heard of News in Slow French, but this channel is sort of like Everything in Slow French. You can hear some news but also slow readings of stories, conversations, recipes and even a Celine Dion song.
Video Resources for Fun French Conversation Lessons
Conversation is an undeniably important part of language learning. So no matter what your main learning methods are, you’ll want to make sure you have some engaging dialogue resources on hand.
Here are a few of the best videos that teach conversational French for beginners, intermediates and anyone looking to brush up on some basics of French communication.
Conversational French Lessons Playlist from Language Lessons Paco
This simple series of five French conversation lessons gives you some good basic dialogue material geared towards travel situations. And it includes fun animations!
Brace yourself for some truly dorktacular scenarios. This seven-episode series is done in the style of a sitcom, canned laughter and all. Like Français Immersion, it relies on visual cues and exaggeration to convey meaning to French learners.
Honestly, even if you jumped into this show with no previous knowledge of French, you could probably pick up a lot from context. It’s a great supplementary resource for early-stage French learners.
But don’t worry, the cheese doesn’t end with “Extr@ French.” “Méthode de français” is another series created specifically for French learners. While totally silly in its own way, this series is a bit more understated, and the speech is a little more natural than in “Extr@ French.”
The videos also all come with French subtitles. If you’re a beginner, you probably won’t be able to follow everything, but these videos still take you through some fairly basic vocabulary and situations.
Motivating YouTube Channels for Continued French Learning
Well, what now? The French learning videos above should give you more than enough material to get you going. But as you progress, you might need additional encouragement, or reliable ways to hold your interest. For a general grab-bag of French learning material and advice, check out the channels below.
This channel contains a fun mishmash of learning material that touches on aspects of French-language culture. The videos here are actually a series of podcasts completely in French that come with transcripts.
On this channel, Virginie provides answers to common questions that French learners have. French Truly TV offers a fun selection of short individual videos to dip into that cover all kinds of material on grammar, culture, vocabulary and more.
This is a great place to check if you feel you need additional instruction on a subject you’re learning.
This entertaining channel does travel-oriented videos, French-learning tips and language lessons.
It’s a good place to go for slang, linguistic tidbits and Paris-specific knowledge.
Marie, the host of Just French It, provides an array of fun, funny and honest videos. The videos tackle real issues that plague French learners, like common mistakes and how to stay motivated, as well as interesting cultural and historical subjects.
Anytime you’re feeling down and discouraged about learning French, swing by Just French It. Before you know it, you’ll be laughing and ready to jump back into your studies.
Not only is video learning effective, it’s also one of the best methods for language study if you want to learn French on your own. By using one or two core resources and building outwards from there, you can enjoy a strong support system as well as a sense of freedom and adventure while you learn French.
So don’t hesitate to add some or all of these French learning video resources to your routine. Once you start to learn French with videos it might just become your new favorite habit!
Elisabeth Cook is a freelance writer and lifelong language learner who blogs about books at Lit All Over.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.