Isn’t YouTube a destination for mindless distractions?
YouTube is a French learner’s paradise.
So when it’s time to learn French, YouTube makes a lot of sense.
But this leads to another challenge.
That’s why we’ve done the sorting for you.
Below you’ll find the 20 best YouTube channels to learn French in 2020, from mega-popular language instructors to unique sources of native-level French and more.
Wait a Minute. Why Learn French on YouTube?
But you’re wondering—out of all the resources you could be using, why learn French on YouTube?
- You might already have books or a teacher, but you can diversify your language learning and vocabulary with multiple sources.
- You can watch at your own pace and review anything you don’t understand.
- The best French learning content on YouTube is actually really good. I’d argue that the need to compete with the rest of YouTube has forced these teachers to work even harder.
- Did I mention it’s free?
Learn French on YouTube: 20 Info-packed Channels in 2020 for Classroom Quality Language Lessons
So without further ado, here are our top 20 recommendations for learning French on YouTube. Most of these channels are designed specifically for French learners, but we’ll also cover some that’ll get you started with understanding and using authentic French—the type native speakers actually use in real conversations.
If you love the idea of learning with YouTube, but wish that your YouTube videos were specially tailored for French language learners, you’ll want to check out FluentU.
FluentU hand-picks YouTube videos perfect for learners. Videos are fun and authentic, the kind that native French speakers actually watch. Each video comes with interactive dual-language captions that let you check the definition of any word on the fly.
Every video is an opportunity to expand your vocabulary since you can also add words to your vocab list and revisit them later as video-enhanced flashcards. Plus, you can test yourself in a memorable way with quizzes that adapt to your level of learning.
As sweet as a chocolate éclair and as crisp as a slice of French toast, FrenchPod101’s video lessons offer a slick and comfortable introduction to the language.
FrenchPod101 specifically designs its videos to be informative but entertaining. The videos are presented by engaging native speakers and French experts.
This channel is a smart place to start your YouTube French learning, because it’ll give you the foundations but you can also stick with it as you advance towards fluency.
For absolute beginners, check out the series “French in 3 Minutes” (linked above). If you’re looking for videos about grammar, FrenchPod101 has a great section for intermediate and advanced learners called “Ask a French Teacher.”
If you enjoy these videos, check out FrenchPod101's popular video and audio podcast lessons. There are hundreds of lessons with more being added all the time. Plus, the podcasts come with PDF lesson notes and access to a community of French learners and speakers. It’s a great option to diversify your French studies.
From the team behind the FluentU program comes an equally insightful and educational YouTube channel.
When using this channel, not only will you be introduced to native content, but you’ll also learn how to use this content to your language learning advantage.
Many of the videos are focused on showcasing just how meaningful and helpful native content can be to your French learning process. For example, in the video below, you’ll learn more about grammar tenses, French accents, using questions in French and many other French language components.
And the best bit? It’s all taken from a single stand-up comedy performance by Gad Elmaleh!
For more clever content and language, learning insights be sure to subscribe to the channel now.
Alexa is someone you warm to immediately. Her French lessons win top marks for fun as they have a rich vein of humor running through them. For example, in some of the lessons, you’ll see her interact with a puppet. Don’t panic or run for the hills, this isn’t a silly gimmick. It’s actually quite a good way to make the learning enjoyable and interesting.
All of the lessons involve Alexa speaking straight to the camera and her words are accompanied by subtitles in French. Her teaching style is conversational and engaging and she naturally slips in the English translations as she goes along.
Many of the videos are short, at about two minutes in length, but there are some even shorter ones. Blink and you might just miss them. A few of the video lessons are devoted to the conjugation of just one verb such as boire (to drink), dormir (to sleep) and avoir (to have)—it’s a very snappy way to get to grips with some of the basics.
Alexa also occasionally does livestreams where she’ll answer your French questions live!
The French learning video series on YouTube is aimed squarely at beginners.
Learn French with Pascal has lots of free videos that are aimed at the beginner and intermediate French language student. There’s no teacher in sight, just graphics and subtitles. The presentation is sharp and succinct with a conversational style. Most of the lessons last for about five to 10 minutes.
Coffee Break French is a popular learner’s resource that posts a variety of free learning resources on YouTube.
The focus is learning French for real-life situations, and the host will often shoot videos in places such as the Paris Metro. Among the highlights of this channel is the good, lively presentation.
Vincent is an experienced French educator and a popular YouTube language instructor and his channel is aimed at all levels. There are a lot of videos here on grammar, vocabulary and everyday situations.
For families learning French together, Monde des Titounis (World of Titounis) is a popular French kids’ channel. The content includes age-appropriate songs and short stories designed to expose children to French when they’re young enough to absorb it without too much effort.
But they’re also great for adult French learners. Since the videos are made for French kids, they’re not so hard to follow and they don’t feel like language study. They incorporate fun topics like drawing lessons or arts and crafts.
Monde des Titounis is a great first-step into authentic French content. You’ll hear basic vocabulary and sentence structure, while the relatively simple themes and supporting illustrations help with comprehension.
Watching movies in French is a strategic way to start preparing for real, live French conversations.
On one hand, the dialogue is usually at a natural pace and sometimes there are tricky accents or background noise. On the other hand, you know the context of the conversation and you can always slow down, rewind or put subtitles on the video for added support.
Classiques du cinema français (Classics of French Cinema) is a YouTube playlist offering tons of classic movies, from comedy to horror and lots more, for free.
It may be hard at first, but if you dedicate yourself to watching every film in the playlist, you’ll be listening to French without straining in no time!
Thinking about going abroad? Or just need to satisfy some wanderlust from home? Travel vlogs like Bruno Maltor’s are a popular genre on YouTube.
Maltor is well-known in France, and in my personal opinion, not only is the content he offers amazing, but he also has a very neutral accent perfect for all levels of learners. Many of his videos also come with quality subtitles (not just the iffy auto-generated YouTube ones), which are the perfect training wheels for understanding natural and informal French.
10. Livres Audio
This YouTube channel is a treasure trove of free, public domain audiobooks in French. It’s a great way for upper-intermediate and advanced learners to give their listening skills a dedicated workout—while enjoying some of the best that French literature has to offer.
These recordings are hours-long, so try to set reasonable listening goals for yourself. As you practice (and get more wrapped up in the story) you’ll find yourself able to hold longer and longer listening sessions.
Note: Some of the videos are recorded in English, so be sure to do a quick preview listen before choosing one.
Français avec Pierre is a YouTube channel that makes videos completely in French. While this may be a little intimidating for beginner learners, English and French subtitles are available for all videos.
Besides, French-only audio is a great way to be immersed in French and learn useful grammar, vocabulary and tips at the same time. For example, the video above gives learners 10 austuces pour parler comme un Français (10 tips for speaking like a French person), and learners have access to subtitles in languages like English, Arabic and Czech.
In addition to the videos available on the YouTube channel, Français avec Pierre users can access additional learning material on their website. These materials include exercises, transcripts and in-depth French courses for beginner and intermediate learners.
Like Français avec Pierre, Français Authentique is completely in French. In fact, this channel believes in teaching French through natural, online immersion. Videos are presented in slow, clear French with corresponding English and French subtitles.
Learners can access videos about French grammar, intermediate and advanced vocabulary and common French expressions. These videos are great for learners who already have a basis in the French language.
There are also lifestyle, personal development and vlogs for French learners. Because of the non-academic nature of these types of videos, they’re fantastic for those who want to hear it in natural contexts spoken by an actual native French speaker. An example includes the featured video above, “Ne bloquez plus en français” (Don’t freeze up in French), where the host, Johan, gives practical advice for those who are nervous to speak French.
On the Français authentique website, there’s also a French podcast for learners to take on the go with them.
Using the same immersion methods of Français Authentique, InnerFrench focuses less on teaching grammatical concepts and vocabulary lists and more on understanding spoken French. That means that this channel is completely in French with English and French subtitles, but the French used is spoken slowly and clearly, and it’s at an easy enough level that all learners of French can benefit from it.
As such, InnerFrench is recommended for learners at the A2 or B1 (high beginner and early intermediate) stages of their French journey.
Common video topics include tips and tricks for learning French, French media and popular culture as well as videos about French culture and travel. In the video above, for example, learners are challenged to examine their own level of French and determine what skills are needed for a high level of French.
14. Lingoni French
Lingoni French is a relatively new channel, but it was created by Lingoni German, the brainchild of the popular German language learning channel formerly known as German with Jenny.
Videos on this channel are tied to activities and lessons in the Lingoni French app, but they can also be used on their own as a method of study. Videos are a mix of French and English instruction, though French becomes more dominant as learners grow in their proficiency of the language with the B1 (intermediate) level videos.
Playlists are divided into lessons for A1 (beginner) learners, A2 (high beginner) learners and B1 (intermediate) learners, and topics include grammar tutorials and common French vocabulary and expressions.
Comme une française teaches you to speak French… well, like a French person!
Using English as a medium of instruction, Comme une française is less focused on French grammar and more on vocabulary and tips for sounding more French. As in the featured videos above, this channel is focused on French as it’s actually spoken with many videos talking about pronunciation and slang.
In addition to these tips, there are also two playlists focusing on French literature. The first one focuses on Patrick Baud, a modern French folklorist, and his collection of Nanofictions. The second revolves around a world-known fairy tale, “La Belle au Bois dormant” (Sleeping Beauty).
Sometimes, simple is best. This is a set of short (between one and three minutes) and straightforward lessons covering some of the fundamentals such as commonly used words, numbers, days of the week and the alphabet.
Visually, the videos are just a series of words on a simple monochrome background or animated graphic of the French flag. They’re not the most cutting edge design, but they’ll achieve their prime objective of getting the French words to burn themselves in your memory.
Interactivity is a key part of the lessons and the student is prompted to repeat words and phrases out loud several times during each video.
This excellent series is presented by a guy who’s not actually French. That becomes clear as soon as you hear his accent, which has a unique American lilt to it. There are many laugh-out-loud moments here including random anecdotes and his attempts at being the coolest kid on the block.
And that accent may raise a wry smile. But you’ll learn something. The video lessons for the beginner are fast-paced and fun and cover many of the fundamentals. Although the instructor speaks very fast the presentation is clear and easily understood and underscored by subtitles in French.
This is another video example of a French teacher speaking straight to the camera. There are no real-life situations replicated with actors, puppets or cartoons. He manages to keep your attention because his enthusiasm for the French language is infectious and draws you in, making you want to learn even more.
The duration of each lesson varies from one-minute shorts to 10-minute sessions and quite a few that last for about five or six minutes.
JeFrench provides the eager beginner with a handful of mini French lessons that feature common phrases related to travel, finding your way around and introducing yourself. The playlist isn’t ordered in any way and so appears to be a bit random.
Nonetheless, the videos are good with crisp and clear presentation and they move along at a moderate pace. There are no flashy images or pictures to distract the student, just a series of animated French texts followed by their English translations. Repetition of words and phrases is encouraged throughout the lessons which on average last for a couple of minutes, though there are some longer ones.
Warm up your vocal cords as you’ll be speaking a lot during these videos. This helpful YouTube channel covers several languages, including French. The “Learn French 101” playlist linked above is a collection of slick and uncomplicated lessons that feature the vocabulary you’ll need in certain situations such as dining and shopping. There are also lessons devoted specifically to common words and phrases. Interactivity is a big part of this series.
The format for the videos follows a regular structure. First, you’ll hear a sentence in French accompanied by large subtitles. Then you’ll see and hear a French speaker repeat those words after which you’re prompted to speak. This is followed by another French speaker saying those same words. The repetition of the phrases and the variety of ways they’re presented help to solidify them in the mind.
If you’re looking for an interactive YouTube learning experience, YouLearnFrench offers lessons for beginners with quizzes and tests, songs and sample dialogs. It’s a great series of videos for beginners because it guides you to French improvement step-by-step.
The videos are organized by topic, from the most-used French adjectives to super-specific stuff like Olympics vocabulary. They’re straightforward and often only a few minutes long, so it’s easy to squeeze in some practice anywhere in your day.
There are just eight short videos on this free YouTube channel for learning French. They’re presented by native French speaker Jacqueline Doiron and cover some of the fundamentals.
Now you’ve got the 20 best YouTube channels to learn French. So get streaming to learn French YouTube-style!
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. You'll receive video recommendations that suit your interests and current level of progress.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.