In this fast-paced world, we don't always have time to relax with a good book or put hours into a new hobby. The modern answer to this dilemma is the podcast.
With a great podcast playing in our ears, we can be on the move and keep up with the demands of everyday life.
The podcast has revitalized French learning. Now, learners can listen to French podcasts while they commute, run errands or make dinner.
Below we’ll break down 11 top French podcasts for learners of all levels. But first, let’s explore the science of learning French with podcasts and why this method works.
Learning French With Podcasts: The Science
One of the best ways to develop foreign language skills is immersion in the language. This means that you should try to surround yourself with the vernacular, and ensure that you are being exposed to high-quality content.
A great way to achieve this at home is to listen to podcasts that feature native French speakers. When you are listening to authentic spoken French, your brain will naturally absorb the sounds and nuances of the language.
Moreover, you will develop an understanding of sentence structure, grammar, new vocabulary, colloquialisms, and idiomatic phrases in French. Much like you learned your native language through listening and repeating, so too can you learn a second language this way.
Listening to podcasts is a great way to fit French listening practice into your daily life, without feeling like you are taking time out of your day to study. You can have the podcasts playing while you complete daily living tasks.
Having fun is a key component of retaining new information, so choose a podcast you love and let yourself enjoy it. You don't have to think of French podcasts as work. Instead, allow your brain to relax and absorb the information while you enjoy the process.
Now let's look at the 11 top French podcasts for learners at all levels.
The 11 Best French Podcasts for Learners
The following French podcasts have been split into rough levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. If you are unsure of your level, find a free level test online to give you an idea of where to begin.
Try not to listen to podcasts way beyond your level, as this might put you off or frustrate you. But similarly, do not listen to podcasts that are too simple.
Try to challenge yourself for maximum learning potential with podcasts at or slightly above your level.
For Beginner French Learners
1. Coffee Break French
First, this well-reputed and popular podcast series is a great starting point for learners who want to develop their everyday French vocabulary and understanding of basic grammar.
Teacher Mark and student Ana work through entertaining and practical French lessons in the Coffee Break episodes.
This is a top pick if you want to learn French by podcast, as it is both fun and very well-structured for learners.
The Coffee Break French podcasts actually have several series for all French levels. From absolute beginners to lower intermediate, then upper intermediate and even advanced and upper advanced French.
So, if you love the way these podcast episodes are delivered, you can stick with Coffee Break throughout your learning journey.
2. 3 Minute French
Next, for the French beginners among you, we have 3 Minute French. In this series, listeners are exposed to a few useful French words and phrases in every episode and are taught how to put them together to form sentences.
The short French lessons, each lasting 3 minutes, are delivered by the course creator Kieran Ball, who is a native English speaker and is very proficient in French. He gives explanations in English as he introduces new French vocab.
This method is fine for beginners, especially if you have zero knowledge of the French language. However, as soon as you feel capable, it is wise to switch to podcasts that are delivered purely in French, as this is better for your listening skills and comprehension.
If you struggle to concentrate for long periods of time and get overwhelmed by too much information at once, these short podcast episodes are just what the doctor ordered.
3. French Blabla
In French Blabla, Caroline, a native French speaker, and French teacher takes listeners through a range of fun topics and speaks slowly and clearly. The aim of this podcast is to learn to speak French like a native.
Caroline talks about various hot topics, using common French expressions, slang, and language that you won't find in most French textbooks. This allows learners to develop a natural and authentic-sounding French vocabulary.
You will also learn a bit about grammar and the structure of the French language. Caroline teaches with passion and enjoyment, which helps to engage learners and retain their interest.
With these bite-sized episodes, you can add a little French listening practice into your day in palatable chunks.
For Intermediate French Learners
4. Little Talk in Slow French
This slow French podcast is a great resource for upper-beginner learners transitioning to the lower-intermediate level. The aim of the Little Talk podcast is to teach French through conversations.
Each 20-minute to half-hour podcast episode deals with a different interesting theme or topic to do with French culture, life, values, beliefs, or history.
Intermediate learners with access to Apple podcasts can enjoy the 90+ episodes of Little Talk plus transcripts. Read the transcripts after you listen to the audio lessons to maximize your French language learning.
While some explanations are given in English, this podcast is heavy on authentic French language and useful vocabulary, so it is worth checking out!
5. News in Slow French
Perfect for intermediate learners, this podcast covers current events in short, sharp episodes, so you can keep up with current affairs while working on your listening skills.
Even if you listen to just one short news story every day, you can speed up your French learning journey with improved listening comprehension, more complex vocabulary, and a deeper awareness of French society.
There are beginner, intermediate and advanced options for this podcast, as well as a series on French grammar and explanations. That being said, the intermediate series is said to be the best.
News in Slow French is one of the top French podcasts for learning French at home and keeping up with the latest social and political events.
6. Le Journal en Français Facile
For any language learner who wants to learn French by podcast at an intermediate or advanced level, this show is produced by Radio France International (RFI).
The episodes are real radio broadcasts from the French radio station, delivered using slightly more accessible French than would be considered native.
This podcast is designed for upper-intermediate and advanced learners to have level-appropriate listening practice.
Listen to the same news stories that native French speakers are listening to on Radio France Internationale and keep up with the latest news as you deepen your language skills.
7. France Musique
This French podcast is great for upper-intermediate and advanced learners who want more exposure to different French voices. Various music experts, and native speakers of French, explore different themes and ideas relating to music.
The episodes of France Musique are longer than most of the other podcasts on this list, but the talk is intermittently interrupted by music. This is a great choice for music lovers who also want to deepen their knowledge of French culture and vernacular.
This is not necessarily a French language-learning podcast, but rather an entertaining show for people who speak French and are interested in music. Challenge your listening skills by engaging with native content.
8. Français Authentique
The Français Authentique podcast is perfect for upper-intermediate learners who are transitioning to an advanced level. The content in this podcast is designed for learners who already have a solid basis of French knowledge.
The episodes cover a huge range of topics, from the art of being tolerant to the story of Adam and Eve, things your kids can teach you, and your morning routine.
Engage with this diverse and quality content to improve your fluency and deepen your knowledge of the French language.
This podcast was made by Johan Tekfak, a native speaker who also runs the Français Authentique French learning website.
For Advanced French Learners
Advanced learners can benefit from listening to French podcasts that are actually made for French speakers, rather than learners.
By this stage in your learning journey, you do not necessarily need grammar or vocabulary lessons.
Instead, as an advanced French learner, you want to deepen your knowledge of French culture and improve your listening skills and fluency. Listening to content made for natives is a great way to achieve this.
Géopolitique discusses current affairs around the world for a French audience. This gives the listener an interesting insight into which world news stories are particularly relevant to the French.
10. Kiffe Ta Race
This is a brilliant, informative podcast created for native French speakers to learn about race and all of the politics, social consequences, and histories of racial conflicts around the world.
Every week hosts Rokhaya Diallo and Grace Ly invite a guest to come onto the show and discuss the effects of racial and sexual discrimination, from experience. Advanced learners can gain valuable insight into the lives of non-white women while they work toward French fluency.
These are important conversations that need to be had, and this is one of the best podcasts in French to shed a light on these prevalent issues.
Finally, once you are at an advanced stage of your French language-learning journey, you can start to enjoy some French entertainment created for natives.
Hosts Emile Gauthier and Seb Lévesque discuss true crime cases and get into the gory, disturbing, and dark details behind murder mysteries, alarming missing persons cases, sexual and domestic violence, and much more.
Dive into dark but interesting topics, such as the case of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein's trafficking allegations, or the sudden disappearance of Théo Hayez, with this gripping podcast.
This podcast features a lot of complex and advanced vocabulary, as well as heavy topics, so be warned!
Other Great Ways to Learn French at Home
There are lots of ways to learn French at home. On top of listening to the best podcasts, you can take online lessons, use language apps, or make flashcards of new vocabulary.
Moreover, whenever possible it is a great idea to talk with French people, online via sites such as iTalki, or in person.
You can also watch TV and movies made in a French-speaking country for exposure to high-quality authentic French language and different accents. Visit Lingopie to start browsing French shows and films for learners at all levels.
Remember, French is an official language in 29 countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, French Canada, and many north African nations. Moreover, the French language plays a significant role in yet more world nations, including some South American countries.
FAQs: French Podcasts and Learning French
Can I learn French by listening to a french podcast?
Yes, you can develop your French language learning by listening to podcasts featuring native speakers from any of the French-speaking countries.
Language learners can benefit from listening to fluent speakers of French as this is high-quality natural exposure to the language, slang, and culture, which can be absorbed while the learner is having fun.
Does listening to French podcasts help French learners?
Yes, listening to French language podcasts helps learners with their pronunciation, listening comprehension, fluency, and conversation skills.
There are many podcasts for French learners, some focusing more on grammar while others lean into French day-to-day vocab and useful phrases.
What should I listen to in order to learn about French culture?
For culture lessons, the Join Us in France Podcast is excellent. It is less about the language itself and more about the food, culture, history, and music in France.
If you want to know what a typical French day might look and sound like, this is the podcast to try.
How can I learn French for free?
There are some free French learning resources online, including free podcasts, YouTube videos, and language-learning forums. Moreover, you can check out Instagram and TikTok accounts made by natives to teach simple French grammar rules and useful phrases.
Summary: How to Learn French with Podcasts
This guide to learning with French podcasts has covered the science of learning with podcasts and provided a list of 11 great podcasts for French learners at all levels.
Listening to French podcasts will improve your French listening skills, fluency, accent, and conversation skills, as podcasts are often formatted as informal conversations.
Now it's over to you to start learning spoken French. Make sure you choose a French podcast you find interesting and level-appropriate.
As well as engaging with language learning podcasts, try to supplement your learning with other resources, like Lingopie, the streaming service for keen language learners, and online lessons or learning apps.