Learning French with French podcasts: living in French #3

For years I’ve spoken about ‘learning French’ but recently I’ve changed my mindset to ‘Living IN French’, which is all about learning french ‘the natural way’. The way children learn a language—yes, by total immersion through sound and sight and repetition in particular.

‘French-immersion-at-home’ with podcasts

We all dream of being in France and since March of 2020, that’s not possible for most of us due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Most of us also know that when in France our French language skills improve ‘out-of-sight’. We refer to the ‘magic’ of immersion, but I for one have not previously really taken this to another level.

Now—my focus is a ‘French-immersion-at-home’ approach—another level.

Living in French—how I did it before

I’ve for many years tried to include French in my life.

You know… the news, conversation, French film with subtitles, French film festivals, reading blogs listening to French podcasts intended for the French rather than the learner about things that interest me, changing the language on my phone, etc. I thought I was serious about this ‘French-immersion-at-home’ approach. However, now I’ve realised that I could do more – much more! So this year I’ve taken it to another level! Up another notch.

In relation to podcasts, my focus was previously on ‘learning French’, and that’s been helpful and interesting and a rich experience.

I was living WITH French rather than living IN French!

Upon reaching an upper-intermediate level of French my interest was redirected to trying to understand native speakers. Once I discovered French podcasts, and that I could understand them (or mostly understand) it actually changed my life—yes, really! I can recall how I felt when I started to listen to podcasts that French natives were listening to.

These podcasts continue to provide a wonderful insight into French life and culture—the way the French population lives and thinks. Suddenly I felt that I was part of the French population, with French friends: real immersion. I was ‘Living in French’!

I thought that you may be interested to hear what I’ve discovered about French podcasts…

French podcasts infiltrated everyday life

I went back to the list of my interests I’d earlier prepared and I started searching. I was looking for really stimulating podcasts around my personal interests: and all in French, of course. Podcasts that provided an insight into the French psyche.

Hundreds of Podcasts—finding such an extensive resource—so deep and rich, I was ecstatic!

Podcasts for learning French

There are many Podcasts to choose from for those learning French. Options are in English and French or in French alone. The trick here is not only the learning component of the podcast but how well you match with the podcaster and the topics they discuss. Some can be annoying—yes, really annoying, so experiment until you find a handful of them that are a good fit. Next, before you know it, you’ll find yourself addicted to them.

1. News in Slow French
News in Slow French is a fantastic way to go about this, particularly for those of us who are yet to master French listening comprehension. The great thing about this website is that you can follow along with the transcript of the podcast, to check your listening comprehension. If you choose to subscribe to the website, you also have an iPhone/ iPad app available for you to use.

2. RFI
RFI offers the news in simple French with a podcast available for you to download. With the transcript available and comprehension questions and activities to follow, many of our members find this is a fantastic way to solidify their knowledge. RFI also offers an iPhone/ iPad app.

3. FrenchPod101
FrenchPod101 runs lessons through podcasts on everything from conversation skills to grammar rules to practicing written expression. And according to our members, the free version of the Apple app is almost as good as the premium for learning French.

4. Learn French by Podcast
Learn French by Podcast is a similarly designed program that some of our members prefer due to the introduction of very practical vocabulary through the recordings.

5. Français Facile podcast
Francais Facile is a podcast for beginners, intermediate and advanced speakers, with substantial learning resources: audio and transcription.

6. Coffee break French
Coffee Break French has numerous options for learning French. The podcasts are free and there is also a subscription model that provides access to supporting resources.
There are 4 seasons that are now complete but the content is still available. Beginners, lower intermediate, intermediate, and advanced: and, there is now a ‘Season 5’ which is entirely different and targets advanced French speakers.
Introducing La Vérité éclate toujours, a podcast series with companion online course aimed at advanced learners of French. In each chapter of this brand new season, you’ll build your understanding, master complex grammar, and learn to read French as it’s written for native speakers.

7. Française Authentique
Francais Authentique offers free podcasts and transcriptions, videos etc. In addition, Johan offers many paid resources including the following topics: French courses, Personal development, Academy, and theme packs as well as a test to evaluate the level of your French-speaking ability.

8. Comme une française
Comme une Francaise offers many free resources as well as paid courses. Geraldine explains her points using both English and French – an easy place to start, and rich with audio, video, and written material

9. NakedFrench.Co
Here is an article by Michelle of Naked French with her podcast recommendations: ‘Two French Podcasts I’m addicted to‘.
…And, there is a new podcast about to be launched by Naked French, the people behind the Instagram account which has been bringing us quotes and audio as daily micro-doses of modern French, by a native Parisien and a language lover: Michelle and Shade. And here is a trailer for the podcast to be launched in June 2021.

Podcasts for French speakers

These podcasts are perfect for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.

This is your real doorway into French culture! Immersion in podcasts designed for French natives can change your life.

Firstly, revisit your list of ‘personal interest’ topics—the things you love reading and learning about—and sample many podcasts to find the topics and podcasters who appeal—it’s a personal thing.

This ‘French-immersion-at-home‘ approach can improve your French language skills out-of-sight and provide an insight into the French psyche. It’s time to dive right in. You’ll be surprised how quickly this will become your next vice!

Podcasts from France: dive right in

  1. 12 Top Podcasts from France.
    Here is a great place to start. An article recommending 12 Top Podcasts from France: a peep into the French psyche. Feel the pulse of France with these French language podcasts: literature, feminism, society and so much more. Some of these are my personal favourites! I think you’ll love them too.
  2. 2 French Podcasts that I’m Addicted To.
    These are two podcasts from France in French that take you travelling—something we’ve all missed in 2020.
  3. Hundreds of emissions and podcasts by FranceCulture.fr
    This range is so extensive it may take your breath away. I recommend that you work through the alphabetical list slowly and carefully as it’s full of absolute gems. For example whilst not a podcast you’ll find wonderful content (written and audio) such as this about Baudelaire
  4. Simone et les philosophes
    Simone et les philosophes podcast by Peggy Avez offers a feminist approach to philosophical thought. There are two seasons—a solid source of intellectual and existential joy… “impeded philosophy”, that of all the unthought-of patriarchy.
  5. Change ma vie
    Change ma vie : le podcast qui vous donne des outils pour votre esprit. Almost 200 videos are presented by Clothilde Dusoulier (master Coach), Change ma vie “is the most listened to personal development podcast in France, which gives you concrete and powerful tools to better understand your mind, resolve your difficulties, and feel better in a lasting and profound way”. It is a podcast released every Thursday.

    Learning French by podcasts? Do you have any suggestions to add to enhance this ‘French-immersion-at-home’ approach? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

NOTE: If you have an interest in following this Living IN French series. Please comment below, so as to be sure not to miss out on hearing about the publication of the following parts. Merci.

Living in French Series

Part #1 – French Immersion at Home
Part #2 – Learning French with Audio
Part #3 – Learning French by Podcast
Part #4 – Learning French with Music
Part #5 – Learning French with French film


How is your French? are you ‘living-in-French’? Share your thoughts and experiences with us below in the comments.

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At MyFrenchLife we’re so interested in assisting you with your French that we have a simple Poll for you to complete right now. Many thanks for participating. There is only one compulsory question, so this will only take a minute. Please help me with this as it will help me direct our content to your competency level.
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About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife.org MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon - MyFrenchLife.org

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  1. John Hart May 27, 2021 at 4:34 AM - Reply

    Thanks very much for this! One thing — there is no link to the “2 french podcasts I’m addicted to”.

    • Judy MacMahon May 27, 2021 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      Thank you John – yes that link has been repaired now – Enjoy

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