Living in French: French podcasts I’m addicted to — Naked French
When I was younger, I used to escape the realities of my suburban Western Australian life through books. In particular, I was obsessed with my monthly National Geographic subscription. I remember the shiny, glossy, pages vividly transporting me through a Himalayan jungle trek or sweeping me through the perfect, picturesque cliffs of Cinque Terre.
Nowadays, I’ve found a new vice — the world of podcasts.
Even though I’ve managed to create an adventurous career for myself living abroad in Paris and New York, I still live for hearing about everyone else’s adventures…
I find myself regularly immersed in the stories of others — told through the medium of French podcasts. My Spotify playlists have since replaced my old library membership card, and my curiosity to hear fascinatingly human anecdotes or explorations in faraway places, are frequently quenched through my portable Bluetooth speaker.
Once I reached an upper-intermediate level of French good enough to comprehend native speakers, discovering French podcasts was like a ‘hallelujah moment’ for me. As I remember listening to my first, newly discovered podcast episodes, I felt a tingling sensation that I was secretly eavesdropping in on a completely different world.
No one could have predicted this pandemic year, and it’s definitely resulted in a lot more ‘home time’ for me. So, I’ve been regularly utilising podcasts as a means to connect with the world outside of my bubble of working remotely on my living room table.
In particular, there are two podcasts on heavy rotation that I’d like to share as these may be new to you:
Sur Les Routes de L’Asie
The first is Sur Les Routes de L’Asie, a podcast about adventure and discovery in South-East Asia.
Growing up in Australia with Malaysian-Chinese heritage, I never really saw Asia as a particularly interesting place. In fact, I think most Australians associate South-East Asia (or at least Bali), with the words ‘relaxing’, ‘cheap’, and ‘holidays’. It’s a place to get 5-star hotels and massages for a fraction of the price comparatively.
Perhaps it’s similar to how most New Yorkers view Latin America — it doesn’t quite hold the same sense of adventure and charm compared to the attractive appeal it seems to have for the hordes of young Australians taking an entire gap year to go backpacking and exploring in the region.
So perhaps it’s the proximity to Australia or my own heritage that never really gave me a sense of South-East Asia as being mysteriously magical or something to be explored. However, through the eyes of Romain Lazzarotto on Sur Les Routes de L’Asie, that perspective completely changed.
Through Romain’s fervent passion for South-East Asia, he explores the complex and multi-faceted history and culture with deep contagious energy. Perhaps it’s because France is so geographically, and culturally distant from South-East Asia. Or perhaps it’s just Romain’s profound excitement for the region that he manages to paint a portrait of a mystical variegated world.
Each area is explored with depth and meticulousness, as he intricately details everything from indigenous Indonesian island lifestyles to the modern neighbourhoods of Singapore. He asks questions outside of the Anglo-Saxon lens, and he infuses his thoughts and expressiveness with an unmistakable French intensity.
It’s a podcast that has allowed me to hear questions I’ve never asked myself but realised that I would nevertheless love to know the answers.
When I’m listening, I truly feel like I’m living the pages of a National Geographic Magazine all those years ago.
- You can read an interview of Romain Lazzarotto on Medium.
- And there is a substantial archive of podcasts waiting for your listening pleasure—in fact way back to 2013!
The second podcast is Vlan by Gregory Pouy.
As an anthropologist and journalist, Gregory interviews guests in a cosy atmosphere, with the objective of exploring and understanding modern French society.
For myself, it’s been fascinating to hear intimate French discussions on various topics ranging from the future of work, how to find happiness, astrology, to female equality.
The French have always been famous for their ability to articulate, feel and share their emotional identities with one another.
Through listening to this podcast, I’ve been able to see this up-close. To hear grown men easily and openly talk about emotions and vulnerabilities — as if they were talking about football, was truly something different to witness.
The entire discussion opens up a completely new world in itself. Coming from a culture of having the ‘British stiff upper lip’ — being able to listen to the weight and significance the French give to their inner selves and their emotions, through discussing current affairs of today has been a fascinating listen.
So there you have it!
Do you have any French Podcasts to share? We always love hearing about new podcasts, if you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments below.
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