Want to learn French with podcasts? You're in the right place. Podcasts can be an excellent French learning tool.
To save you the time and hassle of trying to find the perfect podcast yourself, I’ve made a list of 11 of the best podcasts for French learners to help you improve your French.
- 11 incredible French podcasts for beginner and intermediate levels
- why you should listen to French podcasts
- how to choose the right podcast in French for you
Headphones, smartphone and podcast app of choice at the ready! Let's dive in…
The 11 Best French Podcasts For Beginners And Intermediate Learners
#1 LanguaTalk Slow French
LanguaTalk Slow French is our top French podcast recommendation. It’s hosted by Gaëlle, a French lady who is an experienced teacher.
Aimed at basic (A2) and intermediate (B1) levels, the episodes last 15 to 25 minutes, and the topics are diverse.
Some episodes focus on the stories of famous French stars like Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot, others focus on teaching things that French learners often struggle with, and there are also interviews with French people.
- Gaelle speaks clearly and adds a faster recap at the end of each episode to test your listening skills.
- Rated 5 stars by listeners on Apple Podcasts.
- The podcast and transcripts are both free and interactive – each word is highlighted as it’s spoken! LanguaTalk also offers a free trial session if you want to try taking 1-on-1 lessons with a French tutor.
- As the podcast only started in 2021, there aren’t hundreds of episodes (around 50 as of July 2022).
#2 Coffee Break French
Coffee Break French offers a large volume of online lessons in podcast form. There are four levels (“seasons”) consisting of 40 lessons each, meaning there is something for everyone.
In the podcasts, you listen to a student taking French lessons and you learn with her. The course is well structured and builds on what you have already learnt.
The lessons are quite long – up to 20 minutes or so – and neither the teacher nor the student is a native speaker (although both of them have very good French pronunciation).
- Extensive library of lessons for all levels
- Well-structured course
- Lots of free material (additional content available to premium subscribers)
- More English spoken than French
- Presenters are not native speakers
#3 Learn French By Podcast
A collection of podcast-based French lessons aimed at beginners to intermediate learners. The lessons are based on listening to dialogues and then breaking down the new grammar and vocabulary that comes up.
The presenter is not French, but the dialogues are recorded by native speakers. The dialogues are at a good speed but are spoken very clearly, making them challenging but at the same time easy to understand. The main part of the lesson is the dialogue, which means these podcasts give you good exposure to French.
- Good length lessons, around ten minutes
- Dialogues spoken at natural speed but very clear and easy to understand
- Lessons built around listening to dialogues, giving good exposure
- Dialogues read by native speakers
- Free lessons available but must pay for full access
#4 One Thing In A French Day
If you're looking for some accessible but authentic French to listen to, this podcast might be just what you need.
It describes itself as ‘a small slice of a French woman’s life – in France and in French’, and consists of short five-minute recordings by Laetitia who talks about things she has done recently, for example, visiting an exhibition.
These short recordings, completely in French, are perfect for intermediate listeners. Laetitia speaks at normal speed in real French, but her voice is perfectly clear and easy to understand. A new podcast is uploaded three times a week.
- Completely in French, great for immersion
- Perfect length, about five minutes per podcast
- Real French at natural speed – but very clear and easy to understand
- Most of the content is completely free
- Not suitable for beginners
#5 News In Slow French
This podcast is a great way to immerse yourself in the language through current affairs. The broadcasts talk about recent news events in authentic but slightly slower-than-normal French.
The content is all in French, which is ideal for intermediate learners – and there are also lessons for those who are not quite there yet. Unfortunately, most of the content requires a subscription.
- Completely in French, great for immersion
- Longer lessons (20-25 minutes) perfect for filling dead time like bus journeys
- Easier content and lessons for beginners
- Requires a subscription
An established podcast series that includes lessons for many languages.
The main part of the course is a series of lessons focusing on short dialogues and then breaking them down, but a lot of other material is available too. Most of the material requires a subscription. The lessons are also available on an app.
- Large body of material, constantly growing
- Different subscription plans – allows you to choose the most suitable
- Practical to learn using app or podcast
- Requires subscription
- Too much teaching in English, not enough immersion in French
#6 One Minute French
For the truly busy learner who hardly has a moment to spare, this podcast is just perfect – as the name suggests, each lesson lasts only one minute.
Beginners can start right at the very beginning and build from there. These lessons are made by the same people who produce Coffee Break French. Unfortunately, you have to pay to access the course.
- Very short one-minute lessons for extra busy people
- Starts right from the beginning, perfect for absolute beginners
- Requires subscription
#7 Daily French Pod
Another podcast that is entirely in French, these lessons discuss a wide range of topics while helping you enlarge your vocabulary and work on your listening.
Even though the dialogues are at more or less natural speed, the hosts take time to explain some of the important points more slowly.
- All in French, good for listening practice
- Wide range of interesting topics
- Handy bite-sized lessons
- Requires subscription
- Not suitable for beginners
#8 My Polyglot Life
The My Polyglot Life podcast is for intermediate to advanced-level French learners who want to :
- improve their listening skills,
- learn more about living in France or Canada
- and build up their vocabulary to speak about current issues in French
It's the podcast of French teacher and neuro language coach Cathy Intro
You can listen to two types of podcast. In the first type Cathy talks about hot topics in the news in France and other French-speaking countries as well as French culture.
The other episodes are interview episodes with other polyglots and French teachers who talk about language learning and living abroad. You'll learn how they beat their fear of speaking French.
- you can listen for free
- the episodes come with transcripts and a vocabulary list
- great for getting immersion in the French language
- for intermediate and above learners only
#9 Inner French
Inner French is another podcast for intermediate and above French learners who want to learn about French culture and topical subjects.
Recent topics include the psychological impact of lockdowns, the legalisation of cannabis and the independence of Haïti.
The host is Hugo Cotton, creator of the popular Inner French YouTube channel. The goal of the channel and podcast is to help you think in French.
Hugo speaks clearly and relatively slowly so that intermediate learners can follow along easily. The vocabulary he uses is also adapted to intermediate level.
- The podcast comes with transcripts, although you need to sign up (for free) to receive them
- Great for getting immersion in French
- The episodes are quite long, 40-50 minutes although more recent ones run to 25-30 minutes
#10 Français Authentique
In this podcast by popular French YouTuber Johan Tekfak, you learn authentic French expressions. The episodes tend to be short, about 10 minutes long, so you can fit in listening to them in a busy day.
This podcast, like Cathy's and Hugo's, is aimed at intermediate learners. But it's more like a “lesson” because you learn about an expression – what it means, what its origins are, other related expressions etc.
- the full transcript of the podcast is available under the episodes on the website
- you can pick up new French expressions
- not suitable for beginners
A Bonus: French Conversations
So this last one isn't exactly a podcast. But it will improve your listening skills. It's French Conversations, my story-based listening course for intermediate French learners.
It's perfect for you if you've ever felt frustrated listening to fast French. And let's face it, who hasn't?
I've designed conversations specifically for intermediate learners. It's a a set of dialogues (transcripts plus audio) that tell an intriguing story in 20 parts. It'll help you understand real spoken French and transform your listening skills in less than 90 days.
Two of the key things to look for in a podcast are:
- something at the right level
- interesting material
Well you'll find exactly these ingredients in French Conversations, a listening course tailored precisely to the needs of intermediate French learners. Plus it'll give you the immersion you need to take your French to the next level.
Find out more and get your copy here.
What’s So Great About Podcasts For Learning French ?
If you haven’t tried podcasts before, you might be wondering what makes them such a useful tool for learning. In fact, podcasts have many advantages – here are a few of them:
Podcasts are extremely convenient. Most are quite short, only around ten minutes or less, meaning you can easily fit them into your daily routine.
Whenever you have a few minutes to spare – whether sitting on the bus, exercising in the gym or doing housework – you can put on a podcast and learn while you’re busy with something else.
If you want to learn French fast, short, but regular contact with the language is one of the keys to success.
Suitable For All Levels
Whatever your level, there's a podcast to match. Whether you’re a beginner hoping to speed up your learning. Or an intermediate learner trying to make the jump to advanced, you’re sure to find something adapted to your level.
When learning a language, one key to fast progress is exposure. You need to immerse yourself in French as much as possible, and listening to podcasts helps you do just that.
Podcasts help you become accustomed to the sounds and rhythm of French. By listening to a short podcast every day, you quickly become used to the sound of spoken French – and your listening and overall ability will benefit immensely.
Fun And Motivational
Learning a language is a lengthy process, and it can take several years to reach a good level. This means you need to stay keen and motivated. If you don’t want to learn, it’s going to be a long road.
With podcasts, you can easily find something that interests you and that you enjoy listening to, which will keep you motivated to continue learning.
What Type Of Podcasts Should You Be Looking For?
Podcasts vary in style and quality. Here are a few of the things you should look for:
As I mentioned, podcasts are available for just about every level, from beginners right up to advanced. If you want to benefit fully from listening to podcasts, make sure you choose the right level.
A podcast should be challenging but not too difficult. If it’s too hard, you won’t understand much at all and you will easily become disheartened.
On the other hand, if it’s too easy, you won’t learn anything new, and you’ll quickly become bored.
Look for something that is just right – something that pushes you to improve but that doesn’t leave you completely lost and confused.
Mostly In French
Some podcasts are mainly in English while others are mainly in French. If you want to improve your overall French and specifically your listening, you need to find the latter.
This will maximise your exposure to French and will help train your ear to recognise the sounds. You'll improve your French faster with exposure to lots of French audio than with detailed explanations about single vocabulary items or grammar points.
You've already learned that a big part of succeeding in learning a foreign language is staying motivated, and for this reason, you should make sure you listen to things you enjoy.
If it becomes a chore to listen to your ten-minute podcast every day, the chances are you won’t stick with it for long.
Some podcasts are completely free, some require a subscription while others are free but with premium materials for paying members. Which should you choose?
This is up to you. There are many good free ones. But some of the subscription podcasts are high-quality too.
It all depends if you're willing to pay – make sure you check out the free trial or sample lessons that are usually offered before signing up. A subscription fee is no guarantee of quality, so try before you buy.
Learn French With Podcasts, Whatever Your Level
I hope you find my list useful. As you can see, there are many high-quality podcasts available for learners of French of all levels. You may like some more than others.
The key is to find the ones that suit you and that you enjoy and then to make sure you listen often. If you do, I can guarantee you will soon notice a big improvement in your listening and overall French ability.
Listening to material that's just above your current level is, after all, one of the keys to learning a language quickly and fluently.