The best podcasts to learn French
People often ask me how I managed to learn French so quickly. They’re probably just being polite (#ThePolitesseIsReal) but I have an answer for them: podcasts.
Of course there are many stages to learning a language, and eventually you are going to have to speak the damn thing - eek! Podcasts will not help you there, I’m sorry. But they are great for helping your aural understanding and for building your vocabulary. Back when I needed to speak French all day at work, I would listen to a French podcast on my way to the office as a way of easing myself back into “French”. Here are some of favourites...
The podcast that documents English comedian Paul Taylor’s rise to success. There are two versions to each podcast: one in English and one in French. It really helps for beginners to listen to the English one before the French in order to already have a general idea of what the F is going on. Not only is it hilarious (and plentiful in practical French swearing, LOL!) it is also a really interesting insight into the journey of a famous person before making it. The podcast has since finished, but you can still download and enjoy on iTunes.
I have followed Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog Chocolate & Zucchini for years now (PS: also a great resource for reading French, with an English version as well!). Clotilde saw a dearth in quality French podcasts and was inspired to create her own in order to plug the gap. Change ma vie takes a different theme to her cooking blog, instead focusing on mental wellbeing. One of Clotilde’s biggest influences in American life coach Brooke Castillo, and it was through “Change ma vie” that I discovered Brooke’s own podcast The Life coach school (also great - definitely won’t help your French though). The episodes are all around the 20 minute mark, so it’s a great one to put on on your way to work
Kind of the French equivalent of Girlboss Radio, Siham Jibril created Generation XX to tell the stories of France’s female entrepreneurs. Siham was only 25 when she launched her podcast, without any previous experience in radio or media, so there is a really authentic quality to it.
Launched by journalist and ex-editor of Elle, Lauren Bastide, La Poudre is designed to give a mouthpiece to women. Each episode is a dense and profound exploration of the interviewee and her life path. I recently read on Garance Doré that the podcast is now available in English as well, FTW!
OK, so this one is a bit of a wildcard, as it is in English not French. However, I argue that the podcast inspired by Lindsey Tramuta’s book The New Paris will give you the insight and inspiration about Paris that you need in order to stick with French (and France!). (Long time readers may recall the effect that Lindsey’s book had on my own Paris story). I love Lindsey’s writing, and she is just as eloquent and insightful in the spoken format.