Easy French or French-English Podcast recommendations?
March 14, 2013 3:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm learning French, and am looking to increase my exposure to spoken French. Among other things, I've been listening to the Coffee Break French series of podcasts, which has been very helpful, but I'd like to add in some podcasts that aren't specifically about learning French -- podcasts that are by native French speakers and made for a French-speaking audience, but which ideally are fairly accessible or at least roughly comprehensible with some effort to someone who has only a patchy knowledge of the language. French news podcasts might be valuable to me, for instance. Bonus features: podcasts that are also broadcast in English, podcasts that are about scientific topics, and podcasts that are about or are produced in francophone Africa. Recommendations?
posted by Scientist to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I dig the Journal en français facile, podcasted daily, about world/Francophone news, 10 mins. Bonus: scripts available!
posted by pitrified at 3:19 PM on March 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the services of BBC and Voice of America. They both have Francophone African news shows that broadcast from specific places (ie - you can get Central African news vs. West African news. vs. Lakes Region).
posted by ChuraChura at 3:30 PM on March 14, 2013

You might like Yabla French. About 150 of the videos are available on iTunes, with captions.
posted by houseofdanie at 3:35 PM on March 14, 2013

Oh - the other nice thing about BBC/VOA podcasts is that you can often listen to a similar set of stories in English, and read print media in both French and English to supplement the news. Multiple lines of language evidence!
posted by ChuraChura at 3:40 PM on March 14, 2013

Best answer: Also: One Thing in French a Day (also on iTunes).

And: News in Slow French. My partner, who is French, think this is hilarious. If she's reading this: TAIS-TOI!
posted by houseofdanie at 3:44 PM on March 14, 2013 [13 favorites]

pitrified: "I dig the Journal en français facile, podcasted daily, about world/Francophone news, 10 mins. Bonus: scripts available!"

My mother loves listening to this! I recommend it too.
posted by lite at 3:58 PM on March 14, 2013

In addition to journal en francais facile, check out tv5.org. They have a language learning component around their weekly news magazine 7 jours sur la planete.

Hulu.com just got two new French dramas (English subtitles) that are excellent. It'll be above your head a bit but they expose you to real French - Spiral and Braquo. They're free too.

(Et je m'excuse, je ne peux pas faire les accents.)
posted by shoesietart at 4:26 PM on March 14, 2013

Best answer: Radio-Canada's Les Années lumière is a podcast on science news.
posted by zadcat at 5:14 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

J'adore "News in Slow French!" :D

I also like to listen to French talk radio...Radio Freedom in particular.
posted by malocchio at 6:12 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not a podcast, but you can listen to RadioCanada's morning show (and probably the rest of the day's shows but I like the morning shows) on SiriusXM 160. A lot of it is over my head, but I get the general gist plus a Canadian slant on American news. It was amusing last week to hear President Obama's quote on the sequestration being paraphrased as "C'est stupide" repeatedly :) I also enjoy listening to the Montreal traffic report (la circulation) for no particular reason :)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:15 PM on March 14, 2013

Response by poster: Awesome suggestions, everyone. You know what else would be great? Some nice, soothing, French music shows that I could load up and listen to. I am thinking like the French equivalent of Frank Sinatra here, something that I could just have on in the background, without having to like hunt down a bunch of individual tracks -- radio shows and the like.
posted by Scientist at 7:49 PM on March 14, 2013

France Inter has a weekly show called Les p'tits bateaux where kids phone in with questions like "are rocks alive" and an expert carefully answers them. It's basically explain-it-like-I'm-5, the show, and it's also pretty friggin cute.
posted by theodolite at 7:53 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: the French equivalent of Frank Sinatra

That's probably Edith Piaf. And Yves Montand.
posted by shoesietart at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2013

If you want to check the current state of la chanson française and maybe also a little instrumental music from the hexagonal scene, why not listen to Le pont des artistes (music, songs, interviews, it's a saturday night live show). If you 're into songs, you could try ces chansons qui font l'histoire, a short podcast about songs. You could also try les portraits d'Alain Souchon et de Georges Brassens diffusés sur France Inter. La prochaine fois je vous le chanterai deals with songs too, arranged thematically. Mots et merveilles explores words, is short if it's not really easy. Last, La librairie Francophone is about books from the french speaking world.
posted by nicolin at 4:38 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I recommend the blog "Chansons pour étudier le français" - listen to the song with the lyrics and then read about them.

You might like some of the many French language guides to doing various things on Youtube - just search in French for whatever you want to learn. How to make boeuf bourguignon for example.

By the way - since I am also a great fan of Coffeebreak French - I mention that you might want to have a look at Duolingo to go along with it - it is also free - but seems to be demonstrably pretty effective.

posted by rongorongo at 4:54 AM on March 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

These might be a little advanced (I certainly don't understand every word), but I've become a big fan of several programs on Radio France, especially

Les Récits de Loire-Atlantique et de Vendée, which features interviews about sights and history of the Loire-Atlantique region (a cookie factory! the Nantes rail line!)


Le monde est un campus, which interviews foreign students who are studying in Paris

In my experience, the speaking tends to be relatively slow on both. Some of the students on "Campus" have more of an accent, which can make comprehension difficult, but that's only been a problem for me on a few episodes.

Both are available on iTunes.

And as a bonus, "Récits" features three songs during each half-hour episode - the first and last are in French, and the second is in English (I have no idea why).

If you like what you hear, there are lots of other programs on Radio France / France Culture, all easily accessible on iTunes, and you can search for things like science (and maybe find La bibliothèque scientifique idéale or La Marche des sciences or Histoire de chifres - that one's by Canal Académie), download an episode or two, and see if it's a good fit for your listening skills.

Finally, if you like American and British classic rock, you could check out Making Of on RTBF (Belgium) - also, I believe, available on iTunes, but if I recall correctly the URL changes every so often so you have to keep resubscribing.
posted by kristi at 6:41 PM on March 15, 2013

Nth-ing News in Slow French - funny and easy to understand.
posted by tillei at 5:03 PM on March 17, 2013

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