I adore podcasts. Ever since the most popular podcast to ever podcast, Serial, graced my ears I have been addicted to them. Listening to a podcast every morning while I get ready for work and drink my coffee is so intrinsic to my morning routine, the other day I found myself frozen to the spot in the middle of my bedroom upon discovering I had listened to all the latest episodes of all eleven podcasts I have on current rotation. The horror. I finally settled on an old episode of The High Low, one of my absolute (English) favourites, and only then could I proceed with getting ready. I also listen to podcasts on my walk to and from work, sneakily at my desk whenever I can, while I take a shower and almost always while I cook. So of course I was delighted to delve into the world of French podcasts and there are hundreds of them out there, many specifically dedicated to helping French language students at different levels. At first these were all I listened too, but over time I grew bored and wanted to branch out, I wanted to listen to French podcasts the way a native speaker would, by my interest in the topic rather than my level of understanding and I am so glad I did because I have found, in my opinion, some real gems. While I do not understand everything being discussed in every episode, I really enjoy the process of listening and spotting words I know as well as new words in so many interesting topics, spoken by French speakers with varying voice timbres who speak at different speeds. Exposing my ears to this almost daily has really helped me focus less on translating each word as they speak and focus more on just listening, to the point where I’m able to follow the conversations while focusing on my eyeliner application at the same time, simply because I pay attention to the words I already know, and I cobble together the gist in my mind. I have not done this consciously, it was not a strategy, but after almost a month of regular listening practice I have found this to be quite effective.
I am really excited to share the French podcasts I am listening to right now and as I am always on the lookout for more, if you have any to recommend, please do!
Intermediate French Podcast This podcast is specifically made for intermediate French students and there is a lot of advice to be found in these episodes on the best ways to learn French and how to stay motivated. The host, Hugo, speaks at the perfect pace so that almost every word he says is articulated and easily understood to the non-French ear. The topics discussed are varied, current, and discussed in a balanced way with lots of humour and I think it would be near impossible for any student at any level to not enjoy this podcast.
Quoi de Meuf I love a pop culture podcast and this one is one of the best in French I have found so far. It reminds me of the aforementioned The High Low, hosted by Clementine Gallot, and a different female co-host in every episode, they discuss topics ranging from feminism and patriarchy, art, sexuality, femicides, dating and basically every social and political issue facing women today. It isn’t all serious though, just like the High Low, they do discuss fun and low brow topics too. Definitely a huge favourite of mine, I highly recommend this one!
One Thing in a French Day Perfect if you have just five minutes to listen to something and want something light and easy to follow. Created by host, Laetitia, in order to help French students, I enjoy this podcast because it feels like a brief snippet of a day in France, exactly the premise of the podcast. The newsletter and subscription would better suit advanced French learners, but if you are not there yet, the back catalogue of episodes is so huge it would be enough to keep you going for quite a while.
Le Book Club For my fellow book lovers! Each episode is a discussion with an avid reader who shares a few books that matter to them and the reasons why. Ideal way to learn of new and old French authors and sometimes foreign authors too. There’s so many interesting discussions to be found here and beautiful perspectives and phrases to be discovered. My favourite episodes thus far were with Sylvia Whitman and Titiou Lecoq. Although not exactly the same premise, I suggest Literary Friction, which is about books and ideas, (English).
Parler Comme Jamais This one is for language buffs. I must say though, of all the podcasts, I find this to be the one I get confused with the most because it seems to me everyone in every episode, speaks way too fast. So, pro tip, you might need to slow down the speed which is such a useful tool on podcasts apps. The host, Laélia Véron, is passionate and curious about language, the uses of it and what it says about us. The discussions are really intelligent, nuanced, funny and incredibly interesting for any language lovers or linguists out there. For something similar in English listen to the fascinating and delightful Something Rhymes with Purple.
Beauty Toaster Podcast If like me, you love skincare and beauty, this podcast is a delight. The host, Chatal Soutarson, interviews women and men in various field in beauty, from up-and-coming entrepreneurs and brands, to skin doctors, aestheticians and wellness experts. There’s much to be learned here about skin science, self-image and lifestyle. If you’re interested in a similar podcast in English I recommend the excellent The Beauty Podcast with Sali Hughes, a wealth of skincare knowledge, and all for free.
Have you listened to any of these? What are your thoughts?