For many people, podcasts have become a part of everyday life. For language learners, they provide a great opportunity to study even when your hands aren’t free. The modern conundrum, though, is knowing which ones to listen to. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. To make it easier for you, we collected some of our favorite French-language podcasts, or balladodiffusiones. There’s something on this list for everyone who wants to learn French with podcasts, from beginners to advanced speakers.
Coffee Break is part of the Radio Lingua Network, which has introductory language podcasts for a few different languages. The point of the podcast is that you should be able to listen to one within the time it takes for a coffee break, which is about half an hour. The podcast has four seasons, and it gets more advanced as you go along, starting with bonjour and ending with the trickiest aspects of the French language.
Babbel’s first French podcast, Parlez Away is great for people just starting out. You can follow along with Ted, a Wisconsin native, who is learning how to speak French from Caroline, who hails from northwestern France. The podcast focuses on conversation French, and the very first episode is all about how to greet someone. The episodes also follow along with the basic structure of Babbel lessons, so it can be a good complement to your other learning.
If you want daily vocabulary lessons, you should check out Learn French With Daily Podcasts. Each morning, there’s a new episode that covers a specific phrase in the French language, and the episodes are only a few minutes long. Examples of episodes include “leech,” “oldest Parisians” and “momentary happiness,” making for a rather eclectic selection. This podcast is a good way to expand your vocabulary with words you might not run into otherwise, and it’s short enough to listen to whenever you get a free moment.
This podcast is the work of pretty much one woman, and it’s different from a lot of the other selections you’ll encounter. It’s kind of like an audio journal that updates with short, three-minute episodes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The topics of the episodes vary because, as the name says, it covers one part of the podcaster’s day in France. There are insights into French culture, history and minutiae, all delivered in French that is spoken deliberately, so it’s easier to understand than the language you would hear spoken casually on the streets of Paris.
If you really like the news and you’re pretty good at French, then this is the best podcast for you. Grand Reportage is one of the primary global news sources in France. Investigative reporters look into issues all over the world. Episodes have covered the financial crisis in Venezuela, the fight against tuberculosis in Peru and the Okinawan resistance to a new U.S. military base in Japan. Put out by Radio France Internationale, Grand Reportage is often the measuring stick with which other French international journalism is compared.
If you want to learn about France in French, then Sur La Route from France Culture should be your podcast of choice. The primary goal of the show is to visit a different territory of France every week, which teaches you about the culture of France far beyond Paris. To start, you can check out one of our favorite episodes, “Sur La Route … De Nuits Festives,” which is about the how the French have fun after the sun goes down (hint: there’s a decent amount of partying). It should be mentioned that France Culture also has a number of great podcasts for people with varying interests, including science, medicine and fiction. No matter what your interests, there’s a French podcast for you.