French TV for listening practice

French TV

A great source of French listening practice is television. In some ways, it’s better than listening to news on the radio or even audio created for French learners because the language is much more authentic. For example, there will be slang and lazy pronunciation, both of which will help train your ear for talking to French people in real life, rather than just chatting with your teacher and classmates.

How to access French TV

Obviously if you’re in France, it’s just a matter of switching on the TV and taking your pick from the dozens or hundreds of channels at your fingertips. But what about when you’re not in France? You still have several options.

Some French stations are broadcast all over the world, so check with your cable or satellite TV service to find out about international programming they may offer, such as these channels:

  • Arte – Culture, travel, and history
  • EuroNews – Business, movies, technology, and more
  • France24 – International news
  • RTBF – Belgian TV network offers a full range of programming, from culture to sitcoms to sports
  • TV5Monde – Documentaries, economics, medicine…

GlobalInternetTV offers streaming of 180 French TV stations, some free, some paying.

French TV shows

A sampling of some French television series you might enjoy. If your favorite isn’t on this list, please feel free to leave a comment!

Les Anges de la téléréalité – Reality series set in a different city every year

Braquo – Police drama set in Paris

Engrenages – Police and legal drama set in Paris

Fais pas ci, fais pas ça – Mockumentary about friendship between conservatives and liberals

Une famille formidable – Long-running romantic comedy about la famille Beaumont

Hero Corp – Humorous superhero / sci-fi series

Joséphine, ange gardien – Long-running tragicomedy about a guardian angel

Kaboul Kitchen – Comedy based on the true story of a Radio France journalist who ran a restaurant in Kabul

No Limit – Action / adventure / comedy series created by Luc Besson

Les petits meurtres d’Agatha Christie – Series based on French adaptations of Agatha Christie novels

Plus belle la vie – Long-running soap opera

Les Revenants – Supernatural drama set in a French mountain village

Un village français – Drama set in German-occupied France during World War II

More French TV

Of course there are also many great news and other non-fiction programs. Watch French news, documentaries, and game shows to work on your French listening comprehension while learning something new.

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Author info

Laura K Lawless

Laura is a French expert and Kwiziq's Head of Quality Control. Online educator since '99, Laura is passionate about language, travel, and cooking. She's American by birth and a permanent ex-pat by choice - freelancing made it possible for her to travel extensively and live in several countries before settling permanently in Guadeloupe. Laura is the author of Lawless French, Lawless Spanish, and other websites and books on French, Spanish, Italian, English, and vegetarianism. She spends most of her spare time reading, playing with food, and enjoying water sports.

Comments: 8

Hi Laura, I have been reading your Progress With Lawless French for a while now, and find it very useful. Do you know of any French TV shows with French subtitles? Thanks

No, I don't, but I believe you can enable closed captioning on most shows/tvs.

Merci beaucoup pour tout les émissions pour le télé français. C'est marvelous.

To address Barry's question....I receive TV5 Monde on our AT&T U-verse pkg in San Diego. Many of the programs are subtitled in English, especially movies, documentaries, travel and cultural programs. I love it!

LE TUNNEL is a great series as well - you can find it in French (there is also an English version.

One of my favourites is "Un gars, une fille", (Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy) a comedy that portrays the ups and downs in the relationship of a young couple. It consists of sketches of about three or four minutes in length, which is excellent for learning the language. There is a lot of colloquial French, the French you will not learn from textbooks. It is broadcast most weekend evenings on France 4 and is also widely available on You Tube.


J'aime Les Témoins sur France 2 (aussi sur Netflix Canada). For Barry: many of the French speaking series/movies on Netflix also have subtitles in French.


"Le Bureau des légendes" is a great TV series on Canal+. Seasons 1 & 2 are already out on DVD. Season 1 only has English subtitles, but season 2 has both English subtitles and French subtitles for the "sourds et malentendants". Season 3 is scheduled to be aired the 22nd of May 2017.