The 15 Best TV Series to Learn French for All Levels

Watching foreign films or television series are both excellent ways to help you learn French.It helps you gather a better understanding of the daily lifestyle and expressions that French may use whilst consolidating your existing vocabulary. It can help you fine-tune your listening skills to adapt to the various speeds and accents you may encounter.

However, while it can be an enjoyable and productive way to cram a lesson into your day, the truth is that you don’t always have time to sit down to watch a two-hour tear-jerker about a bourgeois quadriplegic and his carer from the suburbs.

Fear not though, you can turn to the more manageable and reliable medium that is television. The two huge advantages that television has over film are those of time management (easier to fit around your schedule) and story depth (longer running time= longer character arcs and plotlines).

For this reason I have compiled a list of the best French language television series out there, past and present.

1. Les Aventures de Tintin

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 39

tintin tv series


Plot: Follow the adventures of a young Belgian detective and his loyal travel companion Snowy the dog as they travel the world, going from one adventure to the next.

Why watch it? Simply put: it’s a timeless classic. Originally a children’s comic book, the language is ideal for beginners, whilst the content is enjoyable for all ages.

2. Un Village Français

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 60



Plot: Drama set in the fictional town of Villeneuve during the Nazi occupation. Seen through the eyes of the populace, the prolonged state of fear brings out the best and worst in people, as the town rallies together to make it through this most trying of times.

Why watch it? One for the history buffs among you. An in-depth portrayal French life during this period, set against the historical backdrop of the Vichy government.

3. Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 56

Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça


Plot: Comedy depicting two contrasting families over the course of a year. While their differences are evident, both families slowly become more and more drawn to one another along the way.

Why watch it? In this classic sitcom format, the viewers are presented with an honest depiction of French humor, and its important role in what it means to be French.

4. Un Gars, une Fille

Difficulty: Advanced.

Number of episodes: 486

Un Gars, une Fille


Plot: A detailed look into the lives and relationship of a French couple. Loving, laughing, crying, shouting and back to loving. No stone is left unturned in this study of their everyday existence, and their consequences that can make or break even the most solid of connections.

Why watch it? One of France’s most popular television series, it is a firm fixture of the country’s pop culture. Originally from Quebec, the French adaptation has shortened the episode lengths down to seven minutes each – making for an ideal bite sized lesson somewhere in your day.

5. Engrenages

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced.

Number of episodes: 52



Plot: Police and legal drama series centering on the working relationship between the Parisian police and the justice system, as they work together to maintain peace and order in society.

Why watch it? Detectives, lawyers, judges, criminals. What’s not to like? Fans of crime shows in particular should make a note of it, as should anyone trying to take their study to the next level, as the language does become quite intricate at times.

6. Braquo

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced.

Number of episodes: 24



Plot: Following false accusations and the resulting suicide of their former colleague, four police officers band together to clear his name and, in doing so, put themselves in the firing line.

Why watch it? A truly action-packed thriller for the adrenaline seekers amongst you. With only twenty-four episodes, it also represents an achievable project.


7. Les Revenants

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 8



Plot: The serenity of a sleepy rural town is shattered by the inexplicable supernatural phenomena that start occurring. Sudden power outages, water levels depleting, weird skin marks and, most significantly, the return of their deceased loved ones.

Why watch it? A fresh take on a familiar supernatural/fantasy genre, breathing some now life into the public’s enduring fascination with zombies.

8. Kaamelott

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced.

Number of episodes: 458


Plot: Centered on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’s quest to locate the Holy Grail, this is a satirical reimagining of the well-known legends.

Why watch it? Thoroughly entertaining, with its mini episode format (around three and a half minutes) making this an extremely enjoyable way to practice your French comprehension.

9. Bref

Difficulty: Advanced.

Number of episodes: 82

bref-tv series


Plot: Follow ‘I’, a nameless 30 year old, through the monotony of his day-to-day existence, as he struggles to meet the basic goals that he believes constitutes a successful life.

Why watch it? A more insightful view of modern French culture is on offer in this frank series. However, the dialogue is very fast-paced, with most characters speaking at a relatively high-speed. As such, it may not be suitable for beginner to intermediate levels.

10. Plus Belle la Vie

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 2613

Plus Belle la Vie


Plot: Soap opera based in the fictional “le Mistral” neighbourhood in the Mediterranean port-city of Marseille. With more plot twists than a Hollywood movie, and plenty of melodrama, it’s more escapist than realistic in its portrayal of contemporary France.

Why watch it? While perhaps not considered to be the apex of highbrow intellectual viewing, the show is extremely entertaining.

11. Les Mystérieuses Cités d’Or

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 39



Plot: Sixteenth century historical/fantastical adventure anime. A young Spaniard and his navigator father set sail for the New World to search for legendary lost cities of gold.

Why watch it? A joint French and Japanese production, the animation is charming whilst the content is both enchanting and family friendly. It is ideal to watch with the kids before bedtime.

12. H

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 71



Plot: Back to a more conventional format.. The plot revolves around a Parisian hospital’s medical staff, and the  absurd situations that they face.

Why watch it? For the laughs alone, which this show delivers time and time again. Great for when you’re not looking for anything too serious, and just want to relax at the end of a long day.

13. Scène de ménage

Difficulty: Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 886

Scène de ménage


Plot: Adapted from the original Spanish show “Escepas de Matrimonio”, watch three couples of differing generations and the ways they make their relationships work for them. Each of the couples offers a different perspective, depending on where they are in their lives, of the diverse joys and dilemmas that they face.

Why watch it? A closer look into the ‘average’ French household. Well adapted from the original material. At times the humour can be quite dark, which may or may not be your cup of tea.

14. Mafiosa

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced.

Number of episodes: 40



Plot: After the murder of her notorious uncle, Sandra Paoli must take her place at the head of her family’s clan of the Corsican mafia. Assisted out by her brother, she dives head first into a world of violence, drugs, sex and money.

Why watch it? A feminist twist on the tried and tested crime drama genre, allegedly a dramatisation of the life of Sandra Casanova-Germani, sister of Jean-Luc Germani, currently France’s most wanted man. See the rise to power of a woman overcoming adversity (despite she is a criminal…), to prove that she deserves her title in the macho environment of organised crime. If The Sopranos and Weeds got together, then this would be their love child.

15. Il était une fois… la vie

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate.

Number of episodes: 26



Plot: Another French-Japanese animation creation. Aimed at children, we’re presented with an interactive tour of the human body and its various bits and pieces in an educational format.

Why watch it? Unless they’re particularly interested in expanding their French anatomy vocabulary, adults might want to give this one a miss. It is however, an excellent tool to help teach your kids French, while they might also learn a thing or two about blood vessels along the way.




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