Learning French by watching TV series, could you think of something better?
I like to mix hard work with pleasure, don’t you. As I like watching movies and TV series and I had to learn French, I decided that I shall try to start watching french TV and see how it works for me. Firstly, I did not understand anything. Then, I decided to add the french substitutes to help me out but in this way I got even more confused. The French talk totally different to what they write! So I realize, I always have to have the subtitles if I want to learn French. So finally the combination of the subtitles and French ‘tv taking’ is ideal. From that moment, I have been watching French TV, silly programmes easy to understand …movies… well I still like to watch in English and they are too complicated in French for me, but I found for myself the typical, easy to understand French TV series. TV series are particular. They are specific to each country and culture. So while watching them in France, on top of learning the French language, I had a chance to look at the French culture, mentality, lifestyle. It is very interesting. There are many of them but I have found and want to share with you the best TV French series that will help you learn French.
- Un Gars, une Fille is a French comedy television series created by Isabelle Camus and Hélène Jacques. It stars the very famous, Oscar winner, actor Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy, who met during the audition for the series, and started a real-life relationship during the last year of the show…unfortunately, finally they got divorced. Un gars, Une fille has become one of the most popular French TV series and I can confirm, it is extremely funny. It is really a cult series in France, which used to gather 5 million viewers each day. As per the plot, it presents a detailed look into the lives and relationship of a French couple named Jean and Alex, nicknamed “Loulou” and “Chouchou”. Loving, laughing, crying, shouting and back to loving. Its format was only 7-minute-long episodes and it ran from 1999 to 2003. Un gars, Une fille consists of 5 seasons for a total of 486 episodes
- Scène de ménage is a French TV show freely adapted by Alain Kappauf from the Spanish TV show entitled Escenas de matrimonio. It broadcasts new episodes from Monday to Friday from 8:25 pm to 9:00 pm on the M6. The series shows the life of the three couples different 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, their joys and dilemmas that they face. It is quite funny and very easy to watch. You do not need to follow each episode but jump into any show that is on. I tend to watch it from time to time, especially when I wait for the real movie that is going to be displayed on TV and in France, the evening movies start at 9pm.
- Kaamelott is a French comedy medieval fantasy television series created, directed, written, and edited by Alexandre Astier, who also stars as the main character. This is really very, very humorous historical fantasy TV series, loved by French and it is on my list of things to watch and trust me, I cannot wait! Based on the Arthurian legends, it follows the daily lives of King Arthur (Astier) and his Knights of the Round Table in Camelot. Surrounded by the Knights of the Round Table who are quite incompetent, King Arthu is faced with the fall of the Roman and barbarian intrusions, yet he still has to find the Holy Grail despite all these setbacks. The series originally ran for six seasons, from 2005 to 2009, on the network M6. This popular series has been praised for its fidelity as, outside of comedic and linguistic liberties, it stays faithful to the mythology and historic context. While the series takes place in the 5th century, it uses modern language and situations to create a humorous view of the Arthurian legend.
- Versailles is a Franco-Canadian historical fiction television series, set during the construction of the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, that premiered on 16 November 2015 on Canal+ in France. It is the latest French TV series to hit the small screens in the UK. Versailles is the most costly series ever produced in France, involving a budget of around €30 million for the first ten episodes. 20 locations in the Parisian region were used for the series, including the magnificent Palace of Versailles just outside Paris as well as the nearby imposing Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. The series tells the story of how the Sun King, Louis XIV, transformed the hunting lodge he had inherited from his father into the palace that became the envy of the world.
- Plus belle la vie is a French television soap opera broadcasted since 30 August 2004. It is currently shown on France 3 on Monday to Friday evenings at 8:15pm. The show began with 17 main actors but the number has successfully grown. The series follows the daily lives of the inhabitants of “Le Mistral”, a fictional neighbourhood in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, where wealthy and less wealthy families live. The series has two main plots: the personal lives of the inhabitants of Mistral involving the daily lives, love and friendship and of criminal intrigues sometimes tinged with fantasies. Not my cup of tea but this is one of the most popular soap operas among the French. I simply haven’t been hooked up into this.
- Engrenage is a French television police procedural and legal drama series following the work and the private lives of Parisian police officers and lawyers and judges at the Palais de Justice. It is similar to The Wire. The series tries to present the French justice system as accurately as possible through the life of six different persons: a prosecutor, a lawyer, a judge, two lieutenants and a police captain. The series became very popular and has already been exported in more than 70 countries, making it one of the most popular French TV shows of all time. I do not like the crime drama so I have never come across watching this series but for many of you who like detective stories, this is highly recommended.
- Bref is a French television series created by Kyan Khojandi, cowritten with Bruno Muschio, and produced by Harry Tordjman for My Box Productions. The first episode was released on Canal+ the 29th of August 2011 and the show ended on the 12th of July 2012. There were eighty-two episodes, starring Kyan Khojandi and Bérengère Krief. To be honest, I have never heard about this show but apparently it is super hilarious comedy and now I am really tempted to watch it. The main character is an anonymous 30-year-old Parisian. He is single and unemployed, his life is boring until he meets a girl at a party who he falls in love with. As soon as the party is over, his only wish is to see her again. Many of the show’s episodes are devoted to his failed attempts at meeting up with her or really connecting.
- Fais pas ci, Fais pas ça is a French television series created by Anne Giafferi and Thierry Bizot. It debuted on September 8, 2007 on France 2. The series follows the lives of two neighboring families, Bouley and Lepic with opposite methods of education. The Lepic are rather “conservative” while Bouley appear as left-wing bourgeois. While their differences are evident, both families slowly become more and more drawn to one another along the way.
- Les Aventures de Tintin is an animated television series based on The Adventures of Tintin. I’m sure that most of you have already read or at least heard about this very popular comics. For the interesting fact: this comic was created in Belgium and not France, contrary to what most of us believe. Les Aventures de Tintin is based on a series of books written by Belgian cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé. The TV Series debuted in 1991; 39 half-hour episodes were produced over the course of its three seasons. The television series was directed by French director Stephen Bernasconi. Currently, each episode usually lasts for 45 minutes. This is also not my thing but from time to time I like watching easy to follow cartoon with Tintin.
- Il était une fois… la vie a French-Canadian-Belgian-Japanese-Swiss-Italian-Spanish animated television series which tells the story of the human body for kids. The program was originally produced in France in 1987. The series consists of 26 episodes. I don’t know about you but I remember this show from my childhood! I was watching it in Poland and I know it has been broadcasted in many other European countries. The series used the recurring lead characters: the good characters represent the cells that make up the body’s systems and defense mechanisms, such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, while the bad characters represent the viruses and bacteria that threaten to attack the human body. Every episode of the series featured a different organ or system within the human body (like the brain, the heart, the circulatory system, etc.). It was a very clever way to explain to kids the human anatomy and keep their attention thanks to the funny situations and characters starring in the cartoon. I am thinking of re-watching it but in French, obviously.
Small bonus: Un Dîner Presque Parfait . This is not really a tv series but a reality show which helped me out to learn real French, understand the french mentality and culture. It also helped me to learn a few french recipes , gave me many ideas for dinners and thanks to this silly show I discovered the french lifestyle. It made me laugh so many times. It is very easy to follow. It is not ambitious at all but good enough when you learn French and want to explore the French lifestyle.
So did you know any of the French TV series I listed above? I watched some and the others are on my list of things to do. However, I always look for more inspirations and ideas. Do you have any? If you know any other French TV series that you can recommend, I would appreciate it. Thank you!