French Audiobooks to Practice Your Reading and Listening
Like many in the language-learning community, I have learned that there is no such thing as “spare time”. The myriad combination of sounds that reach my eardrum truly matter! It may sound a little smug to those who don’t know the value of fifteen minutes on a bus with a set of headphones, but I do not leave my audio to chance. I choose to curate the combination of noises filling my head. And the best part is, I don’t concern myself too much about whether every bit of what I hear will make sense to me. This has to do with a theory of language learning that has worked well for me, and other language learners I know.
For me, one of the best things about learning French is listening to that beautiful language. If you agree, then imagine… the very best of French lit, curated to your taste, can trickle directly into your earbuds at almost any time! In the happy event that my enthusiasm is contagious, here is a selection of French audiobooks that might just make it into your own collection of useful favourites.
French audiobooks for the child in you
Le Petit Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This book is one of the big rewards of developing French language proficiency. It is a memorable classic, best read in its original language. This little novel could be challenging for anyone still working their way up to an intermediate level – and who wants to miss the magic of the book with a premature attempt? Enter French Audiobooks. This title is widely available as an audiobook, but I found the dual-language version useful when I first read it. This version also comes with a PDF copy of the book, and you can access the text via the YouTube link (above) as well.
Le Tour du Monde en 80 Jours – Jules Verne
Widely known among English-speakers as Around the World in 80 Days, this classic may already be nestled in your childhood memories in one form or another. If you are a fan of adventure or travel literature, this is one of the quintessential titles of those two genres. The copy I have linked to is free to download at www.literatureaudio.com.
Classics of Yesterday and Tomorrow
These well-loved classics continue to be relevant because they still resonate.
Le Père Goriot – Honoré de Balzac
Any 19th Century literature review worth its salt will mention this book. It is the story of a father whose immense devotion to his daughters goes unrewarded, to say the least. This book is part of de Balzac’s trailblazing work in Literary Realism, a genre that emphasizes accuracy in minute detail. If you like this style, you might consider exploring the famous works of Alexandre Dumas and Gustave Flaubert, also available as French Audiobooks.
La Belle et La Bête – Charles Perrault
This short story, available in French audiobook format from librivox.org, is one of the famous classics that Charles Perrault wrote to contribute to the Fairy Tale genre. One of the benefits of listening to a classic like Beauty and the Beast in French is that most of us know the story well already, which gives us context for new words and the interesting vocabulary of the genre.
We live in consequential times! At least a few of today’s bestsellers are likely to become the classics of tomorrow. We know for certain that they are engaging and well-written, for the most part. There are many popular French Audiobooks available for purchase at audible.com and or via Amazon as a CD, such as L’élégance du Hérisson by Muriel Barbery, to give just one example.
Learn French faster using LingQ
Immersing yourself in French doesn’t require you to travel abroad or sign up for an expensive language program.
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Philippe Croteau is a professional language consultant and language learner in Simcoe County, Ontario, where he lives with his great partner and two amazing daughters. He speaks French, English, Japanese, and can make a ton of mistakes in German, Russian, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and Arabic.