Best French Netflix Shows To Help You Learn French
Learning a language by binge-watching Netflix shows, sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Well, I’ve been studying French every day since the beginning of 2020, and my main learning activity has become French TV shows and it’s working! Now, I don’t mean I put on the show and the French will magically absorb into your brain like (if only). the technique I use involves creating a lesson on LingQ with the episode script, studying it and then watching the episode straight after. This way I get the gist of what’s going on and I can enjoy the show even when I get a little lost (which happens a lot).
Create Lessons with French Netflix Shows
Before I share the shows I have had the most success with in my French language learning journey so far, let me show you how to make lessons with Netflix shows on LingQ.
Step 1: Create Your Lesson with the LingQ Browser Extension
You can download the LingQ browser extension for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Once you have it, add it to your toolbar and you can click on it to make a lesson out of any page you come across with French content, not just Netflix shows. It really is a game changer!
Step 2: LingQ Words and Phrases
Next I work my way through the lesson, making LingQs with words and phrases I don’t know. This can take a while depending on how long the episode is and your French level (I’m a low intermediate learner), but it’s so worth it.
Step 3: Watch the Show with French Subtitles
Of course, if your French level is high enough that you don’t need the French subtitles up, do without. That will really test your listening skills. I’m not there yet so I always have the subtitles up. I thought at first that reading along to the subtitles would make the show less enjoyable, and I have to admit it took a few episodes to get used to, but then I was so motivated by how much I was able to understand that I didn’t care.
So let’s get into these French Netflix shows!
There is a town in France where the murder rate is six times that of the national average. The town is deep in the forest in a radio dead zone. This town is called Villefranche and some weird stuff happens there… all the time.
Major Laurène Weiss is the head of the police, or Gendarmerie, in the town. We get glimpses of something terrible that happened to her in the forest as a teenager throughout season one. She’s had a dark connection to the place ever since. Weiss isn’t the only character with a dark past. The hilarious Prosecutor Franck Siriani arrives in Villefranche to look into the murder rate, haunted by a past mistake and searching for redemption.
Zone Blanche is well-written, the acting is excellent and each episode leaves you wondering what exactly the deal is with this spooky town. As for the French, I found the scripts easy to work through as lessons on LingQ. Each episode is around 50 minutes long, so lots of text to get through, but totally worth it. I was nearer to the beginning of my French learning journey when I started this show and so it took me around 45 minutes to an hour to get through the lesson.
You think your family is complicated? Detective Damien Carrot has to work with his mum, convicted serial killer Jeanne Deber dubbed “La Mante” (the mantis), in order to catch a copycat killer who is terrorizing Paris.
Not everything is at it seems with Jeanne, as we discover as this gruesome mini-series plays out. I for one was rooting for her from the get go! Maybe I was just excited to see a female serial killer, but I also really like the way Carole Bouquet plays the character.
There were some tough back-and-forths in this show. I found some episodes time-consuming to LingQ my way through for sure. Maybe it was because there were lots of wordy exchanges spoken quite quickly, maybe it was because there was some tough vocabulary, but this didn’t put me off. I enjoyed the show so much it took away the feeling of studying the script before watching as a chore, and that’s so important when looking for content in your target language.
So you may have noticed a pattern of female-lead, spookiness. What can I say, I’m a bit of a spooky female myself!
I LOVED Marianne. The show follows horror novelist Emma who has realized that the awful things she writes actually happen in the real world. She goes back to her hometown for a friend’s funeral (a friend whom she had to watch die in a gnarly way!) and reconnects with her old group of friends. Emma is another character tortured by a tragedy in her past, one that impacted everyone in her friend group and made her leave her hometown “for good”.
So who’s Marianne? Well, she’s an old witch and the root of all the horror in the show… she’s also terrifying so good job to the makeup department on this show. I most definitely felt a chill run down my spine when I turned out the light on the nights I watched this. I found it really enjoyable to work through as a LingQ lesson. It’s the last series I watched and so my French is that much better, but I also think it was down to the more simple dialogue. There are also stretches of tension-building silence, so not as much to get through as with Zone Blanche and La Mante.
I’m surprised and sad that this show won’t return for another season. Critics and audiences rated it highly. Maybe it’s another casualty of 2020.
So there you have it, the three French Netflix shows that I have enjoyed the most so far this year. Have you discovered any awesome shows or movies recently? Let me know!
Not into Netflix? Here are some awesome French YouTube channels you might like.