From witty humour to relatable storylines, TV shows have quickly become a way for us to connect with different cultures around the world. At Learn&Co we welcome a 360 approach to learning. We acknowledge varying methods of learning a language, including watching an amusing episode of your favourite TV show.
Research has shown that visual reinforcement increases your ability to remember what you learn. A study conducted revealed that 58% of English learners used TV shows such as ‘House of Cards’ to improve their language skills. Not only that, but numerous professional athletes have also been known to use TV shows to learn a new language. So, are you looking to join the 76 million native French speakers and 274 million fluent French speakers worldwide? Well, we can help you with that! Let’s take a look at some of the most popular TV series to watch, in order to start learning French today.
- Call my Agent
- The Hookup Plan (Plan Coeur)
- Le Bureau des légendes
- Serge le mytho
- N des émissions
- Maison Close
- Un Gars une fille
Call my Agent (2015-2022)
Known as a Netflix global sensation, Call my Agent is the first series to add to your list. This French comedic-drama is based in a Parisian talent firm. Agents scramble to keep their star clients happy and their business afloat. Following three main characters, Mathias, Gabriel and Andréa we watch them juggle one situation to another. All whilst highlighting circumstances that blend their personal and professional lives.
Since the show has a comedy element and an interesting story-line, beginners could have a go at learning French through the series. However, as there are certain events in the show that make understanding the show a little complicated. An intermediate learner would be more comfortable improving their skills with this show.
This next show hardly needs an introduction since it captured the nation’s attention; Lupin. The thrilling mystery series is based on the classic French story of Arsène Lupin, the world-famous gentleman thief and master of disguise. If you enjoy shows where the seemingly “antagonist” character is actually the “protagonist” you’ll be in for a treat! We follow Arsène Lupin’s journey as he sets out to avenge his father, after being wronged by a wealthy family.
The series progresses into a gripping and complex story-line. We’d recommend people with a stronger grasp of the French language to watch this. You’ll be exposed to French vocabulary, conversation nuances and language related to official investigations. Although, it would be an entertaining watch for everyone, regardless of your skill level.
If crime, mystery and suspense is your bread and butter, then Spiral is a must watch. This TV series follows the adventures of a French justice team made of police personnel and prosecutors. They must try to solve some of the toughest criminal cases of the city. Showcasing criminal activity happening all over Paris, the fictional series narrates each crime from viewpoints of all the people involved. With 8 seasons to watch, you’ll be binge watching the episodes in no time!
As there are several complicated investigations and dramas taking place, We believe an intermediate learner. Someone who is looking to challenge themselves with their French skills could give it a watch. Although, if you are more advanced in your French abilities, this is sure to be an enjoyable option for you.
The Hookup Plan / Plan Coeur (2018-2022)
Maybe you’re looking for something a little more light hearted? Well be prepared to laugh, cry and feel the true meaning of friendship with The Hookup Plan. In this series Elsa, who finds herself perpetually single after her failed 2 year relationship, can’t seem to figure out why she is so unlucky in love. So, her best friends decide to step in and build up her confidence by hiring her a male escort. To their surprise Elsa believes him, and they embark on a journey to renew her faith in dating, relationships and finding love. Follow these 3 women as they navigate their longtime friendship alongside the nuances of love.
This easy-going series is perfect for beginners to get into the swing of hearing and understanding French. With comedic phrases and more colloquial conversations being had, it’s a great chance to put your French skills to the test! Make sure to check in with our tutors here at Learn&Co, with our friendly demeanour we are sure to lead you down the right path when learning French.
Le Bureau des Légendes (2015-2020)
Nothing beats a TV series riddled with true life events and that’s what Le Bureau des Légendes offers! Once described as the ‘best television series hands down’ the unexpected twists within the show will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat. This drama and thriller series follows French intelligence officer Malotru, when he returns home after six years of undercover work in Syria. Based on real accounts and inspired by contemporary events, we see him struggle to forget his undercover identity, train a young recruit, and investigate when a colleague disappears in Algeria.
This five season series would be a chance for intermediate learners to put their skills to the test. Despite the show covering somewhat tense events, the conversations throughout are not too complex for those familiar with French to understand.
Serge le mytho (2016-2017)
Short, sweet and hilarious, is how We’d describe this next series. Serge le Mytho is a French comedy show produced by Jonthan Cohen, Kyan Khojandi, Bruno Muschio and Harry Tordjman. We follow different situations he becomes involved in, as each episode reveals a little more about his life.
The best part about this TV series is that each episode is only 3-8 minutes long! With countless other things demanding our attention from social media, work and family, this is the perfect start for beginners wanting to increase their French language skills.
SAV des émissions (2005-2012)
For all you Lupin fans, you might spot a familiar face in this next series! SAV des émissions, is a French short comedy series hosted by Omar Sy (Also seen in Lupin) and Fred Testot. Set in a call reception centre, this series comments on the news of the last few days in a short two-minute format, with comedic elements throughout. A fun yet informative way to report the news that appeals to a wide audience!
As the series invites numerous guests to discuss the less complicated topics of the week, We’d recommend all learners to watch SAV des émissions. Beginners through to intermediate will be able pick up key phrases and get to grips with upcoming French affairs. Whilst more advanced learners can kick back, relax and enjoy the show!
Set in the mediaeval times of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Kaamelott explores their daily life back in the 1950s. The show gives an offbeat account of King Arthur’s quest for the Grail. It details how virtually every adventure is stopped dead in its tracks by the round table’s bad traits of cowardice, greed, idiocy or misplaced chivalry. As a consequence, instead of epic adventures we are treated with the characters’ pragmatic and anachronistic take on each and every event in the Grail legend, true to the purest sitcom tradition.
This six season series takes you on a historical journey, albeit with comedic elements. We would suggest those of you who are more advanced in your French learning to take a look at this incredible series. Although, if you’re interested in history from the French perspective and are looking for a challenge as an intermediate learner, this one would be for you.
Maison Close (2010-2013)
Heading a little further back on our historical timeline we have Maison Close. This drama series provides a look at the world of brothels and prostitution in the late 19th century. It focuses on women who are trying to escape from servitude in a luxury brothel, the Paradise, in 1871 Paris. Unveiling the stories of three main women, we are taken through the hardship, tragedies and inspirational stories of women with nothing to lose.
Although the series highlights an older time in history, its compelling storyline would be suitable for all French learners to follow along. Its striking characters are sure to have you rooting for women all over the world but expect fairly explicit scenes throughout the series!
Un Gars une fille (1999-2003)
Last but certainly not least we have the widely popular Un Gars, une fille! Ever wonder what it would be like to have a TV show with your other half? Well, Un Gars, une fille takes that thought and makes it into a reality! This French comedy series created by Isabelle Camus and Hélène Jacques, is based on the eponymous 1997 Quebec TV series. The show is about a couple navigating their daily lives together. It stars Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy, who met during the audition for the series, who then started a real-life relationship during the last year of the show!
For a light-hearted watch perhaps on the weekends, or after a long day at work this show is for you. As the show has a more colloquial tone, funny antics and relatively short episodes, any beginner to intermediate learner would enjoy this series.
Have we convinced you to have a French TV marathon yet? From comedy to mystery, there‘s something for everyone in this list. Learning a language can often seem like a chore. However, by combining your desire to learn with entertainment, it’s definitely a skill worth developing. Luckily it doesn’t have to stop there! Once you’ve binge watched a few of these series why not contact our tutors here at Learn&Co? Through their years of experience and friendly demeanour, you‘ll be well on your way to polishing up the skills you’ve learnt. Trust me, those endless hours watching these French TV series won‘t be for nothing!