The 23 Most Captivating French TV Series on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube in 2023
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The Top 23 French TV Series to Watch in 2023
Are you already using movies to learn French? Take it to the next level by adding French TV series to your language learning arsenal. Not only will you improve your listening skills, but you’ll also learn valuable common French idioms and everyday French phrases.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of 23 amazing French TV series that are sure to help any French learner, regardless of your current level of proficiency.
French Shows to Watch on Netflix
1. “Dix pour cent” (“Call My Agent!”)
If you haven’t yet watched “Dix pour cent”, stop what you’re doing and start streaming it now. This witty dramedy showcases the power of clever writing, talented actors, and of course, the beautiful city of Paris.
The series follows the daily lives of four not-so-competent film agents who are determined to make their clients happy while also making a profit (the French title translates to “Ten percent,” which is the commission the agents receive). Initially intended to highlight the ridiculousness of the real-life film industry, the show unexpectedly made the agents into interesting and endearing characters. With their chaotic personal lives, workplace conflicts, and outrageous meetings, they are relatable to many viewers. And with appearances by real Hollywood stars like Juliette Binoche and Sigourney Weaver, who play themselves as client guest stars, the show is both hilarious and authentic.
Our stay in Paris has been extended, thanks to the captivating series "Lupin" that is set in the beautiful French capital. The show revolves around Assane Diop, who is likened to a Senegalese Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and a skillful gentleman thief, all rolled into one. The show has rightly earned the crown of the most-watched series on Netflix in the first quarter of 2021 due to its gripping storyline. Assane's thirst for vengeance dates back to his childhood, and his plan to steal Marie Antoinette's necklace from the Louvre will leave you on edge. But despite his criminal intentions, it is hard not to be charmed by him.
If you enjoy spy movies with a satirical edge, you'll love the delightful dramedy "A Very Secret Service." Set in Paris in the 1960s, the show follows the journey of André Merlaux as he joins the French Secret Services as a trainee officer. The series is a parody of France's situation during the Cold War era and accurately portrays the political and social changes taking place at the time.
For those who enjoy French comedies and their unique brand of humor, "Family Business" is a must-watch. This show will leave you laughing out loud, with its relatable characters and witty dialogues. It's the perfect way to unwind after a long day.
The comical French series "Family Business" follows the story of entrepreneur Joseph Hazan, who makes the bold decision of transforming his father's kosher butcher shop into a marijuana café. With marijuana about to become legal in France, Joseph sees an opportunity to start a business that will finally bring him success. Along with the help of his family and friends, the Hazans embark on a series of zany and often unfortunate events that make for an exciting and entertaining show.
Another French comedy series that is worth binge-watching is "Plan Coeur" or "The Hook Up Plan." The show revolves around Elsa, a woman who is still mending a broken heart from her ex-boyfriend after two years. Her friends and co-worker come up with a plan to hire a male escort named Jules to help her forget about her ex. However, things quickly get complicated when Elsa starts developing romantic feelings for Jules, making for an engaging and romantic plot.
If crime thrillers are more your style, "The Forest" is a great choice. This miniseries tells the story of the disappearance of Jennifer, a teenage girl who went missing in a forest surrounded by mystery for years. As the police investigation unfolds, secrets and mysteries about the forest start to unravel, but there is nothing supernatural about the series, just classic drama and thrills.
Finally, on Amazon Prime, "The Adventures of Tintin" is a classic French series that is perfect for all ages. This animated show follows the adventures of Tintin, a young Belgian reporter, and his dog Snowy as they embark on exciting journeys around the world. With its rich history and timeless appeal, "The Adventures of Tintin" is worth watching for anyone looking to improve their French language skills.
If you're like me and grew up in the '80s or '90s, chances are you read the Tintin comics at some point in your life. Interestingly, the popular comic character was actually created in Belgium and not France, as many believe. Nevertheless, the series, titled "Les aventures de Tintin," is a nostalgic trip down memory lane that's sure to bring back fond childhood memories.
First introduced in 1991, the series is adapted from "The Adventures of Tintin" comic book series and typically lasts for about 45 minutes. Nowadays, you can catch reruns of the show on kids' channels or even purchase all three seasons on Amazon and relive the excitement.
Moving on to more mature fare, "Un village français" ("A French Village") is a gripping portrayal of life in Villeneuve, a fictional French village during the German occupation of France in 1940. The series explores the psychological struggle and moral dilemmas faced by the villagers as they try to survive amidst the harsh realities of the war.
If you're a fan of war dramas that aren't solely focused on combat, then "Un village français" is a beautifully directed show that you shouldn't miss.
Lastly, if you're looking for a spine-tingling thriller, "Les revenants" ("The Returned") is a must-watch series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The show revolves around a group of people who mysteriously return to life in a small French mountain town, as their loved ones try to unravel the unsettling truth behind their reappearance.
Overall, whether you have a taste for nostalgia, historical dramas, or supernatural thrillers, these French TV shows are bound to satisfy your cravings.
They definitely hit the nail on the head with the show's summary, declaring it to be an unparalleled homecoming. "Black Spot" tells of a group of people who return to their homes, years after their deaths, acting as if nothing ever happened. This, understandably, shocks their families and friends, particularly because the returnees do not remember ever having died. This thrilling series is a great way to pick up some French while enjoying a genre not typically available in the language. So, if you love to be kept on the edge of your seat, you'll be killing two birds with one stone.
If French Secret Service series is your thing, then you're in for a treat—there seems to be a surge of them. "The Bureau" addresses this topic as well, however, it delves into the lives of undercover agents who are based on the real-life accounts of French spies who carried out their missions in various cities across the globe. Their primary task was intelligence gathering and recruitment. Nothing out of the ordinary there. However, now that they're back in their home country, they struggle to adjust to their former lives and society. This show is perfect for anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the issue of jihadism and how it has become a real challenge in France over the years.
If Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson existed in 18th-century France, it's likely they would have been referred to as Nicolas Le Floch and Bourdeau, respectively. "Nicolas Le Floch" transports its viewers to the Paris of Louis XV, where assassinations, conspiracies against the crown, and scandals are as common as bathtubs. The series follows Police Commissioner Le Floch and Inspector Bourdeau as they solve murders, reveal secrets, and attend to scandals at every level of Parisian society. "Nicolas Le Floch" may be a bit challenging for beginners and intermediate French learners, but the show's suspenseful narrative of intrigues, conspiracies, and scandals makes it well worth the watch.
"Zone blanche" or "Black Spot" in English, is a show where the last statement on its summary is spot on: it is absolutely a unique homecoming. After countless years, a group of people returns to their hometowns, as if nothing out of the ordinary has occurred. But they had died years before. Their return bewilders their families and friends, especially because the returnees don't remember having died. This gripping series is a fantastic way to improve your French while enjoying a genre not usually available in the language. So, if you're seeking something thrilling, "Black Spot" has got you covered.
Another forest is added to our list, this time situated in Villefranche.
“Black Spot” narrates the story of Major Weiss who returns to her hometown in Villefranche to investigate why the crime rate is six times higher than the national average in this small town.
Every chapter starts with a thrilling event that demands a solution.
As Major Weiss attempts to resolve these mysteries, she concludes that many of them could be linked to the nearby forest. However, when she probes deeper, she realizes that she has opened Pandora’s box.
French TV Shows to Stream on HuluWith Hulu not being available in France, the original French language content is scarce.
We have revealed our favorite show in this section, but if you want to maximize your French learning progress with Hulu, you should consider watching French movies instead.
13. “Maison close” (“Brothel”)
Once again, we travel to Paris, but this time it’s in 1871, where three women are trapped in a high-end brothel called Paradise.
The women include the brothel owner, Hortense, who exploits her girls by increasing their debts to keep them from finding freedom. Vera is about to turn 35 and sees her only hope in Baron Du Plessis, her sole client who can pay off her debt. Lastly, Rose is trapped in the brothel and forced to work for Hortense, while also attempting to locate her mother who formerly worked in Paradise.
Despite the location and setting, the series bases its plot on the characters' lives and how they handle the dramatic situations, as opposed to the obvious brothel theme.
French TV Shows to Stream on YouTube
14. “7 jours sur la planète” (“7 Days on the Planet”)
With “7 Days on the Planet,” we can accomplish two objectives at the same time: stay informed about current events and practice speaking French.
This program is dedicated to providing a weekly roundup of the latest news, with a focus on francophone countries. Their YouTube channel regularly uploads select segments of the show, offering learners the opportunity to watch experts discussing topics like deconstructing stereotypes and the neurotoxicity of screens. Engage in interactive clips on the TV show’s website, categorized by proficiency level, and test your listening comprehension through exercises like fill-in-the-blanks and multiple-choice questions.
At number 15, we have “bref.”, a YouTube channel with 82 episodes and over 80 bonus clips as of October 2021. This funny microlearning channel depicts Parisian life from a sarcastic, even over-the-top perspective, making use of Parisian slang that may challenge beginners but is perfect for those trying to learn that variety of French.
At number 16, we have “Caméra Café”, a series that puts us in the point of view of a coffee machine at the headquarters of a large French company. Through the witty discussions of the CEO’s driver, director of human resources, and full-time psychologist, this parody of the daily lives of French workers will keep you laughing while also teaching important vocabulary related to corporations and office work.
17. “Qui veut gagner des millions?” – the French Version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
Explore the world of knowledge and culture with a French twist in “Qui veut gagner des millions?”. This popular game show dares contestants to answer multiple-choice questions that can help them win a million dollars.
Although not currently airing, with the exception of charity programs that involve celebrities, there are plenty of full episodes and exciting clips that you can watch on YouTube in the meantime: look them up!
As the contestant works towards the grand prize, they can receive invaluable assistance from the 50/50, a phone-a-friend option, or the audience poll. Tune in to this thrilling program and not only will you learn amazing facts about the French history, tradition and culture, but, who knows, you may even be the next lucky contestant holding that coveted check!
18. “Les guignols” – A Puppet Show with a Twist
Discover a unique and irreverent news perspective in “Les Guignols” – a puppet show that uses satire to bring light to current events and create popular catchphrases in French culture. Their entertaining and thought-provoking sketches challenge conventional thinking and politicians alike, influencing the French public in ways that many other media sources cannot.
Although the show is focused on French politics, international events are occasionally parodyed too. Follow the puppets as they tackle current affairs in France and learn vocabulary words related to the economy, business, and politics.
19. “C’est pas sorcier” – Science Made Easy
Get your science fix with the YouTube channel “C’est pas sorcier”. Hosted by Jamy Gourmaud, the show covers a wide range of topics, from the expected, like electricity and snow, to the unexpected, such as religion and opera.
Each informative episode is only about a minute long and will leave you wanting more. If there’s a subject you want to explore, chances are, you’ll find it on this channel. Jamy keeps his content current, covering “trending topics” around the world.
Tune in to this captivating channel and learn something fascinating about science every day.
Indulging in science shows is no longer a tedious or complicated task, thanks to the French series “C’est pas sorcier” or “it’s not magic” in English. Covering all prerequisite information without any knowledge gaps, it is an accessible tool for beginners and experts alike.
However, if you desire more French content, there are numerous shows to watch online. Streaming platforms require subscriptions, or you may purchase an account with a French service. Below are four noteworthy types of French TV series, plus some tips for the best way to consume them.
First up is Marseille-based “Plus belle la vie.” This show depicts life in an imaginary neighborhood called “the Mistral”, showing everyday life and love or friendship stories. While a fantastical detective spin adds to the excitement, the French humor may confuse beginners.
“Engrenages,” or “Spiral,” is another crime-based French TV series to consider. With a focus on the legal system of Paris, it follows multiple characters and plotlines. Although the show may fall short in realism according to some legal experts, it continues to be a widespread export of France.
“Kaamelott,” a fantasy series, follows the titular main character King Arthur on his quest to be worthy. While medieval-themed, it is an amusing slapstick take on the legendary character and his loyal Knights of the Round Table. Stunning French landscapes and castles serve as a backdrop, which enthralls viewers.
Lastly, if films inspired by real-life events captivate you, try out “Braquo.” Four policemen become vigilantes after a colleague’s suicide. The police officers’ nemesis intermittently monitors them, while they attempt to honor their deceased friend.
When studying any language with TV series, it’s important to choose a genre you enjoy. While crime may be confusing for beginners, perhaps starting with a modern series is ideal, then slowly branching out. Turning subtitles on and off to learn French pronunciation is advantageous, as well as having study resources on hand. Interactive subtitles with FluentU's French Language learning program aids viewers in understanding vocabulary and context.
One of the most effective ways to learn French is through native media, especially TV series. It can motivate viewers to master the complex language more easily. Try watching one of the 23 French TV series mentioned in this article, and take one step closer to achieving fluency. Happy viewing!
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