Best podcasts for learning French?

Hello. I’ve been using SSI to learn Welsh and am really keen on the method. I need to learn French, and (1) am distressed at the lack of a SSI French course and (2) overwhelmed by the wealth of resources available online for learning. The things I like best about SSI are the podcast format, so I can listen on the go without having to read anything, and the focus on learning phrases rather than going through the logic of the grammar first. Does anyone here have any recommedations about where I might find online French lessons that might suit me? I’m concerned mainly with being able to speak French and understand spoken French - reading and writing isn’t so urgent. I have a GCSE in it but am pretty rusty.


Mmmm… people often namecheck Michel Thomas as being similar to SSi, and there are certainly some points of similarity - his beginners French course might help reactivate a bunch of stuff for you, but I think his Advanced French course is the worst piece of work he did, getting bogged down in all sorts of unhelpful grammatical stuff that’s neither fish, fowl nor good red herring.

What’s your timescale like? :slight_smile:


I’ve been reading tips on Benny Lewis’ website in the last few days, and I have I found quite a few useful things.

I’ve seen him and someone else suggesting to check this out (all levels)
I’m not studying French at the moment, so I can’t tell if they’re good though!

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Thanks! No urgency, really - I have a (newish) French boyfriend, so ample opportunities to practice, but don’t want to burden him with having to teach me absolutely everything. I will check out Michael Thomas’s beginners course!

Thank you - I will check that out too!

J’ai dit à Aran quand il est venu à Oxford que je me suis rendu compte que je sais parler français sans y mélanger le gallois – ce que j’arrive pas à faire ni avec le catalan ni le grec – donc si tu as des questions après les vacances de mi-trimestre…

Ddudais i wrth Aran pan daeth o i Rydychen bo’ fi ‘di sylweddoli bo’ fi’n medru siarad Ffrangeg heb ei chymysgu efo’r Gymraeg – rhywbeth dw i ddim yn llwyddo gwneud efo’r Gatalaneg neu’r Roeg – felly os oes gen ti gwestiynau ar ôl hanner tymor…

I said to Aran when he came to Oxford that I’d realised that I can speak French without mixing Welsh int with it – which I can’t manage with wither Catalan or Greek – so if you’ve got questions after half term…


Thank you Richard - will be glad of any advice! I’m familiar with that phenomenon … any sentence I can start in French generally gets finished in Welsh. My brain seems to have settings only for ‘English’ and ‘Not English’, so if I’m trying to speak anything other than English, v anything goes …


We might have something to help a bit at some point next year… :wink:


Paul Noble’s complete French course is really good, and is in all audio format. It’s a bit like Michel Thomas Method but easier to follow, and if you buy the downloadable audio version it costs less than £20 for over around 15 hours of lessons.

There’s also a website and Youtube channel called ‘Language Transfer’ which produces language courses that are a bit like Michel Thomas Method too, but they are free. They have an ‘Introduction To French’ course available that has good reviews:


Hi Rebecca , if you Skype you can chat to me. I am a fluent French speaker and also need some practice ( I used to work entirely in French for some years in accounts and sales) . I know there is some fantastic stuff on You Tube too

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Does excited dance

@neil-kendall Thank you for this - exactly the sorts of things I’m looking for! Will check these out …

@maynard Thank you! But I already have a French person on hand (Mr Rebecca) … I have opportunities to chat but just don’t want to burden him with having to teach me everything to get me up to a decent standard!


Hi Rebecca. Have you looked at the BBC Learn French site? The page is now archived but it contains a wealth of materials, for all levels, and the links seem to be active (including Radio France Internationale which, rather like the BBC World Service, has a number of learners’ resources including what looks like a great bilingual audio drama (transcripts etc all there) for ‘your first steps in French’.
Pob lwc!


Thank you - will take a look!

please keep me in the loop if you need anything :slight_smile:
(native French speaker)


That’s very kind - diolch :slight_smile:

Edit for addendum

Good hints here! Lawless French is great for grammar as is Lawless Spanish. Also many streaming services have foreign language options with dubbing or closed caption options. A bit over my head but amusing.

I have found the 101 programs immensely & needlessly difficult. The organization is crazy & you have to teach yourself a lot. Also there’s no good way to just listen to any of the lessons and pick out what’s important or recall very much ime. There’s not much else in Czech out there so i use it but I’m not happy with it. I haven’t even tried the French yet.

Aran, that would be wonderful. Im going nuts, I “know” so much French but its very difficult to use. There is nothing else out there that is as solid a language learning platform as SSI!

Dw’in dysgu Cymraeg y dda, a dwi eisiau dysgu Ffrangeg, merci pour votre assistance en future!

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… oh … that was 4 years ago … oops …


Yeah, but it turns out four years is about the correct period of time to wait for things I think will be ‘close to ready next year’ :wink:

Because we’re in the final stages of the work right now that will let us produce a lot of new courses quickly, and French will definitely be one of them - so next spring is looking very likely :slight_smile:


That’s very exciting Aran! T’in gwnaed yn dda :grin: Diolch yn fawr iawn. Dwi’n gwneud yr hen gwrs achos dwi’n gorffen Level 1 cwrs newydd. Mae’n ddiddorol iawn, and its very different, and I think great to come to after completing Level 1 of new course. Dwi’n mynd i gerdded rwan, evo Challenge 6, cwrs Spaenaidd. Diolch i ti a ti’n gwraig.

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