Books & Tools
Useful Verbs & Grammar Books
You don't need a lot of books to learn French but, if you are at least a bit serious about it you will need a dictionary and a verb book. Of course you can get online dictionaries and verb conjugator but you will never get the passive learning benefit of browzing pages and integrate many words naturally.
• Essential French Grammar — by Seymour Resnick (small, cheap and easy to understand)
• La Conjugaison / Verb book — Bescherelle
• 501 French Verbs — Kaplan Publishing
• Grammaire Progressive du Français — Edition CLE (for beginner, use the orange one)
• Conjugaison Progressive du Français — Edition CLE
Online Support, Grammatical Tools & Podcasts
While books are fabulous, online gives you amazing tools if you like to be paperless. Those are websites that I and my students have used and loved. Enjoy those tool.
Online French Magazines, Newspapers & Stories
Even as a beginner, you’ll be surprised to see how much you can understand when reading. While I generally suggest to start with following a French twitter or instagram account, it will get you to read for short among of time, buying a French magazine or reading some articles online is the best way to get you started with reading... however, chose a subject of interest to you, it will make reading much easier.
When you feel ready to attack a book, it means that your French is going to make tremendous progress. It is the best way to expand your vocabulary, experience full sentences structures, and integrate the language in a engaging way. As always, chose a book subject that you love and that is appropriate to your level... one never learn by being bored or by having a challenge that is out of reach.
• Commissaire Maigret — Series by Georges Simenon
• Le Petit Nicolas — Series by Sempé / Goscinny
• Le Petit Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
• L'œil du loup — Daniel Pennac
Intermediate to advanced readings:
• Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part — Anna Gavalda
• L'échappée belle — Anna Gavalda (short stories)
• La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert — Joël Dicker (un auteur suisse romand)
• Le livre des Baltimores — Joël Dicker
• Un avion sans elle — Michel Bussi
• Classics by Jules Verne, Guy de Maupassant, Marcel Pagnol
• Murder Mysteries by Boileau-Narcejac, Guillaume Musso, Fred Vargas
One of the best way to learn with effortless effort. While practicing your French ear you’ll have the feeling to be in another country.
Listen to French Singers
There is nothing like learning a language through singing, you can connect personally to your favorite singers and music, and slowly get to understand everything... well, maybe not exactly everything but close. Print the lyrics, it will help tremendously with comprehensions. Voilà a few wonderful French singers to sing with...
Georges Brassens, Edith Piaf, Juliette Greco, Charles Aznavour, Jacque Brel, Françoise Hardy, Barbara, Françis Cabrel, Maxime Le Forestier, MC Solar, ex-Madame la Présidente Carla Bruni, Stromae, Grand Corps Malade, Zaz, ...
Watch French Movies & Series
You'll find many wonderful French movies and series on Netflix, YouTube, at your library or even, maybe, at a video store near you if you are still using them. Enjoy watching with or without French or English subtitles. Here are a few favorites...
• Les Intouchables — The Intouchables
• L'élégance du hérisson — The Hedgehog
• Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain — Amélie
• Les choristes — The Chorus
• Il y a longtemps que je t'aime — I've Loved You So Long
• Au revoir les enfants — Goodbye, Children
• La guerre des boutons — War of the Buttons
• Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles — The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
• Le prénom — What's in a Name?
• Dix pour cent — Call my Agent! - Netflix
• Lupin — Lupin - Netflix