Improving your reading skills is a key part of learning French. So what are the best French newspapers for language learners. Our guide to the French press will help you practice your reading skills and discover French culture.
Building up your reading skills is a key component of your overall level of fluency in French and it's essential if you plan to spend any time in a French speaking country. Not all French newspapers are suitable for all levels of ability, so we've grouped the top picks into their suitability for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. If you know of a great resource for learning French, plese get in touch. Enjoy!
As a beginner you might find some of the daily French broadsheets too challenging. One of the best ways to get to grips with French at a basic level is to ready the press which is primarily aimed at children and teenagers. You'll find the sentence structure and vocabulary easier to follow and these publications are a great way to start.
Play Bac presse, a leading publisher in France is behind Le petit quotidien, Mon quotidien, L'actu and L'eco. The goal is simple - to encourage French children to read more. Each publication is aimed at a different age group which makes it particularly useful to French learners. The series starts with Le petit quotidien, which is amied at 6-10 year olds and so makes perfect easy reading for beginners where you can pick up lots of simple common French phrases. Mon quotidien is targeted towards 10-13 year olds whilst L'actu and L'eco contain higher level vocabulary as they are for older teenagers and more suited to French learners at the B1 or B2 level. A subscription service is offered for all four publications but there is a wealth of reading material available for free.
Le journal des enfants is very much an online French newspaper for children covering sport, culture, world events and news from around France. 1 jour 1 actu is a similar online publication, again with lots of topical stories which are in an accessible format for French learners at the A1 / A2 fluency level.
For intermediate French learners we've selected a range of papers which should be suitable for anyone at the B1 to B2 fluency level. There should be something for everyone in this group.
For sports fans, L'Equipe has always been a paper with a substantial coverage of all sporting events. Le Parisien on the other hand covers a wide range of interests with stories on celebrities, sport, politics and culture.
If you prefer a bit more humour when learning French then look no further than Le Canard Enchainé. The literal translation is The Chained Duck or The Chained Paper, with "canard" being the French slang term for "newspaper". This is akin to something like Private Eye in the UK.
If your level of fluency is very advanced then you should probably consider reading French broadsheet newspapers. These are very similar to US and UK broadsheet newspapers so the level of vocabulary will be advanced together with more complex sentence structure. Whatever your level, do give them a try however they are most suited to learners around the C1 to C2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The real heavyweight daily papers in France are Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération. These are the equivalent of the Independent, the Times and the Guardian in the UK, or the New York Times and Washington Post in America. In the main they target educated readers who want in depth coverage of seriouse topics so not for the faint hearted.