To give language learners a helping hand, we’ve compiled a guide on how to watch French TV online. Ideal for anyone looking to spice up their viewing schedule or get some helpful French lessons wrapped up in engaging drama à la française.
How To Watch French TV Online In 2024
French TV you can watch for free
Most guides covering how to watch French television in the US jump to streaming services or using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to watch shows direct from France.
But you can see and hear French being spoken on several free-to-view online channels:
BFMTV – World news, in French and with a French perspective.
France 24 – France 24 switches to English when accessed from States. But it dives deep into the news from France. Useful for cultural insights.
Arte – A French-German collaboration, Arte (Association relative à la télévision européenne) is a popular arts and culture channel. A small selection of their programming is available across the Atlantic. You can switch between French and English, making it useful for language learners.
TV5Monde – View a small number of French language videos from TV5Monde online.
You can also sign-up via Sling ($15 monthly) and get 7 French language channels on TV5MondePlus. With 10,000+ shows, it is the most extensive catalog of French shows and TV in the US.
Use a VPN to access French TV
A top tip on how to watch French TV online is to use a VPN and spoof the geo-blockers.
A quality VPN like NordVPN opens up a world of possibilities. Switching to a French server means you can watch local channels like a resident.
If you have any young learners in your household, check out the cartoons on Gulli.
You can even switch up the offerings on streaming services and see that people are France are watching on Netflix et al. Although, fair warning, this is interdit (forbidden.)
French TV on Streaming Services
Netflix has a stellar collection of French shows. Narrow by original language (web only) or by tapping “French shows” into search.
Netflix has its hands on several tp-tier shows like Lupin or Dix Percent (Ten Percent, but better known as, Call my agent.) Plus, a laundry list of comedy shows, documentaries, offbeat films, and reality TV.
Oh, and Emily in Paris if you want to learn how not to speak French!
Language learners can transform any Netflix original into French by switching to dubbed versions. And mix up the subtitles (English subs, French audio) to aid learning.
Amazon’s Prime Video, Hulu, and Apple TV offer much less. And they don’t make it as easy to find French originals.
Of course, on Amazon, you can rent or buy many of France’s finest shows — Engrenages (aka Spiral) is one to watch — alongside French cinematic classics. The Maid of Orlans has inspired several, which you can read about in our pick of 6 movies about Joan of Arc.
Aimed squarely at language learners, Lingopie helps you brush up on your French without jumping on a Transatlantic flight.
Lingopie helps by adding dual subtitles to tv shows. Use your existing Netflix account or access a wide selection of French shows from Newen, a subsidiary of France’s primary network channel, TF1.
A handy solution for French media fans recently landed online, with a compelling selection of shows and movies in one place: France Channel.
What it lacks in naming originality is offset by a vast library of French shows from all genres.
There’s a 7-day free trial, so worth checking out.
French shows on YouTube
YouTube is a reliable resource for finding old French programs, clips from modern shows, and a flood of French user-generated content (plus plenty of shows about France in English.)
In no particular order, here’s a handful of our favorite French language channels on YouTube:
Des Racines et des Ailes – an epic selection of history and culture documentaries.
Secrets de l’Histoire – French history in French. Absolument fascinant!
Palmashow – Très drôle.
Balade Mentale – The universe explained in French. One for curious minds and advanced learners.
France 24 – Catch the news in French with archives and a live channel. Unlike their website, this doesn’t auto-switch to English.
And that’s a wrap.
All the ways to watch French TV online without being in France.
Mix them all up, and there are numerous options for kicking back and enjoying French TV and cinema. Amusez-vous bien!