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Binge-learn French: French Shows & French Movies on Netflix

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When you think about language-learning, what are the first apps that come to mind? I bet Netflix is not among them, but think about it for a moment. What if you could improve your French from the comfort of your couch, without any schedule-crushing commitment?

Netflix France features many French movies and French TV shows, but you can also find many of them while in your country. They’re not necessarily easy to filter, and sorting by audio will give you many dubbed American movies, but this is a good place to start if you want to get the list of all French movies on Netflix and all French TV shows on Netflix.

Now that this unstoppable Behemoth of streaming is taking television by storm, it’s only fair we talk about how you can combine work with pleasure and boost your French like you’ve never dared to dream of.

Wondering what to watch on French Netflix, or what French language Netflix shows are worth your time?

In this article, we’ll first see how watching French TV shows on Netflix can boost your French. But first, I’ll give you a list of the ten great French series on Netflix right now! These French Netflix must-watch shows are just what you need to make French fun again.

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Table of Contents

  1. The Frozen Dead
  2. Transfers
  3. The Break
  4. The Hook Up Plan
  5. No Second Chance
  6. November 13: Attacks on Paris
  7. Cannabis
  8. The Long Long Holiday
  9. Witnesses
  10. Osmosis
  11. Can I Really Boost My French Watching Series?
  12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French


1. The Frozen Dead

Original French title: Glacé
Genre: Thriller

In the Pyrénées mountains, a duo of police captains is called to investigate the corpse of a decapitated horse that was found 2000 meters high, on the top of a cable car. As more mysterious deaths start piling up, they appear to be connected to a notorious serial killer, incarcerated years before.

Based on a book by Bernard Minier, Glacé is the kind of grim and disturbing crime drama the French are especially fond of. Come for the gruesome murders, stay for the depressing yet gorgeous scenery. But the real highlight here is the ubiquitous French actor Charles Berling facing a Hannibal Lecter-esque serial killer, making for a tense face-to-face.

Here are a few words to help you make it through this gritty French Netflix thriller:

Une victime
“A victim”
C’est la seconde victime en moins de 24 heures.
“It is the second victim in less than 24 hours.”
Un meurtre
“A murder”
Je vous arrête pour le meurtre de John Smith.
“You are under arrest for the murder of John Smith.”
Un tueur en série
“A serial killer”
Le tueur en série n’a jamais été appréhendé.
“The serial killer was never caught.”
Le téléphérique
“The cable car”
Le corps a été trouvé au sommet du téléphérique.
“The body was found on the top of the cable car.”
    → Make sure to visit our vocabulary list about Snowy Weather, with audio recordings, to practice your pronunciation. It’s freely available on FrenchPod101.


2. Transfers

Original French title: Transferts
Genre: Sci-Fi

In the near future, science allows doctors to transfer a spirit from one body to another. Once allowed only for therapeutic purposes, it’s now illegal and the BATI brigade has been created to hunt down the transférés (transferred): people who’ve been through an illicit transfer.

With its convincing cast, a carefully detailed universe, and an interesting plot that addresses the social issues and philosophical implications of technology, Transfers sheds a frightening light on many issues of our modern societies. Take, for example, the merchandisation of the human body or the abuse of surveillance and police authority.

French science-fiction is a very rare thing, especially done right, but it succeeds here thanks to a minimalism that makes it a more grounded and believable version of its American counterpart, the action-packed Altered Carbon. If you’re going to watch French Netflix, this is a good one indeed.

Un corps
“A body”
Il est dans un nouveau corps.
“He’s in a new body.”
Un esprit
“A mind”
Son esprit a été transféré.
“His mind has been transferred.”
La mémoire
“The memory”
Il a perdu la mémoire.
“He has lost his memory.”
Une greffe
“A transplant”
Ton esprit a été greffé dans un nouveau corps.
“Your mind has been transplanted into a new body.”


3. The Break

Original French title: La trêve
Genre: Crime Drama

In the village of Heiderfeld, the body of a young football player of African origins is found in the la Semois (The Semois River). Local authorities believe it’s a suicide and close the case after a superficial investigation. However, Yoann Peeters, a dark-tempered detective with questionable methods, has another theory and will uncover the villagers’ filthy secrets.

The Break is said to be the Belgian version of True Detective and met unexpected international success, making it one of the most popular French Netflix shows. To be fair, French Netflix crime series are far from the greatness of HBO’s masterpieces, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat with its many secrets—and always uncomfortable, thanks to its thick and heavy atmosphere.

Despite being from Belgium, the main characters don’t have heavy accents and it’s fairly easy to follow once you get the investigation vocabulary.

Un suicide
“A suicide”
Il s’est suicidé en sautant du pont.
“He committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.”
Un interrogatoire
“An interrogation”
Il a confessé pendant l’interrogatoire.
“He confessed during the interrogation.”
La scène du crime
“The crime scene”
La scène du crime a été maquillée.
“The murder scene was staged.”
Une enquête criminelle
“A criminal investigation”
Bouclez le périmètre, c’est une enquête criminelle.
“Seal off the perimeter, this is a criminal investigation.”
Un légiste
“A forensic”
Appelez le labo et faites venir les légistes.
“Call the lab and get forensics.”


4. The Hook Up Plan

Original French title: Plan Coeur
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Elsa can’t get over her ex-boyfriend, Maxime, and is crawling from one drunk party to the next hangover. Her best friend secretly hires a professional male escort to help her move on, but things get a lot more complicated.

Don’t mind if I keep up my trend of “The French version of …” because this the French Netflix Hookup Plan is a French Sex and the City. This cute yet utterly classic romcom is a feel-good guilty pleasure, packed with dirty jokes and witty authentic dialogue that will make you realize just how much of a gold-mine French can be when it comes to sex slang.

Even though this French Netflix comedy relies on the old tropes of the genre, it still manages to feel fresh thanks to a cast of so-very-French characters, a genuinely accurate depiction of the daily struggles of the 30-year-olds, and always lots of heart.

Une rupture
“A breakup”
Elle ne s’est pas remise de sa rupture.
“She didn’t get over her breakup.”
Picoler [Familiar]
“To drink heavily”
Arrête de picoler comme ça !
“Stop getting drunk like that!”
Un gigolo
“A male prostitute”
J’ai embauché un gigolo pour mon amie.
“I have hired a male escort from my friend.”
Un portable
“A cell phone”
J’ai perdu mon portable hier soir.
“I lost my cell phone last night.”


5. No Second Chance

Original French title: Une Chance de Trop
Genre: Thriller

Alice Lambert has seen better days. After being shot in the back, she’s getting out of an eight-day coma to find that her husband was assassinated and her six-year-old daughter kidnapped. Running through a web of lies and manipulation as she’s tracking down the elusive kidnappers, Alice can’t trust anyone. But she knows her daughter is still alive, waiting for her.

Based on a thriller by best-selling writer Harlan Coben, the French Netflix thriller series No Second Chance stars Alexandra Lamy (who you know very well, if you’ve been practicing your French on the short series Un Gars, Une Fille). Behind the overly convoluted twists and suspenseful turns, the real question is: How far would you go to save your child?

Un enlèvement
“A kidnapping”
Ma fille a été enlevée.
“My daughter has been kidnapped.”
Un assassinat
“An assassination”
Votre mari a été assassiné.
“Your husband has been killed.”
Une rançon
“A ransom”
Nous demandons une rançon de 100000 euros.
“We ask for a 100,000-euro ransom.”
Le chantage
“The blackmail”
Je ne vais pas céder à votre chantage.
“I will not submit to your blackmail.”


6. November 13: Attacks on Paris

Genre: Documentary

On the 13th of November, 2015, a series of coordinated attacks struck the French Capital and its suburbs, leaving 130 dead, more than 400 injured, and a whole nation in shock. These were the deadliest attacks on French soil since the Second World War, with heavily armed gunmen and suicide bombers roaming the streets of the City of Lights.

This three-part French history documentary Netflix has is based on forty testimonies gathered from survivors and rescuers who lived through this fateful night. It’s not trying to explain what happened, answer the “why,” or comment on the political aftermath. Instead, it focuses on the human aspect of the tragedy, through the individual stories of its interviewees. It’s shown with a lot of restraint, without cheesy dramatic music, and it’s difficult not to be moved by these haunting tales of bravery, despair, and compassion.

As a learning exercise, you’ll never find something as authentic as a real interview. Having forty of them gathered in one place is a great way to put your French to the test.

Un attentat
“A terrorist attack”
Il y a eu un attentat à Paris.
“There was a terrorist attack in Paris.”
Un otage
“A hostage”
Les terroristes ont pris des otages.
“Terrorists have taken hostages.”
Une fusillade
“A shooting”
Une fusillade a éclaté en plein centre ville.
“A shooting started right in the city center.”
Un témoignage
“A testimony”
Nous écoutons les témoignages des survivants.
“We are listening to the survivors’ testimonies.”

Improve Pronunciation


7. Cannabis

Original French title: Cannabis
Genre: Drug Drama

The French Netflix crime drama Cannabis is a deep dive into the drug trafficking business spreading from the Morrocan Rif to the Spanish city of Marbella and the French city of Roseraie en Villiers. The focus moves from drug lords to small-time dealers, corrupt cops and crooked politics, as well as the common people getting caught in their web.

This French-Spanish Narcos in Morocco isn’t for everyone. With disturbing violence and brutal executions, you’d better be prepared for the ride. Also keep in mind that with its various locations, the series features a wide set of accents that can make it challenging to follow, and a great exercise for advanced learners.

Le trafic de drogue
“The drug trafficking”
Il a été arrêté pour trafic de drogue.
“He was arrested for drug trafficking.”
Un baron de la drogue
“A drug lord”
Ce baron de la drogue a des connexions avec la France.
“This drug lord has business ties with France.”
Une mère de famille
“A housewife”
Cette mère de famille est désespérée.
“This housewife is desperate.”
Blanchir de l’argent
“To launder money”
Elle blanchit l’argent de la drogue.
“She is laundering drug money.”


8. The Long Long Holiday

Original French title: Les Grandes Grandes Vacances
Genre: Animated Series
Age: 10+

Summer 1939: Ernest, eleven years old, and Colette, six, are leaving Paris to visit their grandparents’ farm in the countryside. But when war breaks out, their parents decide to keep them away from the capital and their weekend will become a long, long five-years-long holiday. In a world gone mad, they’ll have to face the German occupation, migration waves, requisitions, food rationing, and the rounding up of Jews.

If it wasn’t clear from the pitch, The Long Long Holiday is not a childish animated series and is meant for parents and kids alike. Behind its innocent look, it’s a harsh tale of war with a historically accurate WWII background and beautiful hand-drawn visuals (but it never gets explicitly violent or graphic).

As it is a cartoon, you can expect it to be satisfyingly articulated, and the cultural immersion in this troubled era makes it even more enjoyable.

La guerre
“The war”
La guerre a éclaté en 1939.
“War broke out in 1939.”
L’occupation
“The occupation”
J’ai grandi pendant l’occupation Allemande en France.
“I grew up during the German occupation in France.”
La campagne
“The countryside”
Ils ont une maison de campagne.
“They have a country house.”
Un bombardement
“A bombing”
Les bombardements ont commencé cette nuit.
“The bombing started last night.”


9. Witnesses

Original French title: Les Témoins
Genre: Crime

In the small coastal town of Le Tréport, in northern France, two police detectives start investigating desecrated tombs after several bodies of murder victims were exhumed and left on display. They eventually team up with former chief-of-police Paul Maisonneuve on the hunt for a serial killer.

Following the steps and style of the recent wave of dark Scandinavian dramas, The Witnesses is a gritty crime thriller set in some of the most underused regions of France. With legendary French actor Thierry Lhermitte backed with a solid supporting cast, a high production value, and an atmospheric score, it’s full of twists and turns and won’t let you breathe until the end. However, you really don’t want to stick around for the terrible season two.

Une tombe
“A grave”
Il se recueille sur cette tombe.
“He’s collecting on this grave.”
Profaner
“To desecrate”
Plusieurs tombes ont été profanées.
“Several graves have been desecrated.”
Un préfet de police
“A chief-of-police”
Je vais prévenir le préfet de police.
“I will inform the chief-of-police.”


10. Osmosis

Original French title: Osmosis
Genre: Anticipation

In a near future, science has cracked the code for true love. By analyzing the emotions of its users through the nano-machines implanted in their brains, the new OSMOSIS app is guaranteed to find you the ideal partner and make your dream of a soulmate come true. But what are the consequences when you let an algorithm pry into your most intimate thoughts?

Without nano-machines in your brain, it’s hard for me to tell you for sure whether Osmosis will become your perfect Netflix-binging soulmate. With many flaws to balance its merits, the series has been very polarizing, but if you’re into the genre and seduced by its very unusual setting, it’s only fair to give it a try.

I’m not a big fan of French acting, in general, and the French Netflix Osmosis is no exception. The upside is that the unpassionate cast is quite easy to follow.

Une âme-soeur
“A soulmate”
Tout le monde a une âme-soeur.
“Everybody has a soulmate.”
L’intelligence artificielle
“The artificial intelligence”
L’intelligence artificielle fait des progrès de jour en jour.
“Artificial intelligence is improving every day.”
Une étude
“A study”
J’ai fait une étude approfondie de ton profil.
“I’ve done a comprehensive study of your profile.”
Des données
“Data”
Nous recueillons les données de nos utilisateurs.
“We’re gathering data from our users.”


11. Can I Really Boost My French Watching Series?

Best Ways

From my personal experience, being a native French speaker, I’ve learned most of my English playing video games or obsessively watching everything HBO. Television has the power to expand your vocabulary and teach you literally tons of idioms and slang while pushing your conversation skills through the roof!

Could you learn this any other way? Sure, if you spend several years of your life in French-speaking countries, hanging out with locals, but is there any way you could learn it the academic way? Let’s say it’s very unlikely.
This isn’t to say you should drop everything right now, uninstall your flashcard apps, burn your grammar books, and unsubscribe from FrenchPod101! But as a complement to a traditional language-learning course, watching series in your target language is a great way to immerse yourself and absorb as much as you can.

Here are some of the benefits of watching some of the French programs Netflix has (or any French series for that matter).

1- You Can Adjust the Experience to Your Level

  • If you’re a beginner, you can start watching in French with English subtitles. You’ll get familiar with the sounds of the language, start to recognize some words, and practice your listening skills.
  • If you’re an intermediate learner, you can watch it in French with French subtitles. Depending on your level, you’ll either read the text and create mental associations with the audio, or focus on audio and use the text as a backup when you don’t understand something.
  • When you’re advanced enough, you can watch with audio in French, without subtitles. But it requires a high level of fluency, the kind of which is usually achieved after several years of intense practice.

2- You Can Watch Whatever You Want

No need to follow a course or a pre-recorded learning path. You can just choose the series that appeal to you the most and get on with it! It will keep you much more engaged and motivated than many academic studies, for sure.

3- You’ll Learn Real-life French

I’m not blaming traditional textbooks for not teaching slang, but there are many overused French idioms that are usually nowhere to be found in grammar or vocabulary manuals. And what about these juicy swearing words even your touch keyboard is keeping from you! Many series aren’t so prudish and will open to you a whole new world of casual and natural conversations.

4- French Will Be Part of Your Life

Nothing can replace the real immersion of experiencing French-speaking countries, and when it comes to learning about French culture, Netflix can only go so far. But if you want to progress faster, you’ll need to find some hacks to make it part of your daily life. It will help you get to the point where you begin thinking in French and forming sentences without mentally translating. It will also make you familiar with words (visually and orally), as well as expressions that you’ll keep hearing over and over.

Movie Genres


12. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

In this guide, you’ve learned about ten great French series on Netflix, from gritty crime dramas to science-fiction and thrillers. Did I forget any amazing French series on this French Netflix list that you’ve started watching? Do you feel ready to set your audio to French and jump right in?

Although this article is centered on Netflix, don’t forget that there are countless amazing series that are not—and might never be—featured on that platform, starting with anything produced by rival companies such as HBO or the upcoming Disney+.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Netflix catalog is not centralized and depends on your country. If you can’t find some of the series listed in this article, it could simply mean that it’s not available in your region at the moment.

One more thing to consider is that the list of movies and series is changing every month. For instance, I badly wanted to include Braquo, one of my personal favorites (at least for one season, before it suddenly became ridiculous), but it was removed from Netflix in 2018 and might never come back. Other French classics such as Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau) have been rumored to arrive on Netflix for a long time, but don’t hold your breath.

FrenchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and free resources to boost your studies and keep your French learning fresh and entertaining!

Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching and have your private teacher to practice with, using assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples for you. Your teacher can also review yours to help improve your pronunciation. Happy learning on FrenchPod101!

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About the Author: Born and bred in the rainy north of France, Cyril Danon has been bouncing off various jobs before he left everything behind to wander around the wonders of the World. Now, after quenching his wanderlust for the last few years, he’s eager to share his passion for languages.