Watching a series is a very good way to progress in French in a fun way. In a previous article, I already explained to you why and how to watch movies and series in French in order to improve your oral and written comprehension and your knowledge about France. Here, rather than thinking in terms of language level and difficulties (which are ultimately different for everyone), I suggest you choose a French series according to your taste. It’s better to watch a series you like, isn’t it?
In this selection, I chose series available internationally (thanks Netflix!) but if you live in France (or have a VPN), I strongly invite you to go on the free websites of FranceTV and ArteTV which offer great quality series. To conclude this article, I will give you the names of great French series that are currently unavailable on Netflix but who knows? Great series are gradually added on the famous streaming platform.
Au service de la France
In a style reminiscent of the OSS 117 films (starring Jean Dujardin), this series is a parody of spy films. The plot: André Merlaux joins the French intelligence service in the 1960s as a young trainee. He trains with real spies who are more concerned about their expenses than their mission.
Dix pour cent
Big success in France, this series welcomes in each episode many French and international stars (Jean Reno, Monica Bellucci, Sigourney Weaver) who play their own role. The plot: We follow the hectic daily life of acting agents who struggle to find the best roles for their prestigious clients.
This light and funny series (with a girly style) is very easy to watch and allows you to learn or revise the French colloquial language. The plot: Elsa, a young Parisian, can’t get over her ex. Her two best friends secretly hire an escort boy to help her move on. But the plan works a little too well…
This crazy series, with an original theme, brings together several great French actors including Gérard Darmon and Jonathan Cohen. The plot: Learning that cannabis is going to be legalized, Joseph, a failed entrepreneur, decides, with the help of his family and friends, to transform his father’s kosher butcher shop and to open the first marijuana coffeeshop in France.
With Omar Sy as the main actor, this series has been a great success in France and abroad and is inspired by the famous character of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman burglar, created by Maurice Leblanc. The plot: 25 years ago, the life of young Assane Diop was turned upside down when his father died after being accused of a crime he did not commit. Today, Assane will be inspired by his hero, Arsène Lupine, to avenge him.
This French detective series is a 6-episode thriller. It was awarded in 2017 at the La Rochelle TV Fiction Festival. The plot: In a small quiet village in the Ardennes, a sixteen-year-old girl disappears in the forest after calling her French teacher, in the middle of the night. Captain Gaspard Deker, a former military man and a newly arrived single father, is leading the investigation with Virginie Musso, the local gendarme. They are helped by Eve Mendel, the French teacher, a lonely young woman with a mysterious past.
Between thriller and existential quest, this series offers an original reflection on the mortality and discomfort of youth. The plot: In a world where death is nothing more than a memory, Darius, a centenarian cop, investigates a wave of suicides of young people.
This French series, which at first glance might remind you of Desperate Housewives, tackles several subjects with sensitivity and humor (the couple, transgender identity, the crisis of adolescence). The plot: A devoted mother and wife, Elvira feels increasingly transparent to her family. One day, she gives in to the temptation of a huge and taboo lie to regain love and attention. Will Elvira become the heroine of her own life?
This French science-fiction series, with a very aesthetic universe in the spirit of Black Mirror, proposes a reflection on love and human relationships in the age of artificial intelligence. The plot: Paris, in the near future. Technology has pushed back the boundaries of the imaginable by deciphering the code of true love. Thanks to its users’ data, the new application ‘Osmosis’ guarantees to find the perfect partner.
Le Bazar de la Charité
This historical series, inspired by a real fact, immerses us into the Parisian society of the end of the 19th century thanks to magnificent costumes and settings. The plot: On May 4, 1897 in Paris, a devastating fire destroys the Bazar de la Charité, killing 120 people who had gathered for a charity event. This tragedy changes the destiny of three women.
Thrill seekers will love this hardcore horror series! The plot: Emma Larsimon is a renowned horror writer. One day, while promoting the final chapter of her Marianne saga, she meets an old childhood friend who makes strange revelations. Her horrific nightmares will start again and her friend will commit suicide before her eyes. She then decides to leave for her native village to investigate a paranormal phenomenon that she seems to know.
Between horror and thriller, this series built like a puzzle offers many twists and turns. The plot: Summer 2017 : Valmoline : Six inhabitants. Thirteen guests meet in this peaceful hamlet in the Hautes-Alpes. No sooner have they crossed the bridge, than a huge rock collapses and blocks the passage, crushing a man tied up below. The village isolated, the massacre can begin…
This thriller, adapted from a best-seller, brings together great established or upcoming actors (Charles Berling, Pascal Greggory and Julia Piaton), in a heavy atmosphere and in the middle of magnificent snowy landscapes. The plot: In the Pyrenees, near Saint-Martin, the body of a headless horse is discovered at an altitude of 2,000 meters, at the top of a cable car. The investigation is entrusted to Captains Martin Servaz of the SRPJ of Toulouse and Irène Ziegler of the Gendarmerie Nationale. Not far from there, the young psychiatrist Diane Berg begins psychotherapy sessions with Julian Hirtmann, a dangerous serial killer arrested years before by Captain Servaz and now incarcerated in a high security prison.
As you can see from this selection of French series, there is something for everyone! In addition to helping you improve your French, these series also allow you to discover famous French actors, and thus increase your general knowledge about France.
As promised, here are some other famous French series (available on Amazon Prime in some countries): Le Bureau des Légendes, Braquo, Les Revenants, Engrenages, Baron Noir.
Enjoy your viewing
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