"Very few Parisians actually read Le Monde.
Yet, all agree that le Monde, c'est un bon journal.
Yes, Parisians do have opinions about things they are not familiar with.
Call that talent."
- Stuff Parisians like, written by Olivier Magny
You may be asking yourself : “Which French newspapers should I read as an intermediate reader?” or “What’s the French equivalent of the Guardian?” (or another newspaper you like)
And I promise to answer these questions in a sec.
Lately I’ve had many students asking me for tips on which French newspapers to read so they can easily start a conversation at work or at a party. They’re right about that, in fact regularly reading newspapers in French will especially help you with the following things :
- You’ll understand more of what the French discuss among them
How do you think a French guy decides what he’ll be talking about during social events?
He reads the news and more or less repeats what he’s read, perhaps hoping to sound knowledgeable and aware of the latest trends.
Following a conversation during lunch break or a house party should be much more easy once you’re up to date on the most popular French topics of discussion and you’re used to reading about them in French.
- You’ll initiate small talk with French natives using the right vocabulary and tone
Once you’ve spent time reading the same stuff as your coworkers or friends (make sure to ask them what they like reading in the subway), then you’ll be able to use the same expressions, discuss the same trends.
Above all you’ll avoid the most common mistake an expat can make which is to use extremely formal language just because he’s used to reading an academic newspaper such as Le Monde.
Referring to the quote at the top of this post, if someone tells you they read le Monde and you should too, then he’s probably trying to impress you because most people prefer reading the news on Facebook.
This said, I decided to give you once and for all the ultimate list of French newspapers so you won’t ever need to look for this kind of reading material.
I wanted this list to be unique so I looked through my teacher archives and found a bunch of alternatives to the popular Figaro that I hope you’ll love and make your reading routine much more enjoyable.
Above all, most of these newspapers and magazines are extremely popular among the French crowd so you don’t need to be afraid of missing out on the references they use.
I’ve included the following categories and added both easy newspapers for intermediate French learners and more complex material for people working in specific fields :
If you can’t find the topics that you really care about, then there’s a good chance they will be in my special list of fun and inspiring French blogs. If not, let me know in the comments or in an email and I'll help you out!
Before you scroll down, make sure to check this quick FAQ about French newspapers :
Which English newspapers can I read in French?
Only one big newspaper I know of is available in French : le Huffington Post has plenty of articles written in simple or informal French, but you won’t find any translations of English articles. If you’re looking for that, head to le Courrier international which features translations of publications from everywhere around the world.
What are the political inclinations of le Monde, le Figaro and other big newspapers?
What’s the French equivalent of the XYZ newspaper I love to read?
What’s the easiest to read between le Monde and le Figaro?
There’s no doubt that le Monde is a newspaper made for academics, thus making it difficult to read for non-natives. Le Figaro is much more easy to read though it would not be my first choice for someone who’s just starting with French reading.
Are all French newspapers free to read online?
Actually, most newspapers that are updated on an hourly basis require you to subscribe for a (very reasonable) fee, for about 15€ per month. Libération and Les Echos give you access to 5-8 articles per month, while Le Monde and Le Figaro limit your access to certain articles.
That’s why I advise using the list below as I made sure to give you magazines and newspapers that are free of charge without losing the quality of information.
Is there a way around the limit of articles you can read?
Sneaky you, well yes there actually is. Simply open a private window in your browser and that usually does the trick.
Which newspaper would you advise for simple French?
Which newspaper would you recommend for someone who doesn’t like to read?
GLOBAL NEWS & POLITICS
Topics : Politics, French society, News
Difficulty : Medium to Hard (some long posts, either formal or informal French and plenty of cultural references)
Read if : you're looking for an alternative source of news and have a wide range of interests.Recommended article : Méfiez-vous des règles de la Saint-Valentin au Japon
2 Huffington Post
All kinds of topics from all over the web
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
What you can do next
Before you leave this post to go on a fabulous reading binge, here are a few more tips on how to create a routine from newspaper reading.
Tip 1. Replacing one habit for another similar one is usually an easy switch. If you’re used to browsing through an online magazine in the subway to work or during breakfast, try reading French newspapers instead.
Tip 2. Today I’d like to encourage you to read the same newspapers and magazines as your French surrounding does. To do this, when you’re in a conversation or you’re following a group conversation between French natives, make a mental notes of the topics that are the most popular in your discussions. Then check the categories of this list and pick 2 newspapers that will help you contribute to future conversations.
This depends on who you hang out with so I can’t make a list for you here, but some of the categories I chose above should match with your list. If not, let me know or check out this list of fresh inspiring French bloggers.
Tip 3. If you have a question that I haven’t answered in the newspaper FAQ or you’d like to recommend a newspaper or magazine for this list, then please let me know in the comments so everyone can benefit!