How to Learn French by Reading Books

If you want to learn French, one of the best ways to do so is by reading books. Reading books in a foreign language can help improve your vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills. In this blog post, we will provide tips on how to learn French by reading books. We will also share a list of some of our favorite French-language books for beginners.

Learning a new language can be a daunting task. However, with the right tools, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. If you are looking to learn French, here are some of the best books to help you get started.

Why learn French by reading books

Reading is one of the best ways to improve your French skills. It helps you learn new vocabulary, understand grammar concepts, and get a better feel for the language.

Even if you’re a beginner, you can start reading easy French texts to improve your comprehension. As you progress, you can read more difficult material to challenge yourself.

Reading is important in all stages of learning French. It helps beginners learn the basics, and more advanced students can improve their fluency and understanding.

Learn French by Reading French Novels

A novel is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. When you read a novel, you are exposed to lots of different vocabulary words and expressions, all in the context of a story.

This makes it easier to remember the words and how to use them, since you can see them in action. Reading also forces you to slow down and pay attention to the details, which can be helpful in mastering a new language.

And finally, novels often deal with universal themes that you can relate to, even if you don’t speak the language fluently. For all of these reasons, reading French novels is an excellent way to learn the language. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been studying for years, there’s a French novel out there that’s perfect for your level. So dive in and start exploring the rich world of French literature.

The 12 Best Books to learn French

Here are some of our favorite books to help you learn French:

1. Entre les Murs (The Class)

In Entre les Murs (The Class), François Bégaudeau tells the semi-autobiographical story of his experience as a literature teacher in a Parisian middle school.

The group of kids in his class is a mix of immigrant children and well-behaved Chinese kids, and they all have their share of behavior problems.

Even the well-behaved kids have their struggles—the lack of command of the French language hampers their ability to achieve much in school.

2. Le Petit Nicolas

Le Petit Nicolas is a series of children’s books written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé. The books are narrated from the point of view of young Nicolas as he lives out an idyllic childhood in 1950s France.

The books are packed with humor and are a great way for a beginner to intermediate learners to discover quintessential French culture. Each book is a delightful snapshot of life in France in the 1950s, and they are sure to keep you entertained from start to finish.

3. Le chat du rabbin

Le chat du rabbin tells the story of a cat who learns about the world around him from a rabbi. The comic takes place in 1920s Algeria, a French colony at the time. This offers readers an interesting perspective on French colonial society. Through the lessons the cat learns from the rabbi, we see how different cultures and religions can interact and coexist.

This makes for an enjoyable and informative read for anyone interested in learning more about different cultures and faiths.

4. L’élégance du hérisson

The story of L’élégance du hérisson is that of two young girls, Renée and Paloma, who are living in Paris. Renée is a wealthy girl who was born into a life of privilege and luxury, while Paloma is a girl from a working-class family who has always known poverty. Despite their differences, the two girls become best friends.

One day, Renée learns that she is going to have to leave Paris and move to a small town in the country. She is very sad to have to leave her friends behind, but she knows that it is time for her to move on with her life. Before she leaves, she gives Paloma a gift – a hérisson (hedgehog).

Even though she is poor, Paloma takes good care of the hérisson and names him Maurice. She feeds him well and gives him lots of love. Maurice quickly becomes her favorite thing in the world.

Renée and Paloma continue to write letters to each other, even after Renée moves away. In her letters, Renée tells Paloma about all the wonderful things that are happening in her new life, while Paloma tells Renée about all the interesting things that are happening in hers.

One day, Paloma learns that Maurice has died. She is heartbroken at first, but then she realizes that Maurice was never really hers – he was always Renee’s hedgehog. Even though they are separated by miles and years, Renée and Paloma remain best friends forever.

L’élégance du hérisson is a beautiful story about the power of friendship. It is a reminder that no matter how different we may seem on the surface, we are all connected in some way.

5. Astérix and Obélix

Astérix et Obélix is a story if of a Gaulish village that manage to resist the Roman occupation. They achieve this with the help of a magic potion that gives them superhuman strength. The comics follow their adventures as they travel around Gaul, fighting the Romans and helping the oppressed.

The Astérix comics are full of French humor and social criticism. They are perfect for intermediate learners who want to improve their understanding of French style and vocabulary, as well as learn more about French culture.

6. Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran

Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran tells the story of a young Jewish boy, Pierre, and his Muslim grocer, Monsieur Ibrahim. The two men share a close relationship, despite their religious differences.

Pierre is raised by Monsieur Ibrahim after his mother dies and his father abandons him. Monsieur Ibrahim teaches Pierre about the Koran and helps him to understand the Muslim faith.

The two men rely on each other for support and guidance throughout their lives. When Pierre is older, he moves away from Paris, but he remains in touch with Monsieur Ibrahim.

Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran is a beautiful story about the power of friendship and understanding. It is a reminder that people from different religions can still come together and form strong relationships.

7. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman cambrioleur

Arsène Lupin, Gentleman cambrioleur, is a master thief who uses his cunning and intelligence to outwit his opponents. He is a gentleman and a chivalrous thief, who always respects his victims, even if he is robbing them. He is also a very daring and exciting figure, who often takes risks to get what he wants.

Lupin is an interesting and complex character, and the book provides a great opportunity for learners to improve their reading skills and learn about French culture.

8. Le Petit Prince

Le Petit Prince is a story that takes you on an amazing journey. You’ll learn about different cultures and ways of life, all while following the adventures of a young boy. It’s a great way to improve your French skills, as the language is rich and full of descriptive phrases. Plus, the story is just plain fun to read!

9. Ensemble, C’est Tout

Camille moves in with Philibert and meets Philibert’s grandmother, Paulette, and Franck, a talented chef.

The novel mostly wraps around the relationships between these 4 characters.

Over the course of the novel, Camille and Philibert come to care for each other deeply, forming a strong bond. Camille also grows close to Paulette and Franck, who teach her a lot about life. Throughout the novel, the characters share many meals together, cooking and eating delicious food.

Ultimately, Ensemble, C’est Tout is a story about family, love, and friendship. These four characters form a close-knit unit that helps each other through thick and thin.

10 Je Sans Toi

\”Je Sans Toi\” is a heartbreaking ballad about a love that is no longer. Without the loved one, the speaker is lost and alone. The book reflects on all the good times they shared and how much better life was with that person by their side. But now, they are gone and the speaker is left in pain.

11.  L’Étranger

The Stranger is a book that discusses many profound questions about morality, society, justice, religion, and individuality.

The protagonist of the book, Meursault, is a French Algerian who does not seem to care about any of these things. He doesn’t seem to care about what is right or wrong, and he doesn’t seem to care about how other people view him.

This makes him an outsider in society, and it also makes him an outsider in his own mind. Meursault is someone who is searching for meaning in life, and he is searching for something that he can connect with.

He doesn’t find what he is looking for in society or the traditional religious institutions, but he does find it in his relationships.

12. La Gloire de Mon Père

My Father’s Glory is a beautifully written coming of age story about Marcel Pagnol and his love for nature and hunting.

Marcel’s father and uncle take their families on a summer trip to the countryside, and Marcel falls in love with the landscape and all of the animals he sees.

He learns about life and nature and gains invaluable experience in hunting. This is a wonderful story about family, nature, and growing up.

These are just a few of the many great books that you can read to improve your French skills.

Reading Novels if You Just Started Learning French

If you are a beginner, it is best to start with novels that are written in simple French. You can find these novels by looking for books that are specifically written for French learners. These books will have a lot of repetition and simple vocabulary.

Once you feel more confident with your French, you can start reading novels that are written for native speakers. These novels will be more challenging, but they will also be more rewarding. You will be able to understand more of the language and culture, and you will also be able to appreciate the beauty of the French language.

Listen to French audiobooks while following along with the written word

I think that listening to French audiobooks while following along with the written word can be an extremely helpful tool.

By doing this, you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly, and also that you are understanding what is being said. I would highly recommend giving this a try if you are trying to improve your French skills.

Using Tools to help you learn French

Another great tool for understanding French texts is

With Deepl, you can translate any French text into English with one click. This can be helpful if you want to understand the general meaning of a text but don’t know all the words.

Finally, another tool that can be helpful when reading French texts is a good online grammar resource such as

If you’re not sure how to use a particular French verb, for example, you can consult a grammar resource to help you understand the conjugation and usage of that verb.

Techniques for learning French through reading

There are a few different techniques that can be used when reading to learn a new language. One of the most common is to read a text in both languages and compare them, looking for differences in vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. This can be done with a text from a book or article, or even with a conversation between two people.

Another approach is to read a text aloud, repeating the words and phrases out loud. This helps with pronunciation and can also give you a better understanding of the meaning of the text. You can also try reading the text backward, as this can help with memorization. Finally, it’s often helpful to take notes while reading, highlighting important words and phrases and noting down any new grammar rules that are introduced.

It’s critical to keep things interesting.

I think that listening to French audiobooks while following along with the written word can be an extremely helpful tool. By doing this, you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly, and also that you are understanding what is being said. I would highly recommend giving this a try if you are trying to improve your French skills.

The Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Reading for French Learners

Extensive reading has a lot of benefits, including exposing you to more of the language. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re reading texts that are at your level. If you’re not, you’ll find it difficult to understand what’s going on, and you won’t be able to learn from the text.

That’s why it’s important to find a good balance between intensive and extensive reading. With intensive reading, you focus on a short text in great detail, while with extensive reading, you read longer texts instead.

Finding the right balance can be difficult, but it’s worth it if you want to improve your French skills.

How To Do Extensive Reading In French in your own words.

Extensive reading can be a great way to improve your French reading skills, but it can be a bit daunting for beginners. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Start small. Don’t try to read whole books right away. Start with shorter texts and work your way up.

2. Don’t worry about understanding every word. Try to focus on understanding the overall meaning of what you are reading.

3. Use a dictionary or translator sparingly. The goal is to improve your understanding of the text, not to become a master of vocabulary.

4. Try to read different types of texts. This will help you improve your comprehension skills in a variety of situations.

5. Take your time. Don’t rush through the text – take the time to understand it fully.

6. Repeat and practice what you have read. This will help embed the information in your memory.

7. Reward yourself! Celebrate every victory, no matter how small it may seem.

Surf the internet in French

It is easy to surf the internet in French, all you have to do is change your browser language settings or use a website that has a French interface.

This way, you can easily find information in French and even communicate with other Francophones online.


Learning French by reading books is a great way to improve your language skills. By using some of the techniques mentioned above, you can make sure that you are getting the most out of your reading. Just remember to keep things interesting, and to practice what you have learned.

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