French Language

Top 12 French Language Books

a chalkboard with the question parlez-vous francais? do you speak french? written in french, a pot with pencils and the flag of France, on a wooden desk

Reading books is a trustworthy source of amusement and often a relaxing hobby to undertake. It can also be an accessible learning tool to practice your French and put your comprehension skills to fair use. Reading French language books is a fantastic way to complement your knowledge by increasing your vocabulary and developing your understanding of written grammatical rules. 

While learning new things, you also enjoy reading a captivating book during your recess time throughout the day or before you head to bed at night.

The exciting thing about reading books, similar to watching television series, is that you get to bond with the characters and follow an enjoyable storyline. It can be the perfect motivation to continue reading and simultaneously learn more vocabulary along the way.

Reading is self-directed, and you can choose your own pace, which means you have as much time as you need to understand what is happening in the text.

A wide range of French literature is available for all different stages of learning and different reading interests. This article presents some wonderful French language books that might tickle your fancy when it comes to reading in French.

French Language Books

1. Easy French Step-by-step 

This book is the number one best-seller in the French Language Instruction portion of language learning. It’s famous for a good reason.

How this book is organized takes you through different modules in a way that makes sense. It explains more than 300 verbs, presented in order of essential position.

Verbs are vital when you’re begging to learn. This textbook will give you a foundation for grammar and vocabulary, all while building off itself chapter by chapter. It comes complete with a ton of exercises and their solutions, which makes for good practice!

2. Allez, viens! 

This textbook is an oldie but a goodie; it is best to introduce to middle and high school students but works as an immense starting point for adult learners.

It won’t get you fluent in French, but the aim is to get you proficient, with lots of coverage on colloquial language and exciting topics to keep you engaged with the content. It also encourages you to learn new vocabulary by using contextual clues.

This textbook doesn’t cover audio, but SRS flashcards with pronunciation guides are offered on the language immersion program FluentU, with vocabulary strikes for each chapter.

FluentU helps you learn the language as it appears in French media with movie trailers, news clips, and other quick videos. It is usually challenging to understand because of accents, short speech, and unfamiliar words.

Interactive subtitles and flashcards accompany the media clips. Once you’ve watched many videos and had enough grasp on the flashcards, you can take the quizzes that assess your speaking and other language skills.

3. Entre Amis 

If you like your books to be a little more flashy, this may be a better choice than Easy French Step-by-Step, as it has more graphics. This text is best if you already have a vague knowledge of French, but it’s still great for beginners because it covers beginner’s French.

Many modules focus more on oral interactions and teaching through a performance-oriented approach. So if you’re traveling, searching for a language-learning partner to practice with.

Unlike similar textbooks, its core is on phrases and daily vocabulary that one may use in the real world.

4. Contacts: Langue et culture françaises 

This textbook boasts excellent visuals, important cultural references, help with pronunciation, and a useful French-English dictionary in the back, so you don’t have to go craning your neck from textbook to dictionary and back again.

If you are looking for listening exercises (critical if you ever hope to understand the French), then make sure you get the supplemental audio to go along with it

5. Où on VA, papa? de Jean-Louis Fournier

This book is the touching tale of a man who surprisingly becomes a single father when he is met with his long-lost son. The story of how he learns to become a father is through a well-structured narrative and accessible vocabulary. One of the best French language books for beginners.

6. La Petite Fille de M. Linh

It is a  wartime historical story that narrates the tale of a man who was forced to quit his village with only the clothes on his back. He also leaves holding a tiny baby whose parents died in the war. With touching word choices and simple sentence structure, this is an intriguing story about the long journey of a man with a little girl.

7. L’étranger de Albert Camus

This book is for lovers of literature who want to read something philosophical and insightful. Camus questions the society of 1955 and the values of the time through the character Meursault. The vocabulary and language are not challenging, but many profound themes make you think more about the text.

8. Les Ames Grises de Philippe Claudel

 This is one of the best French language books for beginners. There are characters’ themes such as death, war, and love.  The reader will not find any emotionally taxing, heavy-reading plot you might expect. So, the uncomplicated descriptions and the thoroughly fascinating way it is written are great for beginner French learners.

9. The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The author, Saint-Exupéry, was an excellent writer and aviator. He was also part of the posh society and laureate of the French highest literary award. During WWII, Saint-Exupéry’s plane vanished over the Mediterranean sea while on a reconnaissance mission. His most famous work remains Le Petit Prince, translated into 301 languages and dialects.

Le Petit Prince is a philosophical story in the form of a children’s story. The story follows a little boy’s journey on various planets as he spots love, friendship, and loneliness themes. Moreover, the book is unbelievable and full of observations about life.

This piece of French literature never misses astonishing people of all ages. Its straightforward language and beautiful illustrations made by the author are bound to captivate you as a language learner.

The simple presentation of the book’s language makes it suitable for A2 to B1 level aspirants. You would only require a dictionary to look up the new words. Le Petit Prince is also an excellent help for conversations as the book includes several dialogues.

We also chose this book because of the fantastic linguistic skill of using simple words to present a profound and meaningful message throughout the book. 

10. L’Étranger (The Stranger)

By Albert Camus

It is an Upper Intermediate or Advanced level book to read. You might have heard of Albert Camus for his intense interest in the philosophical movement known as absurdism. He is a French author, philosopher, and journalist who published different written works with L’Étranger. A novella whose concept swings around absurdism and existentialism. The message of the book is simply based on that life is absurd.

People who read this book often reflect on their life’s meaning, core values, and the legacy they will leave behind. It also provides a new perspective on life in contrast to the modern materialistic and capitalist view we are used to.

Are you curious yet? If not, think of it as a way to discover another side of French literature. The book’s tone is somewhat that of ponderation; the essence of the story makes you think about life and its intricacies.

This book is a chef-d’œuvre of French literature. However, it can justify being a complete read for beginners. The level of the language is better placed for B2 learners and above. But, this book is the right pick if you want to advance yourself.

11. Les Fables de La Fontaine (La Fontaine’s Fables)

By Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine, a French storyteller of the 17th century, compiled a collection of fables from different niches. Humorous and ironic are two favorite genre fables that paved their way into the educational system.

While these are only fables that convey a holy, La Fontaine’s Fables are the most creative piece of reading that will sharpen your mind. The fables portray a mastery of methods such as sarcasm and irony in the French language. There is no doubt that this collection of little stories will edge your mind.

La Fontaine has also smartly used animal metaphors to show the different characters and personalities we find in society. One of the notable characteristics is the cunning fox and the hard-working ant.

Even more exciting is that all French language learners can enjoy La Fontaine’s work, from beginners to advanced levels. The language used in the text is simple and easy to understand for every reader.

This book is featured on this list because of the short stories, which makes it accessible for beginners to understand and for the acute meaning that each of these stories has. You will definitely enjoy this.

12. Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous liaisons)

By Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Now, this one piece of work is different. Les liaisons is an epistolary and libertine novel first published in 1782. The story revolves around the social life of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two ex-lovers who use romancing as a manipulation puppet. The story uncovers as they set up their plot to obtain revenge.

Some claim this book tries to show the corrupt and gloomy French society before the Revolution. 

All this is an attempt to impede further the Ancien Régime that explains life before the French Revolution. Others, on the other hand, just criticized the book as the tale of two divine people.

Either way, Les liaisons dangereuses is as funloving as its name suggests. If you enjoy reading some revolting scenes and different suspense in the story, this book is the right one for you!

Conclusion

When it comes to reading books in the French language books, always retrieve that it is a challenging task to read a book in a new language. Everyone has a different type of reading style, and it is essential to recall that you must find a way to read that works for you as an individual.

FAQs

Q.1 Is there any age limit to learning the French language?

Ans. There is no such age bar to learning any language. French language courses are offered for all age groups. 
There are different courses for kids, students, and professionals as per the requirements of the students.

Q.2 Is French the popular language to learn?

Ans. French is the third most commonly spoken language on the globe.  France is the most traveled nation, given the world’s contributions to architecture, art, music, and theatre.

Q.3 Can I learn French in my own space?

Ans. You can learn the French language by taking the help of some of the French learning apps and books available. Moreover, watch movies, listen to songs, read newspapers, etc., in French. This way can support you learn French, and learning can be easy.

Ananya Chatterjee
Hey, Thank you for showing your interest in my blog. My name is Ananya Chatterjee, a teacher by profession. I am a seeker of knowledge and love writing.

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