When people find out that my father is French most of them assume that that is why/how I speak French. Not true. My dad spoke to us in English when I was a kid. I learned French by struggling through vacations in France where I understood almost nothing, listening to horribly boring French learning tapes, signing myself up for a French pen pal (remember when you could send away for pen pals from other countries?), four years of high school French, as much French music as I could possibly find, and then another 4 years of University French plus one year of school, 100% in French in Grenoble. It has been a long, difficult journey with lots of work. And any time I am away from France for too long I get frustratingly rusty. This is why (and also because when I don't have French around me I feel like there is a giant gaping hole in my soul) I surround myself as much as possible with French, written, spoken, in song form, however I can get it. If you are hoping to do the same and Easing into French, Part 1 wasn't enough, the resources listed below should do the trick.
I personally am on a never-ending search for French podcasts that are similar to the American podcasts that I am obsessed with. I want to be entertained, learn fun, new bits of info, and laugh out loud. Think Freakonomics, Slate's The Gist, Radiolab. You know what I'm talking about, right? The kind of podcasts that I'm addicted to like trashy TV shows à la Revenge. The kind of podcasts that make me want to have to drive 30 minutes to a meeting just so that I can get caught up on the latest episode of Serial. I want these. I need these. But I can not find these in French. I'm not sure if it is because podcasts just haven't caught on yet in France in the same way they have here (many French podcasts seem to be more like news programs or traditional radio programs or unbearable roundtables of pompous intellectuals), if our style of podcast just doesn't translate in French culture, or if I just don't know where to look. In any case, here are a few that I've found that don't really feed my habit but are worth listening to from time to time. And in case you are interested, I use Stitcher for my podcast listening. There are quite a few good podcast apps that make listening and searching so much easier. I would highly recommend finding one that you like.
Advanced (these are the podcasts I listen to)
Choses à Savoir - 1-3 minute answers to general questions. A good way to learn little tidbits of information that you can bore people with at your next networking event while also brushing up on your French. Topics include fascinating questions like: Why is it tradition to eat turkey at Christmas (before you freak out and yell "THANKSGIVING" at me, remember, this is a French podcast), why is the Peugeot logo a lion, and why does breathing helium change our voice.
Tous les cinémas du monde - For all you film nerds out there. The title is pretty self-explanatory.
Les Technos - Web and tech related news.
Chronique des droits de l'homme - 3 minute human rights stories.
Danse des mots - For all you lit and language nerds out there. This one is probably my favorite.
Je mange donc je suis - How could I resist a podcast with a title that might as well be my personal motto? Pretty sure it should just be plastered across every t-shirt I wear. Or at least a sticker on my laptop. Actually, I didn't really enjoy this podcast at all but couldn't resist listing it just because of the name. So I don't actually recommend this one. Sorry!
Intermediate (good for people with some knowledge of French)
Cultivate your French - Short (2 minute) episodes in French spoken at a reasonable pace with fairly simple vocabulary.
French Voices - In these podcasts there is discussion with a native French speaker around different topics. The nice thing about this one is that you are given vocabulary words that you might not know at the beginning.
Easy French Poetry - Looking to up your culture game while improving your French? This is the podcast for you. Classic French poems read slowly first then at a normal speed.
French Blabla - Not much immersion here. This podcast is mainly in English with examples in French to illustrate what is being explained.
Survival Phrases - Very short mini courses teaching you useful phrases.
Portable French Coach - Fast French For Busy People - 8 lessons ranging from 10-44 minutes in length
Bonus: The Weekly Baguette - A podcast described as "France through the eyes of two bewildered foreigners". A fun way to stay up-to-date on French current events in English
Conversation groups are a great way to practice your French. I belong to one and we meet almost every week at a local wine bar for wine, cheese and French conversation. What more could you ask for? Our group does not have any sort of structure to it though I have been part of groups with set discussion topics to help get the conversation going. Somehow we never seem to have a problem finding something to talk about! If you don't know of any French groups in your area, Meetup.com is a good first place to look. And if you don't find one, then start one yourself. Even if you are a beginner there is no reason that you can't just sit and listen and absorb as much as possible as long as you check with the group organizer first to make sure that is okay. Just be considerate and don't start asking lots of questions (that is what teachers or private tutors are for) or spend the whole time speaking in English.
There are plenty of YouTube channels for learning French that you can find if you do a quick Google search but here are a couple that I love that aren't your standard language learning resources.
French Rescue - French songs with French and English subtitles. You will find classics right alongside some modern songs. Some of the songs you'll find us dancing to and singing along with at our house are: Papaoutai, Alors on danse, Elle me dit
Comme une Française - A fun mix of culture and language.
Did you know that Audible has a French website too? If you go to Audible.fr instead of Audible.com you can access their entire French audio book library. They might try to take you to Audible.com because they can tell that you are not in France and they think they know what you want better than you do. Don't let them do it! Just click to verify that you do indeed want to go to the website that you went to. I would recommend starting with some easier reads or books geared towards young people such as Le Petit Prince. They have a lot of familiar titles translated into French too.
And that's it! If you've got any other great recommendations that I missed leave them in the comments.