Students of French often ask us about what French movie or series they should watch to work on their French comprehension. Although we don’t necessarily believe studying French with movies/tv shows is the way to go, movies/series in French can be good supplemental practice.
We do recommend some French movies that you can get on Netflix or Amazon but these offerings do change depending on where you are and also movies available on one service one month might not be the next.
We also often recommend the TV5 Monde broadcast channel but it’s not available to a lot of you. Earlier this month, TV5 reached out to us and asked us if we could check out their new streaming offering that just launched “TV5 Monde Plus”.
We never accept promotional content on our site but after spending some time looking at TV5 Monde offering, we realised what a great offering it was and really wanted to write about. Best of all, TV5MondePlus French Language streaming service is completely free!!
(Note that this review are my honest thoughts and TV5 had no influence nor reviewed the article before publication).
Overview of the Service
TV5MondePlus French Language streaming service is pretty much an online Netflix of French language content. It features movies and TV shows as well as documentaries, entertainment and kids content.
The ~4000 hours of content on this platform is usually subtitled in 5 different languages:
As I mentioned, all the content is free to access and there are some ads (usually a 30 seconds preroll).
In my experience, the service worked pretty well. Once, I had some issue – everything seemed fine but series would not start playing – yet these sort of technical issues are probably to be expected for such a new service.
Where is TV5MondePlus French Language Streaming Service Available?
The good news is that TV5MondePlus French Language streaming service is available pretty much anywhere without even having to create an account or signup (although if you sign up for free, you’ll be able to resume playback and save your favorite series – so I suggest you do sign up).
The bad news is that it’s not available in the US, in China nor in the Netherlands because of licensing rights.
It will apparently be available as a normal cable channel in the US next year but that kind of defeats the purpose :-(
If you reside in these places, I’m sure that if you access the website via a VPN and you’ll be able to view all the content easily.
There is also an iOS App and an Android app available on their respective stores.
French Language Streaming Service Featuring a Wide Range of Accents
As its TV channel counterpart, TV5 Monde is a partnership of content originating from France, Canada, Belgium and French speaking Africa.
Because of that wide range of sources, you’ll hear all kinds of different French accents that you might not be exposed to if you are only used to watching French content originating in France.
For example, watch the first episode of Océania Season 3 called “Il nage avec des ours” and check out the dramatic difference in accent between the narrator (speaking with a relatively “neutral” French accent from France) and the main character, the diver who is from Québec. It can be pretty unsettling if you are not expecting it!
Another pretty dramatic example is the police drama from Quebec “Faits Divers” which unfortunately does not feature French subtitles for some reason :-( Having watched part of a show, I personally only understood 70% of what some of the actors were saying… so even native French speakers (from France) will struggle with the difference in accent.
Wara, an African series from Sénegal (where I grew up for 8 years) and Nigeria, will also expose you to the different accents of Western African French which can be very interesting.
The French Movie Catalog
The movie catalog is not going to feature the latest blockbusters or popular movies but more obscure/independent movies (“Cinéma d’auteur”) and older classics…
Same thing with the TV series… Don’t expect to see the latest series from Canal+ or TF1 or even to the level of some of the French series on Netflix but again, this is more targeted less popular content and let me remind you again that this French language streaming service is completely free!
I hope you check TV5MondePlus out. If you find some content that you really enjoy, why don’t you share it in the comments below to help others: let us know what show/ movie/ documentary you enjoyed and why!