The Internet has been an invaluable compendium of resources (most of them free and available as apps on mobile devices) for foreign language learners. The resources below are just a few that our school and Alliance members have used in and outside of classes and can recommend.
As many French channels/programs are not available to US viewers without subscription (eg. TV5Monde, CanalPlus, etc.), YouTube offers some past programs for free viewing such as talk shows (e.g. C à vous).
Please be advised that while we strive to ensure that the content is relevant and appropriate, Alliance Française de Santa Rosa is not responsible for the maintenance, integrity, and content of external or third party websites. In addition, some sites “monetize” their free services to consumers by including advertising. The Alliance does not endorse any of these sites nor the companies that advertise on their websites, podcasts and programs.
Quick View of Resources and References below
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but enough to get students started on finding online resources.
Alliance Française de Santa Rosa members are especially fortunate to have access to Culturethèque, with a plethora of French language print (books and periodicals, audio (including audiobooks) and video assets FOR ALL AGES not available online.
If you are a member, do not hesitate to sign up. Once your register, the site is supposed to allow you access to the assets for about two days until AFSR confirms that your membership is current. Once confirmed, you have access to Culturethèque until your membership expires.
Radios France app (Android) – Gateway to many French radio programs including France Info, RTL, Europe 1, France Inter
France Radio (iOS) provides a similar selection of radio stations.
Even More Resources
Art and Film Resources
Villa Albertine is an initiative of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, that was created during the pandemic. Its mission is to create a community for arts and ideas, between France and the United States. Villa Albertine offers residencies to artists in 10 cities across the United States, including San Francisco, and sponsors in-person and online events. Their website has an online magazine, and lists programs and resources for professionals.
Right now, their front page has a couple of articles you may like: “Summer 2022 Reading Lists” and “Can’t-Miss French Series.”
You can stay up to date with the Villa’s activities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
FrenchFlicks is a great resource for finding online and in-person French films. Started in 2013 by a journalist from Télérama, a French movie review site, the website stays up to date on film festivals, and theatrical openings in cities across the US, including Santa Rosa (yes!), San Rafael, and San Francisco. For in-person films, you can use filters to select by city and genre. They also have a large, searchable compilation of films that are available to stream on the usual major platforms such as Netflix, as well as on French-specific distributors like TV5Monde.
Also, they feature a handy “streaming guide” with particular selections, like “Love story in French”, to help you find great films online.
Of course, you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook to get announcements of film openings.
Film and TV Streaming Resources
Kanopy is a terrific source of recent and some older films, including documentaries, and best of all the subscription is free if you hold a library card at most of the libraries in Sonoma County. Check with your librarian to see if they have a Kanopy agreement. Once you have signed up you can watch up to 8 films in any given calendar month. Kanopy has a very good selection of films from the 1960s up to the present.
Subscription Cost: Free
The Criterion Channel
The Criterion Channel is simply the most in-depth site to find most of the significant films in the world history of cinema. The selection is rotated every month, but at the current moment, typing “french” in the search box lists 411 films. In addition to having the highest audio and video standards, many of the films in the collection come with interviews and commentary (in English and in French).
Subscription Cost: $89.99/year after a 14-day free trial
MUBI is a curated film service, showing contemporary World cinema from leading (and sometimes relatively unknown) directors. Besides having a backlist, they show 30 films at any given time, adding a new one each day, and retiring it after 30 days. Currently, 7 of the 30 films are in French, so there is a very good chance of finding something good to watch here.
Subscription Cost: $10.99/month after a 7-day free trial
TV5Monde distributes popular French TV series (and a few films) in foreign countries. Check with your cable operator to see if you can include it in your subscription and what the monthly cost is. Once you have signed up, the TV5Mondeplus streaming service is included. The selection is heavily weighted towards current films, including comedies, travel, and family entertainment. If you are looking for a TV series your family in France is addicted to, chances are you can find it here.
Subscription Cost: Ask your cable operator
MHz is another cable add-on service, with a standalone streaming service, MHz Choice. MHz specializes in foreign TV series, especially from France and Italy, with a focus on thrillers and police stories. Right now I am becoming addicted to the long-running policier, Engrenages (Spiral), now playing on MHz.
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