As a kid, I was fascinated by adults reading newspapers. They looked so smart! So serious!
I wanted to be like them!
So, when I grew up, I started reading Le Monde, then Mediapart, Le Monde Diplomatique, Le Canard Enchainé…
If these names don’t sound familiar to you, this article is for you.
After reading it, you’ll know most French newspapers and the key differences between them.
10 must-know French newspapers
Founded at the demand of Charles de Gaulle at the end of the second world war, Le Monde is one of the most widely-distributed French newspaper and the easiest to find outside France.
It covers French current events, world news, economy, politics and culture.
Founded in 1846, Le Figaro is the oldest French newspaper still in print and one of the oldest newspapers in the world.
Considered centre right, Le Figaro is the equivalent of conservative newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal or the Times.
Founded by famous philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and journalist Serge July, Libération started with a rather revolutionary stance following the protests of May 1968.
This daily newspaper is now considered centre-left although it’s clearly more on the left side than Le Monde for example.
This is the best newspaper to follow if you’re interested in Paris news and events.
Mediapart is a news website created in 2008 by the former editor in chief of Le Monde.
Unlike most French newspapers, its income comes entirely from subscription fees to guarantee its independence.
Thanks to its independence, Mediapart was able to play a major role in the revelation and investigation of 3 political scandals since its creation.
Le Canard Enchainé is a satirical newspaper whose name literally means “the chained duck” and refers to “canard”, the French slang word for “newspaper”.
It regularly investigates political and economical scandals and heavily relies on play on words and cultural references, which makes it particularly hard to understand for French learners.
Unfortunately, it’s only available in print.
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical newspaper featuring cartoons and articles that regularly stir controversy.
Unfortunately, the newspaper was the victim of a terrorist attack in 2015 and its future is now uncertain.
Le Monde Diplomatique is a left-wing newspaper available in 26 languages. It features in-depth articles about current affairs, politics, and culture.
Even though its parent company is the Le Monde newspaper, Le Monde Diplomatique enjoys full editorial independence and is known for its dislike of capitalism.
Les Echos is a financial newspaper with a liberal stance which makes it the equivalent of The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
It regularly publishes economical analyses from leading economists, but also covers topics such as science and innovation.
Created during le Tour de France, l’Équipe is the most famous French newspaper dedicated to sports.
It mainly covers soccer, rugby, motorsport and cycling.
Founded 1904 as the newspaper of the French Communist Party, L’Humanité is now an independent left-wing newspaper.
La Croix is a newspaper dedicated to world news, economy and culture.
Even though it’s a Catholic newspape (its name literally means “the cross”), its audience is becoming more and more varied
Metro is a free newspaper available in France, but also in most European countries as well as in the US and in Canada.
L’Express is a right-wing weekly magazine with a focus on economics, politic, and world news.
Founded in 1997, Marianne is a centre-left news magazine. Its name refers to Marianne, the national symbol of the French Republic.
Le Gorafi is the French equivalent of The Onion, the perfect news website to relax and have fun while improving your French reading skills.
The name “Gorafi” is supposed to be a dyslexic version of the name of the French newspaper Le Figaro.
If you want to have some fun, check out the website’s comment section. You’ll find lots of comments from people who don’t realize they’re reading a satirical newspaper.
Bilingual newspapers and news websites for French learners
Reading French newspapers in French can be hard, but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
The following news websites and podcasts provide bilingual versions or detailed explanations of most or all of their articles.
Created by students of the ERASMUS program in 2011, Cafebabel is a news website written by young Europeans for young Europeans.
Most articles are available in French, English, Italian, German, Spanish and Polish.
VoxEurop is another European magazine available in 10 European languages, including French.
The magazine translates articles from major French and European newspapers such as Le Monde, Le Figaro and Libération.
This a great way for you to read a selection of articles from French newspapers with translations in several languages.
News in Slow French is a podcast dedicated to news. Some content is available for free, but you’ll need a paid subscription to get access to all episodes with transcriptions and notes.
Created by Radio France, the main French radio broadcaster, le journal en français facile is a show dedicated to world news in which two journalists speak in “easy” French.
Looking for more reading resources? Check out this article!
Newspapers for children
Children newspapers are an excellent choice for French learners because they use simple language and often explain expressions in more detail than traditional newspapers.
Here are a few you can read:
Over to you
Do you read French newspapers? Which one do you prefer? Join the conversation in the comment section below this article!