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10 Best Books for French Learners

10 best books to learn french

Improving French skills through reading is often associated with classical authors whose works can be challenging due to old-fashioned and formal styles. However, this post provides a refreshing perspective by suggesting contemporary novels, classics, and comics suitable for learners at various levels.

Here are ten recommended books for learners from beginner to advanced levels. These best books to learn French serve as valuable resources to deepen vocabulary and enhance grammar skills while offering an enjoyable reading experience.

Whether you’re seeking French books for beginners or the best books to learn French at an advanced level, this diverse selection caters to various learning needs. These recommendations aim to make the language learning journey enjoyable, effective, and culturally enriching.

1.Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Are you embarking on your journey into French literature? What better starting point than ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? 

This timeless classic, one of the best French books for beginners, takes readers on a whimsical adventure with a young boy exploring the universe. 

With its brevity and engaging storyline, ‘Le Petit Prince’ is an excellent choice for learners at the beginner or intermediate level.

 While it introduces the reader to a few challenging vocabulary words and employs the passé simple tense (not commonly heard in spoken French), these elements contribute to valuable learning experiences.

 For additional practice, one can also enjoy the story in various formats, including as an audiobook, play, TV show, or movie, enhancing both reading and listening skills.”

2.”L’Étranger” (The Stranger) by Albert Camus

Albert Camus’s book, “L’Étranger” (The Stranger), is a deep and exciting story. It’s written in French, which makes it a helpful tool for learning the language. The main character, Meursault, is distant and doesn’t care much about things. The story follows him as he deals with life’s confusing moments and tough decisions.

Even though the language might be a bit tricky, it’s a good choice for people at an intermediate level in their French learning journey. “L’Étranger” is not just a language lesson; it’s also a chance to think about important things.

The sentences are short and easy to follow. Therefore, it is one of the best French learning books. So, by reading this book, you improve your French and explore the philosophical thoughts the book offers. 

Give it a try if you want to improve your French and enjoy a good story simultaneously!

10 best books to learn french
Courtesy – amazon.in

3.”Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” is a classic in French literature, touching on themes of justice, love, and redemption. This epic masterpiece is a challenging yet rewarding read for advanced learners. Set in 19th-century France, the novel explores these themes through a diverse cast of characters.

For advanced learners, the intricacies of character development and detailed descriptions offer a deep dive into the language and culture. While the extensive length and complex language may present a challenge, the enduring story and powerful prose make it a worthwhile endeavor for those ready to elevate their French skills.

Despite its difficulty, “Les Misérables” provides a valuable opportunity for advanced learners to expand their vocabulary and enhance their reading proficiency. Simplified versions are also available for learners at different levels, ensuring accessibility for a broader audience.

 “Les Misérables” is a challenging yet enriching book for advanced French learners, offering a literary adventure and a chance to deepen their comprehension of the French language and culture.

4.”Le Comte de Monte-Cristo”By Alexandre Dumas

If you’re up for a thrilling historical adventure, check out Alexandre Dumas’ “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo” (The Count of Monte Cristo). 

This timeless masterpiece tells a story of betrayal, revenge, and redemption in 19th-century France. While it’s better for those with a good understanding of French, even if you’re still learning (at an intermediate to advanced level), you can enjoy the exciting tale and learn from the rich vocabulary.

The plot, featuring Edmond Dantes’ unfair imprisonment and his journey for revenge, is fast-paced and gripping, almost like watching a movie. This excitement can keep you motivated to tackle new words and sentence structures.

Dumas’ writing isn’t the easiest, but it’s full of vivid descriptions and historical details. Reading it exposes you to a variety of words, helping you understand French beyond everyday topics. 

So, if you’re looking for an engaging story that also helps you with your French, “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo” is a great pick!

5.”Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert is a tragic novel that shares the tale of Emma Bovary, a woman dreaming of a life beyond her provincial surroundings.

Flaubert’s intricate descriptions and lifelike dialogues offer an immersive learning experience for advanced learners. 

This book is beneficial for grasping French grammar in real-life situations and expanding your vocabulary. 

Flaubert’s skillful use of language introduces you to nuanced words and sophisticated sentence structures, enhancing your grasp of French grammar and style. 

 “Madame Bovary” not only tells a compelling story but also serves as a valuable tool for advancing your language skills.

6.”Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune” By Gaston Leroux

Gaston Leroux’s “Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune” is a thrilling mystery that centers around a crime committed in a room seemingly locked from the inside.

This captivating novel uses everyday conversational language, making it an excellent choice for intermediate-level students. 

It provides an engaging way to learn French vocabulary related to mystery and suspense. Leroux, well-known for “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra,” crafted one of the first “locked-room” mysteries with this work.

The story follows Joseph Rouletabille, a reporter investigating an attempt on the life of a famous scientist’s daughter. 

The police are puzzled as the attacker appears to have vanished from the secured room with a barred window without a trace. “Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune” offers an exciting narrative and an opportunity for learners to enhance their French skills through a gripping mystery.

7.Candide” by Voltaire

Candide” by Voltaire proves to be an excellent book for learning French as it stands as a literary classic, offering learners an opportunity to engage with sophisticated French prose and storytelling. Published in 1759, the language used in “Candide” is relatively accessible, not overly complex, and provides a glimpse into the linguistic style of the time.

The novel is particularly learner-friendly, as bilingual editions are available, making it an accessible choice for those aiming to improve their French language skills while enjoying a classic narrative.

8. Germinal By Emile Zola 

“Germinal” by Émile Zola is a powerful novel that helps you learn French and provides a compelling exploration of French culture and history. 

Germinal” is an uncompromisingly harsh and realistic story of a coalminers’ strike in northern France.

The book takes you into the lives of miners in North France during the 19th century, offering a captivating and moving look at the working class of that time. 

The novel examines the lives and struggles of miners, their working conditions, and the exploitation they faced.

This gripping narrative makes the book difficult to put down, keeping readers engaged throughout.

Zola’s detailed descriptions and vibrant language not only enhance language understanding but also prompt reflection on the enduring struggles and social issues that have shaped France’s history.

 Reading “Germinal” is not just a language-learning experience; it’s an insightful exploration of France’s past, presented through a lens of compelling storytelling and historical context.

9.”Astérix et Obélix,”by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

“Astérix et Obélix,” created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo in the late 1950s, is one of the most beloved Franco-Belgian comic series globally. This series chronicles the adventures of two characters, Astérix and Obélix, originating from a Gaul village (present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of Western Europe) and is considered one of the best French books for kids. 

Astérix et Obélix, the mischievous Gauls, and their magical potion hold a special place in French culture and can be a fun way to boost your French learning, but like any adventure, it comes with its challenges.

The comic book format offers bite-sized stories with action, humor, and historical references, keeping you hooked and motivated to decipher the language.

Though not the simplest French, Astérix uses everyday vocabulary and simple sentence structures, making it a gentler entry point than some classic literature.

The comics are infused with French humor, making them an excellent resource for beginner and intermediate learners. They provide insight into French style, conversational phrases, and social criticism. It is considered one of the best books for learning French is essential, given its cultural significance and engaging content.

10.”Le Cid” by Pierre Corneille 

Le Cid” by Pierre Corneille is a classic in French literature that is highly recommended. Its literary style, based on Alexandrine verse and poetic dialogues, makes it an excellent resource for students, offering a window into 17th-century French and the intricacies of the language. 

It is one of the greatest plays in history and is generally considered one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine.

The play delves into timeless themes such as honor, love, and duty, providing profound insights into French culture and the values of that era. 

The language used in the play is rich and expressive, providing learners with exposure to sophisticated French vocabulary and grammar. Additionally, the play’s profoundly moving tragicomedy, based on the legend of El Cid, offers a compelling story that can engage and immerse French learners in the language and culture.

Reading”Le Cid” enhances language skills and offers a journey into France’s cultural and literary foundations. It’s worth noting that Corneille drew inspiration from the Spanish chivalrous novel “Les Enfances du Cid” by Guillén de Castro when crafting this influential work.

“The Cid” is a valuable resource for those looking to enhance their understanding of the French language and its literary tradition.

Tips to Choose Books for Learning French

Learning French through literature is both exciting and rewarding. However, choosing the right books can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you haven’t reached a certain proficiency level.

 Here are simple yet effective tips to guide you in selecting the best books for your French language learning adventure:


Avoid the urge to look up every unfamiliar word in the dictionary. Balancing known and unknown words contributes to effective learning. Keep a vocabulary notebook to note unfamiliar words for later review.

Focus on Grammar 

Pay attention to sentence construction and verb tenses. Observing grammatical structures during your reading sessions enhances your understanding of French grammar.

Read According to Your Level

Choose books that match your current proficiency level. While the desire to read classics like “Le Petit Prince” is strong, starting with a book appropriate for your skills ensures a more enjoyable and fruitful learning experience.

Set Realistic Goals:

Establish achievable reading goals based on your schedule and proficiency level. Setting realistic goals keeps you motivated, whether it’s a certain number of pages per day or finishing a book within a specific timeframe.


The journey of learning French can be a delightful and enriching experience, especially when accompanied by the right books.

 Our list of the “10 Best Books for French Learners” spans from timeless classics like “Le Petit Prince” for beginners to engaging mysteries such as “Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune” for intermediate learners. 

As you progress, adventures like “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo” await, offering a blend of captivating storytelling and language enrichment. For those seeking a lighter touch, the humorous exploits of “Astérix et Obélix” bring a smile to beginners and young learners.

Whether you are looking for French books for beginners, the best books to learn French, or literature suitable for kids, this collection is designed to cater to diverse learning needs. 

Each book in this selection serves as a language-learning tool and a gateway to French culture, history, and literature. So, immerse yourself in these literary gems and let the pages of these books unfold a world of language, culture, and imagination. Happy reading on your French language learning journey!

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