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Chapter 8  Websites

Most French websites end in .fr, but some end in .com, .org, or .net. All websites ending with .gouv.fr are websites of the French government. Some French websites also have an English version, but you should resist the temptation to navigate them.

If you feel too intimidated by some websites, leave them aside until you feel more comfortable with your French. Even though most websites that I mention here are for French native speakers, the novice learners of French can get a feel for the language, and learn a few new words from just browsing them.

Most of the websites can be used by all ages and levels. I recommend you pick a subject matter that interests you, and research it in French. The websites are to be used not as substitutes for books (Chapter 5), but rather as an extra aid to help you get accustomed to French.

Please contact me at BiancaMcHale@yahoo.co.uk if any of the websites listed in this book change or stop working.

8.1  Websites for Young People

Websites that are written for a young audience use simple language, like you find in children’s books (Section 5.4). Because of this, these websites are a useful learning tool for all ages and levels.


www.momes.net
This website is written by French children for other children. You can read stories and poems online, find out which are children’s favourite toys, films, music, books, museums, and so on. You can also read facts about animals, culture, food, science, and so on, in the mini-dossiers (mini files). You can definitely find something for everybody on this website.


www.filsantejeunes.com
Fil santé jeunes is a website where teenagers can find useful information about health and safer sex, and also answers to their problems about relationships.


www.asterix.fr
This is the official website for one of the most famous comic books, Astérix. You can read some of the Astérix stories, news about them, and you can also take quizzes to test your knowledge of the topic.


www.tintin.com
Belgium of origin, this comic book series became famous worldwide. You can read Tintin stories (and turn the pages like in a paper book). You can also take part in the fan club discussions.


www.membres.lycos.fr/simpsons/
Read in French about the famous cartoon characters of the Simpson family.

8.2  General Information Websites

If you are already familiar with how online search engines work, then you will find it easy to navigate the French-language websites below.


www.google.fr
This is the French-language version of Google, a famous free online search engine.


www.fr.wikipedia.org
This is the French-language version of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia.

8.3  Movie Websites

If you are passionate about movies, then discover the French productions and read movie reviews online. Two of the most popular cinema chains in France are UGC (www.ugc.fr) and Gaumont (www.cinemasgaumontpathe.com).


www.premiere.fr
On this website you can read movie reviews of French- and English-language movies shown in French cinemas. You can also read interviews with movie stars.


www.festival-cannes.com
This is the official website for the yearly Cannes International Film Festival. You can find not only the current year’s news, but also archives of older news stories.

8.4  Newspaper and Magazine Websites

Rather than buying French-language newspapers and magazines, you could visit their websites and read both new and old news at your own leisure. You do not have to read entire articles in the beginning of your learning French, just browse and read the headlines, making a note of new vocabulary. You can also watch small news clips on their websites.


www.lemonde.fr
Le Monde is one of the most famous daily newspapers. It used to be described as left wing, but it is more moderate nowadays.


www.lefigaro.fr
Le Figaro is another leading daily newspaper. Its editorial line is conservative.


www.leparisien.fr
Le Parisien is a daily newspaper covering Paris local news, national and international news.


www.nouvelobs.com
Le Nouvel Observateur is a weekly news magazine of liberal orientation that covers political and cultural world matters.


www.parismatch.com
Paris Match is a weekly magazine covering national and international news, along with celebrity lifestyle information and practical suggestions for your home and health.


www.elle.fr
Elle is a monthly fashion magazine that is famous worldwide. It is written for women, and covers a wide range of topics, including fashion, food recipes and beauty tips.


www.vogue.fr
Vogue is a monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine, which is very popular among women worldwide.

8.5  Radio Websites

You can listen to French radio online. You need to get a media player, such as Real Player—available as a free download from www.realplayer.com—to be able to listen online. You will not understand much in the beginning, but you might catch some words, and hear different accents that you can imitate.


www.radiofrance.fr
Radio France broadcasts current affairs information, and it has seven national stations: France Inter (news, music and entertainment), France Info (news), France Culture (culture), France Musique (classical music and jazz), France Bleu (network of regional stations), FIP (a wide range of music), and Le Mouv’ (pop music).


www.rfi.fr
On Radio France International (RFI) you can find news with subtitles by following the links: Langue françaiseJournal en français facile. You can listen to music on Musique.


www.rtl.fr
RTL is a popular commercial radio station that provides music and French news.


www.listenlive.eu
On Listen Live you can find local radio stations from all over France and other European countries where French is spoken. In this way you can experience a variety of French accents.

8.6  Television Websites

If you do not have a television set at home, you can still watch some news and documentaries online on the respective television websites. You will not understand much in the beginning, but do not worry; listen while reading the headlines, and that will help you get the gist of the stories. The more you listen, the more your ear will get trained to the sound of the French language.


www.tf1.fr
TF1 is a privately-owned television channel with mainly entertainment programmes. You can find the subtitles of headlines for each story in the news section.


www.canalplus.fr
Canal Plus is another privately-owned channel, which broadcasts entertainment programmes. Online, it gives you a compilation of a few minutes’ highlights from different channels that you can find on Zapping, named after the motion of flicking from one channel to another.


www.tv5.org
TV5 is a public television channel for French-speaking countries. Some of its programmes and news can be viewed online. Some parts of the website provide easy access to topic-specific video clips that can be useful for learners of French. For example, La langue française contains video-clips about grammar and the origins of certain words. As another example, Apprendre le français provides video clips (with optional, written transcriptions) of news stories and provides questions to test your comprehension of what was said during those clips.


www.francetv.fr
On France Télévisions you can find programmes from public French televisions. To find news with subtitles of some headlines, follow the links France2Info (an abbreviation for Information) → JT (an abbreviation for journaux télévisés). It has five stations: France 2 (primary channel), France 3 (network of regional stations), France 4 (arts, music and entertainment), France 5 (health, education and employment), and RFO (stations from French colonies).


www.euronews.net/fr
Euronews broadcasts mainly news. You can find some of its news programmes online. There is also the transcript of the video clips, but some words may be changed. There is an English version, but this is not a word-by-word translation. Look at the subtitles as you listen, and try to listen carefully to the pronunciation to get your ear used to the French language. Do not worry if you understand nothing or only a little in the beginning. With time, your understanding will improve. Watch a video clip as many times as you like, and jot down new vocabulary. You might want to build your own sentences with that new vocabulary for more efficient learning.


www.m6.fr
M6 broadcasts reality shows and programmes for teenagers and young adults. You can watch movie trailers and read synopses in French.

8.7  Travel Websites

By browsing the websites in this section, you can learn travel-related vocabulary, such as terminology for booking flights and hotels, weather and driving conditions.


www.pagesjaunes.fr
Pages Jeunes (Yellow Pages) is a telephone directory website on which you can find the contact details for businesses. If you want to find a person’s contact details, you should follow the link Pages Blanches (White Pages).


www.voyages-sncf.com
SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) is the French national railway system, which is France’s equivalent of British Rail. You can browse timetables of train journeys in France, and read about other useful information that you need for your journey, such as hotels, camping and ideas about what to visit.


www.airfrance.fr
Air France is the French national airline. You can browse flights and find out other important information—such as hotels and renting a car—that you might need when travelling by aeroplane.


www.viamichelin.fr
On Via Michelin you can find road maps. The website also provides details on how to get to a place in France or somewhere else in the world by car and how long will take. To see a route, just type in your starting and destination addresses and click on the link Voir l’itinéraire pas à pas (See the route step by step). This provides an excellent way to learn French-language vocabulary for directions. If you are not sure you understand everything correctly, then you can visit the English-language version of the website: www.viamichelin.co.uk.


www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr
Bison Futé provides real-time information on the state of roads within France, for example, which roads are closed or where you are likely to find traffic jams.


www.infotraffic.com
Info Traffic is another website that provides information on the state of roads within France.


www.preventionroutiere.asso.fr
L’Association Prévention Routière provides tips on driving and information about driving in France.


www.meteo.fr
You can hear the weather forecast on most news programmes, but Météo is a website dedicated to weather news.


www.voyage.fr
Voyage is a website, based on a TV show, that tells you about world travel.


www.franceguide.fr
France Guide is the official website for tourism in France.


www.123france.fr
123 France is a website where you can book hotel rooms worldwide. You can learn useful vocabulary by idly perusing the website.


www.parisbalades.com
Paris Balades takes you on a virtual tour of Paris by arrondissement (administrative sector). The virtual tour provides information on history and culture associated with many tourist attractions, so it is a great way to learn culture- and history-related vocabulary.


www.paris.fr
Paris is a website mainly for those living in Paris, but it also has a section for tourists. It has information on many things you need to know if you are a citizen of Paris, such as living, studying, working, relaxing, and so on.


www.paris-tourisme.com/indexf.html
Paris Tourisme is a tourist-oriented website, telling you about tours you can take, and many other things of interest when you visit Paris.


www.ratp.fr
Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) is a website where you get information about Parisian transport, such as buses and le métro (the underground train system).

8.8  Shopping Websites

You might want to window-shop online to learn vocabulary related to shopping for clothes, music, house items, cars, and so on.


www.amazon.fr
This is the French-language version of Amazon, a famous online shop. You can order new and second-hand music, movies, books, and other things. You can also read reviews of products to see what a product is like before you buy it.


www.ebay.fr
This is the French-language version of eBay, an online auction. You can buy new and second-hand products.


www.fnac.com
Fnac is a large chain of shops, which you find everywhere in France, selling books, music, computers, and so on. You can also book tickets for concerts. A quick word of warning. Do not buy a computer from France or any other foreign country because the layout of the keyboard is different and is going to create problems for you.


www.gibertjoseph.com
Gibert Joseph is my favourite shop. It has both new and second-hand books, DVDs, and CDs. It is also a stationary shop.


www.fnaim.fr
Fnaim is a real-estate agency. By browsing their website, you can pick up useful vocabulary.


www.maison-travaux.fr
Maison Travaux gives advice on household DIY projects.


www.mr-bricolage.fr
Mr Bricolage (literally, Mr. DIY) is a DIY store, similar to Homebase or B&Q in England, where you can buy almost anything for your home and garden.


www.laredoute.fr
La Redoute is an online catalogue from which you can order clothes and accessories.


www.monoprix.fr
Monoprix is a famous supermarket in France. By browsing online, you can learn a lot of useful vocabulary.


www.champion.fr
Champion is another famous supermarket in France.


www.galerieslafayette.com
This is the website of Les Galeries Lafayette, a popular department store in France.


www.actimania.fr
At Actimania you can browse through advertisements for cars, houses, work, and so on.

8.9  Food Websites

By perusing the following websites, you can learn useful vocabulary to do with food and drinks, ordering in restaurants and reading recipes.


www.chezclement.com
Chez Clément is the website for a chain of restaurants in and around Paris. You can see pictures of different kind of specialities and you can even read their menu online.


www.cuisineaz.com
At Cuisine AZ you can find many recipes, as well as pick up tips on cooking techniques.

8.10  Websites Concerning Life in France

By visiting the following websites, you can increase your knowledge, and vocabulary related to, many aspects of life in France, including health, education, finance, work, leisure and citizen rights.


www.avf.asso.fr
L’Accueil des Villes Françaises (AVF) accustoms new residents with the French region to which they have recently moved, and helps them feel at home.


www.pratique.fr
At Pratique you can find information about leisure, health, education, finance, employment, citizen rights in France, and so on.


www.service-public.fr
Le Service Public has a lot of information about public service organisations and provides useful links to other websites.


www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr
Diplomatie provides information about politics, education, and business in France and abroad.


www.ambafrance-uk.org
This is the French Embassy’s website in the United Kingdom. It has information both in English and French.


www.education.gouv.fr
This government website provides information about the French educational system.


www.francebenevolat.org
At France Bénévolat you can read about volunteer work in France.


www.anpe.fr
L’Agence nationale pour l’emploi—or ANPE as it is best known—provides help with job seeking and unemployment benefits.


www.laposte.fr
This is the website for La Poste (the Post Office) in France.


www.letour.fr
This website provides information about the world-famous Le Tour de France cycling race.


www.bnf.fr
At this website you can access La Bibliothèque de France (The National French Library).


www.emmaus-france.org
Emmaüs is a French charity that fights homelessness and poverty.

8.11  Green Living

By browsing the websites in this section, you can learn vocabulary related to environmental and ethical issues.


www.vivre-ecologique.com
Vivre Écologique provides advice on how to make your house more eco-friendly.


www.terrevivante.org
Terre Vivante provides advice about eco-friendly homes and organic food.


www.ecopitchoun.com
At Ecopitchoun you can shop for a wide range of ethically produced items.


www.eco-chateau.com
If you wish to have an eco-friendly holiday in France, Eco Château is a good place to start.


www.greenpeace.org/france
This is the French website for the famous activist group. It contains articles and videos about environmental issues.


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