Best French Novels to Read to Improve your French

If you’re learning French, reading is one of the best ways you can improve your language skills! So no matter where you are, you can bring a book or a Kindle, and enjoy our list of the best French novels to read!

Furthermore if you read lots, or simply want to read lots easily, getting a Kindle subscription could revolutionise your learning! And if you want to bring your books with you wherever you go, getting a Kindle is perfect (or this is a more general, cheaper option).

Bel-ami – Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant captures all the romance, betrayal and thrill of 19th Century Paris, and is a great read. Furthermore, there are lots of twists and turns, so you’ll read it in a day! Also, if this isn’t enough, check out Boule de Suif for another great story. 

Thérèse Desqueyroux – François Mauriac

This is a psychological thriller and much of the book focuses on Thérèse trying to understand why she tried to kill her husband. It takes place in a mysterious forest in Argelouse and has lots of ominous imagery, so it makes for great intrigue.

Les Mains Sales – Jean-Paul Sartre

‘Dirty Hands’ is a political drama about the murder of a senior politician. However, rather than wondering who did it, the play focuses on why. So if you enjoyed this and didn’t struggle with the language, enjoy Sartre’s Les Mouches next! 

La Cantatrice Chauve – Eugène Ionesco

Lots of Ionesco is both easy to read French and absurdist theatre, and ‘The Bald Soprano’ is no exception! This was inspired by his own learning of English, and don’t worry too hard about following the plot. 

Chanson Douce – Leila Slimani 

Based on a tragic true story, ‘Lullabye’ tells the story of a nanny murdering two children. Another psychological thriller, this will have you gripped to each page and improving your French in no time! 

Meursault, Contre-enquête – Kamel Daoud

This book rewrites the famous L’Étranger by Albert Camus from the point of view of the victim, and the French is easier than the original by Camus, so this different perspective lends itself to lots of reflection. 

Did you enjoy this list of the best French novels to read? Let us know in the comments below! Finally, when you’re done reading, why not schedule a Lex and share your favorites!

After that check out our Book Search and see what your fellow learners are reading and share your own recommendations!

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