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Reading books has always been one of the best ways to learn a foreign language.
Besides practicing your reading and writing skills, you also improve your vocabulary and prepare yourself for conversations with others in your target language.
French literature, especially classic French literature, is worldwide known as one of the most amazing pieces of literature. Poetry or prose, both ways are equally astonishing.
French learners indeed can enjoy many great classic French books, enter different worlds or travel through time and space, and with all that, practice their language skills.
Among so many fantastic classic French books, it is hard to choose only some of them.
Having in mind this difficult task, we've chosen 6 classic French books for every proficiency level, from beginner's to advanced.
We hope that you will find them instructive and worth reading. After all, you can always talk about books with your French tutors and practice conversational skills.
And now, let's dive into the beautiful world of classic French books.
One of the most popular books in French literature, Le Comte de Monte-Christo is a story about a wealthy man, Edmond Dantès, whose life is perfect. With a good job, great social status, and a beautiful fianceé, Danteès soon becomes a victim of three men who plan to plot against him and accuse him of treason.
Dantès somehow succeeds to escape from the punishment and after a while, he returns to take revenge on those who plotted against him. His revenge affects everyone, even the ones he loves.
The book is full of exciting narrations and descriptions, showing the reader how a 19-century person was thinking at that time.
The story is mainly using past tense, so it is ideal for intermediate students and beginners who approach intermediate level.
Not only French prose and novels are worth reading and practicing your French skills.
Poetry is equally important.
Classic French poetry is fabulous for many reasons: besides practicing pronunciation because in poetry words usually rhyme, it is also a great way to see how feelings can be expressed, and not only toward people but also toward the world and things in it.
Charles Baudelaire’s ‘Les Fleurs du mal,’ for example, is a great example and highly recommended book of poetry for French students. Not only it represents philosophical thoughts of that time but it also mirrors the opinion of the whole society from that time.
Thanks to Baudelaire’s poems, you can see how ordinary words in French can be creatively used to describe many thoughts.
Les Miserables, a novel by popular writer Victor Hugo, is a story about different people in linear progression and follows historical events of the 19th century.
Every character in the novel meets others or leaves, and all that with all that gives an overview of the French culture and the way of life at that time.
It is described as one of the greatest novels of the world, and it is.
So, even if you haven’t read it in your native language, it is worth reading in French, especially to practice your writing skills and vocabulary and learn a bit about the culture.
Because of some specific words and phrases, the novel is suitable for intermediate and advanced learners but if beginners have a desire to try, they have our full support!
This amazing work of Gustave Flaubert is considered the center of classic French literature and interestingly, even today it is very popular.
The story takes place in a rural part of France, following the life of a housewife Emma Bovary, whose husband, a doctor, slowly gains respect from others. Madame Bovary sets her position as a social leader, which leads to many affairs that end unsuccessfully, making her become more and more miserable and ending up with debts.
The book is full of descriptions and dialogues with words that are used today as well. It is also a great example for today’s reader to see how the book itself was ahead of its time, describing the society of that age.
‘Tartuffe’ is one of Moliere's most known Moliere’s theatrical comedies, performed in 1664 for the first time in the theatres of that age.
Tartuffe is a fraud, who pretends to have some authority and he manages to trick Oregon and his mother, so they take action only after consulting with him. Oregon’s family doesn’t believe Tartuffe.
The even worse situation happens when Oregon decides that his daughter Marianne should marry Tartuffe.
Oregon’s family has to do something about that because it is clear that Tartuffe is the main person without whom any decision can’t be made. Therefore, they plan to trap Tartuffe, so that Oregon can see for himself that he is a first-class, pious fraud.
This epochal comedy is a great way for the learner to see conversational French and how the dialogues work.
No person in the world hasn't heard of the children’s book ‘Le petit prince.’
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s best work is a great way for beginners, pre-intermediate students to start practicing their writing and reading skills along with a new set of vocabulary.
The story is about an adult man who lands in a desert and wakes up one morning where he sees a little boy who wants to draw him the sheep. So, what a poor pilot could do but take a pen and paper and draw the sheep. And with that drawing, the story begins. The pilot slowly sees and understands that is really important in life. Thanks to a boy and his desire to draw him the sheep, his view of the entire world changes forever.
Books are people’s best friends.
They can show you other worlds, take you on unbelievable journeys, help you see what matters in life.
Besides all that, books can teach you how to use tenses, to help you boost your vocabulary and perfect your French accent.
And there are even more reasons why reading is important in a foreign language.
Classic French books have all these details so no matter which one you choose to read, you will only gain something, and that’s one more amazing experience you can tell your French tutors while practicing conversational skills with them.
And reading classic French books is more than half the French language learning job done.
Besides practicing your reading and writing skills, you also improve your vocabulary and prepare yourself for conversations with others in your target language. French literature, especially classic French literature, is worldwide known as one of the most amazing pieces of literature. Poetry or prose, both ways are equally astonishing. Here are the best French books to start. Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (The Count of Monte-Cristo), Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), Les Miserables (The Miserables), Madame Bovary (Madame Bovary), Tartuffe (The Imposter)
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), The Lover by Marguerite Duras, Dangerous Liaisons by Choderos de Laclos, The Immoralist by André Gide, Candide by Voltaire. The Stranger by Albert Camus.
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