French books

Best books for learning French (on your own)

Best books for learning French:

You often ask me what books you can use to progress quickly in French.

If you plan to learn French alone, you’ll need:

  • French literature (novels and short stories)
  • Reference books (Bescherelle for conjugation, Grevisse for grammar + a dictionary for vocabulary and spelling)
  • And workbooks of exercises to quickly review and practice.

But there are so many books to learn French.

So, what are the best books for learning French and finally progress?

Today, I’ld like to keep it very simple.

I only recommend 3 books to have in your library.

1. The LLF collection : Lire en Français Facile by Hachette

Read in French easily and progress

It’s a collection of short classic and modern novels of French literature.

In this collection, you will find several reading books organized in 4 levels: A1, A2, B1 and B2.

There are easy to read

  • The vocabulary and sentence structures are adapted to your level and you will even find the difficult words and expressions explained at the bottom of the page.
  • Each book has a teaching folder with comprehension activities, topic sheets, and corrected exercises.
  • Audio CD included to listen to the story: 3 hours of audio content to progress in French (with some titles).

Attention! All of the novels are intended for foreign students, but some stories are more for adults, others for teens or children.

Here are 3 examples:

easy reading for adult foreigners

Easy reading for adult foreigners

easy reading for foreign teenagers

Easy reading for foreign teenagers

Easy reading for foreign children

Easy reading for foreign children

My opinion on LLF fiction novels for foreigners

I highly recommend you try to read 1 fiction book from this collection.

  • Choose a title that appeals to you.
  • Take advantage of the audio resources and exercises to progress in French.
  • Ideal if you want to read real French novels adapted to foreign learners.

2. The ASSIMIL method for learning French (all levels)

Assimil book to learn French

I can’t forget the famous ASSIMIL method (books and CDs) because it works so well.

My mom used an ASSIMIL book to learn English from scratch (before the invention of languages apps) at the age of 45 and it was great!

Take a look at their website to see all the languages courses they offer. 


ASSIMIL French learning method

As you can see on this screenshot of their website: You will choose your mother tongue, the language you want to learn (French) and your level.

The software then offers you several ASSIMIL books with or without audio.

Assimil, how does it work?

The ASSIMIL method will help you assimilate the rules of French in a natural way thanks to dialogues and sentences in context (at the bakery, at the doctor’s, etc.)

Explanations and exercises are available in French and in your native language (Spanish, German, Arabic, English, etc.)

My opinion on ASSIMIL books for studying the French language

ASSIMIL is the best book to learn French on your own.

It’s a flexible method that motivates foreign learners of French.

With this method, learning French becomes easy and natural.

The CD allows you to do audio exercises, listen to the French accent and repeat to improve your pronunciation.

3. French reference book : Le BLED Tout-en-un, Grammar-Spelling-Conjugation-Vocabulary

reference book to improve your French

Need a reference textbook in your French learning?

This is not a book to read from cover to cover in 20 days. It’s a reference book to turn to when you want to learn a rule of French grammar.

It’s super comprehensive: conjugation charts, review sheets, exercises + extra online exercises.


The BLED is too complex for beginners: The explanations are quite advanced and not bilingual. They are only in French.

It is too difficult for beginners and intermediate foreign learners.

My opinion on the BLED : Reference texbook in French

Le Bled Tout-en-un, a must to consult regularly to improve your French in the long term from the intermediate level.

I prefer the Bled All-in-One to the Bescherelle All-in-One: The BLED is better presented and explained.

Stay motivated even if the content of these manuals seem immense. Revise a little every day and you will see results.

Do you have a beginner-intermediate level?

The next book is for you.

Surprise, one more French book!

All French explained in English-book

Because it’s too hard to limit myself to 3 books.

Plus, I love to give you gifts!

The latest book I recommend: French All-in-One for Dummies.

The book that clearly explains how the French language works to English speakers.

If you want to learn French grammar and conjugation from the beginner level: I recommend this French textbook explained in English.

It is very complete and well explained + 1 audio CD included.

And there you go!

These were my 3 favorite books to learn French (+ 1 bonus).

Of course, there are many more.

Before you buy a French book, take several criteria into consideration:

  • Are you learning French on your own or with a native French teacher?
  • What is your level in French?
  • What do you want to work on: French vocabulary, conjugation, grammar or speaking?

And if you’re beginner or intermediate in French, make sure the book always comes with a CD or audios to listen to online: It’s a must!

For you, what are the best books to learn French?

Have you ever read a novel in French?

See you soon for more tips in French,

Note: This post is part of the “The 3 books that changed my life” event from the blog “des livres pour changer de vie”. I really enjoy this blog, and in fact my favorite post is this one.

🇫🇷 The same course explained in French here : Livres pour lire en français

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