27 Jun 2016

The Best French Television Series

The Best French Television Series, vickiarcher.com

My vote for the best French television series would not include Versailles.

I was excited to watch Versailles but after three episodes I cannot say I’m hooked and far from it. The visuals are intriguing but that is where it stops for me. Perhaps it will warm up.

I will show my hand at the start here, I am a big fan of the French television series. I enjoy them for a variety of reasons not least because it is an excellent way to practise the language. Looking at my lists I must have a penchant for the police drama and the political intrigue.

I have four I have recently watched and others queued up; I think if you are in need of an escape and a little down time, look no further.

Let me know if you have any other wonderful series we should not miss. xv

The Best French Television Series

The Disappearance

“The Disappearance is an eight-part French police thriller mini-series, which was originally broadcast in France from 22 April to 13 May 2015, and inspired by the Spanish series Desaparecida.”

My latest watch and loving ever second; Lyon never looked so engaging.


“French political drama. The French President has been assassinated and deep political intrigue follows, with cabinet members all clamouring for power. The spin doctors leap into action, each pushing their own greedy agenda – and their own candidate.”

Watch both series; set in Paris that was enough for me.


“After 20 years as mayor of Marseille, Robert Taro (Depardieu) enters into a war of succession with his former protégé turned rival Lucas Barres (Benoît Magimel).”

I will always watch Depardieu + Marseille; can’t help myself. 


“Engrenages (‘Spiral’) is about the judicial and law-enforcement system of France. The viewer follows follows the day-to-day activities of police detectives, lawyers, public prosecutors and judges.”

Watch every episode; probably one of my all time best series. Pierre is mine, that’s all I will say ;)

Unité 9

“Follows a French Canadian woman going to jail for 7 years for pushing her father down the stairs. As the story unfolds we get to see how this all came about and the reasons behind it. The story follows the woman in jail as well as her family on the outside.”

in the queue


“Character-driven drama, 19-2 revolves around the day-to-day life of two unwilling partners of the Montreal Police Department, Officers Nick Barron and Ben Chartier. These two beat cops patrol the urban sprawl of downtown’s 19th district, in cruiser No. 2. 19-2 is about the tensions and bonds that develop between two incompatible men of very different temperaments and life experiences.”

in the queue


“Full of guns, knives, torture and the odd defenestration, Olivier Marchal’s Braquo is as brutal and brilliant a cop drama as you could hope for.”

“And the world of Braquo – a slang French term for a brutal heist – is far more violent than the knitwear-obsessed police dramas from Denmark. In fact, Braquo seems to push at the very limits of TV violence.”

A few episodes in; Not for the faint hearted.


“In 1667, 28-year-old all-powerful king of France, Louis XIV, decides to build the greatest palace in the world – Versailles. But drained budget, affairs and political intrigues complicate things.”

So far it’s not as I had imagined. Tell me your thoughts on this one?



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Taste of France

I also liked “Mafiosa,” from a couple of years ago. And my husband loves “Camping Paradis.”
Language hint: put on the subtitles for the hearing impaired. It helps you untangle the syllables into words, especially when people speak very fast or use argot.


Yes I do that sometimes… when I am not lazy.. ;)
I wondered about Mafiosa, I will add that series to the queue and also look at Camping Paradis…

Anita Rivera

OK, now with streaming, we should be able to pick these up. Thank you Vicki; I am always on the lookout for intelligent, sensual and beautiful shows!

Catherine Baum

How do we get to see these French movies on netflix or amazon video?

Gary Labuschagne

Hi Vicki, I have watched the entire series of Marseille on Netflix, could not stop watching. Unfortunately it is finished but really enjoyed it. Our satellite TV here never have any European movies or series so have to search Netflix or YouTube, so thank you for suggestions.


Thank you! I love a good tv show, particularly in French, too. Now if only there was one featuring lots of French antiques, then I’d be 1000 % in! We just started watching Marseille, hoping the rest will appear on Netflix or Amazon, too. Xo


Unfortunately, across the pond here where I live, we don’t get any french series – the one of many you mention- The Disappearance- sounds like something right up my alley. We often get British series here and I Always watch them. My latest favourite was Rosemary and Thyme, British television series. I Loved it so much I bought the entire boxed set and I still watch them over and over again….


I haven’t see that one Fran.. I shall look for it.
Apparently there is a way to have a US iTunes account and therefore access the shows… I haven’t tried in the UK but plenty of people I know who live all over say it works brilliantly…

Kerrie Roberts

We have internet TV here in France and can access all sorts of series and movies from around the world. Loved Spiral and Spin and am waiting for the next season of each which I believe are in production. Versailles looks beautiful but I don’t like that it revolves around the infidelities of the characters instead of the politics of the period. As you say, perhaps it will improve. Loved The Tunnel and Witnesses though the northern french coast did look depressing in both.


I haven’t seen Witnesses as yet… Do you recommend it Kerrie?
I thought the Tunnel was ok… not nearly as good as The Bridge though… :)

Rachel McCue

I really like The Returned (the French version of course). I watched the 1st season twice and watched the 2nd season on tv last year. Now I’m just waiting for the 2nd season to be added to Netflix so I can watch it again. I’m in episode 6 of The Disappearance and I’m really enjoying it so far.


Hi. Vicki
Marseille sounds very good, great to Depardui acting again. In Aust don’t have Netflix and wish so very much fore French Tv series.
Howeve I do watch several…
1. Peaky Blinders – set in Liverpool UK 1920’s it’s a family running the city of crime, it winning awards and has a fabulous cast.
2. Vikings – this series looks authentic, it’s zoning in on a particular time when Vikings invaded England its leader is Rothgar 2 wives courageous comrades political endeavours by all to lead and conquer.
3. This is late I’ve resisted but Downton Abbey has me hooked waiting to see the final series 6. So comforting to watch all the goings on up and downstairs..


I have been watching Engrenage and love it. I started watching it in NY when my husband found it online and then I was hooked.
I have to go through this list again and mark them so I can start watching some new things .. the nights can be long and quiet here sometimes .. a good French television series is just what is needed.


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