As previously said, the Passé Simple is a narrative tense used in written form, mainly in literature. Its equivalent in spoken form is the Passé Composé.
This has been the case since the beginning of the 19th Century and you will not hear anyone using the Passé Simple in modern spontaneous French. It can still be used by orators for effect to give a literary colour to their language but can sound very archaic and pedantic.
If you intend to read French Literature you will need to study the Passé Simple although many modern authors will use the Imparfait and Passé Composé for their narrative particularly in the case of the 'New Novel'. You may encounter it in the Press too.
Hope this helps!
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