It is great to have a native speaker to practice French with you from the first day. If you don’t have someone already, you can find one – a tutor, teacher, or a language exchange partner – on Italki. Chatting with a conversation exchange partner won’t cost you money. Lessons from professional teachers will, but you’ll spend significantly less than you thought you would. You can search for the people from France, Belgium, and other countries, depending on your preferences. Also, if you are a native speaker of a language other than English, you can find someone who speaks your language too. Read the full review of italki.
This is a free and popular method to study French online. In many ways, it’s similar to Michel Thomas with the teacher helping a student learn the language, but without the price tag. With 40 lessons available, its a great introduction to French.
One of my favorite resources for improving speaking skills in French (and a few other languages). The free version makes it easy to record yourself speaking sentences in French and compare to a native speaker. There are also dictation exercises to help you improve your listening skills. The premium version allows you to submit an unlimited number of recordings each month and receive feedback on your pronunciation. Read our full review of Speechling.
An impressive and comprehensive one-stop website for everyone who wants to learn French, regardless of the current level or needs. Lessons are organized by level (from A1 to C1) and topic. A variety of tags and categories helps you find exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to in-depth lessons, you can subscribe to the 6-week Travel French course. For more personalized, premium lessons and classes, visit “Progress with Lawless French.”
A comprehensive French language-learning pack, which includes everything a beginner (or intermediate-level learner) needs: audio and video lessons, flashcards, and downloadable PDF lessons. You’ll find tons of helpful content and while the platform isn’t perfect, they offer lots of useful materials at a reasonable price. Read the full review of FrenchPod101.
Rocket Languages cover Levels 1-3 (from beginners to the advanced level) for French. The emphasis is on the use of the language in practice. The packages contain audio content, and there is the option to record yourself and compare your speech to the one of a native speaker. The dialogues cover the most common occasions you may find yourself in; the grammar is explained throughout, and the Survival Kit is designed to help you have a successful start. Some of Rocket Language’s courses are poorly developed, but we’ve found Rocket French to be well-made. Read our full review.
The website of a French teacher who aims to teach you authentic French and prepare you for stress-free oral communication. He offers one free and three paid courses, and a lot of handy resources such as audiobooks, videos, podcasts, and blog articles, with a healthy balance between free and paid content. The site is in French and, even though he offers a basic course too, it is not designed for total beginners. Read the full review.
Glossika is another course that promises to teach you French without memorizing the rules. The keyword here is internalization – you internalize grammar rules and adopt the patterns of speech, by repeating the most commonly used sentences in the French language. However, not everyone would be thrilled with the study material – it consists of isolated sentences, without any context or story – but many say it works for them. Read the full review of Glossika.
Lingodeer isn’t as well-known as some other language learning resources, but it’s one of the best free resources around. It teaches French in a manner that’s somewhat similar to Duolingo, having the user complete lots of exercises. Lingodeer makes up for some of Duolingo’s weaknesses with thorough grammar explanations and clear audio recordings. Read our full review of Lingodeer.
Memrise courses are usually fun. Most of them are generated by users, and the quality varies, but when you pick one, learning the lessons is like playing a game. The concept of the app will make you memorize words, phrases, spelling, pronunciation, syntax, just name it. And you can choose from hundreds of courses or create your own. Any 5 minutes of your spare time is enough to study French, on any device. Best of all, these courses are entirely free. Read the full review of Memrise.
Learn French by Podcast
French podcasts for adult intermediate and advanced learners. The themes include current affairs, opinions on Brexit, a discussion about a car accident, and many more. You can download a lesson (audio + PDF lesson guide) for $1 or all 200 lessons for $100. Check out the sample lessons first.
Lingoda offers online French classes for all levels of students. You can take private or group classes with a native speaking tutor and access their well-structured curriculum. The price varies depending upon several factors but is pretty affordable and includes an official certification: A1 to C2 – The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Read the full review.
One of the most popular free language sources, Duolingo offers fun, bite-sized lessons of French. 5 minutes a day is supposed to be enough to develop solid reading, writing, and speaking skills. It is easy to use and it feels like you’re playing a game. Unlocking new levels and earning virtual coins keeps you motivated and, if we are to believe to the authors, 34 hours of Duolingo are equally valuable as one semester in the university. Read the full review of Duolingo French.
Another language exchange platform – a mobile app that allows you to connect with native speakers of the French language, chat with them, and help them acquire a command of your native language in return. It supports text, voice, and video; contains tools for pronunciation, translation, and corrections; is free and easy to use.
Ilini is a newer resource for learning French that I think shows a lot of promise. In many ways, it is similar to FluentU but the lower cost and more interesting content make me prefer Ilini much more. They use short native French videos to teach the language which can be arranged by difficulty level or topic and has popup captions, making it easy to look up unknown words. Similarly, there are exercises and flashcards to go along with it. Ilini would be a great resource for teachers as there are PDF exercises you could print out and give to students. With monthly plans starting at $5.99, it’s pretty great value.
An online French course that begins with a free level assessment and adjusts to your needs as you progress. The “PRO” package includes a certified diploma (although all packages include appropriate certifications). They stress the “fun” element in their lessons and their use of AI. Unfortunately, subscriptions are extremely expensive and the number of lessons limited to 5 per week. Read our full review.
News in Slow French
Hundreds of listening lessons for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners of French in the form of weekly news narrated in a slow pace, followed by interactive transcriptions. Common idiomatic expressions are highlighted so you can easily learn them. Includes grammar and pronunciation exercises.
Readlang Web Reader is an extension for Google Chrome that enables you to read online content in French (and over 40 other languages). Just click any word or phrase and you’ll have it translated and saved in the flashcard library. The free version is limited to 10 phrases a day, while the number of individual words you can translate remains unrestricted.
One Thing In A French Day
A podcast for upper intermediate and advanced learners who want to cultivate their French. In three episodes a week (since 2006!), Laetitia Perraut will guide through Paris – its streets, bookstores, bakeries, and more – or tell you how she spent her day, introducing the small talk vocab on the way.
Live Lingua is an online language school. The tutors are native speakers and certified teachers of French. The lessons cost $24,99/hour, but the first one is free. You can also use what they claim to be the internet’s largest collection of free public domain language learning materials, but – at least for the French language – it consists solely from the FSI and Peace Corps courses.
Coffee Break French
Substantial podcasts and course from the Radio Lingua Network for beginners to advanced level learners of French. The course includes audio and video material, as well as comprehensive notes. The lessons are available for free but there’s also a premium version that’s worth checking out.
The creators of LingQ promise you’ll never need a boring textbook again. The natural process of learning through context is more pleasant and surprisingly more effective than memorizing grammar rules. You can pick the content you find most interesting – and the choice is large – and read and listen to the subjects that interest you. They may try to do too much, from language exchanges to avatars and coins, but the reading section, which is LingQ’s main feature, can be a really useful tool. Read the LingQ review.
The Mimic Method
A course that aims to help you master your French pronunciation regardless of your level of proficiency – although total beginners would benefit the most. The course is self-paced and once you’ve paid the relatively high fee, you get lifetime access to the materials. Read the full review of The Mimic Method.
This app is quite different from the “cannon” language learning resources. It is a compilation of videos in French (among other languages), supplemented by the interactive captions. While I like the concept, I’ve found FluentU to be pretty disappointing. Read the full review.
A free app that enables you to talk to language learners and tutors around the world without a fee – you would only need to pay for services such as translation. The community is large and enthusiastic, and you’ll find many native French speakers from France and other Francophone countries. It looks like some members believe it is a dating app, so maybe you shouldn’t let your kids use it.
Lingvist is a newer app that is already becoming quite popular. Available in several languages, including French, it could be a good alternative to Duolingo. Learning is done through flashcard style fill in the blank sentences. There’s a limited free version and a premium version available. Read the full review of Lingvist.
Babbel is an interactive app that offers lessons of many languages, including French, aiming to be a decent substitution for real-life classroom lessons. It isn’t free, but you can take a free trial. The essentials – a way to introduce yourself and say where you’re from – are presented first. Each subsequent lesson is designed to enhance your ability to communicate in a practical situation. There are three modules available – the basic courses, the grammar courses, and additional ones, like French idioms and numbers. You can start as a beginner and advance to an intermediate level by using Babbel. Read the full review of Babbel.
This international TV channel has a solid French language course and many exercise resources. The video lessons cover the material for A1 to B2 levels. Their digital library contains over 500 free books in French. There are also some interesting articles, a dictionary, games, quizzes, and another 80 specialized workshops for the students on different levels of language proficiency.
French Today offers immersion stays in France, online lessons via Skype, a huge blog, and most interestingly, some long audiobooks made for learners at varying ability levels. While these books aren’t cheap, they’re an excellent way to increase your comfort with French in an enjoyable manner. One of the beginner books, written entirely in the present tense, is 199 pages and includes 9 hours and 50 minutes of audio. The audio is read at three speeds and you’ll also have access to a study guide and Q&A section. Read the full review of French Today.
Langliter is best for intermediate or higher students and aims to take you past the intermediate plateau. Their app makes it easier to read and study various news articles and ebooks. You can look up words as you read, make flashcards, and even use offline.
Learn French With Alexa
The popular teacher Alexa Polidoro offers plenty of fun and valuable French lessons free on Youtube. If you’d like more, visit her website for exclusive materials (videos, podcasts, and transcripts), live lessons, and premium support. All levels covered.
Conversation Countdown (Fluent in 3 months)
For those who are not very self-disciplined and are only efficient under pressure, “Fluent in 3 months” offers a crash-course that aims to help you develop a ‘mission-mentality’ and strategize your learning. The 7 lessons consist of bare essentials and shortcuts, but the fact that you have a scheduled conversation with a native French speaker in a week creates a sense of emergency and keeps you super-motivated.
Assimil does it a bit differently and reminds you of the difference between US and European models of education – but at least you’ll learn French the way the French learn other languages. You might find the course too intensive (even the one for beginners). Instead of chunking everything down, it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a real-time conversation that requires your full attention – and you still can’t follow it completely, and it’s okay; you’ll repeat that lesson anyway. New French With Ease consists of 4 audio CDs and a substantial course book. This material should make you feel comfortable with the language in three months of learning, and you’d gain a solid base in French within six months.
FSI language courses were developed by Foreign Service Institute – U. S. Department of State using the FAST methodology (Familiarization & Short-Term Training). There are 6 different courses of French available. FSI Basic French covers the essentials comprehensively, and includes textbooks and audio recordings. Other courses include FSI Le monde francophone, Fast French Course, Sub-Saharan French, Belgium French, and French Phonology. These materials are considerably old and a bit old-fashioned, without any interactive solutions or flashcards – you might even need a teacher to guide through – but they are very thorough and entirely free.
Clozemaster is a great way to practice vocabulary, sentence structures, and reading by completing tons of fill in the blank exercises. You can fill in the blank by either typing the answer or choose from a multiple choice option. You’ll score points as you go. While there is a pro plan, the free version offers a ton of value.
A substantial collection of all kinds of different videos featuring native French speakers. Not only that all those videos come with subtitles and translation; you can also slow them down, go back and forth phrase by phrase, use the built-in dictionary, and make flashcards of the entries that you find important. Check out the sample videos first, and if you like them you can sign up and get full access for a monthly fee. Read the full review of Yabla.
Podcast Français Facile
Podcasts for the learners of French at all levels from A1 to C1. The content is organized by theme and level and is designed to help you learn anything from the way to introduce yourself to the means to talk about French tales and poetry. The activities include 22 dictations and plenty of grammar quizzes.
Modern French Grammar: A Practical Guide (Routledge Modern Grammars)
A comprehensive, innovative, and practical reference guide for intermediate and advanced learners of French. It covers both traditional grammatical categories and practical language functions including all those situations that are vital for communication. There is an accompanying workbook available too as a separate item on Amazon.
Preply is a global platform that allows you to find a French tutor from the country of your liking. You can find a number of qualified teachers and pick one according to your needs (business/conversational/intensive French, lessons for beginners or children) and budget. They use Skype, which allows you do speak, write and share materials with your tutor, just like you would do in a classroom. You can save 30% on your first lesson by using the link below.
Flowlingo helps you to immerse yourself in a language via tv shows, music, books, blogs, and more. You can highlight sections of text and get translations. It is still quite new and has a lot of potential for improvement. It’s available for free online or as an app.
Comme une Française
The video course and blog by Géraldine Lepère, a French teacher from Paris. She aims to teach you ‘the French of today’ and help you ‘double your Frenchness.’ The weekly episodes deal with the contemporary use of the language, French culture, and lifestyle. You’d need to buy full access to the resources and the premium course, but she also offers some useful video lessons on her blog and a free 10-day crash course.
A bi-monthly French magazine in print and audio, created for the learners of French. Its content is graded for difficulty, covers various themes and subjects, mostly related to contemporary life in France. It includes cultural reference and the explanations of French idioms in English.
A French magazine similar to Bien-Dire, but for the speakers of German. The content is diverse – from geography and travel, to the portraits of contemporary French politicians – and includes explanations and mini summaries in German.
Easy French Poetry
A free podcast on iTunes for the learners of French who also happen to be poetry lovers. Camille Chevalier reads classic French poems line-by-line and discusses them in simple, comprehensible French. There is more material available for purchase on the French Today website, including audiobooks in six different levels (around $60 each) and advanced conversation lessons.
If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a certain word or phrase in French – from greetings, apologies and flirting (Do you have a boyfriend? – As-tu un copain?) to whichever expression you may find in the book you’re reading – you can type it down in Forvo, and hear it pronounced by a native speaker.
Audible is Amazon’s audiobook service and also an excellent resource for learning French. There are several resources from popular language learning resources such as Pimsleur, FrenchPod101, several books of short stories, and many more. This is in addition to the thousands of regular books narrated in French. Best of all, you can get a 30-day free trial which includes two free audiobooks!
Edx hosts numerous high-quality courses which are offered free by world’s leading universities and institutes, such as Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. Occasionally, you can stumble upon a solid French course, but even if none is currently open, advanced learners can take other courses – on subjects that range from classic French theatre, over the psychology of negotiation, to an introduction to astrophysics – in French.
A 5-minutes-a-day app that helps you memorize words (mostly nouns) with the help of simple visual illustrations. Includes games and exercises that cover vocabulary (matching word and image), spelling and translation. It feels effortless and you do learn those words but without any context or grammatical construction. If you’d like to use the app for longer than five minutes per day, you’ll have to pay.
Earworms’ Rapid French is meant to help you learn useful phrases (and get a feel of the grammar constructions on the way) by exposing yourself to catchy tunes. You get the French language essentials the way you memorize lyrics, refrains, and jingles. While some may really like this method, most will probably find it more annoying than helpful. Read the full review of Earworms.
While most language learning apps focus on flashcards and memorization, this one utilizes a different approach. It lets you learn the language naturally by simultaneously reading and listening to various stories in French and your native language (as long as you speak one of the 13 languages they cover at the moment). This way, you learn words within a context and internalize grammar rules at the same time. While there’s some free content, other stories cost $1 to access.
BBC offers some excellent material for learning French – from shows for preschool children, students (Primary French, GCSE French and Standard grade French), to news, TV, and radio for advanced level learners. The language and culture of the Francophone world are introduced through numerous short videos, accompanied by transcripts. Audio clips and pronunciation guides help you speak confidently. You can also take quizzes, download printable materials, worksheets and activities from the website.
At the moment, there are nearly one hundred different Udemy courses of the French language available. The quality varies, the price not that much – most of these courses are offered at the discount price of $13,99. It is hard to tell whether all of them are worth paying, but there is something for everyone. All levels are covered, and some of the courses have quizzes included.
French Short Stories for Beginners
15 short stories narrated twice – slowly and at a normal speed – by native speakers with flawless pronunciation, and followed by the ebook version, help you enhance your reading and listening comprehension. Common grammatical constructions are varied throughout the book, which makes it easier for you to acquire them naturally. A French and English glossary is included. French Short Stories for Intermediate Level by the same authors are available in three volumes, as separate items on Amazon.
Another free and very useful resource from COERLL/University of Texas at Austin. 13 lessons are presented in the textbook (available as print-on-demand from lulu.com), videos, vocabulary and grammar exercises. Some features, such as “verb practice,” which gives you feedback on your conjugation attempts, are immensely useful, but are not easy to find, as the homepage does not contain the links to them.
An abundance of free audiovisual material created by TV5 Québec Canada for the learners and teachers of French as a second language. The collection includes video series and documentaries followed by downloadable sheets, interactive exercises and cards. All free. A fantastic resource for all levels, particularly for those learners who are moving to Canada and want to learn about Canadian culture. There is also Francolab Junior that includes La Francomobile app for children.
Hélène se promène
Helene has a youtube channel and website with travel videos made for intermediate level learners. There are also some grammar and vocabulary videos as well. There are also subtitles in both English and French which is definitely a helpful addition.
Alice Ayel – La Francais Naturellement
Alice has a youtube channel and website where she teaches French through stories. The videos are best for beginner and lower intermediate students. Additionally, you can book lessons with her from the website.
A large collection of lessons, exercises, transcribed audio reports, and dictation exercises for the learners on all levels of proficiency in French. The yearly subscription costs $30 a year with a (probably permanent) discount. The course creators also offer a telephone course of French, which costs $400-$600 and includes a package of 10 classes.
Open Learning Initiative (Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University)
Open courses of elementary French for individual users, created by reputable universities and containing first-class material. The two courses are designed to take you fourteen weeks (6-8 hours a week) each. You receive no credit or certification upon completion, but you’d only pay $10 for the course. The first lesson is free.
Rosetta Stone French
A fancy language learning software and app that nearly everyone has heard of. It may also be known as one of the most overpriced apps that offers considerably less than many free ones. You can start with a trial version and actually learn several nice phrases in French, but the lessons that follow – which you’d have to pay for – won’t help you move much. However, if you’re struggling with concentration issues and love to learn in tiny steps with lots of (often unnecessary) repetition, you may wish to try it. Read our full review.
The news site in French. Not just for the advanced learners; the intermediate ones can also take advantage of it because all video materials are followed by transcripts.
La Chanson en Cours de FLE
Learn French by listening to (and reading about) popular songs. The songs in this collection are organized by level, theme, and release date. Each song serves as an example for at least one grammar rule. You can learn the difference between imperfect and compound past tense by listening to “La bohème”, while “La vie en rose” might be the perfect example for the present tense.
A language learning social network that enables you to talk to or have your writing corrected by a native French speaker for free on their website or the mobile app. There are also Premium Membership features like grammar lessons, vocabulary trainer, offline mode, and certification (from beginner level A1 up to upper intermediate level B2). Read the full review of Busuu.
The Mosalingua app is essentially a way to memorize basic vocabulary and phrases. It focuses on the most important, “the 20% that you’ll use 80% of the time,” and relies on advanced learning, association, and memorization techniques. There are additional features on the web version, and while a subscription does cost money, there’s a free 15-day trial available.
French by French
Four free courses (Beginner 1 and 2, Intermediate, and Advanced) created by native French speakers. Lesson typically consist of dialogues (text and audio), grammar, and translation exercises; the advanced level course includes more material. There are also links to various resources such as dictionaries, French press, and TV.
bab.la is a dictionary – and a lot more than a dictionary. It translates words within the context rather than isolated. Bab.la is a powerful tool which you can use to, for example, write an impressive cover letter in the language of your liking (in this case, French) and prepare for the interview by finding the right sentences in your native language and defining the language pair (e.g., English-French). It is free to use, and you can download thematic mini-phrasebooks from any page.
Les Conversations Mises à Jour
A collection of real-life conversations in French for intermediate and advanced learners of French. In each conversation, two native or near-native French speakers of different backgrounds and ages talk about a shared experience including cultural references. The themes vary, and the speakers always provide a natural response and commentary in French. You can download vocabulary lists of each conversation.
These free lessons for beginners cover essential vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and verbs. You’d need flash player to listen to audio content. The site also offers tests and quizzes.
Le Conjugueur (Le Figaro)
The section of “Le Figaro” dedicated to the French grammar – mainly conjugation, but you’ll find other grammar and spelling rules explained as well. The conjugation tool is free on site, and you can purchase a software for Windows. The mobile app is free unless you’d like it ad-free.
Bla Bla Français
A free resource for those who want to learn to speak colloquial French. It involves “no writing, no grammar.” There are currently 13 lessons and each contains at least five HD videos in which the native speakers of French use the most common phrases within an appropriate context. The videos are designed to help you listen, watch, and mimic the speech and gestures of native speakers. More lessons and advice are available in the blog section.
A selection of French radio stations for those who’d like to immerse themselves in the French language and culture. Includes free apps and podcasts.
A conjugation tool that aims to be the coolest one around. It is free and works in over 40 languages, including French. Type a verb (it doesn’t have to be in infinitive or even in French – any, tense, mood, or form in French or English would do) and you’ll get conjugated forms, English translations, examples, transcriptions, pronunciation hints, and more. At the commercial section of the site you’ll find ‘Interlinear’ bilingual ebooks that might be worth checking.
In addition to slow & simple news for learners of French (similar to News in Slow French, but free), RFI’s foreign language programs include some bilingual series that will help you improve your listening comprehension skills.
Another popular Youtube channel with free French video material. The lessons aren’t spectacular, but if you’d like to hear Madame Bovary narrated in French and English, here you go.
If you’ve learned some French long ago, and now you’d like to continue but you have no idea where to start, you might like this ‘test driven learning.’ The idea is to take ‘kwizzes’ all the time, get feedback, and then work on your weakest points. You can take up to 10 mini-quizzes a month free, and there are several paid plans for those who really like this approach. The French section is run by Laura Lawless of the Lawless French.
Learn French (qcfrench)
A free collection of grammar lessons and audio dialogues in French. Includes free PDF worksheets. A separate section of the website contains audio monologues pronounced with a Québécois accent.
If you’re pursuing one of the six diplomas that make up DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) – or you’re just curious to find out which level you’re at, here you can find sample exam papers and some practical information.
Bonjour de France
A free “cyber-magazine” for learning about the French language and culture. In the grammar section, you’ll find complete grammar sheets, exercises, tests, and games for the learners of French, and some teaching cards that FFL teachers can use in class.
The French Experiment
This little website that offers free French lessons for beginners (include numbers, telling time, convenient phrases, conversation fillers, and essential grammar) and the French version of some good old children’s stories, narrated very slowly and followed by text in both French and English. They also review some French programs but we tend to disagree with most of their recommendations.
Amélioration du Français (CCDMD)
A fairly comprehensive French grammar resource. In addition to printable educational material, the site offers interactive grammar exercises and games. The material is well-organised, but the interface is entirely in French and therefore more suitable for intermediate and advanced level learners than for beginners.
Caroline is a teacher who promises to make it fun and easy for you to learn French and start speaking fluently. The content is based on culture and lifestyle, rather than on reference books. Plenty of useful blog articles and free podcasts available, plus live chats with the community of her students. She also offers one-on-one lessons that follow the official European curriculum for languages, with the focus on speaking and listening. The first lesson is free.
Basic French vocabulary (body parts, numbers, family members…) provided through click and play activities online and as downloadable material. Verb tenses are explained through classic tales, and the numbers through a simple game.
Enhancing French Skills
Another useful source initially created for the students of the University of Texas. This one helps intermediate students to master the functions of language, such as asking questions, making hypotheses, and talking about past or future. The material itself includes authentic, thematically organized videos from the French media, including interviews. A PDF with suggested classroom activities and homework is available for download.
FLLITE (Foreign Languages & The Literary in the Everyday)
Creative lessons for first and second-year college students. The creative moments and language play found in everyday French are turned into internet memes, YouTube videos, blogs, and slam poetry. Contains the examples of wordplay, perspective play, symbolic play, genre play, and more. This free resource is not suitable for beginners.
If you’re a language student struggling with French verb conjugation, this little tool can save your precious time. You just need to enter a verb in the infinitive, and you’ll get the complete inflection of that verb. Verbix works on Windows and online, and is entirely free.
Another podcast for advanced learners of French. The focus is on culture, sports, economy, politics, and humor. Includes an extensive archive and live programs.
French in Action
A cult French immersion program developed in the 80s by a Yale professor. Includes textbooks, workbooks, and a 52-episode television series.
A useful site for both students and teachers of French (among other languages) that offers a large number of activities for vocabulary and grammar practice. The activities, as well as associated worksheets and games, are free. Other features of the website, such as student-recorded grades and teacher-created activities, are limited unless you purchase the access to the premium version of the site.
This app aims to enable you to learn French from any of the 33 languages that they support. The learning starts with listening to a conversation, memorizing core words, and using them to generate other phrases and sentences. At the end of a lesson, you are supposed to be able to reconstruct the conversation. The apps contain the most common 5000 words and phrases. We weren’t very impressed though. Read our full review.
TED Talks French
TED talks include hundreds of informative, inspiring, sometimes beautiful and often humorous stories that you can listen in French. Some of them have transcripts, which you can use for reference while mastering your listening skills.
Easy French Step-By-Step
According to over 200 excellent reviews on Amazon, probably one of the best French language book for beginners. The book explains grammatical rules and concepts in order of importance and introduces more than 300 verbs and key terms on the basis of frequency. The content is organized into 15 units and includes 200 exercises that help you grasp the basics quickly.
A convenient phrasebook app that contains over 800 essential phrases for travelers, followed by English translations, phonetic translations, and audio recordings. Available on iOS and Android.
A free collection of videos and transcripts covering everyday situations and conversations in French as it is spoken in France, Luxembourg, Morocco, Senegal (includes CutureTalk Senegal – video interviews featuring different people from Senegal), Canada, and Martinique. The material is developed by the staff of the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages (FCCSWL) with the help of student native speakers from the Five College Consortium.
Plenty of activities for practicing spelling, grammar (including a conjugation tool), vocabulary, and more, initially created for native francophone children, from kindergarten to the 5th grade. The explanations are intuitive, the activities are fun, and the interface is (mostly) bilingual, which makes it an excellent resource for the beginner and intermediate FSL students.
Lingvopedia is an encyclopedia of languages. You’ll find a wide range of interesting facts about the French language, history, and more, including basic grammar and vocabulary. This is not a basic course or just another boring encyclopedia entry – it contains curiosities like the longest words in French, unusual words and sentences, and funny idiomatic expressions in French such as “Parler français comme une vache espagnole.” (To speak French like a Spanish cow. / To speak broken French.)
A collection of free interactive quizzes online, focused on basic vocabulary of the French language, including numbers, colors, body parts, food, home, school, and more. Lots of ads though.
A French spell-checker that also corrects your grammar, offers synonyms and includes a conjugation tool and an English-French dictionary.
The University of Southern California
The USC Francophone Research & Resource Center offers some vocabulary enhancement materials such as cards (animals, food, school/house/sports related vocabulary), activities, coloring sheets, and songs. They also provide an extensive list of free resources for both students and (especially) teachers.
Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French All-in-One
The content of five “Practice Makes Perfect” books – Basic French, Complete French Grammar, French Conversation, French Reading and Comprehension, and French Verb Tenses – in a single book (you can also buy any of them separately). The lessons are concise, and most of them do not require more than 20 minutes to complete. The book covers all the aspects of the language – vocabulary, grammar, verbs, and conversational structures – and includes flashcard app.
The basic vocabulary of the French language in images and sound. When you touch an object, word, or phrase, it is pronounced aloud. It contains the entries on numbers, body parts, clothing, food, animals, and family.
A Frequency Dictionary of French (Routledge)
The 5000 most frequently used French words in France and overseas; core vocabulary, with detailed explanations, translations, and sample sentences. There are two main listings – the frequency list and the alphabetical one – but you can also find the word you need using thematically organized lists.
The Everything Learning French Book
A book and CD that teach you basic French vocabulary, grammar, and correct pronunciation. The audio material consists of pronunciation guides, vocabulary lists, dialogue examples, exercises, self-tests, and a dictionary. The book serves as a step-by-step guide and is supposed to enable you to communicate confidently in no time.
A comprehensive collection of online dictionaries, including French-English dictionaries, thesaurus, slang dictionaries, and more. A multilingual keyboard is incorporated. The English version of the site does not contain all the pages of the original one.
The Living Language French comes as the Complete Edition and contains three Books (beginners, intermediate, and advanced level), nine CDs, and free online learning resources: games, flashcards, and interactive quizzes. The Platinum Edition also includes live e-tutoring.
13 French or Francophone songs – from “Foux da fafa”, a parody on most common French words and expressions found in introductory courses, to Édith Piaf’s “La vie en rose” – each presented through video or audio, accompanied by comprehension practice guides. The site interface is in French and it is most suitable for intermediate to advanced learners, but beginners may find it interesting too.
An extensive collection of public domain books in French, both fiction and non-fiction, including the works of Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, and others, as well as the translations of a large number of classics originally written in other languages.
A collection of linguistic tools that facilitate translation, conjugation, and pronunciation, and include a dictionary and free spell checker. Translation tools use translation memory feature, and dictionaries combine several sources. You can also learn about latest changes in the French spelling, the feminization of the professional titles, and hottest neologisms.
501 French Verbs
This combined book and software package contains the 501 most commonly used verbs (and 1000 additional ones, which are conjugated similarly as the 501 in the title) presented in tables. One page contains a single verb in all its forms in French, which helps you notice the patterns behind grammatical structures, and the English translation.
Imperfect as it is, Google Translate is a powerful and immensely useful tool – as long as we use it properly and don’t expect to get 100% correct and complete translations from it. The outcome is always a work in progress. A considerable portion of actual work is finished instantly, but you still need to do your part. You can use it to translate words, documents, and entire websites. The translation is editable with a lot of ready-made alternatives for any word or phrase. The extension for Google Chrome enables you to translate and navigate through the interface of sites that are entirely in French, which has been used more than once during the creation of this list.
A popular program that enables you to learn many things using flashcards and spaced repetition, and is especially convenient for language learning. You can use an existing deck, created by some of the users – and there are more than 100 shared decks for French – or create your own. Anki is an open-source app that works on most of the operating systems and enables you to sync your decks across devices.
Michel Thomas Method
This highly acclaimed (and just as expensive) method comes through courses in 3 levels in French, called “Start,” “Total,” and “Perfect.” The “Start” course introduces the French language through 50 most common words and their use; “Total” is their standard course, which contains interactive exercises, and “Perfect” is supposed to help you achieve a flawless fluency. The course is advertised as an ultimate tool for effortless learning that enables you to speak confidently within a couple of fours. The fancy mobile app may help you get a feel of what the courses look like, but the free version only contains one lesson.
A free resource for beginners in French, which allows you to practice basic vocabulary, spelling, and grammar through online (flash) games.
Spotify is more than just a music-streaming service. It offers over 200 hours of free language lessons, including even 45 hours of French. In addition to these audio lessons, there is other content available, such as language-learning playlists created by users, podcasts, audiobooks, Disney movies, and more.
Linguaphone offers several courses of French. The French PDQ course is aimed at beginners, and it consists of 4 hours of audio material and a small course book. The “All Talk” course is audio-only and includes 16 lessons on two levels. The complete course has materials for all three levels – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is also an eLearning online course with 36 modules for beginners. The importance of speaking is highlighted, and the practice involves both imitating the way native speakers talk and taking part in conversations. The course creators say that the content is not just useful, but also enjoyable, and helps build confidence while you speak French.
A free online community-created grammar book and course (beginners to intermediate). Contains numerous passages for reading comprehension practice in four levels. The subjects include greetings, time, numbers, and also art, science and the history of France. Useful content but contains no audio files whatsoever.
Another convenient compilation of essentials in French. Helpful if you’re visiting France, but insufficient for those who wish to gain comprehensive knowledge of the French language and grammar. Popular phrases are accompanied with variations, as there is always more than one way to say something. This site can help you practice pronunciation, but it is not interactive and requires you to go back and forth until you lose your patience and go to another site.
Lingro’s tagline “The coolest dictionary known to hombre” is well deserved. It makes reading in French (among other languages) way more accessible. Just enter the URL of the page in French, and Lingro will make each word on it clickable. It’s like there’s a built-in dictionary on every page you’d like to read. Furthermore, all the words that you look up while reading are saved for your future reference.
Another platform that enables you to speak French with native speakers on Skype. There are teachers from France and other countries available. They use a standardized framework of references to describe your progress – the European one. As for the learning process, you choose a tutor according to their profile, feedback from other learners, price, location, and availability; book a lesson (a part of the fee should be paid in advance) and there you go.
Oh La La, I Speak French!
The website of a certified French teacher that offers loads of free stuff. In addition to grammar sheets and notes on French culture, there are some fun (and, the creator promises, sexy) video series. The accompanying workbook costs $4.
Book2 (50 Languages / Goethe Verlag)
100 free lessons for beginners and intermediate learners of French. The course includes text (free on the website, but if you’d prefer a physical book, you can buy it on Amazon), and audio files spoken by native speakers. The free mobile app contains 30 lessons, tests and games. The paid version contains the same volume of content, but it is add-free. The goal of the course is to learn the basics quickly, and use them in typical situations. You don’t need to know English (as long as you speak one of the 50 world’s most popular languages); it is possible to learn French using your native language.
A community-driven Q&A site for teachers and learners of many languages, including French. Anybody can join and discuss the delicacies of the language and individual expressions. You can ask questions, offer the solutions for someone else’s dilemmas, and vote for the responses that you find the best. The most helpful entries are voted up and appear close to the top of the thread. It is free, but it is not for beginners; you’ll need some command of French to participate in the conversation.
A fun, free app for iOS that enables you to practice your French (among others) vocabulary and spelling by solving crosswords puzzles. The game is addictive and lets you learn hundreds of words, but it requires at least basic knowledge and it is not suitable for absolute beginners.
Get Started in French (Teach Yourself)
The Teach Yourself Language edition contains several books on French. This Absolute Beginner Course of French contains 10 units in the book and MP3 CD, which cover the basic grammar and vocabulary and help develop listening, reading, writing, speaking and pronunciation skills. Teach Yourself offers other courses too, such as Complete French, Get Talking and Keep Talking French (the last two are audio courses).
A free dictionary and, more importantly, a community forum where you can find and interact with people like you, doing the same as you do – studying French and pondering over the ways to express themselves using that language.
Probably the most concise, yet surprisingly comprehensive reference you’ll ever find regarding French Vocabulary and Grammar. Sold as five separate items, the five three-panel (six pages) charts – covering basic vocabulary, grammar, conversation models, verbs, and verb conjugations – contain everything you’d put into a cheat-sheet and more.
A vulgar phrasebook of French, more fun than useful, that will present you the common slang of the French, from casual street-talk, funny ways to ask someone to go to bed with you, to serious insults. Use it with caution, especially because it seems that this book contains phrases and idioms that are not in use anymore.
Essential French Grammar (Dover Language Guides Essential Grammar)
A handy reference book for those who’d like to comprehend the logic behind the rules they have noticed while learning French using flashcards or any other method for instant learning, but have no time and patience to read some long, detailed grammar books. This book aims to clarify the vital points of French grammar and enable simple, everyday communication.
The Oxford New French Dictionary
This concise (but not too small) bilingual dictionary contains over 40000 words and phrases, chosen to help all groups of the French language learners, including students, business people, and occasional travelers. It is enhanced by 60,000 translations, pronunciation of all entries, and French verb tables.
The Freelang dictionary is a free online dictionary and a platform which enables you to have some (short, non-commercial) content translated for free by a volunteer, or to find a professional to translate whatever material you may have.
My Language Exchange
A platform that hosts language exchange practice. You can find exchange partners and practice online in voice chat rooms, using tools such as an online dictionary, pre-made lesson plans, and a notepad. Voice chat rooms are designed and work best for intermediate and advanced level learners, while the beginners can engage in text chat (using a tool called Chat Companion) or find a penpal.
Larousse Concise French-English/English-French Dictionary
A fairly comprehensive bilingual French-English and English-French dictionary from a famous publisher in an affordable paperback edition.