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27 Best Online French Courses: We’ve Tried Them

Best Courses French

You may have noticed that there is no obvious choice for the perfect online course if you’re interested in learning French. Generally, foreign language courses have a variety of options but they vary for every language. This post will help you find the best online French classes or courses and what they have to offer. There are so many, in fact, that going through each of them can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for a French crash course, how to teach yourself French, or online French classes, we got you covered here. 

We’ve gone through the extensive list of resources and highlighted them according to what makes them so special. Only the resources that we’ve rated at least 3.5 stars have made this list. This list is compiled of French learning sites, apps, courses and classes.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all course that will work for all learners. They all will be different depending on your learning style, interests, past experiences, and goals. That’s precisely why we’ve created this list, to provide learners with the best information to get started. 

Table of Best Courses to Learn French

Links below will send you to the course websites, and the course details are down below:


OVERALL BEST

Well-Structured Audio Lessons for Aural/Verbal Learners: Pimsleur French

An Academic Course With Lots of Practice Opportunities: Ouino

Structured Practice for Beginners and Lower-Intermediate Learners: Babbel and French Today

Best for Picking Your Own Class: Verbling

Best Non-Beginner Video Course: Yabla

Learn With Online Group Classes and a Curriculum: Lingoda


BEGINNER’S COURSES

Best Beginner Course With Engaging Stories: French Uncovered

Decent Instruction for Beginners: Mango Languages

Lots of Extra Features for Beginner and Intermediate Learners: Lingoni

An Engaging Introduction to French: Lingodeer


READING AND LISTENING

Learn by Sitting in on French Lessons: Coffee Break

More Than Just a Podcast: FrenchPod101

Entertaining Content and Efficient Practice: News In Slow French

Read Your Favorite Content: LingQ

Pricey but Serves a Purpose: Glossika


SPEAKING AND WRITING

Best For Speaking French From Day 1: Pimsleur French

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking: Glossika

A Well-Structured Course With a Noteworthy Social Feature: Busuu

Best for Improving French Pronunciation: Speechling

Self-Study Combined With Live Lessons: Chatterbug


VOCABULARY ACQUISITION

Courses With a Vocabulary Focus: Memrise


TUTORS AND LANGUAGE EXCHANGES

Tutoring Help for a Range of Ability Levels: italki

Great Way to Find Tutors and Classes: Verbling

Best Way to Find Language Exchange Partners While Taking Its Audio Lessons: HelloTalk


Overall Best French Learning Courses

This section consists of our favorite courses overall. They take a more comprehensive approach to teaching language. They’re generally better for learners who are just starting out with French.

Well-Structured Audio Lessons for Aural/Verbal Learners

Rating 4.3

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

BEST FOR SPEAKING FRENCH FROM DAY 1

Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Pimsleur French courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. The bunk of the material is taught with audio lessons, making it an ideal app for people on the go.

Pros

  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length
  • There are both male and female native speakers
  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • There’s very little visual content
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur French Review

An Academic Course With Lots of Practice Opportunities

Rating 4.4

3-month/$38.58

AN ACADEMIC COURSE WITH LOTS OF PRACTICE OPPORTUNITIES

Ouino may not be the most gamelike course out there, but that’s because it takes more of an academic approach to teaching French. One major strength of Ouino is that it could appeal to both visual and aural learners. Lessons are presented as text with color-coded important words as well as read aloud to provide listening practice. 

The structure of the exercises isn’t the most intuitive we’ve seen, so it may take some time to get used to, but the course is otherwise full of quality instruction and a variety of practice activities.

The Ouino French course may be ideal for learners that already have some experience with French, even if it’s very little. The course doesn’t require you to take lessons in order, meaning you can complete just the lessons you need to fill in any gaps and take your skills to the next level.

Pros

  • Content is suitable for both aural and visual learners
  • You can take lessons in any order you want

Cons

  • You’ll have to evaluate your own pronunciation
  • The lesson exercises can become overly repetitive

Limited time offer. Lifetime Access is only $95.76!! You can get an additional language for 50% off, OR you could get all 5 languages for life for $191.52. You should know that Ouino enjoys one of the lowest product return rates in the industry. 🙂

See our Super-Detailed Ouino Review

Structured Practice for Beginners and Lower-Intermediate Learners

Rating 4.2

Starting from $7/month

STRUCTURED PRACTICE FOR BEGINNERS AND LOWER-INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS

Babbel is a popular language-learning tool that’s especially useful for learners at lower levels. Logical lesson progression and excellent structure make it a solid starting point. It also makes learning French feel less intimidating by offering fun and engaging lessons. 

In addition to the thorough curriculum and quality lessons are frequent review opportunities and activities that allow you to practice a variety of different skills. The conversation exercise is particularly useful for getting used to how the language is used in natural contexts.

Potential downsides to the Babbel French course are that its speech-recognition method for providing pronunciation feedback is far from perfect and that the course content just isn’t very exciting. This also probably isn’t the right choice for more advanced learners.

Pros

  • Short lessons make for convenient practice
  • The platform is well designed and easy to use
  • Lessons teach practical language
  • The course is comprehensive and provides lots of practice

Cons

  • Exercises can get overly repetitive
  • Limited grammar review opportunities
  • The speech-recognition technology isn’t the best way to practice pronunciation
  • It isn’t the most engaging course

See our Super-Detailed Babbel Review

Rating 4.0

$ 39.99-129.00

STRUCTURED PRACTICE FOR BEGINNERS AND LOWER-INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS

French Today offers audiobooks, skype lessons, and on-site lessons in France. This article will focus on the audiobooks which range from beginner to the upper-intermediate level. There are different types of audiobooks, all of which are quite extensive. Many of them have nearly 10 hours of content and a PDF file with 200 or so pages.

Pros

  • The audiobooks are recorded at different speeds with both a slower version and a normal speed
  • The depth of content found in the audiobooks and accompanying PDFs
  • It’s a one-time purchase and can be used offline

Cons

  • The quality of the testing system
  • The Skype lessons are very expensive

See our Super-Detailed French Today Review

Best for Picking Your Own Class

Rating 4.6

$ 18.00

EASY TO USE PLATFORM

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

Pros

  • You can find great teachers very quickly
  • The platform’s extra features, such as teacher-made, personalized flashcards, help you review the material learned in each lesson
  • It seems focused on long-term progression as well as immediate student satisfaction
  • You don’t have to give out your contact details, thanks to the classroom technology

Cons

  • Some teachers don’t use the platform’s flashcards and materials system
  • There are fewer languages available than on italki
  • You can only pay in US dollars, plus there’s a hidden fee
  • The forums need more moderation

See our Super-Detailed Verbling Review

Best Non-Beginner Video Course

Rating 4.3

$ 12.95-99.95

BEST NON-BEGINNER VIDEO COURSE

Yabla is a language-learning platform that uses videos with interactive subtitles and language games to help users learn a language. It’s currently available on the web and for iOS, with an Android app in development. Its videos are of varying difficulty levels and types, and are either sourced from the internet or originally produced, but all videos use native speakers.

Pros

  • It’s very affordable
  • The review activities are enjoyable and varied
  • You can filter content by region
  • There are plenty of interesting and varied videos

Cons

  • Audio in some review activities is robotic
  • No speaking practice
  • Translations don’t take context into account

See our Super-Detailed Yabla Review

Learn With Online Group Classes and a Curriculum

Rating 4.0

$ 23.99

LEARN WITH ONLINE GROUP CLASSES AND A CURRICULUM

Often, the best type of language practice you can get comes from a real tutor. It’s hard to beat real-time feedback and personalized instruction. What really notches up the efficacy level of the tutor experience is when there’s also a curriculum involved. Lingoda brings the two together to provide structured, live instruction in either private or group classes.

The group French classes on Lingoda are made up of two to four people and could be a good option for some learners, while others might prefer private lessons. With over 600 lessons to choose from, there’s practice to be had for learners at all levels on Lingoda. There’s also no need to take these lessons consecutively, so learners looking to fill in some gaps in their education could certainly use this to their advantage.

Lesson scheduling is fairly flexible, and it could make a good option for anyone looking to get speaking practice with a native speaker while also benefiting from the structure of a course. There are also “marathon” and “sprint” payment plans available; these offer the chance to earn money back for attending 90% or 100% of your classes.

Pros

  • It’s possible to schedule lessons at almost any time of day or night
  • Teachers mostly speak in French
  • There are many different lessons for learners at all levels

Cons

  • It’s not always possible to take the class you want when you want
  • Learning in a group setting may not be ideal for all learners
  • Materials are very similar for all lessons

See our Super-Detailed Lingoda Review

Best French Beginner’s Courses

As a beginner, a solid foundation is needed to reach fluency. The following French courses provide a good starting point for learning French.

Best Beginner Course With Engaging Stories

Rating 4.0

$ 297.00

LEARN FRENCH BY READING STORIES

Not a typical approach to teaching languages, French Uncovered gets learners to start engaging with a story right away. This is slightly more challenging than most other courses, as the stories are entirely in French. Though it isn’t easy, the unique method could prove rewarding to those that are able to push through the initial difficulties.

The course is split into 20 chapters, providing practice in reading and speaking as well as building vocabulary and teaching grammar concepts. Review quizzes at the end of each chapter help consolidate what you’ve learned and check for understanding, though we think these quizzes would benefit from more questions.

If you particularly enjoy interacting with stories and are looking for a challenging study program, French Uncovered could be just what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Learning French through stories can be entertaining
  • Instruction is clear
  • There are plenty of opportunities to practice what you learn

Cons

  • There are sometimes too many unrelated grammar points in lessons
  • The material could be too difficult for beginners

See our Super-Detailed French Uncovered Review

Decent Instruction for Beginners

Rating 3.5

$ 14.99-179.99

A COURSE FOR BEGINNERS THAT DON’T MIND REPETITION

First off, Mango Languages courses are often available for free at public libraries and other community organizations, so be sure to see if you can take advantage of free access before making a purchase. 

The Mango Languages French course has a slick design that makes practice more enjoyable, but there isn’t much material that’s suitable for learners past the intermediate level — this one’s for beginners.

Practice happens through a great deal of drilling: listening to and repeating words and phrases. The language you’ll end up repeating is practical, and it’s surely quality practice, but the endless drilling can get old. There are also useful cultural and grammar notes that add value to the lessons.

Pros

  • It’s easy to use and has an appealing design
  • There are some quality explanations and cultural notes
  • You’re likely to remember what you learn through frequent drilling

Cons

  • There’s no material for learners beyond the intermediate stage
  • The heavy reliance on drilling makes the course overly repetitive
  • Grammar practice is lacking

See our Super-Detailed Mango Languages Review

Lots of Features for Beginner and Intermediate Learners

Rating 4.3

49€/QUARTER, 299€ FOR LIFETIME ACCESS

LOTS OF EXTRA FEATURES FOR BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS

The Lingoni French course contains a wide variety of materials: videos, audio lessons, worksheets, a podcast, and interactive activities are all advertised on the Lingoni website. The course contents are designed to help learners in the A1 – B2 CEFR levels get relevant practice in a variety of skills.

The interactive activities in the lessons will have you performing translations, taking part in listening activities, building sentences, and correcting French writing samples. The podcast also has an accompanying worksheet that you can complete to practice listening comprehension.We haven’t tried out Lingoni’s paid content yet, but you’ll be able to sample some of their material for free on the Lingoni French YouTube channel.

Pros

  • Variety of practice activities
  • Content is presented in both audio and visual formats

Cons

  • The material isn’t suitable for higher levels

An Engaging Introduction to French

Rating 4.3

$ 14.99

AN ENGAGING INTRODUCTION TO FRENCH

It’s tempting to compare Lingodeer with its more popular peer, Duolingo. They both take a gamified approach, utilizing points and appealing graphics to support lessons that are short and sweet. Many learners find this type of practice is especially appealing because it’s fun and incredibly convenient. Picking up an app to get some practice whenever you have a few spare moments can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.

It’s important to recognize that Lingodeer differs from Duolingo in some important ways. It’s not free to use like Duolingo, but it does boast courses that are generally of higher quality. The audio used in the lessons is of native speakers instead of text-to-speech technology, there are a greater variety of practice activities, and there are better explanations.

If you like the sound of a convenient, engaging platform that’s a step above Duolingo, you should seriously consider Lingodeer. If you mainly want to improve your conversational skills or are looking for more advanced practice, however, look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Engaging activities
  • High-quality audio
  • The app is enjoyable to use

Cons

  • It isn’t sufficient for getting communication practice
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere if you want some higher-level practice

See our Super-Detailed Lingodeer Review

Courses to Learn French Reading and Listening

To be able to understand French material, working on your reading and listening skills is essential. These courses mentioned below are the best for practicing and improving these skills. Have a look and pick the ones that best suit your needs.

Learn by Sitting in on French Lessons

Rating 4.0

$20-200

LEARN BY SITTING IN ON FRENCH LESSONS

The Coffee Break Languages series is a great source of free educational material. The audio lessons in the French series take the format of a podcast and are free to listen to. These lessons have you listen to another student take lessons from the host, Mark. 

The atmosphere in these episodes is casual, and it’s helpful to be able to listen along and see where the learner makes mistakes while assessing your own ability to follow along. Guest native speakers also join the lessons from time to time, providing listening and pronunciation practice as well as valuable insight.

The Coffee Break French course is different from other Coffee Break courses in that there’s more content available for the language. Instead of two seasons, you can study up to four seasons and get useful practice even at the advanced level.

Paying for the extra materials means you’ll also have access to a video accompaniment of the audio lessons as well as extra practice activities in a PDF. These additions make the course more suitable for visual learners.

Pros

  • Audio lessons offer great value for free
  • Lessons include lots of explanations and examples
  • Course format is convenient and casual

Cons

  • Visual learners may struggle with the audio-only free lessons
  • There aren’t a lot of interactive practice opportunities.

See our Super-Detailed Coffee Break Review

More Than Just a Podcast

Rating 4.2

$ 4.00-23.00

MORE THAN JUST A PODCAST

For the subscription cost, FrenchPod101 is a surprisingly comprehensive platform for learning French. The number of audio lessons is seriously impressive, and they cover a wide range of topics at a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced.

The audio lessons may especially appeal to aural learners, but lessons also include transcripts, notes, and short quizzes, which make it a viable option for learners that prefer visual content as well. Some lessons also have videos.

Audio lessons are centered around dialogues, which can be a good way to get accustomed to hearing and interacting with French as it appears in real life. There are also lessons with a cultural focus, something that can make your study time more meaningful.

You’ll have the option of skipping around and choosing which lessons to study, which could be ideal for learners with some prior exposure to French, but the lack of rigid structure may not suit some absolute beginners. 

Pros

  • There is both audio and visual content
  • There are a lot of lessons for learners at all levels
  • Lessons cover a large variety of topics

Cons

  • The review quizzes are too easy
  • The interface isn’t the easiest to navigate
  • Some learners may not appreciate the lack of direction in lesson progression

June Campaign Sale! Use code 6MONTH2024 and get 45% off the 6+ Month plans. Get access to the 6, 12, or 24 months of Premium or Premium PLUS. With Premium PLUS, you also get access to your very own teacher! See details on the website. Offer ends on 6/21/24.

See our Super-Detailed FrenchPod101 Review

Entertaining Content and Efficient Practice

Rating 4.5

$ 0.00

ENTERTAINING CONTENT AND EFFICIENT PRACTICE

Don’t be fooled by the name. While news narrated at a slow pace may sound less than riveting, the content this course provides is actually incredibly engaging — it’s also effective at teaching French.

This resource provides material for all levels.The beginner course is great for lovers of storytelling, as each lesson tells part of a story and is great at keeping learners engaged. While the content at the beginner level is of high quality, the intermediate course is even more impressive: it’s full of useful information on French expressions, grammar exercises, and tons of interesting material.

Although there is a substantial amount of study material, it would be better if the lessons were more active and encouraged the students to use the French they’ve learned. The advanced and beginner courses, while solid, aren’t as good as the intermediate lessons.

Pros

  • The catalogue of material is extensive
  • The content is highly engaging
  • Especially good for learning grammar and French expressions at the intermediate level

Cons

  • Many of the activities don’t require you to use what you’ve learned
  • Advanced learners may be better off interacting with native content

See our Super-Detailed News In Slow French Review

Read Your Favorite Content

Rating 4.0

$ 12.99

ENJOY READING FRENCH CONTENT

LingQ is a language-learning platform that focuses on extensive reading for over 30 different languages. You can import your own content or choose from the community library of books, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more.

The app highlights unknown words across every lesson and makes them reviewable via different types of SRS flashcards. The more you read, the more accurately you will be able to identify content that is suitable for your level.

Although I did not find it beneficial for languages I had never studied before, I think LingQ can be helpful for upper-beginner to advanced language learners who enjoy reading. It is especially helpful if you struggle to find graded readers in your target language.

Pros

  • Easily import almost any material you want to study
  • Use SRS flashcards to quiz new words from a specific page
  • Each lesson in the library displays the percentage of known and unknown words based on reading history
  • There are many dictionaries to choose from for definitions

Cons

  • Reviewing words is chaotic
  • The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper
  • Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places
  • The free version is extremely limited

See our Super-Detailed LingQ Review

Pricey but Serves a Purpose

Rating 3.6

$16.99-$30.99

PRICEY BUT SERVES A PURPOSE

Glossika uses audio drills to start out every language (and they offer a lot). With a similar format for every language, this might be a good option if you’re learning more than one language at the same time. Audio lessons cover speaking, listening, and comprehension, so it’s a useful tool for upper-beginner or lower-intermediate learners.

You’ll probably notice a lack of cultural information with Glossika. Of course, the tradeoff is decent instruction with a consistent format that helps if you’re trying to learn multiple languages.

Pros

  • Only pay once—when you subscribe, you get every language Glossika offers
  • There’s a lot of audio material across tons of languages
  • The format is repetitive, in a good way

Cons

  • Pricing is steep for what you get
  • It’s common to find errors in the courses
  • The interface isn’t anything exceptional

See our Super-Detailed Glossika Review

Courses With French Speaking and Writing Emphasis

If it is your goal to communicate effectively and fluently in French, then you need to practice your spoken and written skills. Check out the courses below and see if you find the one that you like best.

Best For Speaking French From Day 1

Rating 4.3

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

BEST FOR SPEAKING FRENCH FROM DAY 1

Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Pimsleur French courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. The bunk of the material is taught with audio lessons, making it an ideal app for people on the go.

Pros

  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length
  • There are both male and female native speakers
  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • There’s very little visual content
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur French Review

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking

Rating 3.6

$16.99-$30.99

PRICEY BUT SERVES A PURPOSE

Glossika uses audio drills to start out every language (and they offer a lot). With a similar format for every language, this might be a good option if you’re learning more than one language at the same time. Audio lessons cover speaking, listening, and comprehension, so it’s a useful tool for upper-beginner or lower-intermediate learners.

You’ll probably notice a lack of cultural information with Glossika. Of course, the tradeoff is decent instruction with a consistent format that helps if you’re trying to learn multiple languages.

Pros

  • Only pay once—when you subscribe, you get every language Glossika offers
  • There’s a lot of audio material across tons of languages
  • The format is repetitive, in a good way

Cons

  • Pricing is steep for what you get
  • It’s common to find errors in the courses
  • The interface isn’t anything exceptional

See our Super-Detailed Glossika Review

A Well-Structured Course With a Noteworthy Social Feature

Rating 3.4

$ 13.95

A WELL-STRUCTURED COURSE WITH A NOTEWORTHY SOCIAL FEATURE

Busuu offers courses in a number of languages, and we would have rated it higher if we were only rating its French course — mistakes in the Mandarin course are what brought the overall rating down.

The Busuu platform is well designed and easy to navigate, with solid course structure. It also has material that’s relevant for learners at just about any level, from beginner all the way up to advanced. It’s a fairly comprehensive resource, but you may find that grammar explanations and practice are lacking compared to similar resources.

A feature that sets Busuu apart from many is its social language-exchange feature. This function enables learners to submit writing and audio recordings to be evaluated by others. Getting real humans involved with feedback is far better than virtual alternatives, and you can take advantage of this Busuu tool for free.

Pros

  • Excellent course structure
  • Social feature provides quality speaking and writing feedback
  • The Busuu platform is well designed
  • Conversation lessons provide exceptionally good practice

Cons

  • Grammar practice and review opportunities are lacking
  • Some review activities aren’t designed very well

See our Super-Detailed Busuu Review

Best for Improving French Pronunciation

Rating 4.3

$ 0.00-$19.99

BEST FOR IMPROVING FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Pros

  • An excellent method to improve your speaking abilities and get feedback from a real teacher
  • Answer the Question, Describe the Image, and Freestyle mode are great for higher levels
  • You can switch languages at any time. I like seeing translations in my second language while studying my third language
  • Truly unlimited recordings with quick feedback

Cons

  • Absolute Beginners should learn the basics elsewhere first
  • You’ll need to learn how to make the sounds of your target language on your own
  • The amount of time given to record sentences can be too short

See our Super-Detailed Speechling Review

Self-Study Combined With Live Lessons

Rating 3.7

$23/month

SELF-STUDY COMBINED WITH LIVE LESSONS

Chatterbug does things a little bit differently than most other online courses. It combines a fully developed course that you can progress through at your own pace and live lessons with real tutors. These live lessons are clearly structured and are relevant to the progress you’ve made in the course.

The live lessons are great opportunities to get valuable listening and speaking practice, something that’s sorely missing from many other online courses. These one-on-one lessons are also a little bit different than you’d find on other platforms: they’re structured and include on-screen activities and speaking prompts to work through.

A Chatterbug subscription could make sense for someone that’s looking for a clearly structured course that they can work through on their own time with the benefit of teacher-led lessons. Note, however, that you won’t get the best reading or writing practice with this resource, and we weren’t blown away by any of its extra features.

Pros

  • There’s limited reading and writing practice
  • The interface can be difficult to navigate

Cons

  • Relatively high price
  • Activities can become repetitive
  • The course has a fairly slow pace

See our Super-Detailed Chatterbug Review

Learn French Vocabulary and Grammar

Vocabulary and grammar are key in language learning. Expanding your vocabulary and understanding sentence structure is very important when learning French. This course provides lots of material to improve both your vocabulary and grammar.

Courses With a Vocabulary Focus

Rating 4.0

$9-$120

COURSES WITH A VOCABULARY FOCUS

Much of the content on Memrise is user-created and free to use. These materials cover a huge range of study topics and vary quite a bit in terms of quality. Some contain audio and pictures, some are essentially just flashcards of words with translations.

The official Memrise courses, on the other hand, have some more structure and offer significantly more value, especially at lower levels. These courses aren’t free, but they come with high-quality audio, a logical structure, and even videos of native speakers.

One of the things that makes Memrise effective is that it uses a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help learners efficiently commit new items to long-term memory. This and the fact that the platform is easy and fun to use make it a good place to quickly build your French vocabulary.

Pros

  • The SRS makes for efficient practice
  • There are tons of free, user-created courses
  • The app is fun to use

Cons

  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for more advanced practice
  • Website navigation is slightly clunky
  • There aren’t a lot of opportunities for practicing communication skills

See our Super-Detailed Memrise Review

Tutors and French Language Exchange

If you prefer a more authentic and more intensive way to learn French, then language exchange is the way to go. These courses will connect you to a French tutor or a native French speaker.

Tutoring Help for a Range of Ability Levels

Rating 4.5

$ 5.00

TUTORING HELP FOR A RANGE OF ABILITY LEVELS

Sometimes working with an instructor one on one is the best way to get quality language instruction. italki offers that, and more. You can connect with teachers or tutors at a range of price points and find someone who fits your learning style. Teachers have professional experience, and tutors are usually native or advanced speakers.

italki is convenient and accessible to all ability levels. You can find a Hebrew tutor who works with you on specific vocabulary or skills, too. And if you find someone you really click with, you can stick with them as you advance.

Pros

  • Scheduling is convenient because you choose what time works for you
  • The Language Partners Board is an excellent tool for checking your Hebrew (and helping others)
  • You can usually take trial lessons for a lower price to see if an instructor is a good fit

Cons

  • Pricing can be confusing because italki uses “credits,” not cash
  • Popular teachers’ schedules can get booked up, so last-minute sessions aren’t always possible

See our Super-Detailed italki Review

Great Way to Find Tutors and Classes

Rating 4.6

$ 18.00

EASY TO USE PLATFORM

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

Pros

  • You can find great teachers very quickly.
  • The platform’s extra features, such as teacher-made, personalized flashcards, help you review the material learned in each lesson.
  • It seems focused on long-term progression as well as immediate student satisfaction.
  • You don’t have to give out your contact details, thanks to the classroom technology.

Cons

  • Some teachers don’t use the platform’s flashcards and materials system.
  • There are fewer languages available than on italki.
  • You can only pay in US dollars, plus there’s a hidden fee.
  • The forums need more moderation.

See our Super-Detailed Verbling Review

Best Way to Find Language Exchange Partners While Taking Its Audio Lessons

Rating 4.5

$ 6.99

FIND A LANGUAGE EXCHANGE PARTNER FOR FREE

HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Pros

  • It’s exciting to practice communicating with real people.
  • The built-in language tools are helpful.
  • It’s easy to pick up and put down whenever you like.

Cons

  • It’s too easy to rely on google translate.
  • It can be hard to find good partners.
  • The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it.

See our Super-Detailed HelloTalk Review

Maybe Try These French Learning Courses

There are additional courses that offer general French material and content to learn from and could be what you’re looking for. Here are some other great options to look into.

Live Lingua

Live Lingua is a little bit different from other online tutor platforms in that its service is more specialized. Before you’re hooked up with a tutor, you’ll have a chance to communicate your goals with a personal class coordinator. You also have the chance to choose between several different French courses, including standard lessons, exam prep, and more.
The teachers are all native speakers and receive extra support and training from Live Lingua.

See our Super-Detailed Live Lingua Review

innerFrench

We haven’t had the chance to test the innerFrench courses out ourselves, but they’re highly popular and seem to be of good quality. The paid courses are different from many others in that you’ll have to enroll in a course during the enrollment period; this is so that you have access to support while taking the course.
There are two courses on offer: the Build a Strong Core course is designed to help A2-B1 learners get over the “intermediate plateau” and prepare to make the transition to B2. The Raconte Ton Histoire course is for B1-B2 speakers and teaches learners how to tell their own story.

Fluenz

This may be one of the best options for learners who prefer an academic setting but would like the convenience and relative affordability of an online course. The lessons that make up a Fluenz course are presented in video format, simulating the experience of a one-on-one lesson. You won’t be able to respond to your virtual tutor, but you’ll receive thorough explanations and instruction that is specifically tailored to speakers of English.
What makes Fluenz more than just a really good YouTube channel? Excellent course structure, interactive exercises, and in-depth lessons. The interactive exercises and flashcard feature provide good practice and complement the lessons nicely, but don’t expect anything too engaging.

See our Super-Detailed Fluenz Review

Français Authentique

Beginners may find this course a bit daunting or unrealistic, as it’s completely in French, but learners already around an intermediate level could get lots of useful input here. It places an emphasis on developing listening and reading skills rather than speaking and writing skills, but the course founder believes this will in turn improve your productive skills.
The course is mostly made up of audio lessons and PDFs, though there is also some video material available in one of the courses. The PDFs contain transcripts of the dialogues in the audio lessons, which you’ll listen along to and repeat when prompted. The method is highly immersive and is more about absorbing French than practicing producing it.

See our Super-Detailed Français Authentique Review

Udemy

Udemy has courses from diverse instructors and on a range of topics in French. The courses range from about 40 minutes to over ten hours long, so you can choose the format and instructor that works for you.
Most courses come with downloadable study guides and other materials—and you get lifetime access once you buy the lesson. The audio is great since these are video-based lessons. Still, if you want to focus on writing, you’ll have to search around for courses with additional materials/homework.

Rosetta Stone French

A Rosetta Stone French course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.

ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

See our Super-Detailed Rosetta Stone French Review

Best Free(mium) Courses for Learning French

If you’re looking for some budget frienly options to learn French, check out the courses below.

A Free Immersion Video Course for Beginners

Rating 4.3

Free

A FREE IMMERSION VIDEO COURSE FOR BEGINNERS

French in action is a video series that makes use of the Capretz Method, meaning you’ll be exposed to content that is entirely in French right away. The award-winning videos were created in the 1980’s, so they do feel slightly dated, but they’re still a great place to get quality practice.

The narrator and developer of the Capretz Method, Pierre J. Capretz, guides listeners through the videos, prompting them to repeat after different characters. Lessons also include brief explanations in English, dialogues, and lists of key vocabulary.

Absolute beginners may find the 100% French dialogue difficult at first, but it should be possible to catch up by participating in the video lessons and exercises. It isn’t the most modern or exciting course, but it’s hard to beat for free, entertaining listening comprehension practice.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • You’ll get practice opportunities in a number of skills

Cons

  • The videos are a bit dated
  • More advanced learners won’t get relevant practice here

Most Useful Free Flashcard Vocab Builder

Rating 4.1

Free

THE GO-TO SRS FLASHCARD APP

It is the go-to app for free (except on iOS) Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcards. It has a simple user interface with various features that more hard-core users can dive into if they choose. Your flashcards will appear according to your natural forgetting curve; the app will test you in increasingly spaced out intervals, with more difficult cards appearing more than once in a session, while easier cards spacing out over weeks — or even months and years.

An SRS system is the most effective way to drive information into your long-term memory. The cards can sync between the web, desktop app, and mobile versions to keep your flashcards updated and with you at all times. You can add images and audio clips to your cards and change the text formatting (if you use it on your computer).

One feature unique to Anki, as opposed to other SRS flashcard apps, is the “Cloze deletion” function, which allows you to block out parts of your card and create a “fill-in-the-blanks” type card format. If you want a resource for how to make effective flashcards, check out the book, FluentForever. The author leaves a whole section dedicated to understanding how to use your Anki deck to advance your skills quickly.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of features.
  • Allows synching across multiple devices.

Cons

  • Anki’s interface may be a bit intimidating for beginners.
  • The aesthetic isn’t very appealing

See our Super-Detailed Anki Review

Learn French from Dialogues

Rating 3.7

Free

LEARN FRENCH FROM DIALOGUES

This completely free method of learning French involves interacting with a number of level-appropriate dialogues. Each dialogue is in text form and accompanied by a high-quality audio recording. There are also translations, grammar explanations, extra notes to help keep you on track, and slow versions of the recordings at the beginner levels.

The platform isn’t the most modern or stylistic, so learners looking for something that’s exceptionally engaging or in a slick app won’t be satisfied. That said, there’s a lot of useful content here for free.

While there is content for learners at all levels, the bulk of useful material with French by French is at the intermediate and lower levels. It may not be for everyone, but some will appreciate the systematic approach and dialogue-based lessons.

Pros

  • The lessons build on each other logically
  • Lots of free material
  • High-quality audio

Cons

  • There isn’t enough material for advanced learners
  • It isn’t the most modern or engaging resource

See our Super-Detailed French by French Review

Video Course with Plenty of Extras

Rating 4.3

FREEMIUM, SUBSCRIPTIONS START AT $35/MONTH

VIDEO COURSE WITH PLENTY OF EXTRAS

This video course is more than just videos. It’s a complete course with 40 core lessons that provide relevant practice for learners at every level, from absolute beginner to advanced. The course contains videos, audio lessons, quizzes, worksheets, and access to live lessons in which you can ask Alexa questions directly.

We haven’t had a chance to try out the full paid course, but Alexa offers quite a few videos for free on her YouTube channel. Her friendly demeanor and extensive teaching experience make her a great source of instruction, and some may find her lessons provide the perfect level of engagement.

The video and audio lessons with Alexa are less expensive and more flexible than live lessons with a teacher you can talk to, but they don’t provide the same opportunity for practicing speaking. You may find lots of quality practice with Alexa’s course, but you’ll have to supplement with other materials to really develop your speaking skills.

Pros

  • There are lessons for every level
  • Video lessons and interactive exercises provide a variety of practice opportunities

Cons

  • There aren’t opportunities for realistic speaking practice

Free and Thorough but Dated

FSI

Rating 4.3

Free

FREE AND THOROUGH BUT DATED

FSI offers multiple courses that are exceptionally thorough. It was developed to help diplomats quickly reach a professional working proficiency in French, and as such is very well thought out.

The courses are now available for free on a number of websites, some of which we’ll link to below. There are some sources that attempt to sell this material, but remember that it is easily available for free! 

FSI materials were created in the middle of the 20th century, which means you’ll be navigating some less-than-shiny PDFs —  the subject matter isn’t the most up-to-date you could find, either. That said, the lessons and accompanying audio are still fantastic sources for the self-directed learner.

Pros

  • Course materials are completely free
  • Courses are thorough and well designed
  • There is accompanying audio

Cons

  • Course materials may be outdated
  • The courses are dry and certainly not the most engaging options

Convenient Practice and a Clear Curriculum

Rating 4.0

$10.99/MO, LESS FOR LONGER SUBSCRIPTIONS

CONVENIENT PRACTICE AND A CLEAR CURRICULUM

WLingua offers French practice in the form of bite-sized lessons that make up a larger, well-structured curriculum. You can get quite a bit of practice for free with WLingua, but full access to all of the material requires a monthly subscription.

The course is a great place for convenient, focused practice whenever you’ve got a few moments to spare — something it shares with resources like Duolingo and Lingodeer. In comparison with Duolingo, WLingua offers some better grammar explanations and includes more detailed instruction in its lessons.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test this one out, but its grammar practice, thorough curriculum and amount of free material make it worth considering.

Pros

  • High-quality audio from native speakers
  • The course structure is clearly laid out
  • Short, convenient lessons
  • Valuable grammar practice

Cons

  • There isn’t much speaking or listening practice
  • The free version requires you to complete lessons sequentially

Convenient, Gamified Practice for Beginners

Rating 4.0

$ 0.00

FREE AND ENGAGING PRACTICE

Duolingo just might be the most popular language-learning app out there. It’s incredibly appealing for a number of reasons: it’s totally free to use, there are courses in a ton of different languages, and using it feels more like a game than serious study.

For all its perks, there are some downsides to studying French with Duolingo. For one, the course doesn’t have the best audio recordings out there. It relies on text-to-speech technology rather than recordings of real people, which means you won’t get the most realistic listening practice. Also, the gamified approach, while engaging, doesn’t leave much room for in-depth explanations or super thorough lessons.

It’s hard to deny that Duolingo can serve as a great resource for supplementary practice or for a casual first introduction to a language, but you probably won’t want to rely on it as a course that will take you anywhere near fluency all on its own.

Pros

  • It’s free to use
  • Practice is convenient and fun

Cons

  • The audio isn’t the best
  • You won’t get to produce your own sentences
  • Lacks useful practice at higher levels

See our Super-Detailed Duolingo Review

Learn to Think in French for Free

Rating 4.3

Free

LEARN TO THINK IN FRENCH FOR FREE

There are two main reasons this course is so notable. One is that it’s totally free to use, no strings attached. The other is its unique approach to language instruction.

The Language Transfer course on French consists of 40 audio lessons in which founder Mihail directs lessons with another student. In the introductory lesson, you’re encouraged to simply listen along and attempt to respond to prompts without taking notes or really doing anything else throughout the entire course. The idea, Mihail explains, is that you’ll get accustomed to thinking your way through French rather than simply memorizing a bunch of words or grammar constructions.

While this course is remarkable in its own way, it’s certainly not for everyone. The course really only serves as an introduction to French, and it’s only relevant for English speakers. It’s also probably not a good option for anyone that struggles with lessons that are purley audio.

Pros

  • It’s completely free
  • Provides a great foundation in French for the right learner

Cons

  • It isn’t ideal for visual learners
  • It won’t take you past a beginner level
  • There’s no reading or writing practice

See our Super-Detailed Language Transfer Review

So, What is the Best Course for YOU to Learn French?

Although this is quite a long list of courses, there are many great options to choose from. This list only covers courses but there are many more ways to study French. We’ve also compiled lists of how to learn French, the best YouTube channels for learning Frenchthe best apps to learn French, and the best podcasts for learning French.

Whatever you choose to help you learn French, take some time to consider your options. There’s so much variety, and there will surely be one or more that will end up being your top choice for learning French.

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