As everywhere in the world to really enjoy the Parisian life to speak the local language i.e. French will make a big difference. Even it is now much easier in Paris to meet people (sellers,waiters, bus drivers…) who speak english.
“According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) achieving a reasonable level of spoken French for a native English speaker should take approximately 23 – 24 weeks”. Have a look to this blog which explains you why for them French is easy to learn
To my mind to learn french there are many possibilities and some could be fun but it will always requires work.
Let’s start with the most obvious way to learn a foreign languages: taking French lessons.
There is in Paris a very broad and large offer to learn French with a large prices and quality range.
The most famous official classes in Paris to learn French
The Paris City Hall is proposing French lessons for adults in small groups to a very affordable price, but generally the registration is only twice a year August and January and there are quite popular and you may land in a waiting list.(website in French) To be able To register you will have first to create an account : here
The Région Ile de France via a platform is gathering all the associations proposing French Lesson : Réseau Alpha (website in French)
The Alliance française “is a state-recognised higher education establishment and training organization”. They offers courses of 20 hours/ week / 9 hours/ week or 4 hours/pers week. It is a well known and qualified institution some could find it a bit too official and the way of learning too academic
ILCF : Institut de Langue et de Culture Française nested by the Institut Catholique de Paris. They propose “a wide variety of courses for every personal or academic project” and different packages. You can register online
La Sorbonne : A very good marketing strategy to choose this name. It is a private school but with very good references. They have also a wide range of courses 12 weeks/12h per week or the intensive session 8 weeks / 18h per week.
Find your private school to learn French
There are also many private schools to learn French in Paris, I don’t know them but I found 2 websites which benchmark them :
Difficult for me to give an opinion as obviously I never visited one of these schools.
However recently I met a very engaged, enthusiastic young women, Fabienne, who launched in 2017 with an associate a French School and designed a new concept of pedagogic program to learn French in an effective way. Novexpat Their learning programs are a mix with online designed tools and face to face lessons, they could be private or in small groups.They have also developed for Mums and their kids some workshops to learn French. They proposed also free weekly French conversation workshops open to everyone.
A private teacher to learn French
If you prefer to learn at your own pace and in one to one session, French private teachers will be a better solution for you.
There are a lot of French teachers in Paris, to find one online maybe a challenge. The best option will be a recommandation or to have a look on Expatriate Magazine as every year they are proposing a Best Of in Paris and among the different categories you can find French Teachers.
But I have for you three recommendations
i met Anne-Lise who is teaching French for Foreigners since 2002. She taught French at the Oslo French center but also at the Alliance Française in Singapore.Back in Paris, she founded All about French and conducts conversation workshops and gives private lessons. You can book one of her conversation workshops and see if she could be the matching teacher for you.
Charlene Flicot an experienced French Teacher at Alliance Française could help you to learn French and setting up for you or your kids a personalised learning programm.
If your weak point is oral expression, I advise you to take classes with Cécile Hadet who is a qualified teacher of French as a Foreign Langage (FLE) and she has been teaching French for 7 years.
Alternative ways to learn French:
You can start learn french before arriving in the country and for that why not start with Podcast or audiobooks.
I can highly recommend you some very qualitative Audiobooks. I met recently a very nice and charming French couple Camille and Olivier, they are also US citizens as they lived 20 years in the US. Back in France, Britany, they fund French Today which creates and sells Audiobooks with a “Method to learn today’s real French Language”. On their website you will also find some free podcast : French Poem Readings : famous French poem will be read and you will have also some details about the author and the context of the writting.
Podcasts to learn French are available as well i selection the following ones are they are free and find a lot of good reviews about them
–Le Français authentique : Johan, a french native speaker publishes 2 podcasts and 2 videos eveyweek. In his podcasts he will explain some typical French expressions or give recommendations for books…
Dailyfrenchpod : An episode everyday of 4 to 5 minutes about any kind of topics to learn French expressions, vocabulary…
One thing in a French day: Laetitia a French woman publishes three times a week small stories about her daily life
Learnfrenchbypodcast: This one offers some free lessons on podcast plateform as itunes and are quite good for beginners.
Frenchvoices: I like very much this one there are for intermediate leaners:it proposed interviews of native French speakers. And you can find on the website the transcipt and some vocabularies related to the theme of the interview. A very good way to listen French and to discover specific French cultural specifities.
Listen French Radio is also a very good tip but when you are a beginner the pace maybe too speedy. But I found a great website of Slow French News. The topics and the levels are very diverse : News in slow French
In the same spirit RFI proposes News in easy French and you can also find the transcript.
TV5 monde also offers a really good and rich program to learn French according to your level and with the help of small interactive videos with their vocabulary exercises but also grammar but also reports and programs related to French culture and current events.
Reading French Comic books is a funny way to learn french and why not starting with the Famous Asterix and Obelix.In France, Bandes Dessinées : Comics books are far to be considered as children’s literature. You can find in Fnac (a large French retail chain selling cultural and electronic products), a very large department dedicated to comics books and most of the customers/readers are adults.
Watching French movies with french subtitles, that is nowadays very easy when you are watching on internet and is a very good way to learn french. If you like this way of learning check this solution that offers FluentU “FluentU is French immersion online”, they share “French video content that’s fun, timely, and ideal for French learners.”
Conversations: To improve your speaking skills the only solutions is to practice and practice again. Via the platform meetup you will find many groups of french Conversations or exchange groups (english-French). With Conversation Exchange you can find a native speaker closed where you are living to practice your french or looking for a penpal to correspond in French…
I keep the best tip for the end or at least the most cultural one : learning by cooking. Buy a french cooking book and follow the recipe a very good way to learn the ingredients. I can recommend you in Paris the best cooking books shop in Paris : La librairie gourmande– 92-96 rue Montmartre Paris 02
I really hope this blog article will be usefull to you and you will enjoy leaning French.