A guide to learning French in France

A guide to learning French in France

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Here is our guide to language schools in France, along with an overview of the best online and computer courses for learning French.

Being an expat in France is not an easy task. If you think your English will be useful, you are most probably mistaken. People in France are understandably keen on their own language so if you want to be accepted there, do not while away your days looking at the Eifel Tower -- start learning some French.

National language schools in France

Alliance Francaise
The well-known institution Alliance Francaise has branches almost anywhere, both in France and around the world. It is dedicated to promoting French worldwide: classes, cultural activities, and French certification. Classes cover all levels of French learning, from complete beginner (level A1) to autonomous (level C1). Intensive, extensive and evening classes are offered. They offer different packages with which you can combine your general French class with any of our other classes (workshops, personalised packages etc) during the same period, building a French training course adapted to your needs, availability and objectives.

Cost: Intensive general French course comprising 20 hours per week in a larger class (12+ students) costs EUR 206.

Contact details: (E) info@alliancefr.org | www.alliancefr.org

The international language school has 28 centres across France in all major cities. Teaching can be done privately or in groups and Berlitz teachers can even come to your offices Courses prices vary depending on the language being studied.

Cost: Upon request.

Contact details: www.berlitz.fr

France Langue
With six schools around the country, France Langue provides lessons for all levels of general French and specialised French (e.g. business, legal, medical), courses for French teachers, and exam preparation (TEF, DELF, TCF). All French teachers hold a university degree and/or a recognised language teaching qualification. The school also has accreditations with FFL Campus France, IALC (International Association of Language Centres), CSN (accreditation by Northern European countries) and Universite Paris Sorbonne.

Locations: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Nice and Paris

Cost: The fundamental 20-hour per week course with up to 12 students costs EUR 230 per week in the Paris location.

Contact details: www.france-langue.fr

Language schools in Paris

Accord Ecole de langue
This French language school has three locations in Paris offering intensive French programs, work experience opportunities, and cultural training. The school is accredited by CSN and Bildungsurlaub in Germany. The school is also a member of Souffle, a professional organisation for quality language training centres teaching French as a foreign language; and Elite (European Federations of Associations for Teaching of Mother Tongues to Foreigners).

Cost: Intensive general French course comprising 20 hours per week in a class of up to 14 students costs EUR 300 (prices are lower for longer courses).

Contact details: 14 boulevard Poissonnière, 75009 Paris
(T): +33 1 55 33 52 33
(E): info@accord-langues.com

Elika Language Training
This specialised language school offers customised instruction to fit the individual needs of students including: beginners, advanced, university students, businesspeople and French for law. The school offers personalised packages, ranging from individual French lessons to full immersion programs.  Students may choose how they want to learn – a duo lesson or a private lesson – or even a little of each.

Cost: Courses are charged on hourly basis. The equivalent of a 20-hour per week course in a class of up to 4 students will cost EUR 240.

Contact details: Ophira I, 1 place Bermond, 06560 Valbonne Sophia Antipolis
(T): + 33 (0) 661 143 565
(E): contact@elikatraining.com

Learning French in Lyon

Lyon Bleu International
The school seeks to provide a quality alternative to larger, more traditional academic structures for French language courses. The focus is on active and modern teaching methods for French language with materials based on practice and communication. It also offers customised classes to learn French, made to measure by the teachers and the director of studies, adapted and updated each week according to the needs of the groups. The school is a French professional training organisation certified by the French government. The French language programmes are officially certified by the CNS programme of the Swedish Government and by the main German Länder for Bildungsurlaub. The school is also a member of the FLE and IALC.

Cost: The General Intensive French course comprising 25 lessons (45 mins each) per week is EUR 215 per week.

Contact details: 82 rue Duguesclin, 69006 Lyon
(T): +33 (0) 437 480 026
(E): learnfrenchinlyon@lyon-bleu.fr

Language schools in Marseille

Easy French Learning Institute
This school teaches small classes and provides tailor-made course programs, delivered by experienced French teachers. The French language training courses aim to provide you with the ability to: Interact more confidently when visiting French-speaking countries or dealing with French-speaking nationals. Additionally it will help you to build and strengthen relationships with French-speaking friends, colleagues or clients through a show of interest in the French language and culture.

Cost: The standard 15-lesson per week course with up to 4 students is EUR 440.

Contact details: 4, cours Belsunce, 13001 Marseille
(T):  +33 (0) 491 914 125
(E):  easyfrenchinstitute@gmail.com
Skype: easyfrench

Montpellier language schools

Accent Francais
Accent Français has been awarded the Ministry's seal of quality ("Label Qualité Français Langue Etrangère") for the quality of its teachers and courses. Their learning method reflects the official progression of the Common European Framework of Reference (European passport). The method strives for the development of the communication and use of the French language to provide you with the means of using the language in real-life situations. Every day, students will tackle a new "savoir-faire": asking questions, giving opinions, talking about one's likings, telephoning, talking about one's plans, etc. In order to achieve the above, students cover the 4 language skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading) each morning. The school uses its own teaching method compiled from various methods of instruction, which the teachers adapt every week according to the profiles of the students in their respective groups.

Cost: General French course comprising 20 lessons per week costs EUR 220 (maximum of 10 students).

Contact details: 2 rue de Verdun, 34000 Montpellier
(T): +33 (0) 467 58 12 68
(E): contact@accentfrancais.com

Language courses in Nice

FLE Accredited, the school approaches the French language from a practical perspective. It sees its purpose as to allow you to acquire varied knowledge while rapidly developing your communication skills in French. Favouring scenarios of real life and based on a large number of teaching materials (authentic documents, records video, audio, comics, articles press clips and French songs, movie clips and French novels), their teaching method aims to stimulates your desire to continuously learn and express yourself. Teachers are native French speakers. All university graduates, they seek to improve your French language skills and provide you with assistance throughout your stay. A professor specialising in the latest technology is available to help you choose subjects that correspond to your level and you can learn about useful websites.

Cost: Standard 20-lesson per week course cost EUR 247 in 2012.

Contact details: 47 rue Herold, 06000 Nice
(T): +33 (0) 4 97 03 07 00
E): info@azurlingua.com
Skype: azurlinguaskype

French online and computer courses

Most companies to have the best programme out there to learn Spanish quickly and retain everything. However, since everyone learns differently, explore the teaching style used by the programme before you buy. Here are a few good language software titles.

  1. Tell Me More French
  2. Fluenz French
  3. Rosetta Stone French
  4. Berlitz French Premier
  5. Instant Immersion French
  6. French Learning Suite
  7. RocketLanguages
  8. Living Language Platinum
  9. Hello-Hello World
  10. Pimsleur Comprehensive
  11. Transparent Language
  12. SmartFrench

Remember: Some of these titles are pretty costly, ranging from EUR 32 all the way to EUR 150.

Useful websites
Almost anything you can buy can be found on the Internet for free, so don’t be afraid to look around.

The BBC actually has a very innovative product that also includes audio files, a very valuable asset when trying to learn a language. Another great resource is Radio Lingua Network (www.radiolingua.com), which offers short audio language tutorials, downloadable as podcasts.

You may also want to buy pocket phrasebooks that will help you get around in the day-to-day grind. They won’t be great at in-depth grammar usage and explanations but they will definitely have useful phrases. It would also be good to have an electronic translator to carry around just in case – Google Translate is quite a useful free app that will often give you an audio as well as written translation.

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12 Comments To This Article

  • melosi posted:

    on 25th September 2016, 11:42:52 - Reply

    This list is very helpful. When I arrived in Paris, I went to Alliance Francaise, one of the most prestigious school because it's well known. But I was very disappointed : a lot of students in the class (16), it was very hard to speak and it' s very expensive. I met someone in the group Franglish who recommended to go to Langue Appart' in the 11th. It was the best decision I made! It' s not as prestigious as Alliance Francaise or France Langue, it's a small school. You feel at home, the atmosphere is great and the teachers are very good and very available. In a few weeks, I could manage basic conversations. So be careful with big schools. Sometimes you just have the feeling you are a money whereas there are small schools where you can fit easily!
  • anna posted:

    on 14th July 2016, 20:39:31 - Reply

    I would like to mention also Live-French.net, it's a French school that works exclusively online. They have excellent teachers, and you get the flexibility you need to schedule your lessons when it suits you.
  • Pourquoipasmary posted:

    on 12th April 2016, 08:23:04 - Reply

    LSF in Montpellier is worth checking out too. I've been studying there for 2 months now and I've been very satisfied with the school so far. It's not easy learning a language when you're an adult but the teaching method at LSF is really outstanding. You can read a little about my experience here. Good luck!

  • AlexiaFlo posted:

    on 8th December 2015, 11:44:19 - Reply

    Just came back from 3 months in beautiful Paris, what worked best for me: a few hours in one of the not so expensive schools for theory and constructing good basis (http://www.parislangues.com/french-courses/general-french-class/ for myself) get involved in clubs you like and meet people, can%u2019t do best to improve your speaking skills. Learn, enjoy activities and meet people, what more do you need ? ;)
  • Susy posted:

    on 22nd August 2015, 07:05:45 - Reply

    The information you provided is extremely helpful:). Thank you!
  • PeachySanchez posted:

    on 7th June 2015, 19:18:50 - Reply

    Yes, I heard that before. If you're planning on going to France, do not rely too much on English. My family is planning a trip for December so I enrolled in http://preply.com/en/french-by-skype to learn French via Skype. I know I wouldn't be an expert yet by then but at least I will be able to bring a few phrases I can use for emergencies.

  • Julia posted:

    on 28th May 2015, 21:16:09 - Reply

    I took Berlitz course until level 5 and it was enough to understand what people say and to communicate during daily tasks.

  • best ski school in alp posted:

    on 17th October 2014, 15:10:05 - Reply

    You are almost right, individual teachers have really is a great privilege. However, in education there not that education which account it should be exchanges as well as shares and especially in a healthy environment, quiet or your mind opens to all assimilate easily. Certainly, the chamonix site offers different kinds of mountain from which you could learn skiing, discover a world of which you have never experienced before, make a journey that exceeds the reality (in the mountains), and the most important activities make exchanges in terms of languages, see even learn the french during your activities.
  • Shanon posted:

    on 28th January 2014, 14:38:52 - Reply

    I agree! Private teacher are much better, cheaper and very flexible. I improved my french with a fantastic teacher - recommended by friends in Paris. Her lessons matched my needs. Mine was wonderful but there are plenty of others. Her contact: Marie Laure, mlsiat@yahoo.fr
  • Andre posted:

    on 4th January 2014, 17:37:28 - Reply

    I took individual french lessons in Paris - see the website here - www.learnfrenchinparis.eu - good hourly rate and a very customised approach to my needs of learning French. I was working as software developer and I needed to bring my speaking and writing French to a level that allowed me to handle my tasks better in the company I was working.
  • Lynn posted:

    on 4th April 2013, 13:31:17 - Reply

    I've been learning French via Skype for 6 months with Learn French at home. http://www.learnfrenchathome.com. I can honestly say I have been extremely satisfied with all the lessons I have received. I have found the whole experience very positive.
  • David Goodfellow posted:

    on 7th January 2013, 23:40:59 - Reply

    It is not necessary to learn French with a private business. For example, I am going to Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis and their language courses work out at €4,60 an hour, a fraction of the private schools. There is no age limit (I am 65, UK citizen). In addition the instructors are University trained and not fresh from school on a working holiday!