Interested in learning French in Paris, Nice, Lyon, or Bordeaux? This article lists the best language schools to study French in France.
Undoubtedly the best way to perfect your French language skills is to learn French in France. Relocating to France or getting a French visa or French student permit is not as hard as some foreigners think, particularly if they are looking to study in France on an official French course. Once the bureaucracy is sorted, few foreigners complain about having the experience to learn French in Paris, Nice, Lyon or Bordeaux.
The French are understandably keen on using their own language and speaking English can be a roadblock to integration. There are, however, many language schools in France that offer French language courses at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels to suit a wide range of budgets. There is also more opportunity to find free ways to learn French, for example, doing a language exchange with a French national who wants to learn your language or researching online French lessons.
French language classes vary in price ranges depending on schools, speaking level and the intensity and frequency of classes, among others. There are also various resources to learn French online, via mobile apps, desktop software and online French courses.
This guide provides a list of some of the best French language schools in France for those looking to learn French in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulouse, Cannes or Montpellier.
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Should you learn French in France?
The main benefit of French language schools in France is the wider choice of French classes compared to back home, from intensive French courses to conversational French lessons and French summer courses, which usually combine visits to France’s top sites, museums or markets to evoke learning French in a natural way. Studying French in France is also a great way to pick up the smaller nuances of the French language, such as common French phrases, slang or informal expressions, as far as the French accent or even Parisian street-talk.
In a recent study on the cheapest and the easiest language in the world, French was ranked overall as 10th out of 28 international languages. European languages were typically the most costly to learn, with French costing an average of some EUR 16 (GBP 13.62), behind Dutch (GBP 18.71) and German (GBP 16.02), but cheaper than Italian (GBP 11.67) and Spanish (GBP 10.26). The high cost to study French in France, however, is offset by being one of the easiest languages to learn, requiring an estimated 600 hours, equal to learning Dutch, Spanish or Italian for example, but easier than German (750 hours) and significantly easier than the 2,200 hours required for Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese or Korean. Combining the average cost and hours, the total cost to learn French was estimated at around EUR 9,565 (GBP 8,171).
French language schools in France
Below is a list of some of the best French language schools in France with a national presence, with several locations around the country. Underneath you will also find a list French language schools in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Cannes and Montpellier.
The well-known French language institution Alliance Francaise has branches almost everywhere, both in France and around the world. It is dedicated to promoting French worldwide via classes, cultural activities and French certification. French language classes cover all levels, from complete beginner (level A1) to autonomous (level C1). Intensive French classes for adults and evening classes are offered. They offer different packages with which you can combine your general French class with other classes – such as workshops, personalised packages etc. – at the same time, building a French training course adapted to your needs, availability and objectives.
Locations: Bordeaux, Nice, Paris and St-Malo
FLE Accredited, the school approaches French language learning from a practical perspective. Its purpose is to teach 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), the teaching method aims to stimulates a desire to continuously learn and express yourself. Teachers are native French speakers and all university graduates.
Locations: Cannes, Nice, St Tropez
This international school offers French language courses in 28 centres across France in major cities. Teaching can be done privately or in groups, or Berlitz teachers can even come to your office. Course prices vary depending on whether which language you choose.
Locations: Bordeaux, Boulogne-Billancourt, Cergy, Dunkerque, Evry, Grenoble Melan, Le Havre, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Noisy-le-Grand, Paris, Rouen, Saint Germain en Laye, St-Etienne, St-Laurent-Blangy, St-Denis, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Versailles
Eurocentres offers a wide range of French language courses for students seeking to learn French at different levels. Classes vary from two-week to year-long courses with a maximum class size of 14 students.
Locations: Amboise, La Rochelle and Paris
With six schools around the country, France Langue provides lessons for all levels of general French and specialised French (eg. 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. This French language learning 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
Learn French in Paris
Accord Ecole de Langue
14 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75009 Paris | accord-langues.com
7 Rue Duvergier, 75019 Paris | campuslangues.com
EF Paris – Séjours linguistiques
5 Avenue de Provence, 75009 Paris | ef.fr
Language Studies Internatioal (LSI)
23 Rue du Renard, 75004 Paris | lsi-paris.fr
34 Rue de Trévise, 75009 Paris | latelier9.com
23 Boulevard de Sébastopol, 75001 Paris | lutece-langue.com
Learn French in Lyon
6 Quai Jules Courmont, 69002 Lyon | alpadia.com
Lyon Bleu International
82 Rue Duguesclin, 69006 Lyon | lyon-bleu.fr
Learn French in Marseille
23 Rue Edmond Dantès, 13008 Marseille | adel-provence.com
Easy French Learning Institute
4 Cours Belsunce, 13001 Marseille | easyfrench.net
Learn French in Montpellier
2 Rue de Verdun, 34000 Montpellier | accentfrancais.com
1 Rue Victoire de la Marne, 34006 Montpellier | ecoleklesse.com
6 Rue Foch, 34000 Montpellier | lsf-france.com
Learn French in Nice
Centre International d’Antibes
38 Bd. D’Aguillon, 06600 Antibes | cia-france.com
27 Rue Rossini, 06000 Nice | ihnice.com
Learn French in Cannes
Campus International de Cannes
1 Avenue Alexandre Pascal, 06400 Cannes | french-in-cannes.com
Learn French in Bordeaux
2 Rue Paul Camelle, 33100 Bordeaux | learninbordeaux.com
Online French lessons
Most companies claim to have the best online French lessons for learning quickly and retaining everything. However, since everyone learns differently, it’s more important to check that the teaching style matches your learning style, for example, via visual or sound. Below is a list of language software titles to get your started.
- Tell Me More French
- Fluenz French
- Rosetta Stone French
- Berlitz French Premier
- Instant Immersion French
- French Learning Suite
- Living Language Platinum
- Hello-Hello World
- Pimsleur Comprehensive
- Transparent Language
Some of courses can get pretty costly, ranging from EUR 32 all the way to EUR 200.
Learn French online
Almost anything you can buy can be found on the internet for free, so don’t be afraid to look around for online French lessons.
The BBC actually has a very innovative product that also includes audio files, a very valuable asset when trying to learn French. Another great resource is Radio Lingua Network, which offers short audio French language learning 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 is also handy to have an electronic translator or language app; Google Translate or Word Reference are quite useful free apps, which often include audio and written examples as well.