Interesting French Learning Resources
Whether you’re right at the beginning of your journey to mastering French or you’re an advanced learner who’s preparing to take an exam, these resources will contain opportunities for you to practise and improve your French at all levels.
To help you get started, we’ve organized the learning resources according to categories. Whether you want to work on your pronunciation, listening, vocabulary or reading, there is a resource just waiting for you.
Catching up on the news
When it comes to French newspapers, the best French language newspaper in the world is probably Le Monde. Its articles cover a wide range of topics, so you should find something that interests you.
For higher level learners, working your way through some of the more challenging articles on politics, ideas and society should give you a good opportunity to work on your more advanced vocabulary and grammar while catching up on the latest ideas and happenings in the French speaking world.
Alternatively, you can watch the 24 hour news channel on France 24 which will keep you up to date with live streams, news programmes, debate and discussion.
This podcast helps you practise your listening in French. This podcast has 4 series in total, going from beginner to advanced level. Each episode lasts around 30 mins, meaning you have enough time to sit down and have a coffee while listening!
The best part about this is that it helps you not just with your listening but also with your grammar and vocabulary! Each episode is centred around a conversation and then it is broken down part by part, working its way through the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
While the podcast itself is free to listen to, the additional materials, which look at grammar, vocabulary and exercises, are paid for.
For advanced learners, this is an opportunity to try to understand the conversation at natural speed and then use the slowed down part to check your understanding. For beginners, it’s an opportunity to expose yourself to authentic French by using the slowly spoken part to really come to grips with the language.
This is a wonderful resource that will help you improve your French listening skills as well as your ability to understand French pronunciation. What’s more, it lets you do this as you keep up to date with what is happening in the world!
While several of the features, such as the grammar exercises and the written explanations, are paid for, the podcast itself is free, so you can practise listening and take advantage of the parts where they slow down and revise some key vocabulary and grammatical structures.
While France 24 is a tv station, broadcasting live news bulletins and programmes across the globe, it is also good for short and succinct news videos that you can work your way through.
Many of these videos are nothing more than a few minutes long, giving you the chance to go through them again and again, improving your understanding along the way.
If you’re after a quick, easy, and uncomplicated guide to French grammar, then this is the place you need to go! The opening page contains a list of all the grammar areas covered. Just click on the area you want to delve into deeper and you’ll find clear explanations, examples and best of all recordings of all the examples, so you can hear how they are pronounced correctly!
Are you after a simple, clear and informative overview of French grammar? Then this is the site you need! Organized according to grammatical topic, there are detailed explanations and exercises so you can practise. You can find every aspect of French grammar in this gem of a resource. Best of all, there are plenty of practise exercises as well as extensive examples and explanations.
Not many of us enjoy working our way through grammar books. So instead you can access short videos explaining the ins and outs of French grammar thanks to Vincent on YouTube!
He has organized his videos into playlists of units, going from the absolute basics right through to advanced grammar. Vincent clarifies and exemplifies French grammar in a short and easy to digest format. His videos are very visual, drawing out the grammar step by step for you, so it’s definitely a top resource for those who prefer to look and listen when learning.
Language Guide is mentioned above for its grammar resources. But it also offers an excellent overview to the basics of French pronunciation. Many letters in English and French are the same, but there is a core group which are quite different and unique. These are the ones you need to master first, so this resource can help you learn or freshen up on these.
While this is an entire online course in itself, this particular section provides you with 10 videos to help you improve your French pronunciation. You’ll have to make a free account in order to access them, but once you’ve done that, the videos are free to watch as many times as you want.
This site contains lots of short texts to read on a wealth of topics, ranging from literature through adventure to food, drink and travel. Each time you’re provided with a short text on the left hand side, and you can opt to view the English translation on the right hand side, if that will help you.
The best part of all, though, is under the text are links to all the key grammatical and lexical features of the text. And to top it off, you can even listen to the text as you read!
For lower level learners, ranging from A1 to B1, finding appropriate reading texts online can be a challenge. Luckily, you don’t have to look further thanks to this excellent resource. Each text is organized according to level and is followed by a series of questions to help check and practise your understanding. What’s more, each unit is downloadable as a PDF, in case you prefer to work offline.
If you’re more of an advanced learner and you’re after a challenge – something you can really dig your teeth into and work your way through – then Le Mag by Le Monde is probably the best place for you to head. These are long opinion pieces on art, culture and style, with notoriously difficult vocabulary, expressions and grammatical structures.
This is just all about vocabulary. Using flashcards and quizzes, Quiz Tree helps you improve on the basics of a number of topics while slowly pushing you towards intermediate level. So it’s particularly good for lower level learners. The vocabulary ranges from one word to multi word phrases, as well as some idiomatic expressions.
Possibly one of the most underrated dictionaries online, WordReference should be bookmarked by all French learners. Not only is this dictionary free and contains heaps of examples to help you understand how a word is used in context, but it also has its very own verb conjugator! You just type in the verb, hit conjugate, and you’ll get every form of the verb in every tense, mood and aspect!
If you’re a more advanced learner or you’ve been doing French for some time and now reaching that intermediate / upper-intermediate mark, then using a French monolingual dictionary is going to be the next step up for you in your language learning. Larousse is a world standard in the French language. What’s more, its dictionary is available online, giving you succinct and clear definitions of vocabulary through the medium of French.
If you’re after a bilingual dictionary but you want more than one word definitions and synonyms, then you need to use Linguee. Not only do the entries cover the varying meanings of a word and provide plenty of example sentences of how the word is used, but it also scrapes hundreds of examples from external sources, with their translations, giving you some good insight into how a word works, what it means, and how best to translate it.
One of the most popular language learning apps, Duolingo is famous for the quirky sentences it makes you read, say and complete. The idea is that the stranger the sentence is, the more chance you’ll have of committing the word or phrase to memory. New vocabulary is taught with flashcards, grammar is explained with little speech bubbles, you practise and repeat throughout the unit and then at the end of the level there’s a test. If you pass the test, then you can move on to the next level. There’s some gamification, as you’re encouraged to score points, maintain your daily language learning streak and compete against your friends.
Less of a language learning app and more of a memory aid, Memorize can be used to learn just about anything! However, it’s most popular with language learners, some of which have made some of the courses available for free in this app! There are also courses prepared by Memrise. Whatever course you go for, what they all have in common is the memorize method: you see a few words or phrases, you repeat them and reproduce them, and then you’re quizzed on them. There are several built in tools to help you know how many times you’ve come across a word and how often you need to see it to commit it to memory.
This app breaks learning a language down into bite sized chunks. In each unit you learn a small amount of vocabulary, apply it to a conversation, practise listening, reading and pronouncing the word, then you finish off by completing a small conversation, which is recorded and sent off for community feedback. The material has been professionally prepared by McGraw Hill Education, so you know you’re getting good quality stuff. The levels covered are from A1 to B2, so perfect for anyone who’s an absolutely beginner to an upper-intermediate learner and all inbetween.
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