The 11 Best Websites to Learn French at Any Level
Ah, the old vicious internet cycle.
Too many of us end up trapped here. Heck, you might even be trapped right now.
Ready to put all that screen time to good use?
Then it’s time to learn French online! Let’s take a look at some of the best places to do so.
- 1. French for Beginners G.U.T.S.
- 2. FluentU French
- 3. Blagues Carambar
- 4. French Grammar for Beginners
- 5. Le Point du FLE
- 6. Vie de merde
- 7. Se Coucher Moins Bête
- 8. Les Guignols on Canal+
- 9. Le Canard enchainé
- 10. TV5MONDE
- 11. FrenchPod101
1. French for Beginners G.U.T.S.
The French for Beginners G.U.T.S. (Get Up To Speed) program is an unusual and interactive option for learners looking for something different. Split into a number of progressive lessons, the website is great for dipping in and out whenever you’ve got time to practice.
It will give you great materials for building and reinforcing your foundation in French.
Individual lessons are constructed as acts within a play where learners are asked to participate in the different scenes, talking only about the material included in the individual act.
It focuses on beginner grammar and makes everything very accessible, enabling you to easily make it a part of your learning routine. There’s an intermediate level course as well, so you can progress naturally once you’ve mastered all the basics and are looking for a new challenge.
G.U.T.S. provides each learner with a new set of flashcards for every lesson, complete with a set of vocabulary points.
2. FluentU French
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
3. Blagues Carambar
For beginners, this is a fantastic place to start. Blagues (jokes) are essential to learning a new language, and while many people say that humor is the hardest thing to learn in a foreign tongue, there’s no time like the present to give it a try! Carambar are caramel-flavored candies similar to Tootsie Rolls that traditionally have fun facts and quick jokes on the insides of their wrappers. Because they’re mostly targeted to children, these jokes can be fairly easy to understand.
Because the candies aren’t all that available outside of France, use this website to access the jokes, which tend to be on par with knock-knock jokes as far as language level and humor are concerned.
But do watch out! Many of them rely on jeux de mots (wordplay) which takes advantage of the fact that many words in French sound the same. All of the jokes are submitted by fans of Carambar, so if some of them fall flat, don’t jump to the conclusion that your French learning has failed you.
4. French Grammar for Beginners
While many learning platforms are available for free, it can often be worth investing in a good language course, especially if you want to learn French on your own. Currently charging $39, French Grammar for Beginners is a great learning option, and it will teach you everything you need to know about beginner grammar in a neat, structured way.
Created specifically for self-study, it covers all of the topics that the beginner learner should need by taking direct influence from classroom-based lessons, and adapting each learning point for the individual. The site functions as a digital “tutor,” giving you all of the handy tips you could expect from your real-life teacher!
You will have constant tutor support through the online forum on the website. Supported by a number of learning apps, the website comes fully equipped with mobile learning options, enabling you to dip into lessons when you please.
You’re also given access to a number of useful supplementary learning tools. Of particular use are the website’s vocabulary charts and cheat sheets, positively packed with great information and presented in a clear, concise manner.
5. Le Point du FLE
This one offers fantastic resources for French teachers, but if you’re teaching yourself French it’s also a great stop. It’s definitely worth mentioning that this site offers lesson plans and activities to practice what you’ve learned.
While these plans are targeted at teachers, they’re very easy to use as a self-taught student. They reduce the boredom that can come from following the same textbook activities day after day.
To top it all off, the exercises and activities are quite varied, meaning that you can come back to this site again and again to use new resources.
6. Vie de merde
If you want only the most modern of French slang, then you might want to pay a visit to Vie de merde, the French site that spurred the creation of the Anglo equivalent, FML.
As the stories are all submitted by readers, you’ll be getting only the latest French slang and idioms. One thing to bear in mind, however: as with the Anglo version of the site, VDM is not always written by the most grammatically astute of readers—you’ll be seeing quite a few spelling mistakes. Use the site to get a handle on expressions and new, hip vocab words, not as a place to practice your French grammar and spelling skills.
7. Se Coucher Moins Bête
This is an easy way to introduce tidbits of information, from random facts to current events, into your daily life. We love this site because they also have an app, making it easy to access these quick bytes of information on your daily commute or while waiting to pick up your fast food order.
Because the information given in this app is so short, this site can be used by beginners as well as more advanced students. As a beginner, you may have a bit more translating to do, but you’ll be adding to your vocabulary arsenal as well!
8. Les Guignols on Canal+
This has long been a favorite for fans of comedic news shows (think The Daily Show with marionettes). Because they are describing recent news stories, you can always check with a news source in your native language to make sure you understood what was being said. But don’t be surprised if humor is more important here than verity — a key to fully understanding this show is understanding the French penchant for l’humour décalé (offbeat humor).
9. Le Canard enchainé
Few are the French lovers who haven’t heard about the Charlie Hebdo attacks. What some don’t know is that the idea of a satirical press has long been important in France.
The most widely read satirical newspaper in France is Le Canard enchainé, whose title stems from a play on words whereby a press news source is called a canard (duck). While you can’t read the whole paper online, you can see la une (the first page), which is usually more than enough, considering how much satire and circumstance you’ll have to decipher.
This is the ideal web resource for advanced French learners with an eye to improving their French and being able to speak with native speakers about current events.
Brought to you by the French TV channel TV5MONDE (obviously), this is a website directed towards all levels of French—however, it really seems to hit the sweet spot for intermediate and advanced learners. Balancing video extracts with written tasks and audio examples, the website offers an in-depth overview of the French language.
When you’re learning alone, it can often feel hard to connect with the lesson in front of you. Focusing on interactive exercises, TV5MONDE lets you really delve directly into the world of learning, getting you involved in the learning process from the start. Split into reading, listening and test sections, each lesson is designed to involve you in the lesson as much as possible.
Each learning point is accompanied by a learning video, played out by native actors. Watching the action play out, you can figure out the scenario and language to a greater degree, understanding better how the lesson is aiming to play out. The videos also give an insight into French family life and the dynamics of relationships within the family.
The TV5MONDE learning series isn’t just reduced to intermediate stages. Split into beginner, intermediate and sections beyond, it’s very possible to continue up until an advanced level, following the same structure as you continue in your learning.
If you want to perfect your listening and conversational skills as you learn French on your own, then FrenchPod101 is the place for you to go! Structured around interactive videos, native audio extracts and conversational French forums, the site will connect you to other learners, and teach you about a whole new side of the French language.
With lessons gradually progressing up to advanced levels, this site has all types of learners covered. With lower to upper intermediate lessons included, you can feel comfortable in the lessons before moving up the learning ladder.
FrenchPod101 marks every time you complete a lesson on the website, making it easier than ever to watch yourself progress. By regularly quizzing your French after the lessons, FrenchPod101 constantly puts your understanding to the test, flagging up any problem areas before it’s too late.
You don’t have to scratch your head and wonder how to learn French on your own. With the above resources, you can just get started!
With the internet acting as a melting pot for every type of French learning out there, you’re free to pick and choose the content that you want to use. Giving access to French tutors, unique methods of learning and huge archives of material, French learning websites are becoming increasingly popular resources to pick up the language.
Only one question remains before you start to self study French: Which one(s) will you choose?