5 Quality Free Online French Lessons You’ll Think You’re Stealing

Until you hit the jackpot, free online French lessons will be there for you.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll win the lotto.

All the money in the world would be in your hands.

You could splurge on a private jet to travel the French-speaking world and private instructors to teach you all the rules and nuances of the language.

I know that’s what I’d do!

Unfortunately, I haven’t hit the lotto yet. Right now, I’m on a tight budget.

What do we do when we’re pinching our pennies? We opt for a resource that’s a lot more accessible than private jets and personal language training.

The internet.

Where any French learner can find high quality French lessons online, totally for free.

And I mean free! Even if you don’t have internet access at your home, you can walk to your local public library and use their Wi-Fi to learn French for free.

There are online resources that truly cost nothing. No excuses! Let’s hop online and learn Frenchc’est gratuit! (It’s free!)

Can You Really Learn French for Free Online?

I know, it almost seems too good to be true. Can you really learn French from your own home without spending a penny?

Oui, bien sûr! (Yes, of course!)

But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Learning a language, no matter how you do it, requires time and hard work. Before you dive into the list of free French lessons below, consider when and how you’ll be using them.

Will you take time for a lesson each morning before getting ready for work? Will you commit to completing one course within a certain timeframe? Think about how language studies will fit into your lifestyle, and then make a plan to hold yourself accountable.

The good news is that as you develop your routine and build up some momentum and confidence, it’ll be easier and easier to find time and energy for your French studies every day. You may even find that you get hooked on online French learning and want to graduate from beyond just free French lessons.

If that’s the case, the first tool to check out is FluentU. This innovative platform will take you beyond your initial online French lessons into a world of authentic French speech, vocabulary and culture.

Each video comes with clickable captions you can use to get in-context definitions and pronunciations for any word. FluentU also creates tailor-made flashcards and exercises from the vocabulary in each video to test you on what you’ve just watched.

It’s an awesome way to immerse yourself in French the way native speakers really use it while also actively building your language skills. Plus, you don’t just have to learn from your laptop! Take FluentU anywhere with the mobile app for iOS or Android.

Ready to find out what other great French lessons online are available to you?

Free French Lessons Online: The Best Online French Courses for Fluency on a Budget

1. Loecsen

Level: Beginnerfree-online-french-lessons

Loecsen’s free online French lessons are split into 17 categories, starting with the most basic: “Essentials.” This section covers phrases from bonjour (hello) to à plus tard (see you later).

The website also includes several fun categories, such as French for the beach or the bar.

My favorites are the practical categories, such as “In case of trouble.” This section teaches you terms such as je suis perdu (I’m lost) and pouvez-vous appeler un médecin, s’il vous plaît? (Can you call a doctor, please?) If you’re planning to travel to a French-speaking region, you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with these terms!

How It Works:

When you choose a category, you’ll see a list of phrases in English. Click on the phrase, and the French words appear in a larger font. At the same time, you’ll see an image corresponding to the words and hear a speaker say the term in French.

Once you’ve studied that lesson, switch from the “player” tab to the “quiz” tab and see how much you’ve learned!

Why Loecsen?

Thanks to Loecsen’s use of multiple methods for teaching each French phrase, this website appeals to all types of learners. Even if you don’t find the written phrases helpful, seeing the picture may help you remember what the foreign words mean. Whether you’re an auditory or visual learner, you’ll benefit from using Loecsen.

Although Loecsen’s vocabulary remains foundational in terms of depth, it covers a lot of ground. So while you may not learn to discuss classic French literature through this site, you’ll be able to talk about the basics of many different topics.

2. The French Experiment

Levels: Beginner and Intermediate

The French Experiment has numerous free French lessons for beginner and intermediate students.

For those who are just starting out, you can learn, say, vocabulary related to the days of the week or counting to a million. Intermediate learners can move on to French idioms or conversation filler words.

If you need a break from studying vocabulary, The French Experiment also covers multiple grammar rules, such as how to make sentences negative and how to make nouns possessive.

How It Works:

It’s pretty simple, really.

Choose your category. Then you’ll find a list of translated words and expressions. You can also click on each phrase to hear the words spoken aloud. Try repeating after the audio cue to practice your pronunciation and accent!

Why The French Experiment?

Not only are there pages related to vocabulary and grammar, but to spice things up, The French Experiment also has children’s stories you can read in French.

If this seems a little daunting to you, don’t worry—they provide optional paragraph-by-paragraph translations!

3. BBC Languages: French

Levels: Beginner and Intermediate free-online-french-lessons

The BBC has two video lesson series for beginners called “Talk French” and “The French Experience.”

Intermediate learners can take advantage of the BBC’s vast array of free online French lessons, including French news, video series and slang words.

How It Works:

If you’re a beginner, I definitely recommend starting with the two video lesson series. They both consist of ten videos, covering everything from greetings, to hobbies, to shopping.

The BBC also provides a free post-beginner course called “Ma France,” (“My France”) which includes 24 video mini-lessons, and a seemingly endless list of vocabulary words sorted by letter, among other things.

While some of the “Ma France” content (like a weekly email) is no longer offered, you still have access to the materials through the website.

Why BBC Languages?

The BBC’s three video lesson series provide structure that some of the other sites on this list lack. If you find yourself needing a little more direction in order to learn as much French as possible, the BBC’s French lessons online might be the right choice for you.

4. elearningfrench

Levels: Beginner and Intermediatefree-online-french-lessons

E-Learning French has two free online French courses, one for beginners and one for intermediate learners. Each course is composed of 12 lessons.

How It Works:

Of these five websites, elearningfrench’s courses most resemble typical classroom-style French lessons. Except I think they’re even better, because you can finish them on your own time, in the comfort of your living room—and, of course, they’re free!

Each individual lesson includes audio files for listening exercises, as well as new vocabulary lists and grammar explanations. The website also provides practice drills so that by the end of the lesson, you’ll be confident enough to move on to the next one.

These courses also include quizzes and tests so even though you don’t have a teacher or classmates, you can still assess your skills and progress.

Why elearningfrench?

Maybe you actually like classroom-style learning. You think materials, exercises and tests are helpful. You just don’t want to spend the money on a course or textbooks right now.

elearningfrench is a great substitute for a traditional course. You won’t have the classroom atmosphere, but you’ll benefit from the classroom-level quality in your lessons.

5. French in Action

Levels: Allfree-online-french-lessons

Yes, here are free French lessons that are valuable even to advanced French students!

This website contains 52 videos, each around a half-hour in length. You can go through each video or skip ahead, depending on your skill level.

How It Works:

While French in Action is a free instructional video series, it does have corresponding materials you can purchase online. Sorry, only the videos are free! Still, over 25 hours of free video lessons ain’t nothing to sneeze at.

The 52 videos are split into 17 categories, for example, “Geography and Tourism” and “Entertainment.”

Why French in Action?

These free online French lessons were developed at Yale University, so you can count on their quality.

If you like methodical, cognitive lessons, French in Action is for you. These videos are instructional, while also mixing things up with short skits and dialogues.

Much like E-Learning French, French in Action is beneficial for people who like structured classroom-level lessons.


Which one of these five free websites seems to best suit your needs and preferences? Do you thrive in the classroom? Do you like playing language games?

Regardless of your learning style, there are numerous ways to learn French for free, thanks to the internet. Even more importantly, regardless of your budget, you can learn French online!

Laura Grace Tarpley is a writer based in Athens, Georgia. She has spent the past four years living in and exploring France, New Zealand and China. She runs the blog Let’s Go Tarpley!, where she writes city guides and budget travel tips. Check her out on Twitter!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.

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