What’s the best and worst part about learning French online?
The best part: all of the great free resources that are available at your fingertips.
The worst part: too many free resources.
This includes blogs about learning French.
In fact there are so many that you could spend forever and a day searching for the right ones for you.
But now you don’t have to, as I’ve compiled a great list of blog sites that in their many different ways can help you learn French in no time at all.
Their approaches may well be different, but they’re all united by a common love of the French language and a common purpose to help the student as much as they possibly can. Some use video, others podcasts and one or two are text only.
So grab a cup of coffee, butter up some warm, soft croissants and settle down in front of your laptop for some quality French learning. Here’s my pick of eight of the best French language learning blog sites:
8 Great French Blogs for French Learners
French Crazy is a glorious immersion into all things Gallic with a series of blog posts that explore the country’s music, fashion, lifestyle and culture. There are also articles that point to other French resources on the internet. Some of the posts have been taken from French sites and translated into English, and videos and large photographs are used throughout.
For the adventurous intermediate or competent advanced speaker, there is a section of French texts featuring the work of such literary luminaries as George Sand and Gustave Flaubert. Language learning lessons have not been forgotten and French Crazy has a selection of tutorials covering grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, how to start thinking in French and more.
The website is run by John Elkhoury, a French-English bilingual who teaches French and has lived and visited a clutch of French cities.
I tip my chapeau to Love Learning Languages, (previously Learn French with Jennifer), a comprehensive resource for learning the language. Jennifer Crespin taught French in the United States for more than 15 years before leaving her native country with her French husband and relocating to the south of France.
She created the blog “to reach an audience that could use a little help in learning French.” There are posts about living in France, grammar lessons and a “word of the day” series. Some of the posts feature short pre-recorded video lessons, others include podcasts followed by comprehension questions in French, and some are written in English.
The “word of the day” posts are particularly useful if you’re time pressed. A chosen word is highlighted, translated and then used in a sentence. All in all, a very well-written blog.
Talk in French has put together a great series of blogs that dive into the language to source the most essential ingredients for speaking it fluently. Each post a different lesson and all are well presented with easy to follow information and plenty of French with English translations.
One of the really cool aspects to the blogs is that in the top left hand corner of each post the reader is told how long it will take to read and whether it’s for beginners, intermediates or advanced speakers. The text is also given a grade such as “easy” or “difficult” so the student knows what they are letting themselves in for.
The posts attract a reasonable number of comments and these are worth reading sometimes as they can throw up some of the burning questions that you probably have and need answers to.
The French Blog is bursting at the seams with great content, and is compiled by aspiring fluent French speaker William Alexander who’s also an author and IT director. According to the blurb on his website this is his last best shot at becoming fluent and he wants to bring other French language students along with him.
Knowing the importance of good content, William scours the Internet for useful videos and articles to comment on as well as writing a lot of original material. There are posts on aspects of French life and culture, cooking, comments on the news and much more.
Two of his unmissable regular features are “Wordsmith Wednesday”—a weekly exploration of a different word, and “French Food Fight Friday”—recipes, restaurants news and lots of other food-related goodies.
This is a fantastic resource created by a French teacher with a Master’s degree in French literature and a bachelor’s in French language. The posts are an eclectic mix of culture, grammar, songs, news and vocabulary and are written in English, but with lots of phrases and their translations thrown in.
Some posts make use of videos and audio and others have simple cartoon graphics that help to reinforce meanings. Oui, c’est ça has dozens of posts stretching back to July 2012. Beginners, intermediates and advanced French speakers will find this blog series a useful addition to their bag of learning tools.
Be prepared to laugh—a lot. French Together says it wants students to learn French the fun way and it more than delivers on its aim. This compelling blog series puts humor and learning centre stage as many of the posts certainly have a fun slant to them.
A scan of the French Together website throws up some interesting blog post titles such as “7 French stand-up comedies that will make you laugh out loud” and “5 funny French expressions.” It’s all part of the website’s desire to get away from learning by rote. Humor is an excellent vehicle to help students on their way to fluency. The posts are a mixture of text, graphics, photographs and videos.
French Today is a site specializing in audiobooks and lessons for learners that gives you additional varied materials for learning by throwing up an exciting smorgasbord of goodies with posts about anything and everything to do with French life and culture. Many of the posts follow a simple enough format. They usually start with a short introductory paragraph under which is a series of bullet points or short, informative paragraphs.
Occasionally you will come across a few highlighted pieces of text and these link to audio files in French on subjects related to the particular blog’s theme. The posts are written by a number of authors and are filed under such categories as travel, food, French culture, learn French and humor. In addition to the audiobooks and lessons, you can sign up for private French lessons on Skype through the site.
The intent of this website is there in the title. Created by Stanley Aléong, whose academic background encompasses anthropology, linguistics and computer science, this blog series is for those who want to speak French fluently. There are three categories of blog posts: how-to articles, methods and strategies for learning French, and learning from the common mistakes in spoken French.
The posts are predominately text-based, so there are no cartoons, videos or flash graphics. But the articles flow so well that bells and whistles are not required to sugar-coat the language learning pill. Paragraphs are succinct and key words and phrases are highlighted in bold.
Stanley’s website also has a section called “real-life examples” that has a collection of links to authentic French conversations in numerous scenarios. Transcriptions, translations and technical commentaries on the conversations are available for download. Speak French Fluently is for beginners, intermediates and advanced French language speakers.
And one more thing…
If you like French blogs, then I would be remiss not to tell you about a great new resource for learning French: FluentU. FluentU makes it possible to learn French through music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks. Native French videos become language learning experiences.
FluentU lets you learn real French—the same way that people speak it in real life. FluentU has a diverse range of videos (eg. movie trailers, funny commercials, and web series), as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch French videos with interactive captions. Tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word “suit,” this is what you see:
And FluentU lets you learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
All along, FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to recommend you examples and videos. You have a truly personalized experience. Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.