15 Intermediate French Resources to Push You Out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s time to move on to intermediate French.
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), reaching intermediate French (B1 and B2 levels) entails being independent in real-life situations.
Lower-intermediate learners (B1) can get by in most situations when traveling in French-speaking countries, while higher-intermediate (B2) learners can talk about a wide range of complex topics with considerable ease.
To push your French skills further, here are 15 top-notch intermediate learner resources, including online courses, native media recommendations and textbooks.
- How to Get Ahead with Intermediate French
How to Get Ahead with Intermediate French
Consume French Media
Now that you’re an intermediate learner, you can already dip into French media such as vlogs, music videos, news and movies and learn directly from them. Take advantage of tools like French subtitles and online dictionaries to pick up vocabulary more easily!
- TV5MONDE — The videos on TV5MONDE’s site are organized by level and cover everything from science to culture, with hundreds of exercises for B1 and B2 learners.
The site can be a great way to remove your language training wheels. Each video comes with listening comprehension exercises, and there are transcriptions and translations to check out words you still don’t understand after watching the video.
- FluentU — This language learning program offers access to authentic French content, which intermediate students need to immerse themselves in the natural language. Each video clip has optional interactive subtitles that supply information such as word definitions and video references.
After watching a video, you can review new words and structures with the vocabulary list or transcript. Additionally, you can hone in on your pronunciation through multimedia flashcards and personalized quizzes.
- Radio France Internationale — Filled with audio files, articles and more, this news site is useful for gaining ground in listening. There’s even an entire section dedicated to slow and simple news broadcasts.
The listening exercises are incredibly comprehensive, with diverse topics like the lives of French students, the business world and the latest literary sensations.
- French TV shows and movies — These tend to use short, conversational lines with plenty of slang, so they’ll help you get used to colloquial French while immersing you in French culture. Netflix and Hulu are great resources for tuning in to hundreds of French shows.
One recommendation for intermediate learners would be “Séraphine,” which tells the story of a real-life painter who was a housekeeper. The dialogue is very clear and easy to follow, so you may benefit from making limited and smart use of subtitles.
- French newspapers and magazines — Whatever your interests—current events and politics, art, celebrities sports, or food—there’s a French newspaper or magazine out there for you.
Two of the most popular and long-standing French newspapers are Le Monde and Le Parisien. You can also check out Télérama, a top-notch magazine with well-written articles on French movies, books, music and other cultural topics.
Take an Intermediate Course
Aside from exploring French media, you might also want a more structured course with lessons that offer grammar explanations and step-by-step exercises. Luckily, there are tons of well-made French courses online that are either free or inexpensive:
Lawless French — Learners have the advantage of accessing authentic French dialogues and transcripts coupled with lessons organized by level (including low-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate).
The lessons tackle listening, pronunciation and writing, and grammar points are also neatly laid out, with a quiz for every lesson. These are made by French expert Laura Lawless, who has decades of experience learning and teaching French.
- Udemy — Well-known for its courses in web design and development, Udemy also offers a wide variety of language learning courses, including an intermediate French course taught 100% in French.
With outstanding ratings from over 2,500 users, the course is targeted towards low intermediate to advanced learners. It has 48 lectures that total an hour and a half of watching, with dozens of quizzes, supplemental texts and audio recordings.
- elearningfrench.com — elearningfrench.com offers a course of 12 intermediate French lessons with vocabulary, grammar and dialogue/transcription components. Vocabulary words and individual sentences have been recorded by native speakers!
- French by French — This intermediate French course features 50 free lessons that come with audio and transcripts.
One cool component of this site is that many of the lessons feature interesting tidbits about culture, geography and colloquialisms. These elements can make it much easier to digest the difficult grammar and conjugations in intermediate French.
- Frantastique — Frantastique’s intermediate French lessons take the form of interactive, animated videos with a fictional storyline centered around the famous French writer Victor Hugo. By studying for 10 to 15 minutes per day, learners can take lessons that match their level to keep themselves interested over the long haul.
The site’s small daily time commitment and engaging storyline make it a great option to hold the interest of language learners with busy schedules and wandering minds.
Use a Reliable French Textbook
Even with all of these interactive resources, good French textbooks are indispensable! The books below have guided tons of French learners on their path from intermediate to advanced. Whether you want to focus on grammar, speaking authentically or even listening, these textbooks will help you improve:
- “Collage: Révision de grammaire” — This isn’t the most thorough grammar book out there, but it has some of the most easy-to-comprehend explanations.
It’s well-structured and includes clear explanations for each grammar point, followed by learning exercises for intermediate learners. There are also bilingual vocabulary lists that you can use in many of the exercises.
- “Les Portes Tordues” — Utterly unique in its approach to the French language, “Les Portes Tordues” follows the structure of a storybook, presenting lessons through a narrative arc. Passages from the book are presented in both French and English.
In each chapter, the book takes on a new grammar point, looks at unique vocabulary and increases in complexity. It includes audio files that read out extracts of the book!
- “120 dictées de français” — Despite its bad reputation, dictation is an incredibly useful and comprehensive learning tool, especially if you’re trying to master tricky verb endings and French spellings. This book is an in-depth arsenal of dictation exercises, aimed specifically at intermediate learners and above.
The exercises cover hours of lessons and multiple topics, from current events to literature and interviews. If it’s hard to get a copy of this, another brilliant option is To Learn French, which is free and has tons of material for intermediate learners.
- “Intermediate French for Dummies” — Written by About.com’s Laura K. Lawless, this is a comprehensive language guide that takes a straightforward, in-depth look at intermediate grammar.
Covering all potential complications, grammar rules and verb endings, the book backs up each grammar point with an interactive example, enabling you to easily put your comprehension into practice. The explanations are also in both French and English.
- “Street French” — This book is packed with colloquial expressions and language, taken from natives themselves. Once you’ve mastered the rules of French, “Street French” serves as a great introduction to the way many natives actually speak.
It’s really packed with learning material, so once you feel like you have a good foundation in “proper” French, there’s virtually no end to the amount of material you can pick up here.
With all of these resources, we wish you the best of luck in the next leg of your journey and hope you’re ready to embrace it (even if it’s a little uncomfortable)!
And please don’t hesitate to check back in when you’re ready to check out some advanced French resources!
Enjoy your French intermediate course and à bientôt! (See you soon!)