There’s an allure to Paris that needs no introduction.
You might already spend every night dreaming of picnics and wine along the Seine.
If you wake up craving a fresh baguette and espresso, then you know what I’m talking about.
What French student doesn’t wish to one day explore the City of Lights?
And what if I told you that day could come as soon as you like?
As a linguist who’s lived abroad for many years, I’d like to encourage you to immerse yourself completely in the French culture by studying in Paris.
Okay, now you’re thinking “easier said than done!”
But if you can carve out the time and funds even for a couple weeks of travel, there are several high-quality language programs that’ll get you leaps closer to fluency. All while you get to live the Parisian life.
To help you take this step, we’ve researched some of the best programs in Paris for you. Take a look and then grab that passport!
Get Familiar with European Language Levels
Choosing the best language school abroad isn’t easy, not only because of the prices and the quality but also because the system in Europe is quite different from the system in the U.S.
Most language courses in France and elsewhere in Europe will use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to gauge students’ proficiency and put you in the appropriate class. There are six levels that relate to listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities.
Before signing up for a French class, compare these levels to your own abilities so you’ll be prepared to find a course that suits your needs.
- A1: The student can understand and use basic sentences, introduce himself/herself and others and ask everyday questions related to personal information (e.g. telephone number, address, etc.). The student can communicate in French as long as the other person speaks slowly and clearly.
- A2: The student can understand sentences related to personal and family information and other everyday topics like shopping, geography or employment, and can speak about routines and tasks. The student can describe his or her background, the immediate environment and immediate needs.
- B1: The student can understand conversations about work, school, family and other topics, and can describe dreams, hopes, ambitions, opinions and plans. The student can handle most situations that arrive while traveling.
- B2: The student can understand ideas related to both complex and concrete topics and technical explanations in a field of expertise. The student can hold spontaneous conversations with native speakers, can write about a range of topics and can give pros and cons of issues.
- C1: The student can understand longer and more complex texts and can recognize implicit meaning. The student can express himself/herself fluently without a dictionary and can produce a cohesive text.
- C2: The student can easily understand the target language as heard or read. The student can express himself/herself spontaneously and fluently and explore nuance in complex situations.
What Are the Official French Language Exams?
If you want to be able to prove your French language skills to a university or workplace, consider a language course that’ll prepare you for the DEFL and DALF exams (several of which we’ll point to later in this post).
The DEFL and DALF are diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education. There are six specific diplomas, corresponding to different levels of the CEFR as discussed above. The DELF diplomas are for A1 to B2 level French and the DALF tests C1 and C2 level French.
Since a Paris language course means you’ll both be studying intensively and totally immersed in the French language, it could be a great opportunity to nail an official exam! Of course, you’ll need all the help you can get to ace those exams. When you’re not busy with coursework, give yourself a leg up in assessments by using the FluentU app in your free time.
Learn French in the City of Lights: 5 Top Language Schools in Paris
Each school will offer you different prices, services and extracurricular activities. For this reason, we’ll take a look at our top language schools in Paris, including what they offer and their ratings on LanguageCourse.net, a website that compares hundreds of language programs all over the world.
- Semi-intensive (40 hours/month plus four language and culture workshops)
- Intensive (80 hours/month plus four language and culture workshops)
- Evening (two evenings a week)
Private tutoring and classes for your company can be set up upon request.
One-on-one DELF/DALF preparation is available.
The school can help you find a homestay with a French family or a shared/studio space in Paris.
Price varies from 44 euros per week for the evening course to 136 euros per week for the semi-intensive course and about 230 euros per week for the intensive course (depending on the length of stay).
Extra academic activities:
The school organizes many activities for cultural exploration, such as concerts and music workshops, picnics, cocktail parties and more.
L’atelier 9 promises small class sizes (nine students maximum) with teachers who tailor-make their programs based on their students’ needs.
You’ll get lots of spontaneous conversation practice through this program, with classroom activities including debates, drama and presentations.
Languagecourse.net rating: 4.4/5.
France Langue Paris
- Standard course: 20 lessons/week
- Intensive course: 26 lessons/week
- Super-intensive course: 30 lessons/week
- Long-term intensive course: 26 lessons/week for 12, 24, 36 or 48 weeks
- Long-term super-intensive course: 30 lessons/week for 12, 24, 36 or 48 weeks
Prep for DELF and DALF are offered.
The school also offers internship courses, a combination of French course and paid job and French courses for professionals, as well as courses adapted for young people (13 to 17), families and au pairs.
There are also combined course options with both group and private lessons.
The school can help you find a homestay with a variety of room size and meal plan options. You can also live in a shared space with other students.
Prices range between roughly 150 euros and 350 euros per week, depending on the program you choose and length of stay.
This school has two Paris locations. There’s le campus (the campus), located in a historical building at the heart of the city near Notre Dame cathedral. This is an option for the romantics, the history buffs and those who want a culture-steeped experience.
Then there’s le club parisien (the Paris club), located near the Champs-Elysées, which promises a friendly and active environment for French students.
Languagecourse.net rating: 5/5
Language Studies International
- Intensive (10-30 lessons/week)
- Private lessons and premium small-class lessons that can be completed within a week
- Evening courses (two to three lessons/week)
- DELF Examination course (30 lessons/week for four to eight weeks)
According to Languagecourse.net, LSI offers homestay options with a range of amenities and meal plans available. You can also stay in a shared room 10 minutes from the school in Paris’ historic Marais neighborhood.
Range from about 152 euros per week to 1,600 euros and up depending on the length of stay, specific course and class size.
Use this online LSI tool to plug in your preferred class, level, accommodation and other options to get a specific quote.
LSI is steeped in language education experience, having grown to 15 schools in eight countries across the world since it opened in 1973.
This Paris school is located in a historic, culture-heavy area of Paris, near the Centre Pompidou and not far from Notre Dame.
Languagecourse.net rating: 4.3/5.0
Eurocentres offers a unique variety of course options that you can tailor to your goals and preferred start date and length of stay. These include general French classes, a number of DELF/DALF prep courses, professional French (including work placement in a French company) and more.
You have the option to stay with a French-speaking family, retired couples or single tenants. You’ll have access to a range of amenities typically including laundry, WiFi, room cleaning and more.
You also have the option to live in a residences with other international students.
You can use the table on the program home page to get a quote based on the course, length of stay and accommodation you’re interested in.
Extra academic activities:
Eurocentres organizes regular social activities to immerse students in French culture. These include museum visits, excursions to sites outside Paris and fun classes like fashion and perfume design and wine tasting.
The philosophy behind this program is that Paris is the best French teacher there is. Therefore there’s a big emphasis on the extra activities noted above, with the ultimate goal of opening students’ hearts to the culture of France and of the City of Lights.
Eurocentres also sometimes offers enrollment discounts, so keep an eye out for deals on the program homepage.
Languagecourse.net rating: not listed.
Study and Live in a French Teacher’s Home
If you’re looking for a lot of focused practice to learn French, this might be the best option for you. By studying and living with your teacher, you’ll basically get a 24/7 lesson in French communication as well as the authentic Parisian lifestyle.
You can sign up for this type of program directly through Languagecourse.net, which is accredited by UNOSEL (the French National Union of Organizations of Educational and Linguistic Trips and Language Schools) and the ABLS (Accreditation Body for Language Services).
This is a flexible learning program with many different options, such as:
- Standard (10 or 15 lessons/week)
- Intensive (25 lessons/week)
- Teen program (10 lessons/week)
- French lessons and cultural activities (10 lessons/week plus three afternoons of cultural activities with the teacher or a family member)
- French and Disneyland (10 lessons/week, plus a full-day trip to Disneyland Paris)
The prices depend on accommodation, meals and number of lessons. The standard programs start at roughly 1,000 euros for a week.
However, there might be supplemented costs if you ask for specific requirements, such as a private bathroom or a special diet.
According to Languagecourse.net, 80 percent of the French educators for this program have a university degree and 80 percent have a recognized language teaching qualification.
There are educational supplement options, like if you’re looking to study business French or a specialized vocabulary topic, or wish to prepare an official exam. In that case, the extra fee is 130 euros per week.
Languagecourse.net rating: 4.4/5.0
Each person requires a different amount of time to learn and also a different methodology. Some prefer to learn the grammar, some prefer to learn by watching films, etc., but a sejour in another country is highly recommendable. It’ll make you learn about many aspects of language and culture that you can’t learn in a book.
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
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 learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally 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 FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
After graduating with a degree in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Alicante, Spain, Veronica Manzanares moved to Paris to work as a Spanish Teaching Assistant and then to Copenhagen, Denmark and finally to the U.K., where she works as a translator and a content writer.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.