learn french in the car

6 Resources for Learning French in the Car

Argh! Stuck in traffic again?

Why not take your French lessons with you wherever you go?

In fact, it has never been easier to learn French on the go.

For those of you who aren’t car owners or regular commuters, these methods are great for any kind of travel—and even just for busy days when you’re running around doing a million errands.


Why Learn French in Your Car?

For years and years, language learning was confined to the classroom and, as a result, many people still feel unsure about studying in the car. However, there are tons of benefits to this way of learning and, more often than not, languages learned on the go are understood in much less time!

Go at your own pace

When you learn in the car, the content of the lesson is focused towards you and you alone, so if you need to pause or rewind, you’re entirely free to do so.

Likewise, if you want to do a little revision practice, or go over a lesson you learned in the morning, you have complete freedom. The content is available for you to use as you wish and it has never been easier to progress with confidence!

Learn a little every day

We’re told that the “little and often” mentality is the best way to approach many parts of life and language learning. It couldn’t be more true! Taking on huge chunks of new information at a time is rarely conducive to great learning.

Instead, you need to get consistent with studying. You need to be practicing little bits of language every day, not a ton once a month. By studying in the car, you can access brief lessons and improve a little bit each day.

Choose your own topics

We often learn in the best way when we think about things that we’re already interested in.

When you’re learning in the car, you can pick and choose each lesson, honing in on specific lessons when you please.

If you download a French podcast about space travel and just love it, then you can listen to it over and over again. If you don’t really like that bit about politics, skip it. 

It’s very possible to pick up new grammar points through any kind of topic and along the way, you might discover a new hobby you never even knew existed!

Make use of travel time

Over and again, commuters complain about the time they lose whilst making their way to and from work. By committing each journey to a specific lesson, you make use of “wasted” time and free up more hours in the evening for your family and friends! Learning in the car is one of the best ways to improve and can turn a lost opportunity into hours gained.

6 Awesome Tools to Learn French in the Car

One Day French CD

One-Day French

One Day French is a travel CD created for beginners, packed full of useful phrases, quick fire words and French essentials. Centered around one day, the CD is ideal for students who are looking for an accessible introduction to the French language, or are planning a visit to the country in the future. Based around the story Andy as he learns French from a fellow passenger on a flight, One Day French is entertaining, accessible and very manageable.

Useful words and key phrases

Using a language novice in the heart of the narrative, the CD is a great way to pick up essential phrases and terminology to use in French. Whilst the lessons don’t cover grammar or pronunciation, they are a great, quick insight into the world of French and might be especially useful for those just starting out.

Included booklet and quiz

If you’re worried about losing some of the words through the speakers, don’t be. One Day French comes equipped with a takeaway booklet and a quiz to be completed after the course is finished. The booklet acts as a great guide should you be out and about in France or other French-speaking countries, and the quiz enables you to test everything you’ve learned in the day.

Downloadable to MP3 player

If your car doesn’t have a CD player, don’t fear! One Day French is also available to download on MP3 players and portable devices meaning that, even when you aren’t driving, you can continue to listen to the CD’s narrative. The CD is aimed to be completed over the course of one day but can be easily dipped in and out of as you travel in the car.

Easy French Reader CD

If you’ve already begun learning French and are looking for something a little more comprehensive, Easy French Reader is a great option. A CD and book-based learning course, the lessons are based specifically on reading and listening in French and contain a number of progressively advancing texts. The CD is particularly useful for practicing listening and pronunciation, filled with extracts from written passages in comprehensible chunks.

Detailed look at the French language

In the texts and recordings, Easy French Reader takes an in-depth look at the French language and really tests your comprehension skills. If you specifically enjoy learning why grammar rules and word orders work in the ways that they do, this is a great language course to try.

Unearths French history

In each lesson, Easy French Reader delves into the French history, incorporating many famous events into each lessons and recording. The lessons also take closer looks at famous French figures, from Joan of Arc to Charlemagne and Napoleon. There’s no better way to brush up on your history and your French!

Language essays included

If you’re looking for extra learning material, Easy French Reader is a great option. As well as the in-depth and informative language recordings, the lessons come equipped with a number of language essays, connected to the CD. Combining reading and listening skills at once is an easy way in which to progress in French whilst getting to grips with tricky foreign spellings.

Great for intermediate to advanced level

Often, learning CDs are skewed towards the beginner audience. Due to its lesson content and increasingly complex lessons, Easy French Reader is perfect for intermediate to advanced learners to refine their language skills and move on to the next level. Accompanying the learner book, the CD exercises are designed to be listened alongside the written content as you go, so the exercises last for as long as you need to use them!

French All Talk CD Course

learn french in the car

Seasoned travelers will love the French All Talk CD Course. Containing a huge number of material and packed with diverse learning plans and storylines, the learning material is particularly good for those who spend a lot of time on the road. The huge variety of learning points on offer in the course mean that, more often than not, students can benefit from listening to lessons multiple times, picking up every language point as they go!

Learner-based storylines

French All Talk CD Course is based around a series of learning stories, and at the heart of each lesson is the life of George, an English speaker visiting Paris for the first time. Through George’s experiences as a learner of French, students are encouraged to overcome any issues about which they might be nervous and learn from someone who has done it before.

In-depth focus on vocabulary

If varied vocabulary is what you’re looking for, then you’re in luck! French All Talk is created with an emphasis on varied, diverse vocabulary, giving its students the tools to express themselves in as comprehensive a way as possible. The course also comes with an in-depth vocabulary guide, to take along with you and use when you’re out of the car.

Listening exercises

As well as telling George’s story through recordings, the course encourages its listeners to improve their French through a series of listening exercises. As well as lessons in speaking and pronunciation, the CD includes listening exercises, memory tests and essential French phrases.

16 hours of lessons

French All Talk is an incredibly in-depth course and will last listeners for a very long time indeed! Spread over 16, 1-hour CDs, the course covers a huge range of topics and will take listeners from a beginner level of comprehension to advanced beginner/intermediate. Prices for the course start at $75.

Pimsleur Instant Conversation French CD

learn french in the car

Students looking to enhance their conversational skills need look no further than Pimsleur Instant Conversation CDs. Based around talking exercises, listening-based activities and French pronunciation, the CDs are a great companion to anyone looking to improve their ability to talk in French and interact with the natives. Speaking is particularly stressed in the lessons, so if you’re looking for a course through which to gain confidence, Pimsleur can be very useful. Costing $49.95 for 8 hours of audio lessons, you really get what you pay for!

Focus on speaking and comprehension

Not only is the ability to speak of great importance but also, the student’s ability to comprehend. Differences between natives and non-native speakers can often be huge and as a result, it can make communication very difficult. The Pimsleur course encourages its students to talk as much as possible and through that, perfect their speed and pronunciation.

Beginner grammar lessons

Of course, it pays to understand French grammar and whilst Pimsleur doesn’t have the most comprehensive grammar course out there, it is more than enough for beginners to get to grips with. Learning to speak in French requires a good understanding grammar and through the concise, well-rounded lessons, students are given all the right information.

Interactive lessons

Learning in a car can often feel like a one way exercise but unlike many others, Pimsleur works with interactivity in mind. Including conversational exercises, listening, speaking and pronunciation lessons, Pimsleur runs with the understanding that in order to really learn, students must get stuck in. Encouraging learning outside of the car, the course also comes equipped with a downloadable vocabulary booklet.

Learn French With Alexa Podcast

learn french in the car

Originally created as a website, Learn French With Alexa has since been created for portable download and therefore, can be enjoyed wherever you go! Packed with useful language points, varied lesson plans and weekly downloadable support sheets, the series of podcasts are great for any traveler to dip in and out of wherever they go. What’s more, the podcast encourages its users to move forward as they please, without any pressure at all to take part in learning activities which might feel too complex.

Lessons for every ability

Whilst podcasts have been created mainly with the beginner learner in mind, there are dozens of lessons plans for intermediate to advanced learners available on the website for digital download. Students are encouraged to consider verb conjugations, idioms and the subject of the week. Better yet, the entire course is completely free!

Supportive website

If you’re looking for a learning platform that you can access when you’re not in your car, as well as when you’re in your car, Learn French With Alexa is the perfect all rounder. Whilst podcasts and aural downloads cover vocabulary points, different topics and subjects, online lessons look at dictations, reading exercises and spelling tests.

Comprehensive look at a new weekly subject

The sujet de la semaine, unsurprisingly, changes every week and as a result, students have constant access to new information and changing vocabulary. Looking at topics as diverse as French towns, politics and the Paris metro, the weekly subject is available for beginners, intermediate learners and advanced students.

Designed for on the go learning

Every lesson comes attached with a digital MP3 download so all you need to do is make sure your portable device is charged up before you leave the house! There’s a huge archive of recorded lessons available on the site already, so if you’re just starting there’s already so much to be getting on with.

Talk in French Podcast

learn french in the car

For each student out there, there’s a podcast to be downloaded and if you’re really unsure of where to start, try taking a trip to the Talk in French Podcast. Hosted by the very likeable Frédéric Bibard, Talk in French aims to help to motivate its students to get better each week and to create a regular habit of learning. The free podcast is one of the best conversational resources out there and is perfect to enjoy on the go!

Cultural information

Each Talk In French episode is not only a great exercise in French comprehension; it’s a fascinating look into French culture and society, too. Topics for lessons differ each episode, so if you want a wide variety of learning material, Talk In French is a great resource to use.

Diverse learning information

With the aim of creating a conversation between himself and his listeners, Frédéric Bibard asks his students to write in with their own language questions or topic points. Frédéric’s episodes are personal, incredibly useful and always up to date. There’s really no better way to learn than from a native and with Talk In French, you get the best of the best!

Extra learning material on the website

As well as being an incredibly interesting podcast, the Talk In French empire has a very useful website, too. The course’s blog is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth ones out there, looking at grammar, culture, vocabulary and the world of DELF training. Talk In French also releases e books and offers one to one Skype lessons for busier learners.

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Whatever your level, there’s something out there for you!

If you find that you lose time in the evenings or are extra busy on the weekends—but you’re still desperate to learn French—then using driving time for lessons is the perfect option for you.

Contemporary lessons are very varied, diverse and will enable you to cover all types of French language learning. All that’s left is for you to get stuck in a gridlock!

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.

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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.

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