French language 101 / Learn french

Learn French

There are loads of reasons for learning french. We’ll only present you a couple of them, but we hope that it’ll make your mouth water !

Why learn french ?

The 9 reasons for you to learn french

  1. Career

This is quite obvious but speaking French in France or in any French country is a great advantage to find a job. Evenmore, because french people are usually quite bad at speaking foreign languages, they will most of the time look up to you when you speak more than two or three languages.

However, not speaking french is not a deal-breaker to find employment. It just means that your prospects will be a bit narrower.

  1. Everyday Discussions

Speaking French will be a great help in your everyday life. From getting your croissants at the boulangerie to filling the admin paper or getting groceries at the market, it’s of course a way to understand what is expected of you and to make yourself understood.

It’s also a great help because many french people have a very… flimsy ability to speak in english, I don’t even mention other languages…

  1. Diplomacy

French used to be the language of diplomats and it was seen as a token of belonging to the elite to master it. It is now one of the official languages of the UN, the EU and some other international institutions.

So, by learning french, you would fit right in in the cosmopolitical society !

  1. 7th most spoken language in the world

French is one of the most widespread languages in the world. It is spoken in Europe (France, Switzerland and Belgium), in Africa and Asia (in former French colonies in the north and west of Africa and south east of Asia) and in America (bonjour to our Quebec friends !).

Speaking french not only opens the gate to France but to many other countries around the world !

  1. Legal requirements for citizenships

I hope you’ll love France, the same way we do. And if you love it so much, you don’t want to leave it, you may want to take up citizenship at some point. Just be aware that being proficient in French is a requirement to become a french national and thus vote in elections,…

An article on Urban Index helps you navigate the process of becoming french !

  1. Culture 

France can boast its internationally recognised culture. It’s such a luck to have in our midst, Renoir, Rodin, Proust, Bizet etc. Knowing French will make it easier for you to access these masterpieces in the original version.

  1. Social

It’s a bit trite but speaking French to a French person is the best way to meet them, get in touch and develop a relationship. It’ll help you a lot to break the ice wether it is in a bar, a festival or any other social event.

  1. Slang

French is a very rich and evolutive language. It integrates words from languages like arabic, twist them to create other words etc… Today, most French people will use slang words all along their conversations without paying attention. The word “meuf” reverse of “femme” to talk about a woman for exemple.

And let’s not forget that it’s also very fun to talk in slang !

  1. Sport

Ok this one is a bit technical, but if you fence, you should learn the language as all the orders are in French.

Getting started

In French, proficiency is broken down into 6 levels. Let’s discover them through a very French activity : going to a terrasse.

A1 : I don’t know what a terrasse is.

A2 : I can order a beer and even a Suze (typical and weird French alcohol).

B1 : I can have a discussion at the beginning of the evening with the people around the table (still sober).

B2 : I can ask the waiter for more chairs and tables as more and more people join.

C1 : I can handle a discussion in French at the end of the evening (quite smashed).

C2 : I own the bar.

How to learn French ?

Where to learn French online ?

There are many ways to learn French, so in order to identify the right course, you can begin by  assessing your level in French here. If you don’t understand a word, just click on the link “Session 2019” in the “A1 – Je découvre le Français” section. But it also means that your french level will be around A1.

You can also train for the TCF (test de connaissance du français) here which is the standard assessment test for French.

  • Rosetta Stone => Getting started by jumping in the deep end
  • Duolingo => A simple and fun way to learn through games without grammar
  • Hello talk => Interaction with actual French speakers
  • Babbel => A conversation-based app that helps you structure your understanding of the language
  • Brainscape => A method that adapts to your progress

You also have a couple of podcasts dedicated to learning French.

Where to learn french before coming

to France ?

There are at least two institutions that you can visit in order to get a the basics of French or a refreshment before coming to the country.

Where to learn french in France ?


  • You can attend evening classes. You’ll be able to find certified centers to learn French on this website or this one . It’s been certified by the French authorities.
  • You’ll also find cheap courses (35€) in universities like La Sorbonne and then brag to your friends because you studied at La Sorbonne.
  • There is the option to take courses provided by Paris City Hall, but the process to register is a bit tricky.
  • There are also intensive lessons that you can find here.
  • For Free : if you are self-motivated, you can find an enormous amount of language learning resources to help you master French. You can read on to find out more about that. Meanwhile, local associations and charities such as Croix Rouge (French Red Cross), La Cimade, and Secours Catholique often offer free or low-cost French lessons for newly arrived immigrants. However, just bear in mind that these classes are usually not as intensive as they are in language institutes and teachers are not necessarily as experienced. If you’re in Paris, the Secours Populaire also lists relevant associations and institutes in the city.

Conversation groups

Tests and certifications

There are four main French-language certifications:

  • DILF (Diplôme initial de langue française): an A1.1 evaluation for beginners that is only available in France
  • DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française): up to B2 level, which is the level you need to access higher education courses in France
  • DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française): up to C2 level, the most extensive test of your oral, writing, and reading comprehension skills
  • TCF (Test de connaissance du français): tests your current knowledge of French and the certification is only valid for two years. You might need to sit a specific TCF test for a residence permit (CRF test) or French citizenship (ANF test).

Each level of exam costs roughly between €100 and €150, and more than 1,200 test centers around the world (including over 200 in France) issue these certificates, which people need for university applications, employment opportunities, and immigration statuses. Most universities and many language institutes in France also issue these certifications. Whether you are in France or abroad, you can find an exam center near you with this handy interactive map.

Tips and trick

  • Don’t get ripped off. Certified institutions exist and this label proves it : 

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