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If you’re learning French, you’re probably looking for online French classes and free resources.
Look no more, because we’ve got you covered.
There are so many French courses and resources out there it can be tricky to know where to start. How do you know which French courses are good quality, without wasting hours testing them all out?
The good news is that there are tons of affordable and even free ways to learn French. I’ve put this article together so you’ll know where to start with learning French.
I’ve explored and tested countless free French learning tools to find the best ones out there. That way, you don’t have to. Let’s take a look at these free online French language resources and classes.
Table of contents
- Free Online French Classes, Courses, and Systems
- Free Online Audio & Podcasts to Help You Learn French
- Free Video French Lessons on YouTube
- Free French Language Apps
- Free French Language Reading Materials
- You’re All Set to Learn French for Free
Free Online French Classes, Courses, and Systems
If you’re interested in guided lessons, there is an exceptional selection of free online French classes, courses, and systems available online.
Here are just a few websites that offer online French lessons at no cost:
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) not only offer French language courses, but they also offer courses on other subjects in French.
Coursera has some great free courses in French, like this course on Paris by the prestigious Sciences Po university.
If you’re not ready yet for full French material yet, don’t worry! Interested in learning more about negotiation or how to develop a startup? Or maybe quantum mechanics or even Java or C++ are more your thing?
Whatever your interest is, there’s a good chance you can find a course about it taught on Coursera with French subtitles!
Much like Coursera, EdX is an online learning portal that has a selection of courses where French is the language of instruction.
With 40+ options, you can learn about Human Rights, Marketing, Algebra, Astrophysics or even Philosophy.
If you’re a beginner learner, you should check out the language course from WestonHS called On-Ramp to AP® French Language and Culture. It has several free video lessons taught by a native French-speaking instructor.
3. Learn with Oliver
Learn with Oliver is an online flashcard tool that lets you learn and test yourself on French words and phrases.
There are flashcards for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The website even has a text analyser that breaks down external texts. You might want to pair that with one of the reading resources from later in the post!
I personally love Learn with Oliver’s email newsletters and look forward to seeing them in my inbox every day. Each email comes with some fun exercises to make sure you keep practicing.
4. BBC Languages
Looking for a fantastic introduction to the French language with video and tons of accompanying material? The BBC’s French course is a good place to start.
The content can be very simple or more advanced, and you can choose what fits your level the best!
5. TV5 Monde
Whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced learner, they have articles with exercises to help you boost your French reading comprehension.
6. Class Central
Class Central is an online portal that indexes free online courses from a variety of sites (including Coursera and EdX).
Currently, they have more than 900 courses taught in French listed on their site.
Free Online Audio & Podcasts to Help You Learn French
Podcasts are a great way to learn French.
You can take them with you wherever you go — on your commute, when you’re out walking the dog, or to listen to during your lunch break. Anytime you have a spare moment, you can fit in some language learning.
There are a lot of French language podcasts out there, but not many that provide a complete French course. I prefer podcasts that provide a step-by-step French class, or that teach French as it’s spoken in the real world. Here’s where to start with French language audio:
FrenchPod101 is free to sign up. It has an impressive amount of French content available at every level from complete beginner to advanced.
You get a one-week free trial to test out lessons at all skill levels. After that, you do have to pay for the more advanced lessons and premium material, although it’s very much worth it.
2. Journal en Français Facile
Journal en Français Facile is a free news podcast in simple French from the French language broadcast rfi.
The news is one of the hardest things to understand in your target language. It’s usually read so quickly and contains quite a lot of information and formal language.
Luckily, with Journal en Français Facile you can keep up with the events of the world and work on your French.
On TuneIn, you can find radio channels from France or Quebec.
Test out a few stations based on the dialect you’d like to learn, see what catches your attention and enjoy. Download the app to enjoy radio on your mobile device.
If you come across a new word, especially with French that has a lot of silent letter combinations, Forvo is a great place to listen to words spoken by a native speaker.
It has a large database and is a good reference for pronunciation.
Free Video French Lessons on YouTube
YouTube is an excellent place to find free French classes and resources.
Videos give you hours of French lessons in an engaging medium. They also have the added benefits of letting you see facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal aspects of the French language.
Not only that, but if you’re looking for native and relevant material for your French language learning, YouTubers are a great source.
French vloggers cover everything from comedy to beauty to food, so you’re sure to find a YouTube personality who covers a topic that you’re interested in.
Here are a few of my favorites YouTube French resources and channels:
In addition to their free podcast lessons, FrenchPod101 also has an excellent YouTube channel with hours of free content.
2. Super Easy French
I love the Easy Languages channel because it offers you a lot of local culture and context.
In their series Super Easy French, the hosts go out into the streets of France and interview the people they meet there.
It’s a great way to hear the way people really speak the language, pick up useful conversational language, and practice your listening comprehension.
3. Learn French with Alexa
Learn French with Alexa teaches French with fun, short videos that cover everything from grammar to themed vocabulary lists.
Alexa also features interviews in French as well as recipes!
4. Comme Une Française
Learn about the French language and culture with Comme Une Française.
Géraldine, the host, is an upbeat and enthusiastic tutor who shares her experience as a French native as well as tips for learning the French language.
5. Français Authentique
Looking for content about French language and culture in French (instead of English)? Français Authentique offers learners just that in slow and clear French.
Natoo is a comedy vlogger with a variety of videos and skits on her channel.
The videos are in French, but you can watch them with English subtitles.
Cyprien is also a comedy vlogger.
In addition to his comedy skits, he also covers aspects of French culture, so it’s a great source of info about the language and other facets of life in France.
8. Andy Raconte
Andy Raconte is another comedy vlogger with short, entertaining skits on her channel that cover a variety of social topics like jealousy, what it’s like to be socially awkward, and more.
9. Norman Fait des Vidéos
Norman is one of the most popular French comedians on YouTube. His channel features several skits as well as short “rants” where he discusses different topics such as dads, family dinners, and raclette.
10. Je Ne Suis Pas Jolie
If you’re a parent, Je Ne Suis Pas Jolie is a great channel to use as a resource.
Léa, the vlogger, is a parent. She shares her experience, discussing everything from night routines to household products. It’s a great place to pick up family-related vocabulary.
She speaks in a very calm tone and with a clear French accent. Her content is excellent to work on your comprehension!
11. Fast Good Cuisine
Fast Good Cuisine: Do you love food? What about French food? If your inner foodie is screaming “yes!”, then Fast Good Cuisine is the channel for you to not only satisfy your cravings, but to work on your food-related vocabulary in French.
12. Joueur du Grenier
Into video games? Joueur du Grenier is a French vlog specialized in retro video games.
The vlogger is a dynamic presenter, but his channel may be best suited to intermediate or advanced learners because he speaks fairly quickly.
Free French Language Apps
Apps are a handy way to learn a new language, especially for those who like to study on the go.
Now no matter the learning style you prefer, you can learn French right on your smartphone. Here are some of my favourite apps that cover French.
1. Memrise and Anki
The desktop version of Anki is free, as is the basic version of Memrise.
MosaLingua is another flashcard app, but this one comes with premade French flashcards. That means you don’t have to make your own (though you can if you want).
There is both a free and paid version of this app.
Duolingo is a popular language learning app that introduces you to both French vocabulary and grammar.
It’s a gamified platform, so it’s fun to learn and easy to maintain your daily streaks.
Duolingo is bright and engaging, and it offers you the possibility to learn through different types of content: texts, audio, fill-in-the-blank, and more!
Pressed for time? Drops is the perfect solution.
With the free version of the app, you just get five minutes of study time per day. But you can get a lot done in those five minutes.
The system is built to keep you engaged and moving so that you get a significant chunk of vocabulary exposure in a short time via beautiful graphics and intuitive swiping.
Clozemaster is a language learning app that uses cloze (fill in the blank) to help you master new vocabulary in French.
Clozemaster is a gamified system, albeit less than Duolingo. You can “play” both as a registered user and as a guest.
Like I said, the point is to fill in the blank of some sentences. You can choose to do so with multiple choices or by inputting a text. Once you’ve found out the right answer, an audio automatically recites the sentence for you. You can slow down the recording to improve your oral and auditory skills!
Free French Language Reading Materials
Finding reading material appropriate for your level in the language can be a challenge. Thankfully, there’s a decent selection of French reading resources available to you as a learner online for free.
I’ve listed 7 here, but you can find some more in this post. Benny wrote it especially to help you find French reading resources adapted to your level.
Use Wikipedia to read short articles in French.
You can find pieces on many topics, which means that you can read according to your interests.
Even though articles vary from language to language, the key points always remain the same. This means that you can switch back to your native language to check your comprehension.
LingQ is a popular online learning system that helps you acquire new vocabulary through its reading interface.
Lessons contain texts that you can read but also hear. In fact, when you click on words in a text, you will hear the words pronounced. Any repetition of these words will also be highlighted throughout the text so you can have an idea of how frequently they are used.
It’s free to sign up, though if you want to use it long-term you’ll need to opt for a paid plan.
3. The French Experiment
Looking for short stories to read in French? The French Experiment is a website that offers not only short reading excerpts in French, but useful grammar guides as well.
The short stories include famous tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood. They all come with an audio read of the story. Plus, you have the option to show the paragraphs’s translation for easier comprehension!
If you’re a beginning French learner, Lingua.com has a variety of easy reading material on day-to-day topics that might interest you. They’re packed with useful vocabulary and are free to download.
Online, the readings come with comprehension questions that you can take up as a challenge.
You need a premium account to access the audios, but the readings themselves are the best part of the website!
LanguageGuide.org is a well-curated collection of reading materials with audio accompaniment.
You can choose between beginner and advanced readings as well as read a selection of jokes!
Who doesn’t want to have a joke or two to crack when they’re learning a new language? Humor is the best way to make up for any small mistakes you could make with grammar!
6. eBooks Gratuits
Many classics are available to legally download free online.
If you’re at the level where you’d be comfortable reading Alexandre Dumas or other open domain material, eBooks Gratuits has a lot of material you can dive into.
Unassuming on the surface, Paralleltext.io lets you read classics like Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland with the French and English text side-by-side on the screen!
Here are a few tips to make the most of the website:
- Click a sentence to hear it pronounced by a computer voice.
- Tap the circle next to a sentence to change it from French to English and back.
- Switch from a side-by-side English/French view to French-only if your reading skills are more advanced.
You’re All Set to Learn French for Free
It’s incredible how many excellent resources are available to learn French at no cost online. Though I’ve featured 34 places you can learn French for free, there are many more.
One of our favorite courses at Fi3M is French Uncovered. It’s based on storytelling, and takes learners from beginner level to intermediate in 20 chapters. It has a 7-day free trial period that gives you a chance to try out the method!
If you’d like to have more options, you can check out Benny’s list of the best resources to learn French.
And last but not least, browse through Fi3M’s French content. We regularly post articles that cover all aspects of language and language learning.
À bientôt! (“See you soon!”)