Learning French can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to start or what learning materials to use. In this article, you will find my list of the best resources for learning French.
Table des matières
I advise you to get the books from the Bescherelle collection. They are among the best resources for learning French. These books are also used by French students when they learn different aspects of the language. These are reference books that contain good explanations with many examples. They will follow you throughout your learning, they are a very good investment. Of course, all the explanations are in French. I advise my beginner students to at least get the Bescherelle on conjugation: the rules of agreement, the use of different tenses, and the conjugation of verbs are detailed there.
|Amazon FR||Amazon US|
|Le coffret (international delivery 🌍)||Le coffret|
|La conjugaison (international delivery 🌍)||La conjugaison|
|L’orthographe (international delivery 🌍)||L’orthographe|
|La grammaire (international delivery 🌍)||La grammaire|
I also recommend the book A Frequency Dictionary of French. It is a very interesting book that will allow you to learn vocabulary by giving priority to the most used words. This book also contains many example sentences. The only downside is that there is no audio recording for the pronunciation. However, you can easily remedy this problem with online resources like YouGlish (see detailed explanations in the “Online Resources” section).
👉 Where to buy ?
|Amazon FR||Amazon US|
|A Frequency Dictionary of French (international delivery 🌍)||A Frequency Dictionary of French|
There are many online resources that can help you learn French. Here is my list of the best resources to learn French online and for free:
💠 To help you with pronunciation, there is the YouGlish site. This tool allows you to search for words or phrases spoken by native speakers. You can even choose the country of origin, namely, France, Belgium, or Canada. Once you’ve typed your word or phrase, YouGlish will search for all videos containing that word and submit its playlist to you. Under each video, you also have the subtitles with the spoken word highlighted. This tool is therefore very useful for pronunciation or to search for videos on specific topics:
💠 I also invite you to watch the humorous videos of Loic Suberville. They are very funny and they will teach you some vocabulary words in French or show you certain cultural differences:
Meaning of Words
As a dictionary, I can only recommend the Collins. This dictionary offers you the audio version as well as example sentences containing the word you have searched. It also offers the conjugation of verbs (note that the conjugation is incomplete in this dictionary, see the next paragraph for a better conjugator), the use of the word over time, and a translation in many languages that are not yet available on the Collins dictionary (like Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Polish, etc.). Here is an example with the verb « enseigner » (“to teach”):
For conjugation, I recommend L’Obs la conjugaison. This conjugator has a database of over 9000 verbs. Most importantly, the verbs are conjugated in all the tenses you need to speak (1) and a definition (2), synonyms (3) and conjugation exercises (4) are provided for each tense.
🟡 To follow the news in French, I recommend the site 1jour1actu. This site provides daily news information in the form of articles, podcasts, and short videos. This site is made for French children (the starting age is 8), so the explanations are greatly simplified. Spending ten minutes a day reading French news and writing down five words or expressions that you think are useful will make a big difference.
🟡 You can also listen to the radio or podcasts. Rfi radio is very popular among students. This radio presents international news and publishes short and simplified articles.
🟡 There is also the France Culture radio station which offers cultural, economic, historical, and literary analyzes as well as podcasts.
🟡 Finally, there is the program Grand bien vous fasse ! which deals with societal issues, romantic relationships, and lifestyles.
In order to progress, watching videos in French is a very effective method. Watching a few minutes of video every day will improve your comprehension skills, but also allow you to enrich your vocabulary. In order to optimize your learning, I advise the following method:
1️⃣ Watch the video for the first time with subtitles in your mother tongue (if subtitles in your mother tongue or a language you understand are not available, watch the video with French subtitles). Focus on the story.
2️⃣ Wait a few hours or the next day and then watch the video again. However, this time with French subtitles only. Write down five words or phrases that you recognize.
3️⃣ Wait a few more hours or the next day and then watch the video a third time, but this time without captions.
You will find short videos with a vocabulary list and exercises in the Films et séries → Youtube → A1-A2. section. Otherwise, below is a list of YouTube channels sorted by categories. Videos with the “🥐” symbol are the easiest to understand:
|Documentaries (historical and travel related)||Science||Humor and Entertainment|
Des racines et des ailes
| Max Bird (ornithology) |
C’est pas sorcier 🥐
| Omeleto (short films)🥐|
MATH (humorous film recaps) 🥐
COLAS BIM 🥐
Louis-San 🥐 (cultural differences between Japan and France)
Tev & Louis
NAÏM (satirical sketches about politics & modern problems)
If you want to watch French television, there is also France TV which is a replay site.
Audio methods: practicing pronunciation while learning to speak with native French speakers
One of my favorite methods of learning languages is the audio method. The audio methods allow you to get straight to the heart of the matter, take a break from the written exercises and learn useful phrases in everyday life. I recommend them, particularly for beginners. They allow you to work on pronunciation, acquire vocabulary, and are a source of motivation because you directly learn expressions that you can reuse with native speakers.
I used the Pimsleur method a few years ago when I started to learn Japanese, and am using it to learn Korean as a beginner. I have also listened to the method for learning French and I find it very good.
How the method works
The Pimsleur French method is divided into five levels of difficulty:
– 1️⃣: basic vocabulary (beginner)
– 2️⃣: everyday vocabulary (advanced beginner)
– 3️⃣: everyday vocabulary and in a professional environment (intermediate)
– 4️⃣: everyday vocabulary and in a professional environment (advanced intermediate)
– 5️⃣: personal life, the expression of emotions, and the formation of complex sentences (advanced)
Each lesson lasts about thirty minutes. The explanations on the context are in English then the explanations on the pronunciation and the diction of the sentences are carried out by a native speaker. The method is somewhat reminiscent of that of the animated series Dora the Explorer where you are presented with a context, a native speaker asks you a question in French then you have a few seconds to answer in French before you are given the answer.
The method is progressive, which means that you must complete the levels in order. Be careful, however, because this must be used along with other methods of learning French. Completing all the levels will allow you to have a good understanding and to develop your ability to intuitively form sentences in French. This method is also great for building excellent pronunciation habits. However, the expressions are very focused and there is little or no explanation on grammar and syntax. This means that you will also have to practice speaking and writing and learning the rules of conjugation and grammar and of course more vocabulary if you want to truly speak French one day.
I only used the Pimsleur method and was very satisfied with it so this is the one I recommend. However, if you have tested other methods like that of Rosetta Stone or Michel Thomas for example, do not hesitate to share your experience with them in the comments.
⭐Click here to check out the Pimsleur method ⭐
Movies: an opening on French culture
The films are a real opening into French culture. Preferably, try to watch films produced by French people, and as with French videos, get in the habit of watching them three times and writing down five to ten expressions that you think are useful.
Similarly to the paragraph about French videos, you will find in the Movies and TV shows section of this site a vocabulary list and exercises to help you understand certain French films and series.
Otherwise, you will find below a non-exhaustive list of French films. If you click on the movie title, it will take you directly to the movie trailer on the Allociné movie news site. If you are interested in the film, it’s up to you to find it (Netflix, Amazon, etc.).
Le Petit Nicolas
LOL (Laughing Out Loud)
20 ans d’écart
Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis
|Jacquou le croquant|
Un long dimanche de fiançailles
Fanfan la tulipe
Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain
Conversation practice through private lessons: an essential step that will make you progress very quickly
Why is it better to get a teacher?
If you want to progress quickly in French, there is nothing better than taking lessons. The most effective is to take lessons with a teacher whose mother tongue is French. You can thus have your first contact with a native who will have the necessary knowledge to explain to you how the language works and to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Individual private lessons allow you to progress at a much faster pace than classroom lessons (whether in private language schools or at a traditional school), so this is the type of lesson I recommend if you want to progress quickly.
How to get more speaking time?
Later, once you have acquired the basics with your teacher (after having acquired the majority of the notions of level A1), I advise you to find tutors. Tutors are not teachers, they are native speakers who will allow you to practice what you have learned with your teacher or in books. They play a supporting role, so you will have to organize your lesson and suggest topics for conversation. Tutors are a great help as they will allow you to practice speaking to different native people. You can find them on the italki site. I have worked there for several years and also have taken lessons there. There are a lot of good native tutors on the platform so I can recommend it to you.
In general, the hardest part for complete beginners is to take the plunge and book the first lesson. Know that I offer private French lessons in a joyful and good atmosphere. I am patient and attentive, so no need to stress. If you are unsure or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact me before booking a lesson, I would be happy to answer any question you might have and get to know you! 😁
How about you, are you using other resources?
Share your experience in the comment section!
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