Learning French has been a long long road and over time I’ve found some great online resources – most of them free, some of them not but the ones I have paid for I think are fantastic and worth forking out the money for. Here I’ve listed some of my favourites – you’ll notice there are not a lot and I believe in keeping this list short because I am not a ‘liking’ whore 🙂
The few links that make it to this page are here because they are akin to my bibles for learning French, I follow the authors every time they update their site/blog, use the exercises regularly and buy the products on their sites.
Level: All levels
Free or Costs Money? Both.
Why I recommend it: French Today has a wonderful range of products and a great range of free content. Camille (the sites owner) has a great blog which I keep coming back to covering everything from tricky grammar rules, improving your vocabulary and understanding French culture to why you should never be in Paris on Bastille Day. She also stresses the importance of listening to French and most of her blog posts come with free audio (this makes her a gem on the internet!).
You can also sample a lot of her products for free, such as a French poetry analysis and listen to Cinderella in French for free as well. My personal favourite products of hers are her Fun French Tales and French Poetry Analysis. The Fun French Tales is a recording of three famous French fairy tales – a version that French children hear and the original version. It’s a great way to learn new vocab and bridge the gap between intermediate and advanced French. Most of her ‘Fun French Tales’ are good for beginners too.
The French Poetry Analysis is for students at an intermediate/advanced level and I was a bit intimidated to try it at first, but I was surprised by how much I understood and really enjoyed it. It’s great to improve your vocabulary and fluency plus introduces you to ‘older’ French so reading French literature for me has become easier.
I could go on about why I love this site but I feel like I’m gushing already. Don’t forget to sign up to her free regular newsletter which will give you unique French tips.
Level: All levels
Free or Costs Money? Free (although the site owner does have a French phrasebook she has written and is available to buy through the site)
Why I recommend it: Jennie has built an incredibly rich website for learning French. I initially used her website to research the English assistant program (which she has a very detailed guide to) and really enjoyed reading her blog archives about living in France, how much it costs to live in the country and the pros/cons of being an expat.
Her blog is great but I also love her great French language tutorials. She has vocab lists which will test a lot of French students (for example, you may know the word for apple but do you know the French word for grapefruit?) plus her French boyfriend has free audio recordings of all the vocab listed on the site. Then there is also the large tutorial on French slang and idioms which she has collected and her special ‘eavesdropping on the French’ recordings. This means she has recorded French people having a conversation but they didn’t know they were being recorded – so you can get an idea of how people really speak in France.
I can’t help but admire Jennie – she seems very passionate about language learning (she has tutorials for over 12 different languages on her site) and she seems to believe in free education for everyone – which is why she has made all of her wonderful content free.
Levels: All levels
Free or Costs Money? Free
Why I recommend it: This is by far the best free online dictionary that you will ever find on the internet. Even English teacher’s that I know in France use it to look up translations (no matter how advanced you become in a foreign language, there are always more words to learn!). It is by far the most accurate translator (avoid Google translate), each word that you look up includes expressions and idioms that the word uses. You will find links to forums where people get translation help plus you can search French CONJUGATION! One of my favourite features, it makes looking up verb conjugations so much faster than flipping through a verb dictionary.
Other languages available besides French include Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic.