The 9 best apps for learning French

Drapeau de la France

Why pay top dollar for at-home French lessons? Here are our top 9 apps for learning French!

Learning a language is always a stimulating cognitive learning process. Would you like to learn French to make progress before a trip to France? You’re on the right track: the French are notoriously poor in English. Few people know how to speak English well, so it’s going to be difficult to communicate in France! If you want to acquire a good level of oral expression and comprehension, it’s best to plan ahead!

Traditionally, people think of private lessons to learn a foreign language. But training is expensive. An inexpensive alternative is to download mobile applications. Whether free or for a fee, these allow you to immerse yourself in language and culture. Whether you’re planning to travel to a French-speaking country or you’re already there, they’re sure to come in handy.

Going to France, Quebec or French-speaking Africa? Here’s our selection of apps for learning French at your own pace!

1. Babbel

Our top/flop:

👍: personalized learning methods

👎: lack of community

When we think of mobile language courses, we often think of Babbel. Founded in 2007, Babbel has become a worldwide reference. It offers French as well as some fifteen other languages.

Babbel focuses on four aspects of the French language: grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension and speaking . The user defines his or her level at the start of the learning process, from beginner to advanced. Vocabulary is learned through repetition, combined with voice recognition and translations.

The Babbel application helps you climb the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). These are levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Ideal for non-French beginners, it enables you to reach level B2, i.e. fluent use of the French language. You’ll be able to go back over all the previous lessons to revise, especially the most difficult sentences.

In listening comprehension, the dialogues cover everyday topics. The learning process is designed to give you the ability to interact with native French speakers at ease. As far as prices are concerned, Babbel can’t be said to be expensive:

  • 1 month: €12.99,
  • 3 months: €10 per month,
  • 6 months: €7.50 per month,
  • 12 months: €5 per month.

2. Mondly

Our top/flop:

👍: message interaction

👎: the short lifespan

This application for learning French uses an interesting methodology: fun exercises to learn grammar, vocabulary and written or oral expression/comprehension.

All in just a few minutes a day! Mondly is accessible to everyone, and offers lessons at all levels. So you can progress gradually, at your own pace. The application also integrates voice recognition to help you achieve perfect accent and pronunciation!

As far as prices are concerned, you can choose between a subscription at €9.99 for a month, and €47.99 for a year. The application also offers numerous deals throughout the year. Alternatively, you can opt for the « lifetime subscription » version, at €60, to enjoy the application for the rest of your life.

3. Busuu

Our top/flop:

👍: the perfect vocabulary trainer

👎: the app isn’t really free

Busuu is one of the best-known language learning applications. The program emphasizes social learning, i.e. the possibility of having conversations with other users. The application offers courses for all levels, from beginner (A1) to advanced intermediate (B2).

Lessons can be themed, and each contains grammar rules and new vocabulary words. A correction system is also integrated. What’s more, it’s a comprehensive application that works at all levels (pronunciation, writing, reading, grammar, spelling). The aim is to complete one lesson per day.

On the other hand, while the app may seem free at first, it becomes chargeable later on. The « Premium » version costs €34.99 per year. There’s also a « Premium plus » version, available for around €6.50 a month.

4. MosaLingua

Our top/flop:

👍: its scientific method

👎: its lack of diversification

MosaLingua is a behemoth of a language-learning application. This small, multi-platform application delivers lessons using a scientifically proven method: spaced repetition. Its aim is to help you memorize words through vocabulary exercises.

To achieve this, MosaLingua uses a panel of 3,000 cards containing key words and phrases, which will be repeated in unexpected ways as you progress through the levels, to help you memorize as many words as possible.

You’ll need to pay €9.99 per month to take advantage of these services, or opt for the 12-month package at €59. 99 (or €4.99 per month)!

5. FluentU

Our top/flop:

👍: podcasts and innovation

👎 : its exacerbated price

FluentU is an innovative application. Indeed, it breaks with learning codes by simply offering to learn French through podcasts and other digital information formats.

FluentU offers a wide range of tools, from videos on light subjects such as music videos, to heavier subjects such as news and advertisements. This type of training addresses one of the problems of language learning. Indeed, after days and days of learning, when you’re put into a real-life situation, the gaps in conversation become rarer.

To help you get going gradually, each video has a detailed script, so you know which term means this or that. Finally, the application comes at a price, as only the first two weeks of use are free. After that, you’ll need to pay €15 a month or €120 a year to continue using FluentU.

6. Frantastic

Our top/flop:

👍: thorough follow-up

👎: the very (too?) academic method

Developed by Gymglish, the Frantastique app offers fun, personalized lessons in French as a foreign language (FLE). The aim of the app is to provide a fifteen-minute lesson a day, with written, video and audio content. The team has also thought of a correction system for your exercises.

What’s more, you benefit from personalized follow-up as if your smartphone were your private home tutor. The lessons are adapted to your level and help you discover the essential aspects of French culture.

Learners can improve their skills thanks to the revision program, stimulating long-term memorization. Powered by Android and iOS, the Frantastique app will help you make progress wherever you are! Users can choose from three packages: 21€, 32€ and 42€.

7. Memrise

Our top/flop:

👍: the excellent community

👎: the content is not diverse enough

Memrise is an e-learning site created in 2012. The app was available the following year. Memrise lets you learn French vocabulary on Android and iOS. The app provides fun training exercises to learn French progressively.

Memrise helps you expand your lexical knowledge with vocabulary cards and mnemonics. Memorization is then based on repetition, to prevent forgetting words learned in previous lessons.

Unfortunately, you have to pay a subscription fee to access Memrise courses. Four formulas are available: one month(€8.99), three months(€18.99), one year(€59.99), lifetime subscription(€109.99).

8. TV5 Monde

Apprendre le français avec TV5 Monde

Photo credit: Google Play

Our top/flop:

👍: cultural background

👎: the community aspect

To learn French and French culture, opt for TV5 Monde. Available since October 2019, it offers 3,000 exercises for learning the French language based on videos or current affairs programs. The advantage is that it is translated into eight languages: German, English, Arabic, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and Vietnamese. Exercises are classified according to language level, from A1 (beginner) to B2 (advanced).

The interface also offers content for improving pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Users will learn more about French cultural life, traditions and current events.

Answers and exercise history are automatically saved. So you can really keep track of your progress. And if you have to abandon a question, the application doesn’t delete anything! You can return to the exercise as you left it before.

Note that the application is free !

9. Bravolol

Bravolol

Photo credit: Google Play

Our top/flop:

👍: works offline

👎: mainly for beginners

Bravolol is an application containing 800 French phrases and expressions for non-French-speaking beginners. You’ll learn basic vocabulary, how to get around, and everyday gestures.

If you want to learn French before you arrive in France, this is the application to choose. Not least because of its rich database: over 6,000 words are available. They are listed by theme and type.

A phonetic tool enables voice and visual recognition, ideal for perfecting your pronunciation. Another plus is that conversations are recorded by native French speakers.

What’s more, you don ‘t need to be connected to Wi-Fi to use it! Off to work or anywhere in the car? Don’t hesitate to continue learning French offline! This way, you’ll become a French speaker without feeling like you had to work to get there!

Now you know which app to use to learn French!