Budget Friendly Ways to Learn French

Bonjour mon amie! Learning le Francais is a huge priority for me with my move to Paris to attend the Cordon Bleu seemingly right around the corner! yikes! I learned Spanish all through school. I never thought I’d need French because when you’re in Texas, Spanish is the language to learn! I’ve been working my way through several different mediums hoping that if I hear it enough maybe some will stick before I get to Paris. A lot of the things I’ve been using are free or super low cost, but I’ve been also using Rosetta Stone and attending continuing education classes at SMU.


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Podcasts: I drive 2+ hours to work every day and throwing on something I can listen to in the car is a no brainer. Podcasts are great- they’re free and there’s a lot of excellent one’s out there. My absolute hands down favorite is Coffee Break French. It’s perfect for beginners and each runs about 20 minutes. Also take a look at Learn French by Podcast and Learn French (or Daily French Pod). These are all in French and only 5-10 minutes in length. The later are a little intimidating to me since they are all in French but I’ll catch a word I know here and there which is exciting.

* If you are going to be listening to these through your iPhone or iTouch I would recommend downloading them while you’re connected to wi-fi to save a couple data bucks.

Free Apps I have Downloaded to my iPhone:

  • 24/7 French lite – Good for learning vocab and includes many little tests to help you learn.
  • French Word of the Day – One French word with the English translation and you can play the pronunciation.
  • French! by Mind Snacks – Fun little games to help learn vocab. I can get tired of them quickly though. haha
  • FVerbs! – A French verb of the day (but you can scroll through several) with English translation. I wish you could play the pronunciation.

AudioBooks: These will cover more than the podcasts and the one I downloaded was worth the $16 (I think?) I paid for it. The lessons are short but build really well on each other using the same words or phrases repeatedly but in different conversations and sentence structures. I’ve only tried one so far, but I really like Speak French With Confidence by Jean-Claude Arragon. It was super easy to download from iTunes.

Good Online Sites:

  • Duolingo.com – The site is awesome!!! I try to get in about an hour a day. It’s a game helping you learn through several different techniques that are similar to Rosetta Stone. You learn pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and more.
  • Babbel.com – Similar to Duolingo but more focused on sentence structure and vocabulary building. The voice is much more realistic than Duolingo.
  • languageguide.org – The focus is on learning vocab, grammar, and reading. For vocab, they have pictures of each item which you scroll over to hear and see the French word. My favorite “aubergine” or eggplant because it’s one of the first words I learned.
  • The BBC – they have a whole section on their site dedicated to language learning. It hasn’t been updated in a bit but there are a lot of helpful resources. I was a bit disappointed when the video showing Rugby players talking in French didn’t work. They also have a section with links to French TV, news, and radio.

The Public Library: French audiobooks you can play in the car! And French Movies on DVD. The best part – they’re free! Lots of public libraries also have software you can download for language learning. I found the audiobook I downloaded off iTunes there and just about kicked myself! It’s also a great way to try out different audioprograms if you’re looking to buy one.

Random Tip: Keep a French to English Dictionary on you and look up random words through out your day.

Happy French Learning!

Have any other tips or sites you like for learning French? Leave a note below!


4 thoughts on “Budget Friendly Ways to Learn French”

  • Congrats for getting into French and good luck with your studies in Paris. I also want to invite you to have a look at a site that I’ve created for intermediate and advanced learners of French. It may or may not be over your head. Probably not.

    www (dot) fluentfrenchnow (dot) com
    You can always drop me a line.

  • Hi! I went to the Sorbonne for a semester. I’d also recommend the programs through the Mairie (city hall) – they are inexpensive and a great way to learn 🙂

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