The Best Apps for Learning French

5 Best Apps for Learning French

One of the most popular French language apps, known for it’s energetic video and podcast style lessons.

A fully immersive French language program based upon Olly Richard’s StoryLearning® methodology.

A brilliant supplementary tool for boosting listening skills & vocabulary in a highly engaging environment.

Bonjour, fellow Francophiles! 

If you’re anything like us then you probably spend hours and hours on your smartphone every single day, scrolling through social media or frilling your time away on YouTube – we’re all guilty of it… But what if you could actually use this time to boost your French language skills? 

In this day and age, there’s a ton of great language learning apps out there to get you up to speed fast by squeezing in extra language practice during your down time. And best of all, learning this way doesn’t have to be a chore. Gone are the days of boring textbooks, classroom teaching and grammar tables – we now live in the realm of gamified learning apps and personalised content, based upon real language acquisition research.

So come along and join us for the ride, as we walk you through what we consider to be the best apps for learning French, so you can save your time on those that are not all so great, and start reaping the benefits of those that are truly awesome. Convenient French learning from anywhere, incorporated into your busy lifestyle, is right here, at your fingertips!

On y va!

Best Overall – The Most Comprehensive App For Learning French

First on our list is FrenchPod101 – an app that’s stood the test of time for being one of the most comprehensive and engaging language courses on the market. The lessons consist of audio podcasts and youtube-style videos that are delivered by a variety of highly engaging native speakers. 

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FrenchPod101’s unique teaching methodology allows you to pick and choose from their massive library of lessons and curate your own syllabus from scratch, by filtering through all their structured learning pathways. Your progress is tracked and you’ll find a myriad of extra features to aid you in your learning – flashcards, full transcripts, lesson notes, vocab lists and more.

Click here to check out our full review of FrenchPod101.

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The Most Effective App For Learning French

French Uncovered is the birth child of polyglot, author and teacher Olly Richards. The course is based upon his unique StoryLearning® method that uses stories to suck you into an immersive learning environment. After each chapter there’s several thorough lessons from native speaker Diane, covering everything from grammar to pronunciation, starting with the obvious cognates from the text.

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But not everything is explained! Olly is a true believer in immersion, strongly encouraging you to spend lots of time with the native audio and text, avoiding translation as much as possible. This way you can intuitively start to develop your own comprehension, whilst enjoying the story (which leaves you on a cliffhanger every chapter!)

Click here to check out our full review of French Uncovered.

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Best App for Immersive Listening Practice

So far our top two apps are both fully comprehensive courses, however this one is a little different – FluentU is our top pick to improve your French listening skills and to widen your vocabulary. Whilst it is a little pricey, it’s integrated software is perfect for immersing you in a wide range of accents and authentic material. You can binge watch your way through French vlogs, music videos, speeches, TV ads and more.

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The software works by allowing you to hover over the subtitles to get an instant translation, even add words to vocab lists or flash cards, and complete quizzes on your newly acquired vocabulary. It’s gamified app keeps track of your learning streak, and will remember what you’ve learnt, giving you an idea of how much you already know before starting a new video.

Click here to read our FluentU review.

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Best for Conversation Practice

One of the most effective methods for learning a new language is to simply get speaking with locals from day one – that’s why you’re learning in the first place, right? Even if you are miles away from a French speaking country, HelloTalk can pair you up with a native speaker for you to speak over text or voice call. Of course, you’d need to be at a level where you can have a daily fluent conversation, otherwise you’ll find yourself making the most of their built-in translator.

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Italki works in a similar way, however italki is a paid service for one way tutoring only. A language exchange works both ways so HelloTalk puts you in contact with someone who wants to learn a language you already possess, be it English or Russian (for example). This way it works out much more cost effective – in fact, HelloTalk is completely free to use.

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Best Budget Option (and most fun!)

Not yet ready to invest in a structured course like French Uncovered or FrenchPod101? No problem! Duolingo’s mission is to make language learning available to everyone, for free, and it does a pretty good job at it. If you haven’t used it before, Duolingo is a well-designed app that teaches you new words and sentences through a series of gamified quizzes. 

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Whilst it does have occasional mistakes and there’s controversy regarding its effectiveness as a long term learning tool, it’s not bad for dipping your toes into the French language, and learning some basic phrases. Plus, it’s great fun and very motivating with it’s intuitive design and the ability to earn and spend ingots. For something that’s completely free, it’s not a bad option.

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Runners-up for Best App for Learning French:

Here’s some additional apps that didnt’t quite make it into our top 5 list, that are still worth considering:

Rocket French is another biggie, up there with FrenchClass101. It’s a complete course consisting of 3 levels, each containing 8 modules covering everything from grammar, vocab and French culture. What we love about Rocket French is that the lessons center around an authentic dialogue between native speakers, much like the more expensive & outdated Pimsleur. It then proceeds to involve you in the dialogue through its integrated voice recognition software & playback.

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This way you get a chance to get some speaking practice and even correct your pronunciation, which is quite rare in a lot of online courses and language apps. The audio can also be downloaded to listen to offline which is very useful when away from wifi.

Click here to check out our full Rocket French review.

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Babbel is a great alternative to Duolingo, with short 10-15 minute lessons. They teach through real conversations about everyday topics, and the app gets you speaking straight away with their voice recognition software.

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Unfortunately, the course doesn’t have much content beyond the intermediate level, so for advanced speakers you’ll have to look elsewhere.However, for beginners it’s not a bad tool to get the basics of French grammar and get up to a basic working level in French.

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It’s always useful to have a reliable dictionary when learning a new language. Nowadays, there’s loads of great dictionary apps that go beyond the old school brick you used to carry around with you. French Translator Dictionary + is a great option and is well worth having on your phone. 

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It’s free to download and works offline. When you search a word (by camera, voice or text) you’ll receive the verb conjugations, definition, example sentences, AND the ability to save words or add them to a flashcard deck to review later. Very cool.

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Ok, we cheated a little on this one – it’s not strictly a mobile app, but it can at least be accessed via smartphone. The mimic method is our top choice for improving your French pronunciation. It doesn’t quite make it into our top five because of its hefty price tag and the fact that it doesn’t cover anything else beyond pronunciation. 

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However, what they do cover, they do very well. The course breaks down the French pronunciation into all it’s elementary sounds, visually showing you the exact way of making the correct sounds through diagrams, official IPA and voice clips. It’s a very systematic and thorough approach to correcting your French pronunciation.

Click here to check out our full review.

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The Best Apps For Learning French: Conclusion

So there you have it. We hope this list has given you lots of ideas of what’s out there for learning French. We recommend that you don’t just focus on one app or learning resource in isolation since they all have their flaws and will inevitably leave you lacking in one skill or another.

Instead, it’s a good idea to stick to one main course like FrenchPod101 or French Uncovered and to use the others as supplementary tools to aid your speaking (HelloTalk) and listening skills (FluentU). 

Overall, the most important thing is to consistently practice in a way that works for you. Afterall, as the French proverb goes, c’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron!

Bonne chance!