Unquestionably the best route to advance your French language skills is to study French in France. Getting a French visa or French student permit is not as difficult as some foreigners think, especially if they aspire to study in France on an official French course.
Once the authority is sorted, where to get the best French-language School in France may pose a challenge. Hence, this compiled list of the best French-language schools in France is definitely for you.
The French are reasonably interested in using their own language and speaking English can be a roadblock to integration. However, many language schools in France offer French language courses at novice, average, and high level to suit a broad range of budgets. Therefore, if you are looking to study French in any part of France, this article contains a list of some of the best French-language schools in France to help your search.
History of French Language
French degenerated from Vulgar Latin, the vernacular Latin (as differentiated from literary Latin) of the Roman Empire (see the Latin language ). When old Gaul (now modern France) was captured by the Romans, its inhabitants spoke Gaulish, a Celtic language, which was quickly replaced by the Latin of the Roman overlords.
In the 5th cent. AD the Franks, a group of Germanic tribes, started their invasion of Gaul, but they too were Romanized. Although recent French thus inherited several hundred words of Celtic origin and various hundred more from Germanic, it owes its structure and the greater part of its vocabulary to Latin.
By the 9th cent. the language spoken in what is now France was sufficiently different from Latin to be a distinct language. It is called Old French and was current from the 9th to the 13th cent.
The earliest extant text in Old French is the Oaths of Strasbourg, dated 842. Of the various dialects of Old French, Francien (the north-central dialect spoken in Paris and the region around it) in time became the official form of the language because of the increasing political and cultural importance of Paris.
Also, French from the 14th through the 16th cent. is known as Middle French. During this period many words and expressions were borrowed from Latin, Greek, and Italian. In fact, a group of French poets., the Pléiade (see under Pleiad ), encouraged the French to develop and improve their language and literature.
The modern period of French began in the 17th cent. In 1635 the French Academy was founded by Cardinal Richelieu to maintain the purity of the language and its literature and to serve as the ultimate judge of approved usage.
What is the French Language?
French (le français [lə fʁɑ̃sɛ] or la langue française [la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃sɛːz]) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French emerged from Gallo-Romance, spoken Latin in Gaul, and more precisely in Northern Gaul.
Its closest relatives are the other langue d’oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, where French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also inspired by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic). Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.
Today, owing to France’s earlier overseas expansion, there are many French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
Why study French?
Well, among a million reasons why you should study French is the fact that French is among the languages that are most widely spoken across the globe. Basically, you will enjoy exploring the rich literary, historical and cultural traditions of the French-speaking world. It’s called a romance language because of the sonority and easy to learn the structure of the language.
Here are other interesting reasons why you should consider a degree in the French language:
- The French language is the language of the future.
- French is the second most useful language in the world for business.
- Studying French makes you smarter.
- French is one of the top ten majors most likely to lead to less unemployment and higher earnings.
- Studying in a French-speaking region makes you more creative.
How easy is it to learn French?
French is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler.
Because both languages have Latin roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.
Is studying in France expensive?
Although studying in France is not entirely “free”, you will only be charged a very small amount when you study at a public university.
However, if you are not a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland, or already a permanent resident, you will have to pay higher tuition fees in France.
What is the average cost of studying French in France?
Technically, you could spend a semester studying French at the University of Montpellier or the Sorbonne for less than $4,000 — possibly even as little as $1,000. However, go with a private program provider, and that rate automatically triples — with rates ranging from about $15,000 – $28,000.
How long does it take to learn French in France?
At 3 courses per year, it may take you between 8.3-10 years to reach an intermediate level. One year of French language learning in school (4 hours per week + 2 hours of homework + 2 hours of independent practice x 12 weeks x 2 semesters). Between 5-6.25 years to reach an intermediate French level.
In summary, depending on your learning ability and speed, it will take a period of 3 to 5 years to learn French in France.
What are the career opportunities and job options for french speakers?
The career opportunities and job outlook includes;
- Secondary school teacher
- Higher Institution Lecturer
- Broadcast journalist
- Diplomatic service officer
- French as a foreign language teacher
- International aid/development worker
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Marketing executive
- Patent examiner
- Sales executive
- Tour manager
- International Relations manager
You can also participate in The French Government challenge.
What is the Best French Language School in France?
Well, you can’t assume that there is just one school that is great at the French Language in France. Basically, they are the native speakers of the language and so, there are a number of schools offering both undergraduate and graduate programs in French.
Based on a number of our selection criteria that revolve around world rankings of the school and testimonials from alumni, here is our list of best french language schools in France.
- Alliance Francaise
- Sorbonne University
- France Langue
- Accord Ecole de Langue
- University of Nantes
- Lyon Bleu International
- École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
- University of Lille
#1. Alliance Francaise
The well-known French-language institution Alliance Francaise has branches almost everywhere, both in France and around the world. Actually, it is dedicated to promoting French worldwide via classes, cultural activities, and French certification. French language classes cover all levels, from complete beginner (level A1) to autonomous (level C1).
Intensive French classes for adults and evening classes are offered. They offer different packages with which you can combine your general French class with other classes – such as workshops, personalized packages, etc. – at the same time, building a French training course adapted to your needs, availability, and objectives.
Locations: Bordeaux, Nice, Paris, and St-Malo
FLE Accredited, the school approaches French language learning from a practical perspective. Its mission is to teach you to acquire diverse knowledge while rapidly advancing your communication skills in French.
Favoring situations of real-life and based on a large number of teaching materials (authentic documents, records video, audio, comics, articles press clips and French songs, movie clips and French novels), the teaching method intends to stimulate a passion to continuously learn and express yourself.
Teachers are native French speakers and all university graduates.
Locations: Cannes, Nice, St Tropez
This international school offers French language courses in 28 centers across France in major cities. Teaching can be done privately or in groups, or Berlitz teachers can even come to your office. Course prices differ depending on the language you choose.
Locations: Bordeaux, Boulogne-Billancourt, Cergy, Dunkerque, Evry, Grenoble Melan, Le Havre, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Noisy-le-Grand, Paris, Rouen, Saint Germain en Laye, St-Etienne, St-Laurent-Blangy, St-Denis, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Versailles
#4. Sorbonne University
Sorbonne University is a public university in Paris, France. It was officially established in 2018 following the amalgamation of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University. However, the institution can track its history back to the 13th century and the University of Paris, which had a Collège de Sorbonne which was founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon.
The university’s central campus is located in Paris’s Latin Quarter, on property inherited from the former University of Paris.
The Jussieu Campus – formally the Campus Universitaire de Jussieu. Though it is located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, it’s the main campus of Pierre and Marie Curie University (also known as Paris VI).
Meanwhile, the institution’s Maison de la Recherche campus houses the history and geography departments and the Serpente Library, which boasts of more than 50,000 works and about 300 French and international periodicals.
The university has a number of prestigious scientific collections. The Sorbonne University houses eight renowned scientific collections, including a sample of 1,500 minerals; a collection of almost 50 photographic plates produced by Gabriel Lippmann in his studies of photography; and the Charcot library, which houses a collection of the personal library of neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.
Sorbonne University is made up of three faculties: arts and humanities; science and engineering; and medicine. In 2008, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi was founded in the United Arab Emirates, which teaches a range of qualifications in the French language.
The Sorbonne University was first ranked by THE in the 2022 World University Rankings. Earlier that year, Paris-Sorbonne University 4 and Pierre and Marie Curie, which are now a part of Sorbonne University, were ranked distinctly.
#5. France Langue
With six schools around the country, France Langue offers lessons for all levels of overall French and specialized French (eg. business, legal, medical), courses for French teachers, and exam preparation (TEF, DELF, TCF). All French teachers hold a university degree and/or a recognized language teaching qualification.
This French language learning school also has accreditations with FFL Campus France, IALC (International Association of Language Centres), CSN (accreditation by Northern European countries) and Universite Paris Sorbonne.
Locations: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Nice and Paris
#6. Accord Ecole de Langue
The ACCORD was founded in 1988. ACCORD is one of the leading schools in France for teaching French to foreign students and offering high-quality French language courses in Paris.
French language courses for adults, language vacations for juniors and Families or uniquely designed mini-stays for student groups and school groups. ACCORD offers the ideal language to stay for anyone wishing to discover the French language and culture in Paris.
However, ACCORD is also known worldwide for the quality of its specialization courses such as Business French in mini-groups, French for Law. French for Executives and Managers, French for professionals (Diplomats, Doctors, Engineers…).
French language courses in Paris: at ACCORD Paris there is a course for everybody whatever your age!
Our adult school located on the prestigious Grands Boulevards, in the heart of Paris, open all year round, welcomes students from all over the world from the age of 16. Our oldest student to date is 86. Let’s beat that record!
The ACCORD Saint Nicolas summer school welcomes Juniors from the age of 12 to 17 in our residential programs for summer French language courses in Paris.
In addition, ACCORD gives Family summer programs and French language courses in Paris for parents and kids from the age of 6: French lessons and optional afternoon activities and excursions. Fun guaranteed for all the family!
#7. University of Nantes
The University of Nantes was established in 1970, shortly after the thorough upheaval in the French education system that produced many French universities that we know today. However, the original University of Nantes had been prior to this, first being established in 1460.
The university currently spreads out across six campuses, four of which are along the Loire river in the city of Nantes., northern France, with the remaining two campuses located in Saint-Nazaire and La-Roche-Sur-Yon.
Furthermore, Nantes is a historic city in the old province of Brittany and gives huge satisfaction both culturally and socially to any student living there whilst studying at the university. Hence, campuses run by the university offer a broad range of facilities and student activities, including sports facilities and food courts.
In terms of academic offerings, the university itself has over 105 different degree courses available for study across a large range of disciplines. Also, it has comprehensive programs in place, for foreign students looking to study, as well as having French language courses on offer.
In addition, the university also has a number of postgraduate programs available and holds a key focus on research and development as well as teaching.
#8. Lyon Bleu International
Located at 82 Rue Duguesclin, Lyon, 69006, France. Lyon Bleu is a school that offers a broad range of French language courses suited to each students’ objectives, his or her available time and budget.
The school enables students to learn French in small groups, with a maximum of 12 participants from several countries, for better progression and a great value for their money.
Basically, students will study French with well trained and motivated teachers and will have access to administrative services to answer all of their questions, assist with registration, assist with visas or quite simply to encourage and support every student.
In addition, the classrooms accommodate a friendly and studious atmosphere to learn French and carefully selected French host families or residences are available as accommodations. Lyon Bleu also offers several weekly cultural activities in order to study French everywhere along the way.
#9. École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon) is a French school based in the city of Lyon.
As one of France’s four Écoles Normales Supérieures, ENS Lyon is a premier school of research and training. The majority of its students are recruited straight from French preparatory schools. However, a portion of its students gains the right to attend by passing rigorous entrance exams.
Hence, these students, who come from France and Europe, are seen as civil servants in training. and are demanded to work for France in exchange for financial support during university.
ENS Lyon’s mission is to teach students to ask the right questions and to come up with innovative answers.
The first ENS was established after the French Revolution and has since produced such great minds as Louis Pasteur, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone Weil. Building on the achievement of the original school, ENS Lyon was founded in 1880.
The campus in Lyon is located close to the city center with excellent public transport links. Throughout the year, conferences and events take place in the university’s facilities, such as the Kantor Theatre and the Salle Dutilleux.
#10. University of Lille
The University of Lille is a state university located in Lille, France. It is divided into three independent public campuses. Each of the campuses specializes in an academic field.
Also, the university was established in 1562 when the Spanish established the University of Douai. This university later shifted to French hands. In fact, it became the University of Lille in 1887, with Louis Pasteur as the first Dean of Science.
The university teaches over 20 degrees fully in English. There are also French classes for students wishing to enhance their language skills while studying.
Université Lille I is the science and technology campus. It is located in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, close to the border with Belgium and just outside of Lille itself.
Majorly, its five departments and three research labs specialize in areas such as mathematics and information technology.
Charles de Gaulle Université – Lille III is home to the humanities, arts, social sciences and administration. It is also located in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.
Actually, the city of Lille is now on the rise. Its quaint old town with its Flemish speakers and its excellent art scenes have started drawing crowds.
The University of Lille was first ranked by THE in the 2017 World University Rankings. Prior to that year, two of the universities part of the University of Lille were ranked separately: Lille 1 University Science and Technology and Lille 2 University Health and Law.
Best French language schools in France FAQs
Although studying in France is then not entirely “free”, you will only be charged a very small amount when you study at a public university. However, if you are not a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland, or already a permanent resident, you will have to pay higher tuition fees in France.
French is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler. Because both languages have Latin roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.
French is the native language of about 23% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50% of the population. French is also an official language of Monaco and Luxembourg, as well as in the Aosta Valley region of Italy, while French dialects remain spoken by minorities on the Channel Islands.
Although studying in France is not entirely “free”, you will only be charged a very small amount when you study at a public university. However, if you are not a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland, or already a permanent resident, you will have to pay higher tuition fees in France.
At 3 courses per year, it may take you between 8.3-10 years to reach an intermediate level. One year of French language learning in school (4 hours per week + 2 hours of homework + 2 hours of independent practice x 12 weeks x 2 semesters). You should reach an intermediate French level in 5-6 years.
While some French universities offer individual courses in English on subjects like economics and business, no French school allows you to do a complete academic program in English. There aren’t enough English-language courses available, and at least some of the core classes are taught in French
The French are reasonably interested in using their own language and speaking English can be a roadblock to integration. However, many language schools in France offer French language courses at novice, average and high-level to suit a broad range of budgets.
So, this article provides a list of some of the best French-language schools in France for those aspiring to study French in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulouse, Cannes, or Montpellier.
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