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The 7 best French learning apps: free and paid options

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Learning a language from your phone has become so common nowadays as we spend a lot of time stuck to our screens. There are so many language learning apps and platforms to choose from and that can be quickly overwhelming. In this flood, which one to choose? What is the best learning app for French? Is that Duolingo, Busuu, Mondly, Lingopie, or another one?

Let’s learn about the 7 best French learning apps with free or paid options that you should consider as main or supplemental resources to your studies, depending on your learning objectives.

7 Best French learning apps

#1 Duolingo: Learn French for free

When talking about language learning apps on Facebook groups or Reddit, the first that pops up is Duolingo, a free learning app that teaches you various languages like French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, popular languages as well as less popular.

Duolingo is a playful platform, making you play with languages. It has many levels and lessons where you can have fun and stop being afraid of a new language and freely experiment. Being very similar to a game makes it pretty addictive for users, reducing the risk of desertion, counting with a lot of levels to keep users entertained. It’s also very friendly, levels move on very slowly so you don’t get overwhelmed with information, getting badged all along the process making it fun.

On the free version, ads are served but are still ok to learn with it.

I really like their podcasts and short stories that are beginner-friendly.

#2 Mondly the best high tech app for learning languages

If you’re looking for an entertaining way to learn French Mondly can be a good option. You can take daily lessons in a “game-like” way and this is very productive if you get bored easily.

Mondly has very attractive features to keep you interested and has a lot of modes such as augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR). There is also Mondly for kids and Mondly for business. That makes Mondly one of the unique apps that serves kids and adults learning interests.

Mondly is great if you want to grow your vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills. Beyond being just a flashcard memorizing system, it has a unique feature that allows you to have guided conversations with a chatbot. And what I liked the most, you can even record your voice and listened to the whole conversation after. That gives you real experience of how your speaking looks like when you speak French.

Like Duolingo and other language apps, the competitive element is present. This means that Mondly rewards your efforts on a leaderboard, and this can keep you motivated to achieve goals if you have a competitive mind.

Accessing Mondly is free but gives you limited features. The premium version would be ideal if you want to learn seriously. You can take this free trial to test the app and judge the opportunity to buy the premium version. If you decide to learn, you can use this link to get a 20% discount on a 1-month subscription or this one for 20% off on an annual subscription plan. All discounts are valid in only one language.

#3 Busuu: best app for learning French in context

Busuu is a language learning platform where you can learn online up to 12 languages like English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French, and more. The classes are accessible through Busuu’s app on your smartphone, or directly on your web browser.

Busuu offers 4 types of lessons: Complete French lessons suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners, French for travel, pronunciation, and Business lessons.

With Busuu, you learn French vocabulary in context, not just learning words and be left without knowing how to use them in a sentence. Words are explained and followed with real-life examples that you can use in everyday conversations.

Busuu is ideal if you´re looking for a little daily practice. If you´re looking for something more complete it’s better to pay the premium subscription that offers a lot more. For instance, You have the option to learn offline if you need to; you can get an official certificate and benefit from a community of native speakers who can help correct or give feedback on your work.

In my point of view, this is a big distinctive advantage compared to other language apps.

If Busuu is a language app you would like to try, you can use this link to get 10% off when you want to start your learning journey.

#4 Rocket languages French: a comprehensive course

Rocket Languages is another great language-learning app and website for French language. They also offer popular languages like Spanish and German, …

Rocket languages offers audio-based lessons which cover most of the learning components such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, French culture. They have a speech recognition system to help you practice your speaking. The learning is based on real-life conversations from native French speakers which sets you on an immersive path.

They offer a free trial that you can get here if you want to test the course before any commitment. And they regularly offer promo codes that I share on my page Language discounts. If you are planning to learn with Rocket languages I will recommend that you check it out regularly as discounts can be up to 60% off.

#5 Italki app ideal for conversational classes

Italki is a very popular language-learning platform for taking conversational lessons. You can download the app on your phone and start browsing the list of French teachers. It is also available from your desktop.

Once you find the right tutor, you can book classes at your convenient time. The classes are held online and can be on Italki classroom which is the company’s video conferencing tool or on any other communication software like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet,…

The good thing about Italki is that you can customize your whole experience. You can request for specific topics of interest to be discussed with the teacher. It’s also an affordable option as you can find lessons as low as 6 to 7$ per hour ant that adapt to your budget.

Flexibility is always an option, you can set lessons whenever you want 24/7 and for the desired duration (30 mins, 45 mins, …).

There is also a community for language learners that is for free, so if you are on a budget you can think of finding a language exchange partner for free.

#6 Rosetta Stones: old but still good

Difficult to list language learning apps without talking about Rosetta Stone, one of the oldest and most famous language-learning programs. It is an end-to-end language solution where learners can select their own learning paths and lessons focused on their unique interests. Rosetta Stone offers broad content areas addressing everyday situations, culture, business,...

It is a good option if you’re new to the language, and looking for an immersive solution because it challenges you to work only in French, making you think differently.

The downside is its cost which is quite expensive. But luckily you can have a free trial to check whether the program is the best suit for you.

#7 Drops a newbie app but great for developing your vocabulary

Drops apps is a recent learning app developed by Kahoot. It is a really good platform if you want to learn how to communicate your ideas in the short term as it teaches you useful vocabulary. This makes the app very effective. Among the good things about Drops you can note :

  • It has a completely free version that gives you access to all the content. That can be useful for learning while commuting or during your break time. However, your study time is limited to 5 mins every 10 hours, so that gives you a total of 10 mins learning per day.

  • Drops has a really cool and aesthetic platform, that makes everything a lot easier and really immersive.

  • It’s perfect for travelers, if you´re planning on going to another country where your native language is not used there, Drops can help you a lot to communicate.

What to keep in mind

Most of these apps have their own specificity and are the best learning French apps for these reasons. The choice of one or another will actually depend on what you are looking for, what competencies you want to develop, and your budget. Some of them are free with limited options but offer premium versions that are paid but still affordable.

Language apps like Duolingo, Mondly, Busuu, or Drops are not meant to be an exclusive learning method. They are great as supplemental resources, which means that you can get the maximum of them paired with other methods like learning French with live native teachers on Italki, Lingoda, or in-person in a language school.


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