Learn French in Paris: 4 Key Points For a New Expat — French Lessons in Paris | French à la Carte © 2020 (2023)

You’ve recently moved temporarily or permanently to Paris, and you need to sort out many different things, amongst which finding accommodation and getting familiar with the city and neighborhood. For some new expats this includes starting a new work position, applying to University, or bringing the dream of a French experience to life.

Once you are settled in after a few weeks, it’s time to learn the language. Learning French in Paris can be challenging as the courses offered in the city are so diverse that it can be difficult to find a learning approach or language school that corresponds to your own situation.

I have listed 4 key points every French learner should consider before starting to learn French in Paris.

1 – One-on-one French lessons versus Groups Lessons: what is the best option for me?

We all know that learning French is a well sought-after skill, but what is the best, fastest and highest ROI way to learn? Let’s explore the differences to determine the option that best fits your needs and own ways to learn.

-When One-to-One French Lessons are Best

  • Individual training helps you to gain confidence as there is only you.

  • The lessons can be focused on your stronger & weaker points.

  • The progress is generally faster than group lessons as all the attention is focused on only you. It is recommended if you need to achieve a goal in a short space of time.

  • It is the best way forward it if you are focusing on preparing yourself for a particular presentation, interview etc.

  • Easier and more flexible to schedule than group lessons.

-When Groups French Lessons are Best

  • ·Group lessons have a lively dynamic and are good for developing communication skills. Some French learners learn best when listening to others, so they benefit from the interesting discussions that happen in group lessons.

  • Less pressure on an individual as you share the lesson with other non-native speakers. It can be interesting if you are a shy person.

  • Group French lessons are cheaper than one on one lessons.

  • Great for lower-level students. When starting learning French, it is interesting to be in a group to cover the foundations of the French language: basic grammar, vocabulary and expressions.

2- What is my budget to learn French in Paris?

1-Free French lessons in Paris or low budget

  • Apps & Podcasts

-Apps online & podcasts can be an interesting way to get started, especially if you are learning from scratch. You will learn the basis of the language such as key sentences to communicate to get by in practical situations. You will also build up your general vocabulary, learn the common verbs and will start to be able to construct sentences.

However, something you don’t learn with apps or podcasts is communicating with someone with whom you interact. Therefore, sooner or later you will switch the learning process to one with a French tutor.

  • Group lessons in person in Paris

Paris City Hall

The city of Paris offers very cheap French lessons. The challenge is rather to manage to enroll at the right time of the year and to find the information in French which is to be quite honest anything but intuitive. I have tried to translate the process in English. Don’t hesitate to use Google translate to translate and to write your e-mails.

First you need to create your account. on the website then click on the training in French offered by ParisCity.Hall. Go to page 4 where the different trainings are offered depending on your level ( 1,2,3) and click on the one that corresponds to your level to then create a second account.

OFFI : For migrants

To help migrants and refugees to learn French, Thot created a language school to learn French for free.OFFI provide free French lessons to people who are registered as asylum seekers.

Croix Rouge

Many Red Cross (Croix Rouge) offices offer free French classes. Just like the City Of Paris website, the Red Cross site is in English. You can select an arrondissement which is presented on the internet page as an Unité locale (the Paris districts) Select one, go to the bottom of the page, use Google translate and send your application.

To increase your chances of finding one section of the Red Cross, send an e-mail for all the sections located in central Paris.

2-Average budget

  • For one-on-one lessons in Paris

If you have a preference for one on one lessons with an average budget, you can find a tutor online via platforms such as Preply or Verbling (the first lesson is free). The hourly rate to learn a language ranges from 12 € / hour. You will just need to spend some time looking for a tutor whose profile and background matches your needs.

  • For groups lessons

The following schools of French offer a wide range of schedules and prices. The school offers several types of training programs ranging from one week to one semester, for individuals as well as for professionals.

Alliance française

1160 € per month (20 hours per week) Prices are calculated on a monthly basis (groups of 14 participants maximum) - 75006 Paris

Lutece langues

265 € per week (15 hours per week - 3 hours x 5 days during day time) in micro groups ( between 2 and 7 participants) - 75007 Paris


From 225 € per week ( 20 to 25 hours per week) groups with a maximum of 14 participants. 75006 Paris

3-For higher budgets

If you are looking for personalized private French lessons in Paris and can afford a higher budget, these 2 schools provide flexible and tailor-made private French lessons that meet your precise linguistic needs:

French à La Carte

Personalized French lessons online and in person directly at your home, your office or whilst immersing yourself in the city.

Lessons are delivered by French tutors with an excellent background and significant experience in teaching French to both individuals and professional students.

Prices are calculated on an hourly basis. From 50 € / hour (online). French à La Carte offers packages of 10 sessions.

The French class

The lessons are given by Caroline- a PHD French tutor who has gained significant teaching experience of more than 10 hours in prestigious institutions such as: Sorbonne, Sciences Po, Universities of Paris.

From 54 € / hour (if you buy a package of 10 lessons. Each lesson last 2 hours minimum)

3-Why do you want to learn French in Paris? Clarify your goals

Not all French learners have the same language learning goals.

In order to learn efficiently, you need to set yourself a clear goal ahead of time. Would you like to learn the French language to:

  • Get by when travelling in the country. Your goals are to feel comfortable when you interact with locals in specific situations: whilst shopping, using greetings, taking a taxi, having short conversations.

  • Feel comfortable in your professional exchanges with Francophone colleagues or clients. In this situation, the linguistic goals and the objectives will be task orientated: making an appointment, writing an e-mail with the correct level of language, making a presentation, negotiating, giving instructions to your team, selling a product, etc.

  • Be able to read novels or press articles in French.

  • Have deeper conversations with Francophones on topics that interest you.

4 - How much time can you dedicate to learning French ?

One of the most commonly used scales of language attainment is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) which runs a scale from A1 (beginner) to C2 (mastery or proficiency).

In the US, another widely used yardstick is the Interagency Language Roundtable Scale which runs from Level 0 (no proficiency) to level 5 (native/bilingual proficiency).

It is interesting before starting to learn French to estimate the number of hours needed to achieve your goals. As capacities and abilities to learn a language vary from one student to another, this is of course just an estimate:

1 - Tourist level

That’s A1 on the CEFR for Languages (maybe Level 0+/1 ILR). If that’s the case, you maybe need 80 to 100 hours for a “tourist level” grasp. With lessons on a one-on-one basis this amount of time can be divided by two.

2 - Working knowledge

If you are looking for “working knowledge” to “get by” in most concrete situations, you want to aim for A2 or B1. We can estimate around 200 to 400 hours for this level (bottom of A2 to top of B1) or upper beginner/lower intermediate “working knowledge”. Just like for the A1 level, you can divide this amount by two depending on the format of your lessons: private or group lessons.

3 - Higher level of fluency

A higher level of fluency – top B2 (upper intermediate) into C1 (advanced/operational proficiency) (ILR 2+ to 3+) is said to take 550 to 900 hours, two times less on a one-on-one basis.

We’re giving hourly ranges here because we have been looking at a band of attainment (e.g. somewhere in A2 to top of B1/upper beginner to mid intermediate) and because different educational bodies have given different estimates for the language(s) they are involved with.

  • Why do I want to learn a language? ...

  • What language do I want to learn? ...

  • How quickly do I want to learn the language? ...

  • How much time am I prepared to commit? ...

  • What learning method is best for me?

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