The best apps to learn French (and the ones to avoid)

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What’s the best French learning app out there? The answer to that question is more complicated than you might think.

With so many offerings on the market, you might feel overwhelmed. But actually, this variety of French learning apps is a good thing, since it means there’s more of a chance of finding the right fit.

To help you make your decision, I’ve reviewed some of the most popular choices, as well as a few lesser-known French learning apps.

What is the best app to learn French in 2024?

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the best French learning app is. No, I’m not even going to say French Together! 🙂  This is because everyone learns differently and has different goals and needs. The real question is, what is the best French learning app for you?

Here are some areas where the different apps on our list excel:

Best app for French listening practiceFluentU/ French Together
Best app for mastering everyday French conversationsFrench Together
Best app for relatively short but varied lessons and practiceBabbel
Learning app that covers the most aspects of FrenchRocket French (Busuu is a close second, but lacks lessons on French culture)
Best app for pronunciation practicePimsleur/ French Together

If you’re curious about these apps, as well as some others, read to see some of the good and bad points of each one, as well as a brief description.

And if you want to go more in-depth, you’ll also find links to longer reviews of most of the apps here.

French Together

French Together personalized landing page

French Together is a conversational French app, which means that its goal is to help you speak everyday French as quickly as possible.

French Together prepares you for real-life conversations in French by teaching you the most common vocabulary and helping you practice listening and speaking skills.

What’s good about French Together

  • The app includes an AI pronunciation checker that will accurately score your pronunciation and offer feedback to improve it.
  • Dialogues can be listened to at the speed real French people would speak, as well as in a slowed down version.
  • The app features native French speakers of different origins, so you aren’t just listening to one or two people speaking standard French.
  • I like that you can see lines of dialogue in their written form, too – a helpful feature for us visual learners and/or hearing impaired people, not to mention just about anyone, since French spelling and pronunciation are so different.
  • As you work, the app also has helpful windows of information about grammar and vocabulary that you can choose to read and learn about or ignore if you prefer. (I’m a grammar junkie, so I read them all.)

What might not be good about French Together

  • French Together’s focus on dialogues and essential vocabulary in everyday spoken French makes it incredibly helpful for many learners – maybe even most. But this means it’s light on grammar and non-essential vocabulary. (That said, I’m just going to pop in and toot my own horn for a second –  subscribing to the French Together blog can help fill in those gaps, with our articles on all sorts of grammar-, vocabulary-, and culture -related topics.)  
  • Like many French learning apps, there’s not much here to do with reading or writing in French.

Let's Visit Paris! lesson page, showing the different ways to learn based on the dialogue, including reading, listening, pronunciation, translation, and practicing a real-life conversation.

How much does French Together cost?

French Together costs $144 a year or $24/month if you choose the monthly plan.

Check your local version of French Together’s pricing page for prices in your currency.

French Together offers a 7-day free trial which means you can try it risk-free for one week.

Langua

Langua Pro landing page, showing features of the app including Communicate with AI and Watch a video

Langua is a web app that allows learners to build vocabulary and watch podcasts and videos with features like a transcript and one-click translation tool. There’s also an AI-generated Stories feature. But Langua is probably best known for its AI chatbot that lets you practice French conversation.

For an in-depth review of Langua, feel free to check out my review of French chatbots. Otherwise, read on for my major takeaways from the app.

What’s good about Langua

  • Langua has a simple interface, which I always like since it’s easy to use, you don’t get distracted or lost, and also it means to me that the developers are more concerned with content than looks.
  • The chatbot feature lets you either choose what to chat about or do a role-play.
  • You can choose a male or female voice for the chatbot. Listening to both can help train your ear.
  • For a role-play with the chatbot, I chose the plumber scenario and was very impressed. While the plumber spoke a bit more slowly than the average French person, the vocabulary used and questions asked were exactly like what you’d hear in real life.
  • The podcasts, videos and articles features are a great way to learn French by reading and listening and provide a nearly unlimited supply of comprehensible input.

What’s not good about Langua

  • French chatbots can be a fun way to practice French, but they can’t teach you French.
  • While Langua can provide good ways to practice French, it won’t teach you the basics of grammar and vocabulary. This makes it more suited for intermediate and advanced students than beginners.
  • The app’s Stories use vocab words you’ve saved to create a story generated by AI, a neat concept. But there are lots of small errors in the stories, so it’s not as reliable as studying a pre-written text or dialogue you’d find in many other French learning apps.
  • Even when settings are toggled to beginner level, chat options and possibilities are the same. There are no adapted or easier chat topics, etc. Of course, you can make the chat as simple or as complex as you’d like, but still, there is no basic chat where you can start by practicing things like saying hello, etc.
  • The chatbot sometimes had trouble recognizing my computer or phone’s microphone.

Langua Talk chat options, including the choice of male or female chatbot voice

How much does Langua cost?

Langua has both a free and a paid version.

The free version only allows you to exchange 15 messages although I have been told there will soon be a free trial option allowing for more messages to be sent.

As of this writing, the paid version of Langua costs 11.99 euros a month if you purchase an annual plan (so, one payment of 143.88 ) or 19.99 euros a month if you pay monthly. Check your local version of Langua Pro for prices in your currency.

Pimsleur 

Pimsleur landing page

Based on a language learning method developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur in the 1960’s, and available in one form or another (cassettes, CD’s, downloads, etc.) since the 1980’s, Pimsleur is a language learning app you can use on your computer or mobile device(s).

For Dr. Pimsleur, languages are best learned through listening and repetition, as opposed, say, to writing or grammar exercises or reading.

But while many other apps (including French Together) might make listening exercises a priority but have other resources, the Pimsleur Method relies heavily — or in some cases, entirely —  on audio learning and the repetition of words, sounds, and syllables, with little or no print or visual resources. Learners listen to dialogues and then follow a series of lessons that build on vocabulary from these dialogues.

For more information, check out our in-depth review of the Pimsleur French app. Otherwise, read on for my major takeaways from the app.

An important note about the Pimsleur app

Before we continue, it’s very important to be aware that there are two different versions of the Pimsleur French app.

The basic Pimsleur app consists of 30 lessons of about 30 minutes for each level you purchase. These are audio-only and you can’t slow down the audio speed, although you can replay/rewind lessons. There are no additional review or exercise materials offered. As in both versions of the Pimsleur app, there are no transcripts, either.

The Premium Pimsleur app option consists of those 30 lessons of 30 or so minutes for each level you purchase. It also includes exercises and review materials for each lesson. Most of these are actually what you’d expect from a standard app, even a free one: flash cards, speaking exercises, fill-in-the blank sentences and the like. There are also audio lessons for selected grammar and culture concepts.

What’s good about the Pimsleur French app

  • Pimsleur has been effective for lots of people over the years.
  • The use of repetition and listening-only lessons are helpful for pronunciation and listening skills.
  • Good for audio learners.
  • A good resource for French learners focused on pronunciation.

What’s not good about the Pimsleur French app

  • Probably not for people who are visual learners and/or who prefer a structured approach to language learning. I know this is the case for me. Of all the French learning apps I’ve reviewed, I’ve really disliked Pimsleur and cannot imagine using it to learn French. Of course, everyone is different….
  • No lesson transcripts or any sort of written French (at least in the basic version of Pimsleur). The Pimsleur Premium app includes a few visual exercises and elements like flashcards, but these are extras and there are still no transcripts. Prioritizing audio learning may make it easier for learners to correctly pronounce French sounds and words and improve their listening skills. But on the other hand, since French spelling and French pronunciation are often so different, many users may not end up knowing how to spell the vocabulary they learn.
  • No structured grammar lessons or explanations.
  • While the Pimsleur Method has been an effective way for lots of people to learn and remember basic French vocabulary, it doesn’t teach more than that. If you want to talk about a wide range of topics, improvise a conversation, or discuss a niche subject, Pimsleur won’t teach you to do that.
  • •The French you’ll learn tends to be more formal than everyday conversational French (this is particularly noticeable when you compare it to a conversational app like French Together).

Pimsleur lesson image, which, true to form, is just a photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunset and a play button with the minutes of the audio lesson. A sidebar shows the reading option, which is simply a guide to Dr. Pimsleur's approach to reading, not lesson or learning material.

How much does Pimsleur cost?

As of this writing, there are several packages and payment plans for the Pimsleur French app. The app is usually sold by level, although you can pay for access to multiple, or even all, levels at the same time. Each Pimsleur French level currently costs $150.

To pay for full access to all of the levels of the Pimsleur French course, you can also choose the Pimsleur French Levels 1-5 Premium package, which is currently priced at $575.00 (For students outside the US, check your local Pimsleur page for prices in your currency).

Note that all of these levels are part of the Pimsleur Premium app, not the basic Pimsleur app. The Premium app includes review activities, grammar lessons, and other resources, whereas the basic Pimsleur app only includes audio lessons.

Babbel

Babbel landing page

Babbel’s language learning app offers French lessons for beginners to upper intermediate level. Each course is made up of nine lessons that each take roughly 10 minutes or so to complete. The lessons include a wide variety of exercises.

Babbel covers most basic parts of French learning: listening, reading, speaking, writing, and features grammar and even culture-related explanations.

You can find more information in our in-depth Babbel French review. Or read on for my major takeaways about the app.

What’s good about Babbel

  • Each lesson focuses on specific vocabulary, which could get repetitive, but the review exercises are varied enough to keep things from getting boring.
  • Exercises range from interactive dialogues to word scrambles, touching bases for different kinds of learners (audio, visual, etc.) and skills.
  • Babbel also uses what you learn in practical scenarios – for instance, master a few prepositions and you’ll see them applied to a dialogue about asking directions in French.
  • Sometimes, bonus information and details pop up in little windows. These can range from helpful grammar tips to information about works of art being discussed in the dialogue you’re working on.
  • Babbel covers a lot of ground and lets you practice writing, listening, and even speaking French, making it a well-rounded choice that will satisfy most learners.

What’s not good about Babbel

  • There’s no option to slow down dialogues, a helpful feature that many other language learning apps, including French Together, offer.
  • No dialogue transcripts. These can be helpful for studying and are just about essential for hearing impaired people like myself.
  • The live French classes and lessons offered on the app cost extra.

Babbel "How would you like to review?" page showing choice of flashcards, listening, speaking, games, or writing.

How much does Babbel cost?

As of this writing, Babbel costs 53.94 euros for a 6 month subscription, 71.88 euros for twelve months, and 299.99 euros for a lifetime subscription.

Check your local Babbel page for prices in your currency.

FluentU

FluentU landing page

FluentU is a language learning platform with a cool concept: learning through videos. Namely, actual French videos you’d find on YouTube.

You can watch and listen to the videos at regular or slowed-down speed, and also benefit from cool features like highlighting words in subtitles to get a translation. Words and phrases you highlight can be saved and used in lessons.

You can find more information in our in-depth FluentU review. Or read on for my major takeaways about the app.

What’s good about FluentU

  • FluentU’s subtitles are far more accurate than the AI-generated captions you’ll find on most YouTube videos.
  • There’s a huge variety of videos, covering a wide range of topics and genres, for learning levels beginner through advanced.
  • Many of the videos featured on FluentU are ones that actual French people would watch.
  • It’s very helpful that you can save words and phrases to study and review later with a number of different exercises.
  • The learning portion is especially helpful, since words are connected with often memorable images to put them into context.

What’s not good about Fluent U

  • There isn’t much grammar featured on FluentU, and when you do run into a grammatical concept, lessons and explanations are extremely concise and often leave out important details.
  • There’s no way to practice speaking.
  • The app also doesn’t particularly cover reading or writing in French.

FluentU app page showing images and categories for nearly 2000 available videos. The first has a cat in a tie, which means I will go watch it when I'm finished writing this article.

How much does FluentU cost?

As of this writing, FluentU costs $29.99 a month, or $143.99 a year. You can find the prices in your local currency on FluentU’s Pricing page.

Busuu

Busuu landing page

Busuu is a popular, award-winning learning French learning app that features lessons for beginners to upper intermediate French learners.

Busuu features a personalized learning plan comprised of lessons that include practice with listening (both audio and video are used), vocabulary, and grammar. The app is also known for allowing users to record responses to certain exercises and ask other users who are native or fluent speakers their opinion.

You can find more information in our in-depth Busuu review. Or read on for my major takeaways about the app.

What’s good about Busuu

  • Compared to a lot of other language learning apps, Busuu sort of feels like a one-stop shop. You’ve got listening practice with both audio and video. You have five-minute lessons on a variety of grammar topics, as well as a variety of review activities.
  • Lessons follow one another in an orderly fashion. When you open Busuu, you see its lessons neatly organized into Chapters (groups of lessons). You start at beginner level and build on what you learn. 
  •  Excellent grammar material. Busuu’s Grammar section lets you learn or review tons of French grammar concepts. Each topic is clearly and concisely explained, and you can skip to any one you want, which is extremely helpful for users who already have a good grasp on French and are using the app to review or get more practice.
  • Many of the example words and phrases in these lessons feature videos of native French speakers saying them. This adds a human touch (not to mention good listening practice) to vocabulary learning.
  • Users can ask Busuu community members who are native or fluent speakers of French what they think of their pronunciation.
  • The app uses everyday spoken French well. Like French Together, Busuu focuses on everyday spoken French. The audio and videos on the app generally featured good examples of it.
  • There are even a few sections that teach you fun expressions from other French-speaking countries and cultures, which was a neat extra.

What’s not good about Busuu

  • While Busuu is great for helping with listening and grammar, for instance, you won’t get much conversation practice.
  • Busuu does let you practice speaking with its Conversation feature, which lets allows users  interact with each other. But it depends on who’s willing to talk to you and for how long. And keep in mind that a fluent speaker isn’t the same as a native speaker; the former may not speak like an actual French person would.
  • Lessons often feel too short.  Busuu’s lessons, which usually take 5-10 minutes each, sort of feel like they run through new concepts and don’t reinforce them enough, at least not to my liking.
  • •Fairly limited practice/review material. The ways to apply and practice are relatively limited, too, with fewer opportunities to speak than I would have expected and a relatively limited variety of exercises.
  • AI means limited knowledge and options for answers. Like many apps, Busuu’s lessons rely on AI, not live teachers. This means, among other things, that the possible answers you might give are limited to what it’s been programmed to recognize, even if the answer you gave was correct.
  • Speaking features sometimes had trouble recognizing my microphone.

Video clip showing a Franco-African woman standing near a Gothic cathedral. Below is a fill-in exercise that asks the user to complete the sentence by choosing between two spelling options.

How much does Busuu cost?

As of this writing, Busuu has a free option, but this only includes a few lessons and flashcards.

So, it’s definitely better to purchase a Busuu Premium membership. As of now, there are a few different Busuu Premium options, including one for 59.99 euros per year and one for 4.99 euros a month. Check your local Busuu website for prices in your currency.

Rosetta Stone 

Rosetta Stone logo

Rosetta Stone rose to fame as a language learning system. Now, there’s also a Rosetta Stone app available.

The Rosetta Stone app focuses first on teaching the fundamentals of a language. Then, learners can choose to continue with personalized 25-minute tutoring sessions.

What’s good about the Rosetta Stone app

  • Appealing for visual learners, with its use of words matched with images in an immersive experience to help you memorize vocabulary. Other aspects of Rosetta Stone’s method also lean more towards the visual, as well.
  • Features structured, thematic lessons, rather than more random, fun-oriented random prompts and exercises, making it appealing to learners who appreciate structure and a no-nonsense approach.
  • The lessons and teaching sessions let you watch helpful videos or participate in online classes.

What’s not good about the Rosetta Stone app

  • Not particularly focused on audio learning, although there are a few basic audio and speaking features, including a pronunciation checker and audio you can listen to at slow speed.
  • Lack of realistic audio. Rosetta Stone’s dialogues are performed by native speakers, but they speak much more slowly and more formally than real everyday French speakers would.
  • The Rosetta Stone app doesn’t feature a lot of intensive grammar information.

How much does Rosetta Stone cost?

As of this writing, Rosetta Stone offers a number of subscriptions, including lifetime access to the course plus tutoring options for $520. A yearly plan breaks down to about $11.99 per month.

For all of these plans, one-on-one tutoring costs extra.

You can check Rosetta Stone’s pricing page for prices in your local currency.

Rocket French

Rocket French personalized landing page

Rocket French is an app that takes a fun but fairly thorough approach to language learning, with two sections of lessons.

First, there’s audio, where you’ll study dialogues and build vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking skills based on those.

Then there’s a language and culture section featuring information about not only French culture but additional grammar information.

Although their structures are a bit different, this approach is similar to some other apps, such as our very own French Together.

You can find more information in our in-depth review of Rocket French. Or read on for my major takeaways about the app.

What’s good about Rocket French

  • Rocket French includes a specific section for additional grammar information – and culture! The latter is such an important part of language that’s often neglected by language learning apps, or only mentioned in passing.
  • Audio lessons feature fun, everyday dialogues and exercises that build on these. For instance, you can listen to a dialogue and then take part in it, with AI analyzing your pronunciation.
  • There’s also a forum where you can post questions that will be answered by community members and teachers.

What’s not good about Rocket French

  • Native speakers like French Together’s Benjamin Houy have found that in audio lessons for lower level students, one of the dialogue participants has a slight, non-native accent. This may be a way to reassure beginners, but it isn’t ideal for listening practice.
  • It’s not as visually appealing as many other French learning apps, so if ~aesthetic~ is important to you, that might be an issue.
  • Rocket French’s lessons are on the longer side, taking about 20-30 minutes to complete, which could be difficult if you don’t have a lot of time to practice each day.

Lost luggage scenario, which shows various activities in the lesson, including listening, role playing, and reviewing vocabulary with flashcards, speaking, listening, writing, or a quiz.

How much does Rocket French cost?

As of this writing, you can buy all three levels of the Rocket French course (beginner to advanced), for $259.90. The usual list price for this is $449.85. There are other plans, including purchasing just Levels 1 and 2 or just Level 1.  

There’s also a less expensive app version, which has slightly fewer features.

Check the pricing page for prices in your local currency.

Duolingo

Duolingo landing page, which includes an illustration of many of its characters jumping out of a phone

Duolingo is a learning app that offers courses in more than 40 languages, as well as kid-oriented courses in reading (in English) and math.

You can use it as a web app on your computer or you can download it onto your mobile device.

Duolingo French offers practice in areas like vocabulary, listening, reading, writing, and speaking. To a certain extent, there’s grammar learning, as well, although I found the explanations included in the “guidebook” before each lesson to often be too cursory and not serious enough.

The interface and lessons are fun and have a cartoonish, whimsical aesthetic.

For more information, check out our in-depth review of Duolingo. Or read on for my major takeaways about the app.

What’s good about Duolingo

  • Duolingo makes learning feel fun and personal, with a cast of recurring characters that crop up in examples or just to encourage you as you learn. They even send you emails or messages to keep you motivated. Cynical, sort-of Goth teenager Lily quickly stole my heart, personally. 
  • On a more practical level, the characters’ diverse backgrounds and personalities mean that each has a  different voice and inflection, which is helpful for listening practice.
  • It’s addictive. I frequently come across students who have used the app every day for years and are very proud of their “streak”. This makes Duolingo a great choice if you struggle with motivation.
  • Lessons move along at a good pace and are varied, especially as you get into higher levels.
  • The app tries to touch various bases of language learning, incorporating reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

What’s not good about Duolingo

  • While many of us (including me) like Duolingo’s vibe, others, including French Together’s Benjamin Houy, thinks its fun and whimsical approach can be a disadvantage. For Benjamin, a lot of the vocabulary you learn is of dubious usefulness. Sure, learning how to say things like “I’m a cat” or “This is my first cow” is fun but when will you ever say things like this in real life? Doubtful.
  • Little or no structured grammar lessons or information. Users mostly learn from the examples and exercises on the app. For instance, I wonder if longtime users only know how to conjugate for the subjects and verbs they’ve become familiar with through the app’s example sentences.
  • Duolingo’s AI doesn’t recognize alternate ways to express ideas, statements, etc. So you have to stick with what’s in the lesson.
  • Ads seem to get more present the more you use the app. On the first day, I think I only had an ad or two for Duolingo’s paid version, but by the fourth day, I was getting video ads at times. These weren’t terribly invasive – they didn’t pop up in the middle of an exercise, for instance – but it still felt strange and distracting.
  • No French culture lessons, and culture is even downright disregarded in some cases. For instance, some example sentences should use polite language (very important in French and French culture) but instead are more likely literal translations.

Lesson complete page showing score and other info. Duolingo mascot Duo the Owl and Goth teenager Lily stand back to back striking triumphant poses, although Lily continues to look a bit cynical.

How much does Duolingo cost?

Duolingo is completely free.

There’s a paid version of Duolingo, called Super Duolingo, that offers more content and a few appealing extras, but even the basic version includes a lot of features (although it also includes ads).

Which French learning app should I choose?

Based on your priorities and preferences, this list can hopefully help you find the right French learning app for you. Keep in mind that you can also use more than one, especially for apps that are free, have a free version, or are on the affordable side.

And if you’re still not sure which app is the one for you, many of them offer free trials. For instance, French Together offers a free 7-day trial and a 30-day money back guarantee.


I hope this rundown of the best apps to learn French was helpful to you. Whichever one(s) you choose, good luck and enjoy your French learning journey!

Must reads

  1. What are the best French learning apps in 2024?
  2. The 16 best websites and apps for French conversation practice
  3. Duolingo French review: The good, the bad and the ugly

Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has lived in Paris, France, for more than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, most notably as an assistante de langue vivante for L'Education Nationale. She recently published her first novel, Hearts at Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that takes place during the 1870 Siege of Paris. You can read about her adventures here, or feel free to stop by her website.