The best French chatbots (and a few to avoid)

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Chatbots use AI to simulate a discussion with an actual person. In recent years, a number of French learning companies and individual tech fans have created chatbots to help users learn or practice French.

I’ve tested a few of the most popular ones to see how much they can help you with your French.

Here’s what I found out!

What to know about French learning chatbots

Before we begin our list, a few quick things to keep in mind:

• Chatbots use AI – that is, computer programs that have been taught French through programming. It’s important to remember that none of them involve actual communication with real French people.

• Many French learning chatbots are available for free, either for a limited time per day or even in some cases for unlimited use. Others are paid services or part of a paid French learning app.

• There are some advantages to using a chatbot – for instance, unlike a French tutor or friend, chatbots never sleep or go on vacation.

• Most chatbots allow you to communicate via text or audio. You can often switch between the two in the same conversation.

• Never forget that chatbots are not actual native French speakers and can (and often will) make mistakes or simply not react to you the way a real person would.

• French learning chatbots are also not usually for absolute beginners. Most of them will require at least basic conversation and comprehension skills.

• If you’re able to understand and communicate with them, chatbots can be a fun way to practice your French and challenge yourself. Some will even offer “role-play” options where you can try out scenarios like booking a hotel room or speaking to a doctor. But since not all of the French they use or understand is accurate, and because they may have bugs, it’s best to think of them as a little learning treat, rather than the main way you’ll learn French.

What’s the best French chatbot to use?

The best French chatbot on our list is Memrise’s MemBot. It responded accurately and realistically no matter what I threw at it, and the corrections it made to written responses were accurate and showed an attention to detail. Also, unlike some other French chatbots on our list, the paid version of MemBot allows you unlimited chat time.

Langua is the second best French chatbot I tried. Its role-plays are especially realistic and impressive. Unfortunately, its free version is limited to 15 messages although I have been told a more generous free trial will soon be available.

•Despite a few positive features, Talk Pal AI’s chatbot made some troubling French errors and should probably be avoided.


Here are more in-depth reviews of the chatbots I’ve mentioned, as well as three others I tried out.

Langua 

Langua Talk homepage

Langua is a web app that offers a number of features for French learners, including a chatbot. There is both a free and paid version, but it’s hard to find clear information about pricing unless you already have an account.

The pros

• You can choose how to learn from a chat, with options to only listen to the bot, listen first then read, or only use text messages.

• You can  record conversations and listen to them later

• 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.

• You can choose  what to chat about, or just do a role-play.

• The chatbot’s voice sounds natural and like a real speaker. It’s programmed to use some natural, informal expressions like C’est génial to react to statements.

• For the role-play, 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 cons

• The free version only allows a maximum of 15 messages to be exchanged. I was especially disappointed by this in one particular conversation, when the chatbot promised to tell me how to make my own dark chocolate just before I got to the message limit! This limit applies to all chats, so you can’t just start a new one.

• 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.

Langua Talk chat where bot's replies can be hidden or shown

How much does Langua cost?

Langua has both a free and a paid version.

The free version only allows you to send 15 messages maximum.

As of this writing, Langua AI offers a choice of 3 plans ranging from 12.90 USD/month to 29.90 USD/month or from 9.90 USD/month (billed annually) to 24.90 USD/month (billed annually.)

Verdict

Langua isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty great bot to use for practice and a great way to practice French conversation at an affordable price.

Gliglish

Gliglish homepage

Gliglish is an online chatbot that you can access for free for 10 minutes (50 messages) a day. Or you can sign up for the paid version of Gliglish, which features up to 20 hours of conversation a month. Unlike some of the other chatbots on our list, Gliglish is a stand-alone, not part of a learning app. It does offer some features within the chat, like translations and corrections of dialogue, grammar feedback, and more. (That said, many other French chatbots offer these, too.)  

The pros

• The bot offers to talk to you in a lot of different languages, including variants from different places, for instance French from France and Canadian French; US English and UK English, etc.

• Users can practice with mainland French or Canadian French

• Gliglish looks great: Easy to use interface with 3-D animation like drawings of people for all scenarios, etc.

• There are two different chatbot modes, “Teacher” or “Role-play”.

• Role-play mode gives you a number of different situations to choose from, including Dans un taxi, Demander de l’aide à un inconnu, Au restaurant, and more.

The cons

• Recording audio responses was slower than I would have thought and soon ended in an error message on my computer and the whole app restarting when I tried it on an iPad. When I tried again with my computer, the app did recognize my mic and did a great job transcribing my responses. But there was still a response delay despite my normal responses, and also and much worse, after a short exchange, an error message came up again.

• The chatbot’s voice sounds a bit artificial compared to some other bots.

• As with some other chatbots, you can either type or talk freely or use one of  three responses at bottom of page…but if you click on one it seems to do nothing. This happened with both chat modes.

• Gliglish does not seem to be set up for text exchanges, which means it can’t be used for French writing practice (although your entire conversation is transcribed, so it could help with reading) and may not be accessible for hearing impaired/Deaf users.

• Even when I tried to stick to one of the suggested responses, the bot still took time to process my answers and then ended up showing an error message after just a few exchanges.

• Interestingly, most of the few reviews I’ve found of Gliglish don’t mention bugs, but I’m not sure all of them are unbiased

• Gliglish also couldn’t recognize my phone’s mic and kept asking permission to use it. Error messages also frequently came up, putting a quick end to every conversation I tried.

• Gliglish’s paid version is expensive, considering it’s just a chatbot, not an entire French learning app, and even in the paid version, access to the chatbot is limited.

Good and bad

• Gliglish is entirely online and free, with no sign-up necessary, which means, among other things, that you can just spontaneously use it. But because of this, you can’t monitor your progress, etc.

• Role-play scenarios and instructions are entirely in French, so this is not for beginners.

• When I made a mistake that was noted in the transcription of my audio, there was no sign of it being incorrect. The bot repeated my response in a correct way, but not necessarily to correct my error. On the other hand, this is generally the way a server in a restaurant would do it – some French people will correct you but most will just repeat what you said (if appropriate, like repeating an order in a café) in the correct way.

How much does Gliglish cost?

Gliglish has a free and a paid version.

The free version of Gliglish lets you chat for 10 minutes (50 message exchanges) a day.

As of this writing, the paid version of Gliglish costs 29 euros a month for a monthly plan, or 23 euros a month (276 euros a year) for an annual plan.

Gliglish phone app error message

The verdict

I’m really disappointed in my experience with Gliglish. This chatbot has so much promise, but it seems to have a lot of trouble recording and processing audio, or maybe just a lot of technical issues in general. Overall, Gliglish feels like an app that was lovingly made and is noble in its attempt to be free, but it has a lot of bugs,  and these keep you from having more than a few lines of conversation at best. Because you can access it without creating an account, you may at least want to give the free version of Gliglish a try. Although I experienced bugs over several days, by the time you’re reading this, maybe they’ve been fixed.

Memrise MemBot

Personalized Memrise homepage, showing progress, upcoming lessons and more

I recently reviewed the entire Memrise French learning app (available as both a web and mobile app, with both a free and paid version). But in this review today, I’m focusing on Memrise’s chatbot, fittingly called MemBot. I tried MemBot when I reviewed the app and was more or less impressed by it. With Memrise’s free version, you get one conversation per day, while you get unlimited access with Memrise’s paid plan.

The pros

MemBot is on point overall. It understood a somewhat informal response I gave (Je trouve ca rigolo) and even corrected it by adding the cedilla to ça. I was very impressed by this. Throughout the chat, MemBot continued to add missing accents to my responses.

• Memrise’s mobile app recognized my phone’s mic.

• The bot seems to understand spoken language well and impressed me by rolling with the punches. For instance, when it asked how my family was, I said my mother had started a new job and it reacted to that in a normal, human-like way. A follow-up remark I made about my mother being stressed had the bot say that change can be stressful. Very convincing.

• There is a brief explanation of the chat scenario at the start, in English, which is helpful for learners at lower levels.

• Unlike some other options on our list, the paid version of Memrise gives you unlimited access to its chatbot.

The cons

• MemBot made a pretty egregious pronunciation error right off the bat, pronouncing the verb porter like “porter” in English.

• The web app couldn’t recognize my computer’s mic.

• In the free version, chats are cut short, as I’m finding is the case with most free versions of chatbots and apps.

• Chats are unlimited with a paid plan, but still very short – you still  only get a few questions and responses.

Good and bad

• The responses you can give to the chatbot aren’t scripted or multiple choice. This could make using MemBot hard for intermediate learners (this certainly isn’t for beginners), but also makes it far more realistic.

• MemBot’s voice is relatively realistic but a bit flat

• Some scenarios are better than others. The one asking for wifi didn’t have a lot of openings for other questions, and had a weird situation where the person in charge asked where I was from, which I don’t think would happen the same way in real life. But that said, when I tried to make the conversation more complex, by asking about local things to do, the bot did talk and respond properly. And after all, a person who is doing this conversation may just really want to practice the basics of asking if there’s wifi, which is totally fine and possible with the bot as well.

How much does Memrise MemBot cost?

Memrise has a free and a paid version.

The free version of Memrise will give you limited access to its features, including MemBot.

The paid version of Memrise, called Memrise Pro costs 11.99 euros per month (check the site on your computer for localized prices), 71.98 euros per year, or 185.99 euros for a lifetime subscription, as of this writing. Memrise Pro gives you unlimited access to MemBot.

Screengrab of a conversation with MemBot on the mobile version of the app.

The verdict

Despite the occasional error, MemBot is the best French chatbot on our list, offering accurate and realistic responses, and attentive corrections to written responses. The paid version of the Memrise app is also one of the best deals for your money when it comes to chatbot practice, since it  allows you unlimited access to MemBot.

Mondly

Screengrab of Mondly chat introducing itself and giving instructions in English.

I recently reviewed the entire Mondly French learning app. While it had its positive sides, I overall found it visually cluttered and confusing. Mondly has several chatbot options, including the separate Mondly AR (Augmented Reality characters chat with you) and Mondly VR (users equipped with VR headsets can seem to have conversations with real French people in a VR setting). But the app also has a chatbot in its basic version, and that’s what I’m trying today.

The pros

• Mondly’s mobile app recognized my mic.

• The chatbot sometimes incorporates emoji into the conversation, which is a cute touch.

• Answer suggestions are provided, which can be helpful for lower level learners.

• Chats can go on for a very long, maybe even unlimited, time.

The cons

• Mondly’s chatbot starts off by hitting hard, telling you what you can say back (two response choices) before even letting you see how the bot has started the conversation. This sort of fits the vibe of Mondly’s cluttered, confusing interface.

• The web app’s microphone function seems impossible to use. The instructions say to tap and hold it, but no matter what I did would not record me. I did finally get it to hold and seem to record me but it turned out to be a false alarm.

• The chat has phrases that often don’t feel natural or correct. For instance, if someone says Bonjour, it’s not very common to say Bonne après-midi in reply. This is either very formal, like something a newscaster would say  or it would possibly be a way to say goodbye. That’s one of several examples I came across of the word choice not necessarily being the most natural. This may have been done on purpose, in order to use a variety of vocabulary and phrases, but if you’re looking for practice when it comes to speaking French naturally, this ain’t it.

• Sometimes, even the pre-written multiple choice responses don’t get recognized, or the AI will recognize them and then shorten them.

• The chatbot didn’t always recognize my responses, even when it came to simple phrases like when I said J’aime la chanson française instead of one of the responses that were suggested.

• There’s no correction of mistakes either during a chat or after

• When you’ve finished a themed chat, the app says you now know how to say  a particular word in French, even if you don’t. For instance, the chat I had was about saying hello, but was about much more than that.

• Now and then optional responses were said in a canned, artificial voice.

Good and bad

• There are suggested responses to each thing the bot says. This could be helpful especially for lower level learners. But it’s not made clear that you don’t have to use these if you don’t want to.

How much does Mondly cost?

Mondly has a number of versions, but the two mentioned here are the free version of Mondly and the basic paid version of Mondly.

Mondly’s free app gives you limited access to its learning resources, which include its chatbot.

Mondly’s paid, Premium version includes what seems like unlimited access to its chatbot – or at least, you’ll be able to use it whenever you want, for a long time. As of this writing, Mondly Premium costs $9.99 USD per month or $47.99 USD per year. You can also purchase a lifetime subscription for $199.99 USD. Sometimes, Mondly has sales and discounts, so check their website from time to time to see what’s on offer. You can also check Mondly’s website for prices in your local currency.

Screengrab of a Mondly chat with dubious choices of French vocabulary, as well as a few not great English translations.

Verdict

Mondly let me have one of the longest chats I’ve had with a chatbot, but it was also one of the least satisfying, since I couldn’t always go off script, none of my mistakes were corrected or mentioned, and in the end I was told I’d completed the lesson successfully despite the fact that the bot must have thought some of my responses were incorrect. There was no incentive to practice and no record of these mistakes. For a pure chatbot, that might not matter but it’s a shame that Mondly, which is an entire learning app, wouldn’t be able to note these down at least or at least make corrections within the chat.

Talk Pal AI

Talk Pal AI homepage

Like some of the other entries on our list, Talk Pal AI is a standalone chatbot, not a French learning app with a chatbot. It’s also the most robotically named entry on our list. But its chatbot has a name, Emma. Talk Pal AI is available as both a web and a mobile app. There are paid and free versions. Talk Pal AI’s free plan allows 10 minutes of conversation a day. Paid plans offer unlimited access to the bot and a few additional features.

The pros

• You can choose the type of chat: serious, funny, or up to the bot’s discretion.

• The paid plan allows unlimited chatbot access.

The bad

• My conversation started with Emma greeting me with , which is more a way to get someone’s attention than a French greeting. Politeness is important in French and this wouldn’t be a polite way to start a conversation, even with a friend. It’s clear this was directly translated from the English informal greeting “Hey”. Instead, it should be something like Salut (Hi).

• The bot’s pronunciation sounds off at times.

Questionable language choices abound. At one point, Emma asked me Quelle est la pire date que vous ayez jamais connue? The Anglicism “date” is being used more and more by young French people, but if it were used this way, it would be pronounced with an exaggerated English pronunciation, which makes me think it was just a direct translation from English here. I also feel like, even if it was done deliberately, it doesn’t accurately represent the conversations most of us would have with most French people. It’s sort of like if you learned slang instead of the standard language first.

• The chat format is a bit disorienting. It doesn’t indicate that your answer has been recorded and there is no transcript of what you’ve said. I actually thought this was yet another web app that didn’t recognize my microphone. Then, after a several seconds’ delay, there was a reaction from the bot, followed by a transcript of what I’d said.

• The conversation couldn’t continue though, which I chalked up to Emma maybe being out of responses to the topic. So I pushed the button for her to ask me another question. She did, but when I tried to answer, this time it seemed that the app had simply stopped recognizing when I spoke. When I tried several other times, there would sometimes be dots as if my answer had been recorded and was being processed, but nothing ever resulted. The answers I gave were short and simple, so it’s not as if they were very long or out of context and would have confused the bot.

Good and bad

• There is an option to get feedback on what you said, but when I clicked on it, it told me that sorti should have been written sortie, since the speaker is a female. I wondered if the AI could recognize my voice and could thus tell I was female, but most of all, I found it frustrating, since the AI itself had transcribed my spoken answer. So essentially, the AI was correcting its own mistake! Although I guess you could say that this is a good thing anyway since it can serve as a review/reminder for users.

• The bot seems MUCH more adapted to written responses. Everything from the corrections to the time to analyze your responses work much better when conversations are text-only.

• The chat seems to go on for an unlimited amount of time (if you can get the mic to work or if you switch to a written conversation), even though for me, at least, the exchange gets a bit repetitive.

How much does Talk Pal AI cost?

Talk Pal AI has both a free and paid version.

The free version of Talk Pal AI gives you access to 10 minutes of conversation a day.

The paid version of Talk Pal AI costs $4.99 a month ($59.88 a year) for an annual plan or $9.99 for a monthly plan.

Screengrab of a Talk Pal AI conversation with questionable vocabulary choices

The verdict

In addition to bugs and some other issues that no chatbot seems entirely immune to, Talk Pal AI has some troubling errors and inaccuracies and should probably be avoided.

Because of this, I, unfortunately, can’t recommend Talk Pal.

Langotalk

Langotalk homepage

Not to be confused with the first entry on our list, Langua, Langotalk is a paid-only chatbot with a few additional learning features, like AI tutors. It’s available as both a web and a mobile app. This is one of the few chatbots on our list that claims to have chats adapted to different learning levels.

The pros

• Langotalk has an easy-to-use platform, with no frills navigation, making it easy to find what you want.

• Each chatbot is associated with a friendly-looking cartoon portrait, a bit like Duolingo.

• The chatbot I chose sounded very realistic. His informal French even included some very typical anglicisms like “Cool” (as opposed to more recent/niche ones like Talk Pal AI’s use of “date” (which I still suspect was just a direct translation from English)).

• This is one of the few apps that could recognize my computer’s mic.

• The chatbot transcribes audio well and without errors. It’s helpful to see the grammatically correct and correctly spelled version of phrases, and if users want more practice with this they could switch to typing.

• A few bugs aside, I found the bot voice very convincing, as well as its ability to talk about a variety of topics, even very off topic from where we started.

• This also may be the longest chat I’ve had. It went on so long that I almost found myself getting bored! So if you want a lot of pretty realistic practice with few bugs, this paid option could be a good choice.

• There are even some role-plays that can help you practice things like job interviews. I was very impressed that the job interview one actually used typical phrases you’d hear in a real French job interview…even if you said you were a magician, like I did.

The bad

• Weirdly, you get interrupted in middle of the chat by an announcement of a one-day streak. Why not have this at the end of the chat? A second encouraging message downright cut off my conversation and seems like it might have interfered with my mic because my recording didn’t show up in the chat and the bot repeated itself.

• The bot sometimes adds emoji to what it’s saying/typing. This is cute but the bot frequently says the emoji out loud, as if it’s part of what it was saying. For instance, if there’s a baguette emoji at the end of the phrase, you’ll hear: “Moi aussi. Baguette.”

• The chat bugged at the end when I said I had to go – repeated a goodbye twice and then asked me a new question.

• The male voices all seem to be the same.

• This is one of the few chatbots on our list that claims to have different levels for learners. But the beginner chat isn’t really for absolute beginners. It starts with standard things like Bonjour and Comment t’appelles-tu but then quickly uses other tenses, etc. and goes off into other subjects or tries show conjugations and give other explanations. It’s cool in a way but kind of overwhelming because it goes from subject to subject, not structured learning. I think it would be hard for a beginner to take all of this in. Even when I tried to say I thought I wasn’t good in French, the bot had a reassuring response, then moved on and started grilling me on the verb être.

• With this in mind, the Beginner chats lack the appeal of most chatbots (including the non-beginner ones on Langotalk), where you feel like you’re having a real conversation. This was truly like having a conversation with a robot!

Good and bad

• You can use your mic, but unlike most other chatbots you have to choose the mic icon all the way in the top right corner, which is a little confusing at first.

• The bot doesn’t openly correct your mistakes when you type but you can click the little pen icon below what you’ve written to get a translation and correction of any mistakes – accent marks included.

• There are many other chats, role plays, and more. The beginner ones do all seem more like lessons or having info thrown at you than role plays or general chats. But it’s cool to see the variety of chats available and the fact that they will be long is also impressive.

How much does Langotalk cost?

Langotalk is available as a web and a mobile app. There is no free version.

As of this writing, Langotalk costs 19.99 euros a month or 139.99 euros for lifetime access. Check the local version of the website for prices in your currency.

A convincing informal French conversation with the Langotalk chatbot

The verdict

Though it sometimes gives “Duolingo wannabe” vibes – which even sometimes trip it up – Langotalk really stands out as one of the best French chatbots out there. Its beginner lessons are a bit too tense and strict to have the appeal of a chatbot (or even, I think, to be able to effectively teach beginner students). But its other chatbot options feature conversations and role-plays that feel very realistic. And chats seem to go on for an unlimited stretch of time.

Other French learning chatbots worth mentioning

Here are two other French chatbots that might be worth trying out.

Duolingo Max

Duolingo Max logo, featuring Duo the owl in black

When I reviewed Duolingo, the free app totally charmed me with its delightful characters and varied French exercises. Now, there’s a paid option, Duolingo Max, that lets you practice French with a chatbot, among other features.

As I was hoping, the chatbot takes on the roles of different Duolingo characters. Characters change depending on the scenarios you choose. This is a role-play -based chatbot, not one that lets you have randomly generated conversations, which is a bit of a letdown, since I would have loved to just talk to cynical teen Lily about life. But the idea is still pretty great.

And now, for some bad news: As of this writing, Duolingo Max and its chatbot is only available in the U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  That list doesn’t include France, where I live, hence the reason I haven’t personally tried it out yet. It also only has an iOS version for now. Duolingo’s official press release says that Duolingo Max will be available in more countries and in an Android version soon, so if you’re not able to get it for geographic or OS reasons, keep checking Duolingo to see if that’s changed.

Language learning YouTuber Spanish Blueprints was able to try Duolingo Max for French and said that the role-plays were challenging and showed him how much more he needed to learn when it came to making conversation in French. He’s apparently been using regular Duolingo for French for two years now, so this might seem a bit concerning, but then, Duolingo isn’t an app focused on French conversation skills the way French Together is.

The reviewer also says that unfortunately, the role-plays fit in with lesson plans and aren’t just freely accessible the way some other Duolingo features (or chatbot role-plays on some of the other apps in this article) are, so that’s something to consider as well.

How much does Duolingo Max cost?

According to Duoplanet,  as of this writing, Duolingo Max has different pricing based on your location. For instance, a monthly plan will cost you $14 in the US and £9.99 a month in the UK.

Jam

Jam landing page

Jam is a different kind of French chatbot because it’s not specifically intended to teach users French or help them practice. Instead, it selects news stories of all sorts and lets users discuss them with its  chatbot. Because it’s entirely in French and uses real French media sources, it’s definitely not for beginners or maybe even intermediate students, but advanced intermediate and proficient students might enjoy the chance to practice this way.

If this sounds like the perfect chatbot for you, the good news is that Jam is free. The bad news is that it may not be easy, or even possible, for you to have access to it. The reason I haven’t tried out the Jam chatbot, myself, is that it’s only available through Facebook Messenger. So those of us who don’t have a Facebook account and don’t want to sign up for one are out of luck for now when it comes to the Jam chatbot.

How much does Jam cost?

Jam is free to use via Facebook Messenger.

Can a chatbot make me fluent in French?

Some chatbots may be really advanced and convincing, but they remain AI, not people. This means even the best of them might have errors in their programming or not be able to really respond the way an actual person would.

Chatbots can be a fun way to practice your French, or even, as Spanish Blueprints realized, to test your abilities to answer questions in French without any kind of prompt or hints (in most cases). But regardless of the extra features they have, chatbots can’t make you fluent in French, and they should be used with caution.

Ideally, a chatbot could be one of the many tools in your French learning arsenal. For instance, you might be using an app or two for general French learning (one of my favorites of these is Rocket French). You might have an additional app that will help you focus on a particular aspect of French that you want to practice or review (for instance, the French Together app will help you improve your French conversation skills). You should also be reading, listening to, and watching things in French.

However you practice French, bonne continuation (keep it up, and good luck) on 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.