What are the best online French courses to become fluent in 2024?

Unlike French learning apps, which tend to focus on one aspect of French or to feature brief lessons and interactive activities, online French courses provide a comprehensive approach with in-depth coverage of vocabulary, grammar, and culture. This makes them much more similar to traditional French classes. Some even issue a certificate upon completion!

This can make them overwhelming at times (especially compared to apps focused on conversational French like French Together) but also makes them an excellent choice if you enjoy variety and prefer to learn in a more traditional way.

But which online French course is best for you? I’ve had a look at some of the most popular choices, considering factors such as cost, length, technical requirements, and the variety of learning materials provided.

Here’s what you need to know!

What is an online French course?

Online French courses’ progressive lessons usually take learners from beginner level all the way to advanced intermediate level or higher. A number of online French courses can be accessed directly online, while others have to be downloaded or purchased. Online French courses are available for different budgets, and some are even completely free.

Some online French courses are available as a series or collection of YouTube videos. Since we covered these in our list of the best YouTube channels for learning French, we won’t include them here. This article will focus on online French courses that mainly feature written content, although some have video and audio elements as well.

Some learners consider collections of articles and other resources that can help you learn or review certain aspects of French to be online French courses, too. These don’t usually feature information in an organized, progressive way a typical course would, but they can be helpful for students who want to review or study a topic more in-depth, so we’ve added a few of our favorites to this list, as well.

6 popular French language courses and courses platforms

Here are some of the most popular online French courses and programs currently on the market. Many of these also feature websites with free learning resources, which we’ll cover a little later on.

Learn French with Alexa 

No, this isn’t a course hosted by Amazon Alexa, but rather Alexa Polidoro, a charismatic native French speaker and French teacher. You may know her from YouTube.

While Alexa’s YouTube lessons and other resources available on her site, including lessons, quizzes, and audio files, are free, she also provides paying courses and programs. These include access to live video lesson broadcasts by Alexa herself, offering a comprehensive learning experience.

There are several different courses available, but the most popular and thorough is the Complete French course, which starts from the A1 CEFR level (beginner) to C2 (proficiency). This is an unusual claim for an online French course or French learning app, as most of them usually only promise to take learners to level B2 (upper intermediate). Reviews of Alexa’s courses are generally positive, so it may indeed be a true claim.

Cost: As of this writing, Learn French with Alexa’s Complete French Course costs $45 a month, reduced to $35 a month if you buy a three-month bundle, or $300 for a one-year subscription.  Check the Learn French with Alexa website for prices in your local currency.

BBC Bitesize Learn and Review French

You might be surprised to learn that the BBC, an iconic British institution, offers a pretty good, mostly free, online French course, BBC Bitesize Learn and Review French. The course is made up of a series of lessons for each class level in the British school system. Each lesson features thematic units with information sheets, vocabulary lists (with audio), sample videos, and more.   These lessons may be geared towards kids and teens in school, but they’re still a great, free way to learn or brush up on your French, and the way they’re so clearly organized makes them very easy to use and access.

In case you’re wondering, the BBC uses native French speakers for its audio, although some of the featured videos in the Bitesize section show British schoolchildren practicing their French.

The one downside is that since BBC Bitesize French is supposed to be used by students who are studying French in school at the same time, you won’t get all the grammar details you might expect from an online French course. For instance, you’ll find lots of phrases with verbs, and you may even see some of these in conjugation tables, but you won’t necessarily get a full lesson on how to conjugate each type and tense of verb. So, with that in mind, this online French course is best for learners who already know some French and want to review, or who are studying French and want some additional practice.

Cost: Free

French Uncovered

Created by polyglot Olly Richards, French Uncovered is an unusual approach that takes thematic, progressive French lessons and incorporates them into an ongoing story. This method is supposed to keep learners motivated and engaged, and it also puts vocabulary and grammar in context. This approach to language learning is an interesting one that’s wracked up praise among users.

The most highlighted version of French Uncovered is its beginner or first level course, but courses are available from beginner to upper intermediate level. These courses can be completely downloaded, making them easy to access even if you don’t have internet. Another advantage is that you can listen to audio in either standard French or Canadian French, which isn’t a common feature for online French courses, or for French learning apps, for that matter. And speaking of audio, while Richards isn’t a native French speaker, the audio is provided by native speakers.

One criticism of French Uncovered is that it’s pretty expensive. On the other hand, French Uncovered courses give you over 100 hours of lessons, and are available forever, rather than on a subscription basis, so it may be worth the investment.

Cost:  You can buy each French Uncovered course level individually or as part of a bundle. The beginner level French Uncovered course currently costs $297. Bundles start from $997.

Lawless French

Laura K Lawless, a French educator and teacher who’s authored books like the French for Dummies workbook, offers several French learning options, including a French workbook, lessons, private chats, coloring pages, and more. Interestingly, unlike other online French courses and apps, Lawless French offers certain paid programs for a donation, rather than a fixed price.

If you like Lawless’s manner and method, you’ll find a lot to like here. On the other hand, because there’s so much going on, Lawless French’s offerings and website can feel so big and sprawling that it can be tricky to find everything. For instance, quizzes aren’t on the Lawless French site itself, but can be accessed through Facebook. Longer quizzes are a paid option that can be accessed through Progress with Lawless French, a paid sister site co-run with Kwiziq.

Cost: Lawless French memberships, which include things like chats and tutoring sessions depending on the price, range from $5 to $50 a month. You can make a donation of at least $5 to access a number of extras. Lawless French’s FAQ page shares some other ways to access the site’s paid features, as well.

À Moi Paris

Created by French couple Camille Chevalier-Karfis and Olivier Karfis of the French learning site French Today, À Moi Paris is an online French course in the form of audiobooks (with some written aspects, including transcripts and review exercises).

Following the same story and characters can be a helpful way to learn vocabulary and grammar in context and to keep learners interested, and those who’ve used this course seem to agree. Most reviews I’ve found praise the audiobooks for their narration by native French speakers and their useful lessons, although many learners wish there were more interactive exercises and quizzes.

Cost: À Moi Paris audiobooks are available for beginner to advanced levels. Each level currently costs $79.99 or you can purchase them all as a bundle.

Coursera

Coursera is not a French course per se but rather a course platform featuring university courses on lots of topics, including language learning.

Some of the courses the platform offers include:

  • Small talk & conversational vocabulary by the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Étudier en France (studying in France) by l’École Polytechnique
  • Comprendre la France by l’École Polytechnique

Cost: Most of the courses are free and you will receive a certificate upon completion which can be particularly useful if you are learning French for work.

Two online French courses entirely in French

Some online French courses are entirely in French, including instructions, explanations, and other information.

For most people, it’s best to learn a language while using your native language (or a language you’re fluent in) as a framework. This is because some grammar and vocabulary concepts can be very abstract and may be difficult to understand in a language you’re not fluent in.  That’s why I’d suggest that beginner level students don’t use these. Even if you’re an advanced-level French student, you may find that you just don’t like the lack of English instructions and explanations, and that’s totally okay. The most important thing about learning a language is finding the best way to reach fluency.

But if you feel certain of your French abilities or would like to give learning French a try, here are two good online French courses taught entirely in French.

Frantastique

As online French courses go, Frantastique is a bit unusual. For one thing, its lessons are sent to you via email (although an app version has recently become available). You listen to its funny story (and can also read a transcript), complete exercises and send them back – and then receive corrections and other information as a reply. True to its unusual format, Frantastique features odd stories and characters, including Victor Hugo brought back to life, to  make French learning fun and memorable.

Depending on which plan they’ve purchased, members get an email 3, 5, or 7 days a week, so the pacing is no joke. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to learn a language, Frantastique may be worth looking into for this reason alone.

As this category of our list indicates, Frantastique is entirely in French…although you can “cheat” by clicking or hovering over phrases for an English translation. Still, the point of Frantastique is that it’s supposed to be used entirely in French, so if you’re an absolute beginner, or depending on your learning style, it may be better to start with an online French course that has instructions and explanations in English.

Another issue some learners have with Frantastique is that it makes you learn on a schedule. If you want to do more than just the three-or-five-or-seven-times-a-week lesson, there are few or no additional exercises or learning materials. It can also be tough to keep up with the pace.

Cost:  Frantastique currently offers three different plans. As of this writing, the Basic plan costs $14 a month and includes three weekly lessons. The Premium plan costs $32 a month and includes 5 weekly lessons plus additional features like access to Amigo, Frantastique’s new AI chatbot. The Gold package costs $42 a month and includes 7 weekly lessons, access to Amigo, and other features.

Apprendre le français avec TV5 Monde

French TV channel TV5 Monde’s online French course is for beginner through advanced level students (You can choose your level at the top of the homepage, or take a placement test). Apprendre le français avec TV5 Monde is packed with exercises and uses actual sample videos from the channel’s own library. It’s a great way to learn and practice French, and the fact that it features actual French speakers using contemporary French as real Francophones speak it is an amazing bonus.

Best of all, this online French course is completely free! So even if you’re not sure you want to use a French course entirely in French, it might be worth trying out, especially if you’re a more advanced-level student who wants to improve your listening skills and ability to understand spoken French.

Cost: Free

Online French learning resources

Whether you’re reviewing or perfecting a specific aspect of French or you want to learn more about things like French culture, the following sites offer articles, blog posts, and other resources that can help you take your French learning even farther.

BBC French learning resources

In addition to its Bitesize French Learn and Review course, the BBC has another French resource, BBC Languages: French. Unfortunately, this site’s landing page doesn’t seem like it’s being updated anymore, but it’s still worth a visit, since it’s packed with links to things like video resources, phrases and vocabulary, as well as French videos and additional French learning resources.

Cost: Free

The French Together blog

French Together has both an app that focuses on conversational French and a free blog – a blog where you’re reading this very article, as a matter of fact!

The French Together blog features free, in-depth articles on topics like French grammar, vocabulary, and culture, as well as insights about learning French. You’ll get all the details about everything from the subjunctive tense, essential French cat-related vocabulary, untrue French stereotypes, how long it really takes to learn French, and so much more. 

Some of these topics can be intimidating (okay, the subjunctive tense more than cat vocabulary). That’s why we like to keep things fun and use a friendly but informative tone, to remind you that, as our name suggests, you’re not alone and that you really can learn and improve any aspect of your French.

Bonus: French Together articles feature audio from native French speakers to help you with immersion.

Cost: Free

And if you want to improve your French conversation skills, feel free to sign up for a free trial of the French Together app, which focuses on conversational French and features dialogues from real native speakers, as well as speaking practice, pronunciation feedback and insights into grammar, vocabulary, and culture.

Alexa’s blog

I mentioned Alexa’s Complete French course in the “Online French courses” section of this article, but the Learn French with Alexa website also features a blog with articles about French grammar, vocabulary, and culture.

You’ll find some free podcasts as well, although these seem to have stopped in 2022. Still, the ones that are on the site could be worth a listen if you’re a podcast fan.

Cost: Free

ThoughtCo. Learning and Teaching French

ThoughtCo. is a site with articles and information about a range of topics, including French. ThoughtCo.’s French resources include articles on various aspects of French grammar, vocabulary, and prononciation. You can find them all on the site’s Learning and Teaching French page, or you may come across  a page called “French for Beginners: Lessons and Tips”. The articles and information here don’t seem exclusively of interest to beginner level French learners, though; I think it’s more that this page organizes many of ThoughtCo.’s French articles in a way that promotes progressive learning.

That said, ThoughtCo. French isn’t a learning system with organized lessons and modules, so much as a resource for learners. If you’re stumped about a specific issue of French grammar or want to increase your vocabulary in a certain category, it’s a great resource.

One downside is that while ThoughtCo. offers a lot of articles about French pronunciation, unlike French Together’s free French lessons, for instance, you won’t find a lot of audio examples of longer phrases or dialogues.

Overall, though, ThoughtCo.’s a great source of supplementary resources that you can use to check, review, or focus on a specific aspect of French that you’re also learning about on another online French course or app.

Cost: Free

Lawless French

In addition to her paid offerings (lessons, workbook, quizzes, etc.), Laura K Lawless’s French learning website features articles about French grammar, vocabulary and culture. The articles are clear and concise, although sometimes they may be so brief that they could leave some learners wanting a little more.

Cost: Free

French Today

French Today is a free French learning blog primarily written by Camille Chevalier-Karfis and husband Olivier Karfis, who are also the creators of the À Moi Paris audiobook course, which I mentioned in a previous section.

Many of their blog posts include a personal or cultural element in addition to an educational topic. It’s nice to follow Camille and Olivier’s lives or read about their past experiences as French people living in the US, for instance, along with informative articles about various aspects of French.

Cost: Free

Which is the best online French course for me?

Language learning is a very personal thing. We all have our preferred methods and styles, as well as individual constraints like time, attention span, and so on. And so, I can’t definitively tell you which online French course or approach is the best for you. What I can say is that all of the online French courses on this list have a high rate of positive customer reviews, and I’ve used – and in some cases continue to use – many of the online French resources, myself.

Most of the courses on our list are free or offer a free trial, so you can check them out, risk-free, and see which one – or ones – you like best. If you are looking to practice conversational French and improving your communication skills, I recommend giving French Together a try.

Remember, too, that you don’t have to use just one online French course. This is especially true for those that are information resources. You might not find a particular topic you’re looking for on one of these sites, but it very well might be covered on another. So, take a little time and get to know these online French courses, to discover your personal favorites.

Can an online French language course make me fluent?

Like French learning apps, it’s unlikely that online French courses will make you fluent in French. This is because while online French courses can cover a lot of topics and ground, they can’t adequately teach you every aspect of French. Notably, most French online courses don’t have a speaking element (although some offer paid tutoring sessions and other options to help with this).

On the other hand, unlike most French learning apps, online French courses tend to provide solid, clear, and often extensive information about French grammar, vocabulary, and culture.

As you may have guessed, this means that using (a) French learning app(s) and (a) French online course(s) together is a great way to ensure you’ll learn and practice most aspects of French.

I say “most” because there will be a few gaps if you only use these resources. For instance, once you’ve improved your basic French knowledge and conversation skills (maybe with the help of the French Together app), you should consider finding a French conversation partner. And  if you want to hone your French writing skills, you should consider participating in online French forums or finding a French pen pal.

Keep in mind, too, that it’s always a good idea to keep up your French and increase your knowledge by practicing all the key language skills.


I hope this list has helped you find the right French online course(s) and resources for you. Best of luck on your French learning journey!

Must reads

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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.