Once you've memorised your vocab lists and can recite verb tables in your sleep, what then? It's time to put your French skills to work by actually speaking. Here are some ideas and resources to help you find French speakers, wherever you might live.
Living in a French-speaking country
The best way to practise speaking is of course with native speakers. If you live in France, this is as easy as walking out your front door. While you can certainly exchange a few words with your boulanger, épicier and banquier, for actual conversations you'll need to make more effort.
One good place to start is at the tourist office: find out if there's a list of local associations, which is just the French umbrella term for assorted clubs and teams, or you can search by category or location at AssoFrance.net. Depending on the size of your town, there might be hundreds of associations: chess clubs, hiking groups, choral societies... there's bound to be something that you're interested in, and joining an association is a great way to meet like-minded native French speakers.
While you're at the tourist office, you can also ask whether there are any cultural organisations or centres de loisir, which usually offer various classes at very reasonable prices.
Official organisationsThree official organisations in particular are worth looking into:
- Accueil des villes françaises (AVF) - non-profit that offers low-cost classes and varied assistance to members
- Alliance française - organisation devoted to teaching French and offering various cultural events, in France and all over the world
- Institut français - works to promote the French language and culture outside of France (so a good option if you're in, say, Switzerland or Canada)
Living outside of a French-speaking country
Even if you don't live in a French-speaking country, there's nothing stopping you becoming a more confident French-speaker.
For example, you can take online lessons with a native French tutor through our partner platform, LanguaTalk.
Whilst 1-on-1 lessons aren't the cheapest way to learn to speak French, they're almost certainly the most effective. Online tutors are usually better value than local tutors as they don't have to consider travel time, and they often live in countries with a lower cost of living. On LanguaTalk, you can filter by price, with tutors costing anything from $8 to $30 per hour.
Click here to see tutors' videos and reviews, as well as book a 30-minute trial session.
Another option is finding language exchanges through Meetup. This can be an option if you live in a city with people from different countries. All it requires is that you spend half the time speaking your native language to help the folk you're chatting with. Not as effective as getting a tutor, but still worth considering.
Lastly, if you don’t live in a French-speaking country, I highly recommend visiting one as often as possible, even if just for a few days. Getting to use your French in real-life situations will inspire you to continue learning and improving like nothing else can.
On your own