Our guide to French
Kristina K

Our guide to French

First published date August 23 2013 Amended date August 20 2014

Open up your world when you learn French. Charm your partner with this romantic language, soak up the rich French literature and culture, open up international job opportunities, work with the United Nations or the International Red Cross, or, if you’re a football fan, just relish in sharing the slightest connection with Zinedine Zidane!

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out, an advanced speaker, looking to travel to a French speaking country, studying it academically, or just wishing to hold a decent conversation, a good foundation in French will make sure that you feel confident to participate in everyday situations.    


What will you learn?

On most French courses, you have a choice of starting at a gentle pace, so that it doesn’t get overwhelming. Develop your confidence as you learn all about French grammar, phonetics, vocabulary, phrases, language structure, verbs and tenses. Progress to a more intermediate level through discussions and extracts from French television and newspaper, and speak fluently and competently in various subject areas.


All things French

There are so many intriguing and extremely appealing things about France and all things French, and learning the language will allow you to immerse yourself in centuries and centuries of rich, deep-rooted culture. From fashion to film, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the alluring history of the French…

French fashion

If you’re a fashionista, there’s nothing like French fashion. Paris is, after all, the fashion capital of the world and home to some of the world’s most famous designers like Dior, Channel and Yves Saint Laurent. A little stroll through the Faubourg Saint-Honoré district will reveal ladies and men dressed with an impeccable sense of style. To make sure that you’re getting all the best haute couture tips, refresh your French in time for the Paris Fashion Week.

French film

Our all-time favourite French movie is Marcel Carné’s masterpiece, Les Enfants du Paradis, with its nimble depiction of 19th century Paris theatrical conventions and styles. This three-hour French classic centres around the love story between rival actors Pierre Brasseur and Jean-Louis Barrault, a Shakespearean star and the other a great mime, both in love with the cool, graceful courtesan Arletty. The film is infused with dark betrayal, tragedy and murder in impressive theatrical splendour. This long, poetic, philosophical story and great example of cinematographic brilliance is definitely best enjoyed if you’ve mastered French.

French-speaking countries

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Mauritius or Andorra, then having a good grasp of the French language is essential. French may not be the official language for some of these places, but it’s commonly spoken. Mastering conversational French will come in handy on your holidays – forget about just doing touristy stuff. Think about striking a relationship with the locals so that they share some of their country’s lovely hidden gems and non-tourist infested villages.



It might sound a bit cheesy to say that the world is your oyster, but it certainly is when French is one of your languages. For those who’d love to make a difference to some of the world’s social problems, French language is required to work in international organisations like United Nations, HateWatch, World Health Organisation, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights and World Bank, to name a few. You’ll learn not only practical French for daily situations and discussions, but also master the basics of translating French.   


Get inspired!

In France, you could:

·         celebrate Bastille Day on July 14th, one of France’s most colourful traditions. To commemorate the day a prison in Paris that was pillaged by angry mobs of citizens, fireworks are set off throughout the day and night. Parades and dancing take place in the streets.

·         fix padlocks as a symbol of your everlasting love on one of France’s many bridges.

·         behead bottles of Champagne at weddings, a popular tradition using a specially-made saber.

·         join in the long queues outside the local boulangerie for a fresh baguette, which the French normally eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are even regulations on ingredients and method of production of the baguette traditionelle.

Check out our Pinterest for a taste of France.


Did you know?

French is the mother tongue of 75 million people worldwide and one of the only languages (along with English), that is taught in every country of the world with 100 million students and 2 million teachers.

French has more than a million words and 20,000 new ones are created every year!

For centuries there’s been no official French word for French Kiss, until the word ‘Galocher’, was added to the French dictionary in May 2013.


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