watercolor of french street

The 5 Best Apps to Learn French Fast (2024)

Chad Emery Published on July 23, 2021
French app guide

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Apps are convenient tools for learning French, but do you know how to get the best out of them? French is one of the most spoken languages out there, but learning to say words like écureuil (squirrel) or grenouille (frog) might feel like a nightmare. Luckily, French learning apps are filled with cool tricks to help you master French faster than you expect it.

In this guide, I’ll show you the best 5 language apps to learn French in 2024. To help you find the best one for you, we’ll look closely at what each app has to offer, its areas of strength, and its pros and cons. After reading this guide, you’ll be saying en garde! to French.

Best Overall

Rocket Languages logo
Try Rocket French

Best for Beginners

Mondly logo
Try Mondly

Best for Grammar

babbel logo
Try Babbel

Rocket French: Why It’s the Best Overall French App

Rocket French Overview
Rocket Languages uses conversations between native speakers to help you hear and understand French. It’s an easy-to-follow course that guides you through French grammar and vocabulary.
Rocket Languages logo
Best for Overall Learning
Price $149.95
Free trial 7 days
Try Rocket French

Pros

  • Learn both formal and colloquial French to navigate any situation
  • Cultural topics integrated into lessons to help you connect with native speakers
  • Extra activities help you practice all your skills and remember what you learn

Cons

  • English is still used pretty frequently at the advanced levels
  • The activities can sometimes feel repetitive (but they do work!)
  • There could be more grammar explanations

Rocket French is the best overall app to learn French because it offers a comprehensive course to develop all your language skills. With this app, you start by learning the most frequently used French words and phrases, learn about the culture, and test your knowledge. 

Many apps simply copy and paste the same information from one language course to the other, but the Rocket French course was created individually to teach you natural-sounding French. This way, you aren’t simply reviewing translated phrases. From learning French vocabulary to developing your pronunciation skills, here’s how this app can help you reach your goals effectively:

You Learn Authentic French

Rocket French teaches you the everyday language you need to understand and speak French. In each audio lesson, the instructor explains the context of idiomatic phrases or slang so you can use them in real conversations. They also teach you how French words can change depending on which country you visit, which is helpful if you’re planning to visit countries like Canada, Belgium, or Switzerland. This adds a lot of value to the app because it ensures you sound natural and feel confident when you interact in French.

This is a picture of the Rocket French lesson menu.
Rocket French lesson menu in the app

Clear and Simple Grammar Explanations

Rocket French makes learning grammar easy with its clear explanations and examples. In each audio lesson, the speakers introduce you to basic grammar concepts. But you can also find text lessons that explain how to structure sentences and how each grammar element can change the meaning of your sentence. They cover conjugation, verb use, articles, pronouns, and much more. They’re easy to understand and short enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed by the new information. 

Practice Speaking with a High-Quality Speech Recognition Tool

Rocket French’s speech recognition tool is a handy tool to improve your French speaking skills. What’s great about it is that it can tell you the percentage of accuracy of your pronunciation. You can use it to record yourself and immediately get feedback from the app. This way, you can correct the way you pronounce words until you’re happy with your results. If you don’t know anyone who can help you practice speaking French (or if you’re too nervous to speak with other people) this is an easy way to start improving on your own.

This picture shows part of the speaking exercises in Rocket French.
Speaking exercise in a Rocket French lesson

Helpful Review Activities to Master French Vocabulary

Besides its audio lessons and text notes, Rocket French also has review activities that you can complete to practice what you learned. There are different games you can use to test your memory, like flashcards, fill-in-the-blank exercises, “hear it and say it” activities, and more. You can also take short quizzes at the end of each unit to measure your knowledge. While these activities focus on vocabulary, they also help you test your speaking and listening skills so they are very effective.

Motivate your Study Routine

For each lesson and activity you complete, you win points that move you up the Leaderboard. You can also see your progress and how many days you’ve studied French. The app even shows you how many words you’ve learned and how many points you have won so you can compare it with other language learners. This can make learning French very addictive, especially if you’re competing with your friends!

You can read more about the app in this Rocket French review.

Mondly: Why It’s the Best French App for Beginners

Mondly Overview
Mondly is a good app to start learning French grammar and vocabulary. The lessons are interactive, and Mondly uses various types of technology to create a unique, virtual experience.
Mondly logo
Best for Beginners
Price $9.99/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Mondly

Pros

  • Choose the French vocabulary you want to study
  • Quickly increase your vocabulary with short lessons and powerful memorization activities
  • Includes a chatbot to practice speaking French in the app

Cons

  • Not as helpful for intermediate or advanced learners
  • Could use some more grammar explanations
  • Room for improvement when it comes to advanced topics

Mondly is the best app for French beginners because it starts by teaching you the French vocabulary and phrases you need the most. This app offers brief lessons you can complete in just a few minutes and uses technology to make learning fun and engaging. 

With Mondly, you use natural language, so you won’t have to worry about sounding too formal or robotic. Mondly uses a mix of AI-powered, interactive tools to develop your skills, so you won’t have to leave the app to practice listening and speaking in French.

Learn the French Vocabulary That Interests You the Most

With Mondly, you have the freedom to decide what you want to study. While the app offers you the option of starting with the most common French words, you can also choose one of the vocabulary lists for topics like family, countries and languages, preparing a trip, and vacation activities. This is convenient if you are learning French for a specific reason, such as preparing for a trip. Lessons only take a few minutes to complete and can quickly increase your knowledge of useful words and phrases in French.

This picture shows the vocabulary topics available in Mondly.
Vocabulary topics available in the Mondly app

AI-Powered Tools to Enhance Your Learning Experience

One of Mondly’s stellar features is the use of AI tools to make learning French an immersive experience. It has both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) lessons to help you benefit as much as possible from using the app. With the AR tool, you use your phone to scan objects around you and learn how to say them in French. Mondly’s VR lessons, on the other hand, allow you to simulate a scenario where you interact with a French speaker. This way, you practice speaking French in school, riding the train, or going to the store. These features help you develop your skills in a fun and easy way.

Practice Speaking with a Chatbot

With Mondly’s chatbot, you can practice texting and speaking in French without feeling overwhelmed. Mondly’s chatbot uses AI technology that’s pretty smart and can follow a conversation and provide feedback for your skills. For example, if you’re practicing texting in French, it can tell you if you’re forming sentences with the correct sentence structure, choosing the right words, and using the correct articles. If you want to practice speaking, the chatbot can tell you if your pronunciation is clear or not. This is an impressive feature that can help boost your confidence in speaking French, even if you don’t have an actual person to speak with.

This picture shows a conversation with Mondly's French chatbot.
A conversation with Mondly’s French chatbot

Grammar Made Easy with Helpful Conjugation Tables

French grammar can be intimidating, but mastering it is possible. Mondly focuses on the most useful (and most difficult) grammar topic: verb conjugations. You can simply tap each verb in a sentence to see its conjugation chart. Each chart includes French audio and English translations to help you understand and use the verbs correctly.

You can read more about the app in this Mondly review.

Why Babbel is the Best App to Master French Grammar

Babbel Overview
Babbel helps you practice all the necessary French skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Its interactive activities will get you conversational in no time.
babbel logo
Best for Grammar
Price $14.95 / month
Free trial 1 Lesson
Try Babbel

Pros

  • French course developed by expert linguists so all language is natural
  • Fun and useful practice activities to get you speaking fast
  • Learn grammar through practice instead of memorization

Cons

  • Some of the exercises are similar to other apps
  • Could teach more vocabulary for intermediate and advanced levels

Babbel is the best app for French grammar because it teaches you how to apply it without relying on memorization. Instead of making you read long and overwhelming texts, Babbel has notes that teach you how to conjugate verbs and structure sentences as you go. 

All lessons are quick and contain natural-sounding language, so you’ll be able to communicate with French speakers effectively. When combined with the features mentioned below, this makes Babbel a comprehensive tool to master French grammar.

Improve your French with Quick Lessons

Babbel is all about being practical and not overwhelming you with useless information. You complete quick lessons that develop your French vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking skills. Each lesson lasts 10-15 minutes and continually builds upon what you previously learned. You can start by studying the most essential French and spend 15 minutes each day on the app to develop the conversational skills needed for communication.

This is a screenshot of Babbel French lesson exercise.
An exercise in a Babbel French lesson

Engaging and Fun Extra Activities to Practice Your Skills

One of the reasons why I like the Babbel French course is that it has a good variety of extra activities for all levels of French learners. From fun games to podcasts and magazines, Babbel keeps you engaged and entertained while you develop your French language skills.  For example, you can play the “WordTrax” game to test your French vocabulary and spell words before the train runs off the tracks. If you want to practice listening to French, Babbel has the “L’Histoire au Jour Le Jour” and “En Route Vers Le Français” podcasts that can teach you about history and the lives of French speakers around the world.

French Course Designed by Professional Linguists

With Babbel, you learn French as it’s spoken in real life. Instead of just translating and copy-pasting the material of one language course to another, Babbel individually designs each course so you can learn the language naturally. Each phrase and grammar rule you’ll study is applied the way it would in a normal French conversation. Babbel focuses more on formal language than slang and idiomatic phrases, but you can use other resources like podcasts or YouTube channels if you want to develop a more casual style of speaking.

This screenshot shows a dialogue activity in a Babbel French lesson.
A dialogue activity in a Babbel French lesson

Study French in a Group Setting with Babbel Live

Besides its regular interactive lessons and for an extra fee, Babbel also offers online live classes with a native French-speaking tutor. These group classes with a max of six people are perfect if you enjoy learning in a classroom setting. You can interact with other French learners while receiving guidance from an instructor.

You can read more about the app in this Babbel review.

Why Pimsleur is the Best App to Speak French Fast

Pimsleur Overview
Pimsleur gets you conversational quickly. Each lesson focuses on a dialogue between native French speakers that they break down to explain important grammar and vocabulary topics.
pimsleur logo
Best for Speak French
Price $14.95/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Pimsleur

Pros

  • Listen to audio voiced by native French speakers and repeat after to practice speaking
  • Learn how culture influences the French language
  • Download the lessons to your device and learn French on the go

Cons

  • Some lessons feel long
  • Grammar explanations are brief since the focus is on speaking
  • You will need to use other resources to practice reading and writing

If you want to speak French fast, Pimsleur is the best because it focuses on improving all your conversational skills. This app uses podcast-style lessons to teach you French pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar to help you communicate from the moment you finish the first lesson. You listen to native French speakers break down common phrases and repeat after them to improve your skills. Pimsleur also gives you context for each phrase, so you’ll be able to participate in formal and informal conversations.

Audio Lessons Voiced by Native Speakers

All Pimsleur lessons are voiced by native speakers, so you’re listening to authentic French. In each lesson, a French speaker introduces you to new phrases and then breaks them down to explain vocabulary and grammar use. By listening and repeating after the speakers, you can easily develop your French pronunciation, which is notoriously difficult.

This screenshot shows the Pimsleur French course menu.
Pimsleur French lesson menu

Speak Easy Challenges to Improve Your Pronunciation

The Pimsleur French course is completely audio-based, but there are additional features to help you practice what you’ve learned. To make studying easier, Pimsleur has Speak Easy challenges that help you review each phrase individually. They include audio and translations and you roleplay a conversation with a native speaker to practice speaking in French. Once you’re ready to test your skills, you can complete a Speak Easy challenge to test your French knowledge and conversational skills.

Offline Learning Mode is Perfect for Travel

Even if there’s no wi-fi available, you can still use Pimsleur to study French whenever you like. You can download the lessons to your device for offline practice. This is a very convenient feature, especially if you want to maximize your study time and study French while you’re on the go.

This is a picture of a Voice Coach lesson in Pimsleur's French course.
Voice Coach lesson in Pimsleur’s French course

Learn to Apply French Phrases in Context

Pimsleur goes beyond a textbook to make sure you’re familiar with colloquial French. Even if you’ve spent months studying French with a book, you will need to become familiar with the context in which you’re likely to hear slang or shortened versions of French phrases like “À plus” (See you later) or “Comme d’hab” (As usual). Pimsleur includes brief notes that explain these variations, so you can practice saying them and easily apply them in conversations. 

You can read more about the app in this Pimsleur review.

Lingopie: The Best French Immersion App

LingoPie Overview
With LingoPie, you watch tv shows in your target language. Subtitles and flashcards help you understand what you are watching.
lingopie logo
Best for Immersion
Price $12/month
Free trial 7 days
Try LingoPie

Pros

  • Improve your French comprehension skills by watching your favorite shows
  • Enjoy Lingopie’s large catalog of French movies and series
  • Adjust the video speed to your level for personalized learning

Cons

  • Additional activities are very limited
  • Doesn’t include grammar practice

Lingopie is the best option to immerse in French because you practice listening to authentic language while watching your favorite shows. This app is designed so you don’t have to study to improve your skills. There aren’t any traditional lessons so you only have to watch a couple of episodes of a French show or a movie to improve your language abilities.

Learn French with Netflix and Your Favorite Shows

Lingopie has its own catalog of French shows and movies you can enjoy, but you can also use it as a plug-in and watch your favorite shows on Netflix. It gives you access to hundreds of shows and a completely new approach to practicing your French comprehension skills. You can find a show you like, and watch a couple of episodes to start improving your listening comprehension while relaxing.

LingoPie French options
French content menu in Lingopie

Adjust your Experience with Built-In Playback Features

Even if you’re a beginner, you can use Lingopie to practice listening to French comfortably. You can slow down, speed up, or playback each line you hear in the show. This way, you can make sure that you understand what’s being said or pay attention to sentence structure.

Practice Reading French with Scripts and Subtitles

Lingopie’s goal is to make practicing French easy and engaging. To do this, the app includes French subtitles to help you understand each word you hear. This is a great addition if we consider that French pronunciation can be tricky. There are also transcripts you can download to practice reading in French and prepare for the next episode.

This picture shows a grammar note made by Lingopie on a French show.
Grammar note generated by Lingopie

AI-Powered Grammar Takes Watching to the Next Level

While Lingopie doesn’t have lessons like the other apps on this list, it includes useful AI-generated notes that quickly explain essential grammar. You can click on the lightbulb at the top of the screen, and the AI robot will show you how verbs are conjugated, why a specific tense is used, or how to apply French articles. This way, you can become familiar with basic French grammar topics while you watch a new episode of your show.

You can read more about the app in this Lingopie review.

Honorable Mentions: Which Apps Almost Made Our List

In addition to the apps on this list, I also tried out a lot of other useful options. Even though they weren’t in the top 5, these apps can help you enhance your French study routine. In case you’re looking for some alternatives, here are 6 apps that almost made the list:

MosaLingua

MosaLingua is a flashcard-style app that can quickly increase your French vocabulary. In addition to learning common vocabulary, MosaLingua also teaches French culture. It compiles resources that let you immerse yourself in French, like videos, songs, and even complete books. 

FrenchPod101

FrenchPod101 has a French course that focuses on developing your conversational skills. It goes from the absolute beginner to the advanced level and prepares you to navigate different scenarios. It includes thousands of French videos, audio, and text lessons that can help you improve your communication skills.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has an immersive approach to learning French, so you won’t see any English when you use it. With this app, you learn French by associating different sounds and images with the meaning of words. There are also many additional activities to develop your pronunciation, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

italki

italki is an app and a language learning platform that connects you with a French teacher for online lessons. There are over 1,100 on-demand tutors who specialize in teaching French with a variety of qualifications to choose from. You can filter them based on their native language, location, and specializations (like medical French).

Drops

Drops is an app that can increase your French vocabulary with 5-minute lessons. You study vocabulary topics you won’t find in other apps, like natural disasters, holidays, emergencies, and much more. The app also comes with additional features so you can review the new French vocabulary you already learned.

Duolingo

Duolingo is an app that offers its entire French course for free. This app has a gamified approach to learning French which means you can expect fun and interactive activities. It lets you track your progress so you can see your stats and compete with your friends on the Leaderboard.

Start Your Journey To French Fluency Today!

I hope this guide has helped you find French apps that fit your learning style! If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding way to learn French, these apps are the best place to start. I’ve reviewed them based on their features to help you narrow down your options. All you need is motivation and a few minutes each day with one of these apps and soon enough, you’ll be speaking in French.

To explore other ways to learn French, check out Langoly’s French Hub!

Best Apps to Learn Spanish: FAQ

How fast can you become fluent in French?

According to the U.S. Department of State, it takes around 600-750 hours for an English speaker to become fluent in French. This is thanks to the many linguistic similarities that exist between English and French. However, keep in mind that the time it takes to reach fluency in French can vary depending on your habits and if you already speak a similar language like Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese. In case you’re wondering how long it will take you to reach your French goals, here’s a Fluency Calculator that can give you an estimate. 

What’s the best app to learn French?

The best app to learn French is the one that fits your learning needs. Everyone has a different learning style, so it’s important to find an app that can offer you the tools you need to develop your skills in the most engaging way possible. To find the right choice for you, keep in mind your goals and which skills you want to improve. Apps focus on different French skills, and you can combine them as you please to stay on track to fluency.

Can I learn French by myself at home?

You can learn French at home by using language resources that allow you to effectively develop your skills. You can subscribe to an online French language course to follow a lesson plan that will take you from the beginner to the advanced level. Apps might be a good option if you want to quickly complete French lessons on the go. Many French books also have clear explanations and examples for essential grammar topics. You can also listen to French podcasts or watch French YouTube videos to improve your speaking and listening skills.

Is French hard to learn?

French is an easy language to learn for English speakers. Both French and English borrow words from one another, but there are also similarities in their grammar. And, of course, both use the same alphabet which means that you won’t have to learn a new writing system. 

Chad Emery

Chad is the founder and editor of Langoly. He was a TEFL-certified English teacher for many years and has been an active language learner for many more. His articles have been featured around the web by organizations like the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau and Simon & Schuster. In his free time, Chad is an avid traveler and loves running in new places. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

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4 Comments

  • Can you tell me if any of the French language apps teach you using the polite forms of the pronouns for “you”? I tried Duolingo and it uses only “tu”, which will be considered rude when I go to France this summer.
    It would be a big help if you can answer this question.
    I’m not sure how to receive your reply on this website, so if you could copy it to my email, ****, it would be great.
    Thank you so much!
    Dianne

  • Hi Dianne, thanks for your comment! You could give Babbel a try. It has specific lessons dedicated to tu vs. vous. Busuu and LingoDeer are also good options for practicing the formal and informal “you” forms. Hope this helps!

  • I am learning French. I *read* French fairly well, but I lack *listening* comprehension.
    What would be very helpful are DVDs which have both French and English subscripts. That way, I can tie the subscripts to spoken French and use the English to ensure comprehension.

    Do you know of such?