Tons of lessons for beginners, less for advanced
FrenchPod101 lessons are short and engaging. You learn vocabulary and grammar through the context of French culture, like food, holidays, and cities. The lessons do a good job of explaining new concepts. Although there is not much opportunity for you to practice speaking, listening to actual conservations spoken by native French speakers can help you learn a lot quickly.
- Listen only to native speakers
- Learn differences of formal/informal language
- Thorough explanations of grammar
- Lots of direct translating
- Features are limited in the basic subscription
- Fewer lessons for advanced learners
FrenchPod101 is a course developed by the Innovative Language company, which has 34 languages courses. There are paid subscriptions, but they offer a lot of free content that you can access without entering any credit card information. There are 3-5 new free lessons every week. The lessons are all audio- or video-based. In the beginning levels, most of the explanations are in English and you often repeat after the native speaker to practice pronunciation and vocabulary.
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The lessons teach vocabulary and grammar that are used in everyday situations. There are additional lessons to learn more about French culture too, which I really enjoyed. One important aspect of French is the importance of formal vs informal language. The audio lessons give good explanations about how to use both types of language.
There are many reasons to learn French, and FrenchPod101 is an excellent way to start learning. The lessons walk you through vocabulary and grammar step-by-step. For me, French pronunciation is quite challenging because it uses sounds that don’t exist in English. It was useful to hear the vocabulary words pronounced and then repeat them. While I can’t say my French accent is perfect, I am definitely improving by using FrenchPod101!
The upper-intermediate and advanced lessons were also solid. Most lessons are entirely in French or only use a little bit of English to explain concepts. There are way fewer lessons in the upper levels, but you can skip around or go back to easier levels to review concepts that you might need some help with.
Along with the free lifetime access to certain content, FrenchPod101 has three paid subscription levels. You can also choose a 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24 month plan. The more months you buy, the cheaper it costs per month. A basic subscription costs from $8/month to $96 for 24 months (50% cheaper per month). A premium subscription costs from $25/month to $240 for 24 months (60% cheaper per month). A premium+ subscription costs from $47/month to $549 for 24 months (51% cheaper per month).
With the free access, you can get about 100 lessons, with 3-5 new lessons a week. The Basic level gives you access to all the lessons, but almost no additional study materials. The Premium gives you access to all lessons and the study materials such as vocabulary lists, quizzes, and grammar bank. The Premium+ gives you all of the above plus access to a French teacher who will create a personalized lesson plan for you and give you feedback on written assignments.
The different subscription levels are helpful because you can choose what you want to pay for, and for how long. FrenchPod101 does a good job showing you what the options are and what each subscription level includes. I like the Premium level because it offers extra practice exercises. But for the price of the Premium+ level (access to native teachers) I would suggest you take classes through a platform like LingoCulture or italki.
FrenchPod101 Free Trial
FrenchPod101 offers a free 7-day trial. You do not have to enter any credit card information. The trial gives you access to all content that is available with a Premium subscription. You can access all the lessons and additional resources.
When you sign up for the first time, you will be offered a one-time deal. For $1, you get premium access for an entire month, plus other exclusive lessons and content. But if you don’t cancel after 1 month, you will be charged for a premium subscription, so keep an eye on that. I also received various discounts in my email and through the website.
Students get 20% off any 12-month subscription. The discount is automatically applied and you don’t have to verify a student email address.
FrenchPod101 Review: Getting Started & Features
It is quick and easy to start learning with FrenchPod101. Just enter and confirm your email address and you’re good to go! Then you receive a series of prompts helping you choose what level to start with. Most levels begin with a quick assessment to see if you should jump ahead or start from the beginning of the level.
After choosing your level, you follow a “pathway,” that guides you through the level. Each pathway has tons of audio/video lessons and assignments. Besides the level pathways, there are additional courses you can add that focus more on cultural topics, reading comprehension, dialogues, and more.
Every lesson has either a video or an audio track. Each lesson begins with a conversation between native speakers. After, the lesson dissects the dialogue, going in depth to the vocabulary and grammar topics presented, similar to Pimsleur and Mango Languages. I really enjoy the dialogues because they’re realistic and not forced. Sometimes I freeze up when I hear native speakers having a conversation, so this is a good way to get your ear used to how it sounds. Every lesson also includes the audio transcript so you can follow along if you get lost.
With the Basic subscription, you can only listen and follow along with the lesson. With the Premium subscription, you get a wide variety of useful resources and practice exercises. You can download the complete lesson notes and save them for later. There are also multiple-choice quizzes and vocabulary practice to make sure you understood the lesson. These extra features are why I think a Premium subscription is the best choice.
Included in both the free and paid versions, you can access many vocabulary practice exercises. I really enjoyed using the 100 Core French Words flashcard deck and the list of key phrases in French. These are useful if you are a beginner and want to quickly learn some useful words and phrases for an upcoming trip. With a paid subscription, you have access to many interactive flashcard lists, and can go up to 2000 core words. For additional vocabulary practice, you can use an app like Drops to learn even more useful words.
FrenchPod101 My Teacher
This feature is only available with the Premium+ subscription. You get access to a French teacher who will guide you through the learning process. But you don’t take actual classes with the teacher. After an assessment, your teacher sets up a learning plan with different assignments for you to complete. You communicate through audio or video messages sent to the teacher, not in real-time. The teacher corrects your assignments and gives you feedback to help you improve. It’s similar to the LinguaLift app, and I think it’s generally a pretty cool feature.
FrenchPod101 Review: Overall Learning Experience
Overall, I thought that FrenchPod101 was an interesting way to learn. The lessons are quick so you can do a few in one day. If you get tired of the lessons, there are tons of vocabulary practices and short lessons about topics like French holidays, and ten cities you can visit in France.
Since I know a little French, it was useful to be able to skip around if I already knew about the topic being discussed in the lesson. I also like to know why something is said the way it is, and the FrenchPod101 lessons provided lots of explanations of both grammar and how to use the language in context when talking with a French speaker.
FrenchPod101 Review: Areas of Improvement
almost no exercises to practice grammar. After most lessons, there is a multiple choice quiz that covers the different topics from the lesson. These are good to make sure you understand the topics, but they aren’t very thorough. I think apps like Lingodeer and Rocket French do a better job of this.
Clicking on an answer doesn’t help me remember as well as typing out the word (although this can be tedious sometimes). For more practice exercises like these, I’d recommend using apps like Drops and Clozemaster.
There are also not many video lessons. Some of the other languages in the Innovative Language courses use a lot more videos. While the audio tracks are good, I think it’s nice to have a video every once in a while to make things more interesting. The videos keep my attention more than just audio. If you want to watch videos in French, check out an app like Yabla, Lingopie, or FluentU.
FrenchPod101 Review: Alternatives & Competitors
I liked using FrenchPod101 and you probably would too, but it’s a good idea to shop around to see what else is out there. There are tons of other options available. If you like using audio lessons, you can check out Pimsleur and Rocket French. If you prefer fast-paced lessons that you can quickly complete, you can try Duolingo or MosaLingua. Babbel is another option for high-quality material in the advanced level. There are many French language apps out there so you can definitely find one that is right for you.
FrenchPod101 and Pimsleur both use audio-based lessons. Pimsleur offers more practice exercises after the lesson to help you really understand what you heard. Pimsleur is a little more expensive than FrenchPod101, but in my opinion, the value it provides justifies the cost. The main difference between the two is that FrenchPod101 is a lot more flexible, while Pimsleur follows a course. Read more about Pimsleur here.
Rocket French has a similar lesson format to FrenchPod101. You listen to an audio track that explains different grammar and vocabulary topics. Rocket French includes more practice exercises that go along with each lesson though. Rocket Languages is a bit more expensive, but that’s because you have to pay by the level and not per month. However, I think Rocket French is the better choice if you want to to become conversational quickly. Read more about it in this Rocket French review.
MosaLingua uses audio lessons and dialogues to introduce new topics, just like FrenchPod101. FrenchPod101’s lessons are more comprehensive though and take more time to complete. Where MosaLingua wins is its additional content, like music videos, complete ebooks, and videos that help you learn. MosaLingua is also the cheaper option because with one low price you have access to all content for the language. Both are top-notch apps for any level, so I suggest trying both for free to see which one you prefer. You can also read more about MosaLingua in this review.
FrenchPod101 and Babbel have similar lesson styles. They use a dialogue between two native speakers to highlight different vocabulary and grammar topics. Babbel’s lessons are shorter though, and tackle less information per lesson. FrenchPod101’s lessons also have more audio, so you hear a lot more speaking. Depending on your subscription, FrenchPod101 can be cheaper or more expensive than Babbel. However, they’re both pretty equal in terms of how effective they are. You can read more in this Babbel review.
Frequently Asked Questions
FrenchPod101 is an excellent app to learn French. The audio and video lessons are interesting and cover a wide variety of topics. There are more lessons for beginners and intermediate level than for advanced speakers.
FrenchPod101 offers a Free Lifetime Account, which is truly free and you do not have to enter credit card information. With the free account, you get access to 100+ lessons, new daily lessons, vocabulary and phrase lists, and more. If you want access to all of the lessons and features available, you will need a paid subscription.
Yes. You can find the app by searching for Innovative Language Learning in the app store. The app includes all of the lessons, but does not have some of the extra features that the online platform has, such as vocabulary lists and the dictionary. You can sync your account between the online platform and app to access your lessons from whatever device you choose.
It is easy to cancel a FrenchPod101 subscription. From your dashboard, click on “my account” and then “subscription settings.” From this page you cancel your subscription or turn off automatic renewal payments.
About This FrenchPod101 Review
This is an independent FrenchPod101 review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I signed up for the Premium subscription to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the FrenchPod101 website to verify my findings.