Best apps to learn French

Learning a language doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Sometimes, all you need is to find the right method and have fun. For example, consider downloading a language learning app - while it doesn’t come without drawbacks, it can make the learning process significantly more exciting than regular classes.

However, there are many French learning apps on the market. Finding the right one can take a lot of time, energy, and sometimes even money.

To help you make the right choice, we have reviewed several language apps for learning French and created this list of the five best apps. Today, we are going to tell you about their pros and cons, the learning methods they use, the skills they can help with, and other important factors such as visual components and price.

So read on to find the app that suits you - and make sure to give it a try.

1. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is the “OG'' of online language learning. It is often considered one of the best apps for learning languages. It is the first and one of the most widely known online software for learning foreign languages.

It’s been hugely successful since the start in 1992 - both thanks to marketing efforts as well as its unique language-immersion method. Today, it still helps many people worldwide learn French.

What Is It?

As the name suggests, Rosetta Stone uses the concept of ‘the stone that broke the code’ to teach you how to speak a foreign language. The idea is to present you with real-life images and audio recordings of words, phrases, and sentences so that you can learn them naturally. You won't come across explanations in your native language there.

The app is available in 25 languages, including French. This is great if you want to learn several languages at the same time.

Pros:

  • The app uses the immersion method, which has its own benefits and drawbacks but is often considered great for language learning.
  • You can learn vocabulary, listening, speaking, and grammar at the same time.
  • The app lets you learn at your own pace.
  • There’s an audio companion feature that allows you to listen to the lesson.
  • Stories are read aloud by native French speakers.
  • Lessons can be downloaded so you can study offline.
  • Real-world conversations prepare you for using the language outside the given context.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • While it seems to help you learn the language in many contexts, you basically repeat the words and sentences, which can give you a false sense of confidence but can be problematic in real life.
  • Lack of vocabulary and grammar guides might lead to trouble when writing.

Best Skills

This app gives you the possibility to focus on many important skills a person needs to learn a language - listening, reading, writing, and even speaking.

Yes, you read it right - unlike many other apps that help you learn French, Rosetta Stone allows you to perfect your speaking skills thanks to a special speech recognition technology that can tell whether you’re saying the word correctly.

However, Rosetta Stone doesn’t teach you a lot about French vocabulary and grammar. Focusing solely on speaking and learning French culture might leave you confused about the language’s logic and system - which is necessary for many language learners.

If you need to know a language’s grammar system to understand it, Rosetta Stone may not be right for you.

Price

Rosetta Stope offers students several subscription options: 3 months access, 12 months access, and lifetime access.

The prices vary depending on the length and the features you choose. However, the longer mode you choose, the lower the price per month will be - a 3-month plan costs $43 ($15/month), while a 12-month plan costs $143 ($12/month).

It may be best to choose the lifetime subscription offer if you decide to study with Rosetta Stone. It costs $214.80 and gives you lifetime access to the app, allows learning unlimited languages, creates a personalized plan, and offers a patented speech recognition engine feature.

However, a trial mode is also available if you’re not ready yet to spend a big sum on a language learning app. You can download the app and use it for 3 days to see if it works for you. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you buy the app and realize it doesn’t work for you.

Design

In 2020, a UX designer Tom Vranek especially for STVR reviewed the Rosetta Stone app’s layout and functionality and found some major flaws. He noted a lack of motivational elements, difficulty with switching elements, overly simple design, barely visible progress, lack of tutorials or tests that assess the new user’s language level.

He also suggested several updates to keep the users engaged and comfortable. However, none of these changes have been incorporated into the app.

Bottom Line

If you don’t mind paying for a program that’s been around for more than two decades - and if you are a beginner who wants to learn French in a fun way - Rosetta Stone is a great option for you, especially if you're a fan of French immersion.

However, if you don’t want to spend so much money on a French app, or if you want to prepare well for real-life conversations, you might want to try some other app.

2. Brainscape French

Although Brainscape is not as popular as Rosetta Stone, it is one of the best apps to learn French today. Many students choose it instead of traditional French courses.

Unlike Rosetta Stone, Brainscape focuses on learning French vocabulary and grammar rather than speaking. The app uses the concept of effective repetition that is based on the flashcards method - which means that you repeat words and phrases in a timely manner to learn them quickly and effectively.

Best apps to learn French

What Is It?

This French app is an ideal choice for people who are looking for a quick course to learn conversational French. Apart from the easy-to-use design, Brainscape offers you thousands of flashcards that allow learning different skills.

You can find flashcards related to every French topic you can think of - from grammar and vocabulary to idioms, phrases, culture, literature, and even history. This is especially useful if you need to prepare for an exam or a short visit to France.

Pros:

  • The app uses the SRS (Spaced Repetition System) - which makes the process of learning a new language more efficient.
  • Each lesson is built on the previous one, so you can master the skills you already learned and reinforce the knowledge you already have.
  • The app has an offline mode which is especially useful if you don’t have access to the internet all the time.

Cons:

  • The app is free, but the most powerful features and content require a paid subscription.
  • If you want to learn French vocabulary, this app is perfect, but if you want to learn conversational skills, Brainscape may disappoint you.
  • While it’s perfect for beginners, advanced learners might find it too basic.

Best Skills

Brainscape might help you master many skills - from reading and writing to listening and speaking. This is probably one of the best apps for learning French vocabulary today. It does a great job at helping students remember the words and their meanings.

However, as we’ve already mentioned, this app is more focused on grammar and vocabulary than on conversational skills. It doesn’t offer a lot of practice sessions or speaking exercises.

Price

Just like Langster, Brainscape French is free, but it has a Pro version that offers unlimited access to premium classes and many useful features. Price varies depending on the period of use - from $9.99 for a month to $129.99 for lifetime access.

Unlike many other apps, Brainscape doesn’t offer a trial period. However, it does offer a lot of coupons and discount codes.

Bottom Line

Brainscape French is one of the best apps to learn vocabulary and grammar - which are essential for speaking freely in French.

However, if you want to learn French in contexts that are similar to real life, you might want to look for another app.

3. Duolingo

Duolingo is considered one of the best language learning apps available. Created by Luis von Ahn, who’s famous for his CAPTCHA invention, this app has been extremely successful since its launch in 2011.

In 2021, Duolingo remains the best free language learning app out there - so if your budget is tight, we highly recommend giving Duolingo a try.

What Is It?

Duolingo is a free language app that uses various interactive methods to let you learn French and other languages. The app works based on the gamification language learning method, so instead of just repeating words and phrases, you have to solve puzzles, fight battles, and even do quizzes.

This is probably the main reason why so many users worldwide recognize Duolingo as one of the best apps to learn French or any other language. After all, who wouldn’t like to play games instead of listening to boring lessons?

Best apps to learn French

Pros:

  • The app uses the repetition method to make sure you remember new words.
  • It helps you master all the necessary French skills: reading, vocabulary, grammar, listening, and even speaking.
  • The app uses audio recordings of native speakers to help you learn pronunciation.
  • It is available for free.
  • You can choose your own pace to learn French, and the app will motivate you to fulfill your daily goals.

Cons:

  • Not all the lessons are for free - you have to pay for several useful features.
  • Unless you pay for Duolingo Plus, there are ads that might distract you from studying.
  • Duolingo phrases often lack context - users regularly make fun of this.
  • There is no information about how the app works at the beginning, so you have to figure it out as you go.
  • The app does not allow users to choose topics. If you want to learn a vocabulary on a certain subject, you have to fulfill all the previous tasks first.

Price

Duolingo operates on the “freemium” model. Users can access the basic service for free - and that is one of the main reasons why users consider it one of the best apps to learn a foreign language.

However, if you want to master French or just improve your skills in specific areas, you might need to purchase Duolingo Plus. This version offers you offline access, a possibility to track your progress, and no ads.

Duolingo Plus costs $6.99, but the price per month can decrease based on the learning plan you choose.

Best Skills

Duolingo’s biggest advantage comes from the fact that it helps you learn not only French vocabulary but also grammar and other skills that are necessary for real conversations. In fact, this app is recommended by many teachers as a supplemental tool for learning languages at school or university, as long as it’s used alongside other learning methods.

Duolingo doesn’t require a lot of time from its users, so even busy people can enjoy it in their spare time after work. The design is clean and user-friendly, so it won’t take much time to get used to it.

All in all, Duolingo can be a great option for anyone who wants to start learning French or improve their skills quickly.

Bottom Line

If you like solving puzzles and doing tasks, or if you like games - Duolingo can be a great option for you. It’s free (although there are some paid features), interactive, engaging, and suitable for beginners as well as intermediate learners.

Nevertheless, it does have several important drawbacks, such as lack of context.

4. Memrise

Memrise is yet another popular platform based on the flashcards method - and we say that it’s one of the best apps to learn French vocabulary you can find today.

It has all the qualities that you might be looking for in a supplemental language learning app - it is fun, easy to use, and incredibly effective if you combine it with other methods.

What Is It?

Memrise works on the basis of mnemonic techniques. These are similar to what you might have learned in school, but these are way more effective. This French app will help you remember words and phrases by teaching you how to make the most of your memory.

Memrise is available in 50 languages, including French - which makes it a great choice for people who want to learn several languages at the same time.

Pros:

  • It’s available both online and offline (you can download courses to use them without an internet connection).
  • It works with audio and video recordings that are made by native speakers.
  • There are many fun tests that help boost your memory and reinforce the skills you’ve already learned.
  • The content is rich in a real-life context.
  • It’s extremely effective for learning new vocabulary.
  • The app is free.

Cons:

  • While the app is fun, it doesn’t teach you a lot about grammar or vocabulary. You can use Memrise as a complement to your regular classes, but it’s not a full-fledged language learning tool.
  • The exercises can get pretty repetitive.
  • The design might be confusing, which can slow down your learning process.

Best Skills

The app focuses mainly on your listening and speaking skills. You will learn how to pronounce words correctly and avoid common mistakes such as transposing two letters or forgetting one letter altogether.

Memrise also allows you to learn useful phrases and sentences that will help you in real-life situations. This app is perfect if you want to improve your conversational skills - especially if you have limited time to learn French. However, if you’re looking for something more than just pronunciation and memorization, this app isn’t right for you.

Price

A lot of content on Memrise is free, however, there’s a premium plan that offers some useful features and all the content.

A monthly subscription to Memrise online costs $8.99, while a yearly one is $59.99, and the one with lifetime access is $119.99. Memrise smartphone app also offers a quarterly subscription at a price of $18.99.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an exciting way to learn French and don’t mind spending time memorizing words and phrases, this app will be a great choice for you.

It doesn’t teach you a lot about grammar, but the variety of useful mnemonic techniques will help you remember French words with better recall. You can take quizzes and tests that will let you practice what you have previously learned, and there are always new lessons to be added to the already existing ones.

Nevertheless, if you're interested in learning verb conjugations, sentence structure, and other important grammar points, Memrise won't help you with that.

5. Babbel

Best apps to learn French

Babbel has been in the market for quite some time - it was founded in 2007 in Berlin, Germany, and since then, it has helped over 3 million people learn 14 languages. The app’s main purpose is to help you learn French in a simple, quick, and efficient way.

The name is based on the French and Dutch word babbeln, which means “to chat” - and it’s also a pun on the biblical Tower of Babel.

What Is It?

Babbel is an app that focuses on helping you learn the French language effectively based on cognitive psychology and spaced repetition method. Babbel claims to teach you new words and phrases by helping you convert learned information from short-term to long-term memory. This way, students can optimally save new learnings.

Babbel’s lessons are created by professional teachers and focus on current topics. That means that you can learn about politics, art, culture, and many other things that can come up in conversation.

There are several levels for every language. If you’ve started learning a language and then stopped, Babbel allows you to pick up where you left off in the language learning process.

Pros:

  • The platform allows users to create their own custom plans. Students can choose what they want to learn and when. This allows you to study at your own pace.
  • It teaches you unique French concepts, words, and phrases, which is different from many other apps that focus on the basics.
  • The app has a clear structure, so you don’t have to figure that out by yourself.
  • It’s great for learning the internal logic of the language and its vocabulary.
  • Unlike many other apps to learn French, Babbel can help you get through some of the harder parts of French grammar.

Cons:

  • There’s no live interaction involved.
  • It doesn’t allow you to practice your conversational skills a lot.
  • Babbel doesn’t motivate you to study, so if you struggle with self-motivation, the language learning process can become very slow.

Best Skills

Babbel is a great app for those who want to learn about French culture and focus on learning words and phrases. It works for both beginners and more advanced learners. With the help of its spaced repetition algorithms, it teaches you new words and phrases in a very efficient way.

Babbel is a great choice if you want to learn vocabulary and internal language structure, but if you want to improve your speaking skills, you might need another platform (for example, ours).

Price

When it comes to pricing, Babbel offers a free trial period of 7 days that lets you access all of its features without having to pay anything. When the free trial period ends, there are several learning plans you can choose from.

The monthly plan costs $13.95 per month, while the yearly one comes at a price of $83.40 per year. All of the options are pretty competitive, but they can seem a little expensive.

Nevertheless, if you think of Babbel as more than an app but rather as a series of classes, the prices are reasonable enough for beginners who want to learn French fast - just like if you were paying for lessons at a language school.

Bottom Line

If you’re a beginner who wants to learn how to speak French quickly, and if you have money to spend, this app might be a great option for you.

However, if your budget is limited or if you’re not a beginner learner, you might want to consider some other apps on our list.

Why Should You Try Langster First?

Best apps to learn French

Langster is a new app that has been created by people who really care about their users and who know what it’s like to learn a foreign language.

When we first started thinking about building Langster, we knew exactly what we wanted: to create a product that would help you learn the language easily, effectively, and in an enjoyable way - and that’s exactly what we did.

What Is It?

Langster is an app for learning French in a fast, fun, and effective way. It’s designed with the newest technologies, offering you the best language learning experience possible. It’s designed to fit perfectly into your life - it’s intuitive and straightforward, so you can easily find your way around the app.

Instead of going for the classic lessons, we’re using a new immersive concept that allows you to learn languages while having fun. Enjoy French through customized stories from all over the world and improve your language skills quickly and effectively. Get the high level of exposure to the language and boost your fluency.

Pros

  • There are no long courses, but short, engaging stories, which means that you can learn French in small portions whenever you want.
  • Native French speakers are recording our stories, so you are able to perfect your listening skills.
  • An instant French dictionary that allows you to look up words whenever you need.
  • To help you understand the inner language logic, we have prepared an instant grammar helper and key vocabulary for every story.
  • A quiz after each story offers you to practice French, test your comprehension skills, and ensure that you’re ready for any French language exam.

Cons

  • The app is relatively new, so we are still figuring out potential difficulties you can experience and fixing them as the app develops.

Design

Langster’s design was created with the user in mind - it’s easy to navigate, simple, and pleasant to the eye.

We’ve done everything possible to help you enjoy the lessons both when it comes to the learning - so you don’t have to think about anything other than the story when you’re studying.

Price

Langster is free, but we do offer some premium features. If you want to check out immersive grammar lessons and get unlimited access to all the news and stories updated daily, consider one of the two paid plans we offer: a monthly subscription that costs $12.99, and a yearly plan that costs $74.99.

You can also check out our trial version first - 7 days of each plan are free.

So, How Do I Choose the Right App?

Looking for the right app to learn French can be challenging, especially if you don’t really know what you need. However, getting familiar with some of the most popular programs out there can give you an insight into what might work best for you.

We hope that our list of the best French learning apps has helped you get familiar with some of the most important features online programs can offer, as well as their potential drawbacks. Give them all a thought and choose something that will help you master the necessary French skills and suit your learning style.

For example, if you’re a complete beginner and you want to immerse yourself in the language, Rosetta Stone might be a good choice. On the other hand, if you need to understand the structure of French, consider using Brainscape.

Or, if you’re an intermediate learner and have problems remembering French words, Memrise might be the best for you.

However, if you can’t figure out what is the best learning method that will help with your needs, or if you want something simple, fun, and new - download Langster. Thanks to Langster, you won’t only learn French, you will also educate yourself on different interesting topics as well as news from all over the world.