Practice speaking French, whether or not you're in France

Once you’ve memorized 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 practice speaking is of course with native speakers. If you live in France, this is as easy as walking out your front door – at least in theory. 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 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.

Community centers

While you’re at the tourist office, you can also ask whether there are any cultural organizations or centres de loisir, which usually offer various classes at very reasonable prices.

Official organizations

Three official organizations in particular are worth looking into:

  1. Accueil des villes françaises (AVF) – non-profit that offers low-cost classes and varied assistance to members
  2. Alliance française – organization devoted to teaching French and offering various cultural events, in France and all over the world
  3. 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

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.

Between trips, you can also look into the Alliance française and Institut français, and visit your nearest community college, community center, and library to see if there are any French clubs you might join. Meetup is another good source of info about French clubs, and if all else fails, you can create your own. There are bound to be other French lovers in your area – all they need is someone to take the first step and create a club.

On your own

If you really can’t or don’t want to do any of the above, there are ways to practice speaking French online and even to practice speaking French on your own.

The four basic language skills

  1. Listening to French
  2. Reading in French
  3. Speaking French
  4. Writing in French

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Author info

Laura K Lawless

Laura is Kwiziq's Language and Marketing Coordinator. Online educator since '99, Laura is passionate about language, travel, and cooking. She's American by birth and a permanent ex-pat by choice - freelancing made it possible for her to travel extensively and live in several countries before settling permanently in Guadeloupe. Laura is the author of Lawless French, Lawless Spanish, and other websites and books on French, Spanish, English, and vegetarianism. She spends most of her spare time reading, playing with food, and enjoying water sports.

Comments: 5

Thank you very much. I find learning French very difficult. This website is very helpful. The explanations are very good and the tests really are a good way to learn. Keep up the good work.

I went to a French meet up but found it intimidating because I couldn't get the words out. I am a beginner. I am not sure if I should go again.

Bonjour Maree,

You definitely should! Just try to relax and remember that everyone else is learning too. No one is going to judge you if you make mistakes, the most important thing is just to try. Bon courage !

I like your site so much, as we can find everythings about French. Thank you for your contribution. bonne continuation.

Bonjour, Laura,
Je trouve que vous avez raison, car si on veut pratiquer ou améliorer le français parlant, il faut essayer d'aller joindre des associations ou d'avoir des amis français pour qu'on puisse le pratiquer en parler. donc j'ai joint une association dans mon quartier, j'y fais le benevolat. et en même temps je le profite de parler avecles gens qui sont français et travaillent là-bas.
Merci, Laura, de votre conseil et passez un bon début de semaine.