French In Paris: How to learn French in Paris, Schools, courses, the Sorbonne and other classes and methods
There are many good schools in paris teaching French to foreigners, unfortunately most of them an expensive. Which school is the right one for you depends on your needs, budget and your personal schedule. Do you have 15 or 2 hours a week to study French? Are you a beginner or do you you just need to brush up your skills?
The cheapest solution is Mairie de Paris, the city of Paris, which has very reasonable priced courses for foreigners; they are vry sought, so it can be difficult to obtain a place. Be there on the first day they sign up new students.
A really good school is Alliance Francaise; this is probably the school with the most flexibility for the student. Most courses don't require you to sign up for more than 2 weeks, where many places you sign up for a semester at a time. The quality of this school is very good. The Paris school is very big, with a lot of different offers. It is not cheap, but it is seen as nice and easy-going.
La Sorbonne: This is another really good school. The Culture and Civilisation Courses here are probably some of the best you will find in France. You are required to sign up for a full courses, lasting from 4 weeks up to a university year. There are courses for all levels and areas of French language and culture. If you plan on going to a French university, this is where you should go, unless you really hate school, because this is not an easy-going environment, but very strict, very French some people say. There's a lot of homework according to some people. But if you really want to learn, and don't mind working hard, this is the school for you.
The ’Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne’
Free French Lessons
Yes, you can get something for free in Paris, even if not a lot. This way of learning French may actually be one of the best, because you get to hang around with French people and learn to talk the way people speak, everyday language, which is what you need to get settled in. Okay, so what am i talking about?
French lessons for English lessons. Post a notice in your neighbourhood, you teach them to speak English and they speak French with you. It's conversation usually that people exchange, but sometimes, if you exchange with a student, you can get them to help you with your writing as well.
Another free way, is the local community centers that are placed in most neighbourhoods, where there are all sorts of activities, and sometimes, especially in neighbourhoods with a lot of foreigners, free French lessons.
There are plenty of these in Paris, some good some bad, some expensive, some less expensive.
I have listed some of them in another hub, the ones with a good reputation. Please see this hub.
French on your own
A really good idea is to learn a little French before you arrive in Paris. Even if it will take a stay in France to get the pronunciation down, vocabulary and grammar you can prepare on your own.
French is not an easy language to learn, and the French know this, so a little French will go a long way; in fact, most French people I know are always very surprised and flattered when foreigners speak French, even if it's with a distinct American accent. In fact, some of my male friends thinks it sounds really mignon, French for cute. So, don't be scarred to try it out.
Advice: When trying to communicate with the French, in English or French, go for the younger crowd. People above the age of 60 will most likely not be able to understand you; in general they don't speak English.
When in Paris....
Even if it may seem hard, or impossible at first, try reading the papers, or some magazines. The local Parisian daily, Le Parisienne is a lot easier to read than the big national newspapers like Le Monde and Le Figaro, so try that one first, or read it on-line.
Also try watching TV, to get your ear used to the French words, even if you can only understand a few words here and there.
And when at home, why not let the radio run in the background, again to get your ears use to the words; before you know it, you will begin to understand more and more, even when the words are spoken very fast, as they are in Paris.