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Learning French

A good level of French is essential for successful integration during your stay. We recommend that non-French-speaking scientists and spouses learn French as soon as possible, ideally prior to their arrival in France. Your ability to speak French will allow you to establish contacts more easily, integrate more quickly, and understand your new living environment.

Classes can be proposed to PhD students and researchers in your host insitution. Contact the language department of your institution for more information.

There are many solutions for learning French in Lyon or in Saint-Etienne. Here are some tips.

In Lyon

French classes: language schools

  • Alliance Française de Lyon: Thanks to the partnership between the Alliance Française and EURAXESS France networks, you benefit from a 10% discount on tuition fees at the Alliance Française de Lyon. This discount may also apply to your accompanying family (for people aged 16 or over).

To benefit, you must be registered on the EURAXESS France database.

More information on this partnership is available on the FnaK website.

French classes: associations

  • Coup de Pouce Université: this association of volunteers offers French courses to foreign students, only, including PhD students. Annual subscription: € 100/year for PhD students. Visit the website
  • Fil (Faciliter l'insertion par le langage): evening and day classes offered in five different locations all year round except school holidays. Registration possible all year long. Subscription starts at €30/year. Visit the website

Language exchanges

  • Le KoToPo: KoToPo is an association offering monthly convivial free language exchanges between French-speakers and native speakers of other languages. An excellent way to share your language while learning French. Visit the website
  • Le Polyglot Club: The Polyglot Club hosts free language-exchange evenings in Lyon. Visit the website

In Saint-Etienne

French classes: the CILEC

  • The CILEC (International Center for Language and Civilization): offers French classes. Contact them via their website to get a quote. Visit the website

Associations and linguistic exchanges

  • Le Remue Méninge: a meet-up café in the heart of Saint Etienne offers free activities and French conversation workshops. Visit the website
  • The Polyglot Club: The Polyglot Club hosts free language-exchange evenings throughout France. Visit the website


Online tools

  • Duolingo: language-learning website offering free basic French instruction, particularly for English-speakers. Visit the website
  • Italki: an online language learning website for one-on-one lessons with native speakers.Visit the website
  • Comme une française TV: On her Youtube channel, Geraldine explains different aspects of French culture and language in English. A good resource for learning about French culture and a few words of French. Visit the website
  • The digital resources of the Municipal Library of Saint Etienne: subscribers to the municipal library of Lyon or Saint Etienne enjoy free access to interactive French courses online. Visit the website
  • Bonjour de France: free online magazine for learning French. Visit the website
  • Conversation Exchange: this website allows you to contact French-speakers looking to learn your language via bilingual conversations. Via the site, you can organize face-to-face meetings, chat/webcam conversations and email exchanges. Visit the website