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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.

The Espace Ulys can guide you and recommends several options for beginner lessons on your arrival in France.

Alliance Française - Special offer for experienced scientists and spouses

From October 1st to December 31st 2020, some conditions to benefit from French classes at Alliance Française are more flexible:

  • The minimal duration of stay required is now 4 months,
  • Scientists and spouses with B2 and C1 levels can now benefit from the offer.

This offer is valid for a limited time and only dedicated to experienced researchers and spouses.

French language courses for PhD students

International PhD students can contact their hosting institution for information about French language courses and/or to refer to other options.

French language courses for experienced scientists

Foreign scientists who are beginners in French can benefit from language courses offered by Espace Ulys. We offer 32 hours of classes at the Alliance Française. You only pay for registration and your class materials (around €76). Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm for two months.

Which scientists can benefit from these courses?

Only scientists meeting the following conditions can benefit from this offer:
  • foreign scientists with a PhD degree;
  • scientists hosted in one of Université de Lyon member or associated institutions ;
  • scientists on a research stay of at least six months in Lyon - For a limited time, from October to December, the minimal duration of stay is now 4 months -
  • apply for French classes during your first year of residence;
  • be a beginner in French (levels A0 to B1) - For a limited time, from October to December, scientists and spouses with B2 and C1 levels can benefit from the offer -
  • be registered on the EURAXESS France database.

How do I benefit from these courses?

Contact us as soon as possible and provide your visiting researcher number. You will be tested to determine your level of proficiency. Note: You can only benefit from this offer once.

Contact Espace Ulys for French courses.

French language courses for spouses

Espace Ulys offers spouses of scientists and PhD students who are beginners to take courses in "French as a foreign language" (FLE). Our department offers 32/35 hours of classes at the Alliance Française. You only pay for your registration and class materials (around €76).

Two programs are available:

  • Evening classes: 32 hours / Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 6.30pm -8.30pm for two consecutive months.
  • Day classes: 35 hours / 9am-12.30pm or 2pm-5.30pm for two consecutive weeks.

Who can benefit from these courses?

You must meet the following conditions to benefit from this offer:

  • be in a stable, long-term relationship with a foreign scientist or PhD student;
  • your partner (visiting scientist or PhD student) must be hosted in one of Université de Lyon member or associated institutions ;
  • be staying in France for at least six months;
  • apply for French classes during your first year of residence;
  • be a beginner in French (levels A0 to B1);
  • your partner (visiting scientist or PhD student) must be registered on the EURAXESS France database.

How do I benefit from these courses?

Contact us as soon as possible and register here. Note: You can only benefit from this offer once.
Contact the Espace Ulys for French lessons.

Other options

Apart from French lessons, there are also many solutions for learning French online and in Lyon. Here are some tips.

In Lyon

French classes

  • Coup de Pouce Université: this association of volunteers offers French courses to foreign students, only, including PhD students. Annual subscription: €90/year. 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

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
  • Digital resources of the Lyon Municipal Library: Lyon Municipal Library members benefit from free access to online French courses. 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

In Saint-Etienne

French classes

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

Language 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