Best Cities to Learn French

Posted September 6, 2013 by Guest Blogger in Languages

Flickr photo by itupictures

Immersion is undoubtedly a great way to pick up a new language. Spending each and every day surrounded by native speakers fosters appreciation of the finer nuances of a language and provides plenty of scope for practice. There are numerous possible destinations for those hoping to learn French while working abroad – these range from European cities such as Switzerland and France, to more exotic destinations, such as Canada and Senegal.


Life in France’s second-largest city, Lyon, is a delight for the senses. The bustling metropolis combines UNESCO-recognised historical and architectural landmarks with an innate flare for all things culinary – indeed, Lyon is widely regarded as the French capital of gastronomy.Little surprise then that Lyon was named as the 39th best city in the world in which to live by the 2012 Mercer Quality of Living survey. Those hoping to learn French while sampling the Lyonese way of life won’t be disappointed – the city is well-equipped with a number of language schools offering courses specifically designed for professionals.


Few major cities can compete with Geneva when it comes to natural aesthetics. Situated at the south-western end of Lake Geneva, the Swiss city is surrounded by two spectacular mountain chains – the Alps and the Jura. Perhaps more importantly, Geneva is also a major employment centre and home to numerous international organisations. Though the city contains a high number of foreign nationals – in 2008, they accounted for 44.3% of the population – French is predominant, with plenty of opportunities for newcomers to learn how to master its complexities.


After Paris, Montreal is the world’s second-largest primarily French-speaking city. It is the only de facto bilingual city on the continent, and was traditionally divided into two halves – the Francophones on the eastern side of the Boulevard St-Laurent, and the Anglophiles on the west. Nowadays the city happily mixes Canadian dynamism with traditionally French values. The result is a medley of cultural cool and a burgeoning economy – the perfect setting for foreigners hoping to make a break from a more humdrum lifestyle.


Dakar is the capital of Senegal and the western-most city on the African continent. As a major administrative centre, and with its history of trans-Atlantic and European trade, Dakar has plenty of work for suitably qualified foreign nationals. The country’s official language is French, and those hoping to learn how to speak it will find much to enjoy in its capital city – whether it’s admiring the colonial French architecture or chatting with locals at one of the many vibrant marketplaces.


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