As a French learner, the odds are high that you'll want to spend time in France someday. Whether it's at the beginning of your French learning journey or in the middle of it, taking a trip to France to practice your French is a great idea. If you really want to make the most of your trip, however, you'll want to know about a few useful French websites.
Why Use French Websites?
In a globalized world, it's easy to use websites that are common in your own country even when abroad. While this is perfectly acceptable, using French websites while you spend time in France is the best way to really feel like a local and test your French language skills.
If you plan on moving to France either for a short-term study abroad program, for work, or even just for fun, knowing about these French websites will help you with a lot of aspects of living in France.
8 French Websites to Know About
Some of these websites will be entirely in French, but as a French language learner, this is a good thing! You'll be able to practice your French comprehension skills while still looking and feeling like a local.
We'll start off easy with websites that are in French, but easy for any French learner. As the list progresses, we'll slowly get into more complicated French where you may need a higher language level to really get the most out of the website.
#1. SNCF Connect
SNCF is the name of the national French rail lines. Their website and app is called SNCF-Connect and through the site, you can book train tickets to anywhere in France. You can even book international trips such as to Germany, England, and even Italy.
Both the app and the website can be put entirely in English so for French beginners, this website is a breeze. Once you get familiar with the English version of SNCF-Connect, though, try switching to the French version to practice your travel vocab.
LeBonCoin is essentially the French version of eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, but in one single website. The idea is the same and if you happen to catch sight of a French person's phone or laptop, you'll probably see them perusing LeBonCoin at some point.
LeBonCoin is great for numerous things. You can buy and sell just about anything on the site and making an account is free. You'll find clothes, furniture, pets, apartments, and even cars for sale. Everything is done on the platform including messaging and payment (unless you pay in cash in-person) and it's up to you and the seller to figure out when and where to meet. In some cases, sellers may be willing to ship items to you (so long as you are in France), but this isn't always the case so be sure to ask.
If you're looking for a room or apartment to rent while you're in France, LeBonCoin is a good place to check in order to avoid expensive agency fees. Some ads are in English too, so French learners who are only just beginning their French language journey can still understand.
For French learners who plan on spending time in the capital, RATP is an important app and website to know. With RATP, you can map out routes, check the timetable to see when the next bus, metro, or RER train is, and look up information on delays.
RATP is the Parisian public transit system and their website will have the most up-to-date information on metro, bus, and RER times. All announcements will be in French, but many French language learners find it easier to read the announcement than to listen to it over the speaker.
For any French language learner living in Paris, RATP is a life saving resource that you won't regret knowing about. Once you nail the Parisian style as well, you'll look like a local trying to navigate the often frustrating Parisian transit system.
Sure, you can get accurate weather information from the app on your phone, but MeteoFrance is the official French website for checking the weather.
When you use MeteoFrance, you'll get the chance to practice your French weather vocabulary. Learn the words for partially cloudy, stormy, and scattered clouds just by checking the French weather website instead of the app on your phone.
Cdiscount is essentially French Amazon. The interface is similar, so navigating the website shouldn't be too difficult even if you aren't fluent in French.
Cdiscount specializes primarily in electronics and appliances. You can still find other things on the website, but that's what Cdiscount started as and that's where the site really excels. It's a great place to learn vocab relating to online shopping.
Between Cdiscount and LeBonCoin, you're bound to find anything you need.
#6. Pôle Emploi
Are you heading to France to work? To study? Well, if you plan on picking up a job while abroad, Pôle Emploi is the place to go. Run by the French government, Pôle Emploi is the official French website for job postings. You'll find everything from bartending positions to high-end desk jobs.
To use Pôle Emploi, you will need to sign up. The process is a little more time-consuming than other websites listed here, but that's because this is a work-oriented website and both Pôle Emploi and employers want to make sure that the people applying to positions aren't bots or scammers.
As Pôle Emploi is aimed toward French-speaking people looking for jobs in France (or with French-speaking companies), you will need a decent level of French to be able to navigate the website. There is no English option and you'll be expected to create an account, read job listings, and apply entirely in French.
Even if you aren't living in France, Pôle Emploi is a really good resource for learning and practicing work-related French. You'll learn more technical terms as well as become more familiar with how the French talk about work.
Service-Public offers information on everything from visas and immigration to taxes and divorce in France. The website is there to answer just about any question you may have.
One particularly helpful feature of the site is the many, many pre-written documents available to visitors. Whether you want to cancel your internet or obtain an accomodation certificate, Service-Public has pre-written letters for you to use. This gives you a great base for writing your own letters and practicing your written French. If you want to practice specific vocabulary, you can also use Service-Public and read through any documents they may have on the topic.
The website is only in French so you'll need to have a decent level of French to navigate it. If you want to practice legal terms in French, though, this is a great website for that!
Improving Your French Through French Websites
Knowing some basic and travel French will certainly help you in the beginning, but as you continue your French learning journey, you'll need to expand your resources in order to broaden your vocabulary. Using French websites is a great way to do that as the sites will use everyday French and expose you to certain words or phrases that may crop up again in the future.