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Learn French in Melbourne

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by Sue Williams (subscribe)
Writer, bushwalker, dessert enthusiast. Author of the Rusty Bore Mysteries. More info here:
Published July 28th 2011
Is there anything more cool than the French?

Audrey Tatou by Georges Biard
Audrey Tatou by Georges Biard

If you're interested in learning to speak French, Melbourne has a huge range of options. With several language schools – Alliance Francaise, Lyceum, Language Champs, across a range of suburbs, it's not hard to find a centre within cooee of you.

Group classes will cost around $30 per week and private lessons start at about $50 per hour. I can recommend both - I've been to private classes at Language Champs, which really accelerated my learning before a recent trip to France. For my money, though, group classes are more fun. You not only learn the language but can share it with like-minded others.

If classes sound too expensive, there are cheaper, even free options. There are two French Meetup groups in Melbourne, with regular events where you can chat (or struggle!) in French with other Melbournites. There's a range of language ability in the groups and I've found people to be surprisingly patient and kind. The only requirement is that you try!

An option that doesn't involve leaving home is a conversation exchange website such as or Free to join, these websites give you the chance to meet native French speakers interested in improving their English. You can chat in French and English, helping each other improve, and learn about each other's cultures. Chatting like this via skype, I've learned heaps of useful expressions and met some great French people (who've patiently accepted my mangling their language).

Paris Night by Benh Lieu Song
Paris Night by Benh Lieu Song

Also useful are:, and with quizzes, audio and grammar. For the truly committed, you can even download and read French books that are out of copyright from Project Gutenberg. I won't pretend learning a language is easy – you have to keep at it. But, as my French teacher tells me, all you need is to practise a few minutes each day.
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Why? Because French is cool, fun and learning a language opens your mind
When: Classes follow school terms. Summer courses also available.
Where: Across Melbourne
Cost: $30 per week for classes. Meetup events cost $5. Websites free.
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