je voudrais parler francais
June 13, 2011 2:31 AM   Subscribe

Where would you recommend learning to speak French in London?

Would anyone be able to recommend some French language instruction courses in London? I'm happy for it to be group instruction, as I expect one-on-one instruction will be more expensive. Evening is preferred for this, of course.

Bonus points: where would you find French language books for beginners (or children, I suppose) in London?
posted by CRM114 to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For books : Foyles on Charing Cross Road has a large language section, on the 3rd floor I believe.
posted by plep at 2:42 AM on June 13, 2011

If I may, a particular book I got a lot out of as a kid was Usborne's First Thousand Words in French. So much so that I've picked up the German counterpart 20-odd years later...

Caveat: It's just vocabulary, no grammar.
posted by knile at 3:09 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know much about Lambeth where your profile tells me you live, but if you search on "Lambeth adult education" there are several good prospects. Get stuck in! Morley College looks like it might meet your needs. For what it's worth, I did some language courses a while ago at The Institute in East Finchley and they were very worthwhile.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 3:18 AM on June 13, 2011

UCL's Language Centre runs evening courses in French, among other languages. I don't know how the public prices compare with other courses, but you can get substantial discounts if you can claim any connection with UCL or the University of London.

I have a few friends who've attended language courses there (although not French) who seemed to think that it was well-run and got something useful out of the lessons.
posted by metaBugs at 3:21 AM on June 13, 2011

There are tons of council run evening classes. On preview, what Dan Brilliant said - Morley College looks like a good fit.

Or you could go for the Institut Francais.

Or you could look here for some less formal lessons.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:23 AM on June 13, 2011

I've been going to the Institut Français for 18 months and I'm happy with the results so far.

It's not cheap. The toilets are tiny. have a good selection of French books including I believe both kids books and teach-yourself-french stuff.

Foyles has a french section that's worth visiting.
posted by curious_yellow at 3:41 AM on June 13, 2011

I did UCL French evening courses and enjoyed them (although, I had a "spouse" discount, even though we're not married, hooray for forward looking UCL administration).

I tried to take some classes at the Institut Français but they stuffed me about a bit and I didn't end up taking the classes, so can't really comment (except to say their office is quite disorganised and the woman who did my entry test was rude BUT I've heard excellent things from people about the classes).

As for bookshops at UCL they recommended and gave me a discount voucher for The European Bookshop (5 Warwick Street, Soho, W1B 5LU).

I have some friends studying French at Hackney Community College and love it so seconding checking out your local community college (you don't want to schlepp to Hackney from Lambeth).
posted by jujulalia at 3:44 AM on June 13, 2011

@jujulalia I agree the admin people aren't great at the Institut Français, but in my experience this is so consistent across any academic setting I didn't think it was worth mentioning.
posted by curious_yellow at 3:48 AM on June 13, 2011

I can't speak to the quality of the London Alliance Francaise, but I've been enjoying learning French at the Wellington one, and my daughter's been enjoying their kids classes for nearly 4 years now.
posted by rodgerd at 4:38 AM on June 13, 2011

I'm currently doing a German course with these people at London Bridge Cactus Language. Its 2 hours a week. 10 week course is about £180.

Its ok.... Its about the same quality as 'Community College' courses I've done in the past for other Langauages. Basically I've come to believe that these courses are not really enough on their own. - but are good for giving you a chance to speak with others learning. I'm curious how different courses are run by proper universities actually - are they much more expensive? (ie the UCL classes - how much do they cost?)

A friend of Mine is doing Open University classes in Mandarin and pointed out that one useful thing is that they are accredited and could be used towards a degree.. if that's something of a consideration.

There used to be bookstore - but as I noticed on the weekend they have shut down - I think they are now part of Foyles though.
posted by mary8nne at 5:22 AM on June 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all this everybody! I actually live in East London, I don't know why my profile points to Lambeth. Gotta fix that.

I have proper francophone friends in town so my idea is to take a course so I can get to a level where I'm not annoying to talk to and speak to them on a regular basis.
posted by CRM114 at 5:33 AM on June 13, 2011

I was curious - here is the UCL brochure. UCL Languages 2011 Brochure PDF

their courses are £260 for 10 weeks (2 hours a week) it seems. And for Intermediate speaks they seem to do a 'placement' interview to be sure you are put in the appropriate level.
posted by mary8nne at 8:19 AM on June 13, 2011

i took a couple of terms at alliance francais four years ago. i didn't come out with a great view of it... the classes were dragged down by people who hadn't done their homework - i will never understand why people pay money for adult education and then turn up without doing the work that would justify the investment.

i learned more from michel thomas's audiotapes.
posted by ascullion at 9:03 AM on June 13, 2011

« Older Is my domain gone forever?   |   They're all white... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.