I am a native speaker of English. Twenty-five years ago my French was pretty good, but I haven't really used it much since, and I'm rusty. I will be in France in three weeks' time and want to regain some comfort and fluency before I go. What would be the most efficient/effective approach?

To give you an idea of where I'm starting from, here's my French rendition of the above:

L'Anglais c'est ma langue maternelle. Il y a 25 ans je parlais Français assez bien, mais depuis là je ne l'ai pas utilisé. En trois semaines je serai en France. Comment peux-je me servir de ce temps pour me rendre plus courant et plus confortable avant de mon arrivé à Paris?

  • 2
    My advice to you is: watch interviews on French TV (online) and watch French movies (Netflix, etc.) with the closed captions turned on for the French so you can read it while you hear it. That way you will be exposed to lots of dialogue.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 20:26
  • If you live within range of one or more French Meetup groups you could spend the next few weeks hitting as many of those as possible to get ready for your trip. Afterwards you'd even be able to prolong that cool feeling of having just spent time in France by knowing some people who'd enjoy hearing you ramble on about your great trip with your newly regained and improved French skills.
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 22:22
  • Also, use Duolingo. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I've used it literally every day for the past 10 months to great effect learning Spanish and German. It gets you to listen, read, translate, pronounce, and more. The variety is great. If your French is still too good to start from scratch, you can "test out" of batches of lessons at a time.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 22:59
  • @LukeSawczak I had assumed that Duolingo only covers very basic stuff; how advanced does it get?
    – crmdgn
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 18:28
  • 1
    It won't prepare you for Victor Hugo, but it's got a wide range of common vocabulary and covers many tenses (even including subjunctive past...). Again, you might want to test out of the first couple dozen skills if they're too basic. But if you're looking to regain "comfort and fluency" such that you can just understand and produce French better on the fly during your trip to Paris, I recommend it.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


You should watch films and series in French. This is what I did to learn to speak English and German. The best way would be to watch it with subtitles in the first place and when you are more comfortable you can turn them off. Listening allows you to get used to the language and therefore to understand what is said even if it's a little bit hard at the beginning.

  • 2
    I would add, watch it with french subtitles if available.
    – dna
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:22

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