Alliance Française Review: It's Very Hit And Miss

  • Written byAdrien Renault
  • Read time4 mins
  • Comments0
A real mixed bag in terms of course quality that will greatly benefit some and disappoint others.
Try Alliance Française
Alliance Française

Alliance Française
Pricing: Prices vary widely depending on course and location
Positives
  • Very detailed and comprehensive
  • Access to an outstanding library of French resources
  • Well-trained teachers
Negatives
  • Very hit and miss in terms of quality
  • Large classes (less attention)
  • Too much English used in classroom

Summary

An established, not-for-profit organization which aims to promote the French language and culture worldwide with branches all over the globe. While Alliance Française is comprehensive and detailed, the quality will really depend on your location, teacher and classmates.

The Alliance Française has a long history.

It was founded in Paris in 1883 by a group of professional men that included the author, Jules Verne; the scientist, Louis Pasteur; and the diplomat, Ferdinand de Lesseps.

On the cover of its first bulletin, published in 1884, the mission of the Alliance Française was described as:

“Pour la propagation de la langue française dans les colonies et á l’étranger.”

This translates to:

“To extend the French language to the colonies and overseas countries.”

More than 125 years later, it would appear that the Alliance Française is still succeeding in its mission of bringing the French language and culture to large numbers of people, wherever they live in the world. Each year, more than 450,000 people learn French at the Alliance Française and over six million people attend the cultural events.

If you are learning the French language and are interested in French culture, your local branch of the Alliance Française should be one of the first places you check out.

The Alliance Française is a not-for-profit organization which aims to promote the French language and culture worldwide.

It operates on all five continents through more than 1,000 local offices in 136 countries, from Argentina to Australia, and from Canada to China.

Alliance Française courses for French

The Alliance Française offers French lessons for adults and children.

Adult students progress through six levels that range from beginners’ French to superior French. New students, who can already speak and write some French, are assessed and placed at the correct level.

They now offer online or “virtual” classes too for those of us stuck in lockdown and unable to travel.

Children’s classes

When teaching children, the Alliance Française aims to teach French in a fun way.

The children learn through playing games in French and doing fun activities, such as crafts.

The teacher, who is a native French speaker, speaks in French for the majority of the lesson, so that the children become used to hearing and understanding French.

Businesses, schools and organizations

As well as group and private one-to-one French lessons at the offices of the Alliance Française, the organization is also able to arrange French lessons for businesses, schools, and other organizations, both on-site and off-site. These lessons are tailored towards the specific requirements of the organization concerned.

French resource library

At each branch of the Alliance Française, you will find a library. For a small annual membership fee, you can borrow books in French for adults and children, French DVDs, CDs, games, magazines, and other materials that will help you to improve your French.

Each branch of the Alliance Française organizes cultural events. These range from French wine tasting to quiz nights.

Some events are aimed at adults and others are primarily for children, such as French Christmas celebrations.

French movie evenings and French film festivals are popular events organized by many of the local Alliance Française branches.

French movies are shown, often with subtitles in the local language, and there is an opportunity to socialize in French after the movie when drinks and snacks are served.

French social gatherings

Informal social evenings, where members and students meet for drinks and talk in French, are also popular.

They give students of all levels the opportunity to practice their French language skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

At the larger branches of the Alliance Française, you can relax in the café and savor delicious French food, such as croissants and baguettes. Drinks, such as café au lait (coffee with milk) and wine, are also served.

Criticisms

Like any franchise, you’re going to find that some do it well and others do it poorly.

The Alliance Française is hit and miss in this regard.

It’s also quite expensive (considering you now have online French course options that are less expensive).

Other than this, Alliance Française is fantastic.

Google to find your local branch of the Alliance Française and enquire about courses/pricing to immerse yourself in the French language and culture.


Have you studied at Alliance Française?

Let us know below! 🙂

Pricing: Prices vary widely depending on course and location
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Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Icelandic

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