IALC on learning French in France

IALC on learning French in France

Factsheet: marketing French in France

IALC Research shows that demand for French is growing in of Europe and Latin America. The IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015 shows that 65% of agents surveyed are promoting French language courses. The preferred programmes are Adult programmes, but agents also reported strong demand for junior courses.
In this article we look at reasons to learn French, France as a popular tourism destination and language schools in France.

French: one of the world’s main languages

French is spoken around the world and is an official language of 29 countries, including Belgium, France, Switzerland, but also Canada (Quebec), North and West African countries, Lebanon, and parts of South-East Asia.

According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • French is the 5th global language.
  • It is spoken by 274 million users worldwide as a native or second language.
  • 49 million students learning French as a foreign language in 2014. French is the 2nd most taught foreign language after English.
  • Between 2014 and 2014, the number of French speakers has increased by 7%, with the strongest increase in North Africa.
  • It’s the 3rd most important language in Business (Bloomberg) and the 2nd most important in trade (British Council).

Reasons to learn French

Jobs: Speaking French is an advantage on the international job market and will open doors in all French speaking countries. French is also a useful language in some sectors, such as the wine, culture or fashion industry.

French is also used in diplomatic circles and is an official language of the European Union, the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts.

Finally, students may also seek to gain a professional qualification as a French teacher of translator.

Culture: French is used worldwide for cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. Knowing French will also give students access to a wide range of works of literature and philosophy.

Travel: Learning French is essential to understand French culture or simply to fully experience the French “art de vivre”. French can also be used in other popular tourist destinations worldwide, and is simply useful when going on a sky or beach holiday.

Higher education: A good command of French is a pre-requisite to be eligible for French government grants for postgraduate courses, or to apply to any degree taught in French.

Other languages: Knowing French is useful when trying to learn other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian, but also English (50% of the English vocabulary is derived from French).


France: the most popular tourist destination in the world

Visitors enjoy the variety of the landscape and the diversity between the regions: capital city Paris, major cities such as Aix-en-ProvenceBordeauxLyon, Montpellier and Rouen, beaches and seaside resorts like Biarritz, Cannes and Nice, ski resorts, rural areas and picturesque villages.

  • France was visited by 84.7 million foreign tourists in 2013.
  • It counts 38 UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, including the Mont St Michel, Versailles or the Loire Valley.
  • It is the world’s top skiing destination.
  • Business tourism is also a key part of tourism in France.

Studying French in France

France is a safe and relatively inexpensive destination with a variety of geographic locations to suit all budgets.

For EU students: France is close and well connected by train, air or by car.

For non EU students:  For stays under 90 days students require a Shengen visa, unless they figure in the list of exempt countries. For longer stays student visas have become easier to obtain with Campus France.

French language schools in France

FLE Qualite

In the last decade, the French government has been promoting its new “FLE Qualité” label . The label was created to control the quality of centres teaching French as a foreign language, and identifies centres in which customer are assured to receive excellent language training (www.qualitefle.fr).

IALC International Association of Language Centres

The IALC-accreditation assesses all areas of school management and student service as well as the quality of the teaching. It is an added guarantee of quality for foreign students (www.ialc.org).

IALC-accredited schools in France

Following the IALC 2015 Workshop in Rouen, agents were able to join fam-trips and visit IALC schools in France

Following the IALC 2015 Workshop in Rouen, agents were able to join fam-trips and visit IALC schools in France

Aix-en-ProvenceAix-en-Provence is filled with history, markets and festivals. Perfect to experience the Provençal lifestyle.
School: IS Aix-en-Provence


BiarritzBiarritz on the Atlantic ocean is a great destination for surfing and golf, but also for a buzzing night life.
School: France Langue Biarritz


BordeauxBordeaux is a traditional port city with a rich cultural life and history, famous worldwide for its wines.
School: France Langue Bordeaux


CannesCannes is an internationally renowned seaside resort on the Mediterranean, well known for its Film Festival.
School: College International de Cannes


LyonLyon is one of the largest cities in France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its gastronomy.
School: Lyon Bleu International


MontpellierMontpellier is a lively university city and a great place from which to explore the South of France.
Schools: EasyFrench, Institut Linguistique Adenet


NiceNice is a glamorous Mediterranean resort, with a great climate and a lively student population.
Schools: alpha.b Institut Linguistique, France Langue Nice


ParisParis, known as the City of Lights, offers a wealth of renowned museums and famous sites to its visitors.
Schools: Elfe, France Langue Paris


RouenRouen is the historical capital of Normandy, and a perfect destination for an authentic French experience.
School: French In Normandy


Article written by International Association of Language Centres (IALC), with contributions from Eleri Maitland, Owner of IALC-accredited school French in Normandy ( School profile | www.frenchinnormandy.com).

Download the IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015.
Read more on French in France.
Information on the IALC accreditation and full list of IALC schools.

About this blog

Members of IALC share their insights on the language travel industry. Contributors are owners, directors, managers, teachers or administrative staff of IALC-accredited language schools worldwide.

IALC Workshop

IALC 2017 Workshop in Boston Massachusetts, USA - 23-26 March 2017

IALC 2017 Boston
Dates: 23-26 March 2017
Location: Boston, USA
Educators: IALC-accredited language schools worldwide
Hosted by: ELC Boston

ELC Boston hosts the IALC 2017 workshop

IALC Study Travel Research Report 2016

Trends in the demand for foreign languages
Download the IALC Study Travel Research Report 2016

IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015

Perceptions of independent and boutique chain schools in language travel
Download the IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015