January 8 – January 24, 2019 is the period of sign-ups for the French language classes for foreigners offered by the city of Paris. Here is the website for signing up.
What are the language classes offered by the city of Paris? The city of Paris offers a variety of adult education classes. This blog is about the French classes for non-french speakers (non-francophones). Look for the FLE classes (français pour non francophones scolarisés, Français Langue Etrangère [FLE])
If you speak french and want to learn about jewelry making, sewing, embroidery, woodworking (and many more topics) they have classes in those as well. They also have classes in all sorts of languages – so if you already speak French and want to learn German, Spanish, Italian etc. you can sign up.
When are sign ups? Our first year in Paris I missed the sign ups. There is a very short a sign up period in early September and early January. If you miss it, you have to wait for the next sign-up period. The classes are one semester long. You sign up online, at this website. You won’t necessarily get in. You may get put on a wait list and asked to come and take a test. If you do get on the wait list Go! I did and got in!
What levels do they teach? The classes are divided into levels that match the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There are 6 levels ranging from A1 – which is absolute beginner to C2 – which is completely fluent. If you haven’t taken classes with them before, you sign up for the level that you think you are at. During the waitlist period, they test you and place you at the correct level. When I signed up I was in a rush and didn’t know about the CEFR (the reference levels), so I modestly put down A2. They tested me into B1 but I really should have been in B2 but it was too complicated to move up 2 levels. So, do read about the CEFR and do the best you can to judge your level.
What do they teach? The french classes for non-francophones are standard language classes with a combination of grammar, vocab, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and conversation. The standard classes can be day or night. You can sign up for either 4x or 2x per week. They also have specialized classes for oral, writing, and professional language. These tend to be only 1x per week.
Who enrols in the classes? The classes have at most 30 students. I am in a day class that meets 4x per week. My class is skewed younger and female. There were only 4 males in the class. I am the only American. In fact, I am the only English speaker. Surprisingly, Spanish is the most common native language in my class. There are 4 Mexicans, 2 Venezuelans, 1 Spanish, and 1 Columbian. Next common is Ukranian with 4 Ukranians. We also have 1 each of Portuguese, Polish, Indian, Thai, and Brazilian. We also have 2 Chinese, 2 Japanese, and 2 Italians!
What is the workload? There is homework, but not that much at least in the beginning. In my case, since the level was easy for me, I spent about 1 hour per week at the beginning. Though how much time you have allocate to studying and homework will depend on you. At the end of the session there are written and oral exams to see if you pass into the next level so there will be more studying near the end of the semester. By the way, it is not uncommon to repeat a level since there is a lot of material at each level. The level I am in, B1, is supposedly the most difficult in terms of the quantity of new material.
What else should I know? The classes are very good and inexpensive. Therefore they are very popular and over-subscribed. Not everyone gets in! If you do get in you are expected to show up for classes (with a max of 3 unexcused absences) and to do the work. If not, you won’t be able to take the class the next semester.
Bonne Chance! Let me know if you have any questions. The classes are really worth it!