How I Learned French Just In Time For My Trip to Paris

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A few months ago, I finally took a leap of faith and booked my first trip to Paris! I couldn’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower, enjoy some of the very best wine and cheese, and stroll around one of the world’s most beautiful, glamorous cities. While booking hotels and excursions, though, one lingering concern stuck in the back of my mind: I had totally forgotten all the French I learned in high school.

Once the reality of my big trip fully set in, I began to worry. Paris is a big city – what if I got lost and couldn’t ask for directions? What if I went to a bakery and couldn’t order anything more than a croissant? Would I struggle to communicate with taxi drivers? I needed a way to brush up on my French, and I needed to do it fast.

I struggled to find helpful options. French classes are pricey, and merely being in Paris would prove expensive enough (not to mention the airfare). I only had a few weeks to brush up, and no class was going to promise those kind of results. Plus, between my full-time job, errands, social life, and relationship, I wasn’t about to devote hours of my week to yet another thing. I needed a way to learn French affordably and quickly, with little extra time involved. Did such a thing even exist?

About three months before my trip, I mentioned my worries to my friend Jen. She told me she’d used something called Babbel to perfect her German before her recent Berlin trip. She said it cost her pocket change compared to classes and allowed her to practice while she was doing other things, like on her commute. Intrigued, I checked out their website to learn more.

I found out that German and French are just two of the 14 languages that Babbel, developed by hundreds of linguists from over 40 countries, offers for merely $7/month via at-home and on-the-go lessons. Babbel has an interactive website and a mobile app packed with exercises, including games and audio interactions that offer brief but informative lessons in their desired languages. I wouldn’t just be repeating words as in my high school French classes – with Babbel’s voice recognition technology, I could simulate a real conversation and improve my French accent and pronunciation in real-time. Best of all, I read that a City University of New York study determined that Babbel could get users to start speaking after just 3 weeks! Inspired, I figured that Babbel could teach me French in three months’ time. I signed up and downloaded the app.

It didn’t take long for me to begin incorporating daily French lessons into my morning routine and evenings at home. I started and finished my first daily lesson while I did my hair and makeup, and I completed my nighttime lesson before I even finished cooking dinner. With how easily Babbel weaved into my life, I never felt exhausted or took rest days – I sprinted toward my goal of mastering a language I’d been worried about only weeks prior. 

By the time my trip came around, my three months of Babbel had me feeling supremely confident in my French. When I landed in Paris, I immediately put my skills to the test and hailed a cab. I spoke perfect French with my driver and arrived at my hotel with no struggles. When I ended that day with a delightful French dinner, I didn’t just order my meal with no problems – my server and I actually chatted and got to know each other a bit! And getting to the restaurant was easy too – I had no trouble reading signs and street names. Thanks to Babbel, I didn’t just have an amazing time exploring Paris – I fully immersed myself in what’s quickly become my favorite city.

If you’re looking to learn a language in a pinch too, Babbel is offering new users 25% off! Click here to join Babbel for an even more affordable price than its already modest monthly rate and begin the fun, easy path toward finally mastering that imposing foreign language.

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