39 awesome free resources for learning French language & culture!

Have you ever been preparing for something so carefully and thoroughly that you ended up having no time to actually take action? I have! I love planning very much because you see – I love chaos, but only in art. My desk, lists, plans need to be organised, and before I do something, I like to have a plan. This is why I haven’t got down to French yet, but I have made quite a long lists of resources useful for learning. If learning French is a battle, then… well, I have my army now!

If you want to learn French, but haven’t had time to find resources or you are just looking for new material to spice things up with your studying… this may be a post for you!

The post will be divided into 5 main categories for better navigation. 3,2,1… Ladies and gentlemen, I have a pleasure to show you my ultimate list of 37 resources for learning French language and culture!

*Note: some of the resources I listed aren’t strictly language related, but rather cultural, showing you France and French culture, what I think could be a great motivation in any language studies!

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Websites & Apps

There are plenty of websites and apps for learning French, but I’ve chosen to list only these I can vouch for in 100% because I have used them for a long time. The list will be probably updated every now and then,  so it’s likely to get longer!

Duolingo

Good for: building your vocabulary, learning grammar and pronunciation. It’s available both as a website and as an app. Fun, and easy way to get started with foreign languages!

Memrise 

Good for: building up your vocabulary, learning grammar, revising words you’ve already learnt. There are plenty free vocabulary boards to choose from, my first choice was: “Learn French for Polyglots” and so far I’ve liked it a lot. Available both as a website and as an app.

Anki

Good for: building up your vocabulary and revising words you’ve learnt. Its formula is very minimalistic, but this is what makes it effective for many people. Boards I’ve downloaded and liked: 5000 Most Common French Words and French 10000 sentences (easiest to hardest). Available as a program and an app.

Lang-8

Good for: practising your writing skills. The formula is easy: you write a post and get it checked by a native speaker or somebody who’s good at your target language. In return, you check works of people learning your native language. Full cooperation and a nice way to improve your writing skills!

Lyrictranslate.com

Good for: anyone who loves music! You can access the translations of your favorite French songs. Helpful in improving your listening skills and  learning new words, plus the music is said to be effective in teaching you new words, too.

Lyricsgap.com

Good for: music fans! The website’s all about typing words of the songs you’re listening to so it definitely helps to improve your listening skills + pronunciation, too.

Lyricstraining.com

Good for: anyone who loves music! You type the words to songs you hear, so you definitely exercise your listening skills.

Yokee Karaoke (App)

Good for: anyone who loves singing! Of course, it’s also a killer tool for improving your pronunciation in a fun way! I’m trying to learn “Andalouse” by Kendji Girac, and though I’m not the best singer, I enjoy it very much. 🙂 

 

Youtube

I’ve always loved Youtube and I always will. Since I’ve stumbled upon its educational side thanks to John Green, I’ve been using it to become smarter, and honestly… this is probably one of my favorite ways of learning. I decided to give it a try with languages too, and it works very well for me. Below there’s a list of 6 channels for French learners that you might like:

Comme une Française

Good for: everyone who is interested in French culture. You can find out how not to behave in France or what kind of candy French people like to buy, to name a few topics discussed on the channel. With new videos every week,  it’s a nice addition to a learning routine, plus the host is pretty amazing, too.

Alexa Polidoro

Good for: learning grammar. Alexa’s channel is full of many useful videos, including vocabulary ones, but grammar videos probably make her stand out the most. She has published tons of them, so her channel’s definitely helpful when it comes to grammar learning. She has also made a great playlist for learning French pronunciation. Definitely worth subscribing!

French from beginners to advanced

Good for: everything and for every French learner. This channel is just so full of learning material that it’s good for everything. Grammar, vocabulary – everything you could wish for… you’ll find there! Honestly speaking it’s probably one of the best language channels on Youtube if it not the best one. The amount of free material is just outstanding. A+ isn’t enough to rate it.

Francais Authentique

Good for: improving your listening skills and getting used to “authentic” French. It’s not exactly suitable for beginners since it’s only in French, but advanced and intermediate speakers could make use of it, so this is why I decided to include it here. Beginners… we can save it for later – when we master French a little bit more!

Learn French with French Pod101.com

Good for: improving your listening skills and building up your vocabulary. With shorts videos published every week this Youtube channel can be a nice addition to a regular learning routine.

Francais avec Pierre

Good for: building up your vocabulary and comprehension skills. One of the nicest and most fun language channels out there.

Learn French with Pierre

Good for:  grammar practice, building up your vocabulary, enhancing your listening skills. 

Podcasts

As you might know, I strongly believe that podcasts are excellent resources for becoming smarter and learning in general. I subscribe to many podcasts and listen to them only daily basis. Since they also work for learning languages I thought I would share some of them with you! Note: I listen to them on my phone using PodcastAddict app, but you can also listen to podcasts online via links I provided in this post.

Language  orientated podcasts: vocabulary, grammar, listening, pronunciation 

Coffee Break French

Real life French: French for beginners

Learn French by Podcast

Learn French with daily podcasts

 

Language + Culture

French etc >> French songs

Talk in French podcast

Instagram

Instagram has been gaining popularity for some time now, and it is definitely here to stay. Aside from being an excellent resource for fashion, beauty, and fitness lovers… it’s also quite a nice platform for learning! Instagrams posts added to your timeline don’t take much time, but it’s always that one word you’ve seen or that one sentence you’ve stumbled upon and you’re ahead of yourself. You can also explore French culture on Instagram, and for me, it’s a great motivational tool!

Language: tips, vocabulary, grammar

French journal

It’s all about the French

French everyday

Lyra French

Talk in French

Frencheezee

Frenchlessons_Paris

All french grammar

French_by_Agathe

Culture & France in photos

French moments

Visit la France

Top France photo

 

Facebook

Facebook is probably the most powerful social network of today’s world, so its presence on my list doesn’t need any explanation. Of course, it’s a dangerous friend of procrastination, but if you don’t let it befriend you too much – it’s all good!

Language & Language tips

FluentU French

Learn French with French Today

Francisation

Culture

My French Neighbour

The Good Life France

Feels Like Home in Paris

 

That would be my full list of free French resources! I hope it will come handy to you. Let me know in comments what you think about the list and what would you add there – your feedback is always helpful! 🙂

What are your favourite ways to learn languages? What languages are you learning right now? I would love to hear your stories!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

 

 

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Early days of Paper Coffee Store & The Liebster Award

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is a little bit different  than usual and off my normal schedule, but it’s good – shaking our routines up from time to time gives life some spice! Scheduling spice, at least…. 🙂 I’m happy to tell you that  I was nominated for The Liebster Award by lovely Ashley from Ashley Lilly Blog. Thank you for the nomination, Ashley! Before I move on to The Liebster Award’s protocol, I thought I would share with you the origins of my blog and its name.

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I started the blog back in 2015. It was June, and I really felt the need to have something of my own. Something that would belong to me, and would bend under the pressure of my little thoughts just like wax. I am not constant with my feelings, desires, and hopes and I tend to scrap my projects before they have a chance to grow, so I didn’t really think it would last long. Normally, it never did. I had a blog when I was 12 or 13 and never wrote more than 2 posts. It didn’t really matter to me, though, since I needed to make something out of my enthusiasm. This is how I started my blog.

Everything comes alive when you name it. Names can consist of millions of shades and meanings. I was looking for something that would fit the idea of what I wanted to share with the world. The question was… what did I want to share with the world? At that time, the answer was… everything. I wanted to talk about millions of things I loved and hated, desired and avoided, and that’s when the cup of coffee gave me an idea. Back when I was still in high school, I used to meet in a cafe with my friend every Thursday. We called our meetings “Coffee Thursdays” and we were talking about everything and nothing for hours. Starting from profound truths of the universe, ending on what kind of dress would be perfect for the prom. This is what I wanted for my blog. The depth and everyday simplicity, everything and nothing, just as if I was talking to my friend in that little, lovely cafe. Since words have always been linked to paper and ink in my mind, I thought of the little, old-fashioned store with books and paper… You know, the kind that always enchants young romantics in the movies, and makes you feel like you are in the Wonderland… the kind of store that slowly dies out, replaced by cheaper, better-equipped shops on the other side of the street. I wanted people to feel  like they came to the old store like this, where they could enjoy words and find them helpful, just like coffee. Dots connected and voila… Paper Coffee Store came to life.

Now that you know my little story, let’s move on to… The Liebster Award! It always puts a smile on my face to write posts like this. It’s a pleasure to be nominated, Ashley! To find some great poetry, and more, head to Ashley’s blog Ashley Lilly Blog and show her some love! Thanks for the nomination, Ashley.

Six rules of The Liebster Award: 

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you
  2. Answer 11 questions the blogger gives you
  3. Write 11 facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 5+ other bloggers
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer
  6. Let them know you nominated them

Now it’s high time I answered Ashley’s questions…

1-What was your favorite childhood toy?

Oh boy, that’s a tough question, because I can’t remember liking any of my toys more than the other one! Maybe I did, but there’s no memory inside my head to confirm it. When I was 18, though, I bought a teddy tiger in the market, and I swear I love this toy very much. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit it, but my inner child’s still alive, and I have no regrets. I’ve always loved tigers and wanted to be like them: strong, proud to stand out, wild and not chained by opinions of other people. My Tiger Toy is my favorite tiger boy, and I admit it without shame!

2-Who is your role model?

My mom and my grandma – because of their kindness, Scott Francis Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway – because their words hold magic, Taylor Swift – because she knows how to turn negativity into Top 5 hit and can narrate a song well, John Green – because he makes education easier to access and that’s a beautiful way of making a change, Malala – because she fights for what she believes in, and every single strong woman, who doesn’t feel a need to justify herself, because this is who I want to be.

3-What gives you hope when you’re going through a hard time?

My family. My mom really stands by my side, even if she doesn’t understand why I feel the way I do or act a certain way. Also,  motivational videos, because they work for me. Most of all, though… walks. I really have to walk things out, very literally, to feel better. After every terrifying physics lesson in high school – the teacher was very scary inside the classroom – I had to walk home. I couldn’t take a bus because I was too anxious to do so, so I was just walking and walking, 5 or 6 kilometers, until I was home. Suddenly I felt better. Walking things out is still my best remedy.

4-What’s a random act of kindness you’ve witnessed or received?

One time I was late to the bus station, and when I caught the bus last minute and wanted to pay  for a ticket, the bus driver told me he only accepted coins. Sadly, I only had cash in larger nominals, so I couldn’t pay. The friendly lady sitting close to the driver gave me coins to pay for my ticket. It was definitely random, but an amazing act of kindness, since I didn’t have to wait 2 hours for another bus! Thank you, the friendly lady, I still remember.

5-If you could go on vacation with any famous person, who would it be?

If dead people count, then Fitzgerald because he’s my favorite writer! If only alive people count, then Nina Dobrev, because she always goes on these fun road trips, and that’s my idea of the perfect vacation!

6-What have you learned about yourself in the last year?

Mostly: I’ll never be picture perfect I’ve always wanted to be, but it’s okay. The second thing? I am scared more often than I would like to admit. I fear so many things that the list would never end if I made one. It’s okay to be afraid, as long as we conquer our little fears, though, and that’s what I’m doing now. One more thing: I’ve learned I can actually stay committed because the blog and I have been going less or more steady for a year now!

7-What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas! I can eat as much as I want, and spend so much time with my family! Also, I love buying presents. Getting presents feels nice, but the thrill of choosing presents for people I care about is something I love.

8-If you could have the power to turn into an animal, which animal would you choose?

Tiger. There could be no other answer. There is something gracious, yet dangerous about this animal. It’s strong, proud and doesn’t let fear rule his life. This is everything I aspire to be.

9-What used to scare you that you are no longer afraid of?

Failure, and the unknown. I can’t say I’m 100% unafraid of both of them, but I’ve made such a great progress that I could say I’m close to that. Also, I’m not scared of people leaving me anymore. People in my life changed, yet I’m still okay. 

10-Do you prefer having lots of alone time or lots of time with other people?

I’m an introvert, so me-time is what I need the most in my life.  I love being alone, just me, my thoughts and a cup of coffee. From time to time, I crave company, so I would say – everything in moderation.

11-What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?

Probably my social projects and… the fact I’ve got back on my feet and got my life together after everything was filled with darkness, self-doubt and restlessness when  the image of myself I created and wanted to live up to… broke crashed in two. 

Now 11 facts about me…

  1. I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m that kind of a girl, who wants to write love letters, dance in the rain, go stargazing to the local park and have a lovely lunch at midnight, just because stars never go out of style. I’ll do all of that when I find Gilbert to my Anne. Fingers crossed!
  2. My favorite song ever is “Crying Lightning”  by Arctic Monkeys. No other song speaks to me as much as this one. The 2nd and 3rd one would be “Vienna” by Billy Joel and “Same old love” by Selena Gomez.
  3. When I was 10 I wanted to be an archeologist.  After that I discovered writing and I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since.
  4. My dream travel destination’s Scotland! I fell in love with its raw beauty when I saw “Outlander” for the first time and I’ve been obsessed ever since.  P.s: “Simply Scottish” podcast is definitely too good to miss out on it!
  5. I struggle with anxiety and mood swings. Sometimes my mind turns against me and feeds on my fears. We’re slowly becoming friends now.
  6. I am easily smitten by people, places or things. I can easily become fascinated with something or somebody,  but  it usually fades away quickly.
  7. I love English! Its words, sounds, the way it flows – English’s magical to me.
  8. I asked a stranger (at that time) to be my date for the prom party because  he reminded me of a book character… Yes, I’m obsessed with books. 😀 P.s: he agreed!
  9. I want to be a polyglot! Languages on my list? French, Spanish and Arabic!
  10. I’ve always wanted to be a witch. Magical powers all the way!
  11. One time somebody told me I reminded them of Hermione and I couldn’t have been happier! Also, one of my college friends told me I reminded them of Cassie from Skins. Since I never watched the series, I can’t tell much about it, but I hope she wasn’t terrible. 😀

Since I answered all of the questions, it’s time I introduced you, my  lovely nominees!

  1. Modern Day Girl Blog
  2. Oh Dear Deer
  3. My World As You See It
  4. Finding Montauk
  5. Does This Make Me A Blogger

My questions for them are:

  1. If you could travel in time… would you and if so, what would be your first travel?
  2. How did you come up with an idea for your blog’s name?
  3. Would you rather win 100000$ or meet aliens?
  4. What’s your favorite past time?
  5. Who did you want to be when you were a child?
  6. What couldn’t you just live without?
  7. Who do you admire?
  8. What was the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen somebody do?
  9. Your motto?
  10. What makes you happy?
  11. How would describe your life in one sentence?

That would be all for today. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

Best wishes,

Jessie

 

The Mind Zone: Why gratitude is magic

There are days when everything becomes bleak and hopeless. The rain feels like hailing, people are overly rude in the store and you’ve just destroyed your favorite pair of shoes.  You start to think “wait, my life sucks” and suddenly the chances of having a good day are gone. Sounds familiar? It used to happen to me quite often, and I couldn’t do anything, but agree to give all my joy away. At least I thought I couldn’t. Turns out I was wrong. We can train our minds just like we can our bodies, and it makes  us a force to be reckoned with in The Game of Good Days.

I can say from my own experience that gratitude is one of the easiest ways to feel instantly better about everything in our lives.  If you want to discover magic, let yourself discover gratitude! More about gratitude, how to befriend it and why it’s worth it, below! 🙂

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First of all, it’s very easy to overlook good things happening in our lives. Why? We get used to them, and negativity draws more attention. Maybe that is human nature. Seldom do they report good news on TV –  they report accidents, tragedies, and drama: they all sell more. This is why it’s not difficult to fall victim to negativity, become a serial complainer and forget  about good things in our lives. Here are 3 reasons why I think gratitude is magic…

  • It gives you a new perspective on things

Let’s say Jane Doe thought  “Oh well, I am a failure because I didn’t pass one exam and I don’t really have much money in my wallet”. She brings herself down and comes to one conclusion: “my life is terrible”. She may be – must be! – in a bad mood after all these thoughts. If Jane only reminded herself “Well, I can retake my exam, and there’s a yummy cupcake in my refrigerator. Oh and my sister’s coming soon, we’ll have so much fun!” she would be probably having a pretty good day. Why? Well,  despite some unpleasant things happening there was still something nice to look forward to, to be grateful for. See –  gratitude’s a game changer because it shifts your focus from negativity to positivity.

  • The idea behind it is not complicated

You don’t need to know any specific techniques to make it work. You just need to think about things you are grateful for. You can make a list out of them in your notebook or phone, but you could also leave them just inside your head if it works better for you. Personally, I would recommend you to do lists, though. Somehow the written word seems to hold more power to it. Plus, you won’t forget it.

  • It’s a game changer but  doesn’t cost a penny

The gratitude treatment won’t leave you broke because it doesn’t cost a penny. It just takes a little bit effort to change your thoughts and your attitude. Also, there are many free apps for daily guidance, if you need one. Wouldn’t it be good to change your thoughts by changing your perspective? My answer would be YES!

 

Now, let me mention the app I use for gratitude exercises. Yes, I called them exercises, because your mind’s also a muscle, perhaps even more demanding than your regular muscles, too.   The app is called “Bliss” and you can download it for free. It is handy for more than gratitude, though. Some of its sections are called: “Best possible future”, “Gratitude Exercises”, “Could be worse”, “Honoring people”, “Three Good things” and “Transforming Problems”. If I were to rate it, it easily gets 5 from me! 🙂 

What about you? What are your favorite ways to make your day better? Do you practice gratitude? Let me know in comments, I would be happy to hear more about you! 

See you next week in The Language Zone! Have a lovely week, guys. 🙂

Yours truly, 

Jessie

Smarter every day: simplistic and powerful growth with Anki, Youtube and podcasts

Hello, guys! How have you been doing? Myself I’ve been doing fine, aside from forgetting about deadlines once again! Today’s post belong to the past week, so let’s pretend it’s just another time traveller… from the past this time! 😉 the First week of the month is all about getting smarter. This time. It could change, but as I mentioned in the last post my blogging schedule will look like this:

  1. Smarter every day: new hacks on how to get smarter
  2. Mind zone: training your mind to have your back
  3. Language zone: language learning progress and tips
  4. Favorites of the month: Books, movies, music, podcasts & apps
  5. Culture corner Welcome to Poland (extra post published from time to time) 🙂 

What do you think about it? The last idea came to me a few days ago, since I would like people to know more about Poland. If you read it, I’ll be happy that somebody noticed my home country, and you will be culturally smarter. Win-win, right? Anyway, becoming smarter intellectually, culturally and emotionally is all Paper coffee store is about, so if you also seek to constantly upgrade yourself against fear, anxiety and doubt… you’re in the right place! What would you say for a little catch phrase? For example:  Smarten it up inside and out  against anxiety and doubt! Are you in or not so much? Let me know in comments, please! Now, coming straight to the point… let me introduce you to the new post of the “Smarter every day” series – Simplistic and powerful growth with Anki, Youtube, and podcasts! Let the journey begin…

Blog title- 05.06.2016 - Smarter every day-

Anki, Youtube, podcasts… You have probably heard at least about one of these things. I won’t swear by my life  that I’m right, but you might be wondering: why did she even include Youtube? Doesn’t she know Youtube’s one of the biggest villains on the procrastination scene? Does she know how easy it is to spend watching cats on Youtube? Yup, I know. Been there, done that. See, Youtube’s a very interesting player in that internet competition, because aside from being a productivity villain, it also happens to be one of the biggest educational heroes out there.  If you know here to look it can teach you anything you want. Below you can find links to some of the most wonderful learning channels  on Youtube I’ve ever come across! If you want to know my detailed opinion on some of them, you can read the post about my favorite learning channels I wrote back in October 2015.

Science

It’s Okay To Be Smart

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Gross science

Physics girl

Smarter every day

SciShow Space

PBS Space Time

Animals and nature in general

Animalogic

BBC Earth

Deep Look

General knowledge / cover many subjects

The Brain Scoop

Crash Course

TED-Ed

Psychology

Braincraft

Geography

Wonder Why

Art

The Art Assignment

Philosophy 

Philosophy Tube

Soft skills

Charisma on Command

That would be all for Youtube’s appearance in this post. I think you might really like some of the channels I listed if you give them a try! 

Now, let’s talk about Anki. Anki’s both an app and a program designed for flash cards. It’s very minimalistic and doesn’t need an internet connection to work so it’s perfect for those of us, who aren’t connected to the web all the time or have just hit the connection limit. Of course, you can always download your Memrise board, but these are big files as opposed to Anki files. You can download flashcards on many subjects, including languages, history or geography. Flashcards are made by users, so you can see the way other learners study. Also, you can make your own sets of flashcards very easily. I really like Anki, and even though I adore Memrise very much I must say Anki’s just better for some occasions.  It beats Memrise when you have no access to the internet, or your battery’s low and you don’t want it to die fast. I use both, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Additional note: it’s free, and can be used across various devices. 

When it comes to podcasts I posted about them recently (Podcast your way up easily ), but I felt like I needed to mention it again, since podcasts are excellent resources to get smarter intellectually, culturally and emotionally. Today I listened to the brilliant podcasts about the problem of rapes during dates. The podcast included the interview with somebody who wants to raise awareness about the problem. It lasted only 9 minutes, but I felt like I really got to know something new. The podcast’s name is “Witness” and it’s by BBC. If you’re interested, the episode’s name is “Date Rape”. BBC’s documentary called “Target: Tolo TV” also made a big impression on me. It allowed me to think again about how lucky I am to live in a peaceful country, far away from war or violence zones. Again, the podcast’s name just “The Documentary”. I would really recommend you to listen to their podcasts, they’re wonderful.

That would be all for today. Thank you for your support! Every view, comment, follow means a lot to me. May force be with you!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie