The Best Books to Learn French in 2022

Apps are great, but so are textbooks

Claire Handscombe
7 min readJan 3, 2022


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Are you planning to learn French in 2022? Or maybe dust off your rusty knowledge? Apps like Babbel and Duolingo are great, but for many, they’re not enough on their own. Or maybe you enjoy the analog method of textbook and pen. (And there’s evidence that writing out new knowledge by hand can help with learning.) But there are a lot of books for learning French on the market; so how do you pick one? From my years of experience as a language tutor and language learner, here are my recommendations.

Where to Get Books for Learning French

Many of the books mentioned here are available via Blackwell's, which ships worldwide. (The book covers are sometimes a little fuzzy on the site, but they are a reputable chain and very reliable for overseas delivery, so have no fear!)

Grant & Cutler is the UK’s largest foreign language bookstore, and they really know their stuff, so you can get good advice from them as well as ordering the books mentioned here.

For harder-to-find or older books, you might want to check out Thrift Books.

If you want to support independent bookshops, you can find many of the books mentioned here on these lists: Bookshop UK / Bookshop US.

Best All-Around Textbook for Learning French as a Beginner

If you’re looking for one good all-rounder of a book for self-study, I highly recommend Colloquial French. It’s user friendly, explains grammar in an accessible way, and showcases the use of language through real-world-style dialogues. There are great exercises to help you progress steadily and incrementally as well as pointers on French culture, and there’s a glossary at the back. And when you’re ready, there’s even a Book 2.

Friendliest Course for Adult Learners of French

A friendly course for adults which I’ve used a lot to tutor adults is Façon de Parler. There’s a text book (both beginner and intermediate), accompanying audio, and extra exercises in companion workbooks. If you use all the resources, it can be a great, effective tool for learning French. It errs on the…



Claire Handscombe

Editor of WALK WITH US: How the West Wing Changed Our Lives; author of the novel UNSCRIPTED and of CONQUERING BABEL: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language.