Learning French as an Expat in the French Riviera

How can I learn French as an expat in France?

Have you decided to take the plunge and become an expat in France? Congratulations, it’s an excellent decision.

Living in France means living in a relatively protected environment, with a crime rate no higher than that of the United States – and even significantly lower, depending on the region – a healthcare system accessible to all, and a fairly high quality of life. 

What’s more, living on the Côte d’Azur adds to this list of advantages: almost constant sunshine (a free and unlimited source of vitamin D), a concentration of different landscapes ranging from the peaks of the Alps to the Mediterranean and the countryside with its rivers, lakes and forests. 

Once you’ve got over the culture shock – including the kissing, the wine at lunch and the salacious comments at work (which we’ll deal with in a later article) – becoming an expat in France is an immensely satisfying experience. Have you always dreamed of living in France? The dream is now a reality. 

But to be able to survive the bureaucracy (more than a culture shock, a kind of daily struggle), rent an apartment in France, buy a house in France, or simply to create a circle of friends and enjoy the good things you can experience as an expat in France, you need to learn French.


Alliance Française Nice Côte d'Azur


Founded in 1884 by the likes of Louis Pasteur and Jules Verne, the Alliance Française is a non-profit organization with three main missions: to promote the French language, encourage dialogue between cultures and spread French-speaking cultures.

For expats living on the Côte d’Azur, the Alliance Française offers two campuses: Grasse and Nice. The Alliance Française de Nice campus is located in the central Rue de Paris, right next to Avenue de Notre Dame and the shops of Nice Étoile. The 3,500 m² campus includes a media library with cinema, 14 classrooms and a student residence. Plus a café with terrace where Côte d’Azur expats can extend the pleasure of learning the French language.

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Côte d’Azur or a long-time expat in France, Alliance Française adapts to your level: super intensive or standard courses from A1 to C1.

To apply for a resident card : A2

To apply for nationality: B1

For access to the license: B2

To enter the Master’s programme: C1

FL workshops

Côte d’Azur expats will appreciate this school, nestled in the highly sought-after Libération district and housed in a charming little Provencal house with its own small garden. In addition to French courses for all levels, whether general or professional, this school also offers activities to be shared between expats of American, British or any other nationality. For example, this magnificent stay in Sospel, in the Menton hinterland.



French Institute

This school, founded in 1969, is located in a magnificent villa overlooking the sea. The school offers an immersive method, Total Approach, with group interaction, with the aim of learning French as quickly as possible. A truly French experience that Côte d’Azur expats are sure to appreciate. Language activities are diversified so that every student can immerse themselves in the different facets of French culture.

The Institut de français offers intensive, full-immersion courses lasting 2 to 4 weeks, 8.5 hours a day with breakfast, lunch discussion and tea. Minimum age: 21

The courses are aimed primarily at executives from large companies, diplomats and international civil servants.


Campus International de Cannes

Expats living in Cannes can learn French at this private school founded in 1931 by Paul Valéry. In addition to FLE French courses, the school offers a wide range of training courses for professionals, such as public speaking, stress management, conflict management and French hospitality.

If you own a property in Cannes you can join Cannes University French evening classes (all levels) for the whole year.
See Cannes University website 

Campus Riera International

This school offers personalized French courses at all levels. Campus Riera International offers all-inclusive language courses, accommodation and excursions. In addition to general French courses, we also offer courses for specific needs: business, oenology, diplomacy, gastronomy, etc.


French Riviera Ex Pat Services

Patricia Pedrizzi is passionate about passing on her knowledge. Bilingual secretary for a company in Marseille, she is now a French teacher like no other. In addition to assisting expats on the Côte d’Azur with their administrative formalities, Patricia offers French courses that are totally immersive and fun! For example, cooking classes to learn French and improve your skills as a chef. Starting with raw materials, with a trip to the vegetable market.

Last but not least : Patricia also give some clues about the French culture, the dos and don’ts for a better integration.


En scène: French lessons through theater

Have you always dreamed of taking to the stage and wowing the crowds? 

You can do it while learning French! 

ScriptaManent non profit organization offers an acting course for Côte d’Azur expats of all nationalities who want to learn French while having fun and discovering the great classics of French theater. 

Once a week, 15 budding actors rehearse their texts together, learning voice and body language under the guidance of the association’s president, Patricia Soda, who has directed and co-directed a small theater in Vieux Nice. 

A journey into the depths of the French language, and a fun way to learn more about French culture. And in summer, the spotlight is on: our actor-expats perform in front of a real audience in a real theater! In addition to learning French, the expats also contribute to one of the causes supported by this non-profit association, such as the creation of a journalism workshop for young people from disadvantaged areas of Nice.

For further information: https://lesecritsrestent.org/

Mail: asso@lesecritsrestent.org

FB: https://www.facebook.com/assolesecritsrestent

In conclusion, if you’re an American expat, British expat or expat of any other nationality and you want to learn French, you’re spoilt for choice!