12 compelling benefits of learning French

The Benefits of learning French include much more than trips to Paris

Share This Post

The language of Moliere remains one of the most-studied languages globally, centuries after the playwright dazzled royal courts and the world with its elegance. The benefits of learning French are legion, but some stand out and explain the enduring appeal.

We’ve pieced together the stats, opportunities, and benefits of learning French into one post that spotlights why it remains the language of choice for millions of language students.

6 reasons the French language is globally important

We explored in a separate post how learning a language — any language — can stimulate creativity, improve decision-making and academic performance, delay dementia, and even boost sex appeal! 

But what about the benefits of learning French specifically? Could any language be sexier?

We’ve pulled together 6 facts that underline why the language of amour remains relevant on the global stage.

#1 Connect with 321 million French speakers

Like counting fromage varieties, estimates of global French speakers vary from source to source. The Francophonie Organization put the upper limit at 321 million French speakers, with around 220 million using it as a second language.

Those numbers make France the fifth most spoken global language, creating opportunities to parle français on every continent.

Learning French will open doors in 39 countries
Underlying lk, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

#2 French is an official language in 29 countries

321 million is possible because French is the primary language in 13 countries and the co-official language in another 16.

That’s a cross-continental mix that includes France and neighbouring countries, sub-Saharan Africa, and pockets from Asia to South America. Even a slither of Antarctica speaks French at the Dumont d’Urville research station.

Colonial legacies mean that outside the official list, you’ll see the benefits of learning French in the following countries, where the language is ingrained in local culture, taught in schools, and still used by officials:

  1. Algeria          
  2. Cambodia    
  3. Laos   
  4. Lebanon       
  5. Mali   
  6. Mauritania   
  7. Mauritius     
  8. Morocco      
  9. Tunisia          
  10. Vietnam

Via the magic of numbered bullet points, we can deduce that one of the biggest benefits of learning French is the chance to work or travel experience in at least 39 countries.

You can even add the British capital to that list; once dubbed France’s sixth-biggest city, French residents in London have literally headed south post-Brexit, but an estimated 260,000 still call the Big Smoke home.

#3 French speakers are on the up

You may be surprised that data models predict French is moving up the global league tables. Far from yesterday’s language, the descendant of Vulgar Latin will leapfrog Spanish and Hindu to become the planet’s third language.

How? The number of French speakers in Africa is growing fast

French is spoken in 21 of 54 African nations. French speakers in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2023 metro population: 16.3 million), vastly outnumber French speakers in Paris (2023 metro population: 11.2 million). 

Perhaps a more startling fact is that of the 15 most populous cities where French is the first language, only Paris has a French postcode. 

With birth rates rising in most cities on the list, those figures elevate the benefits of learning French, as it will remain a vital language for generations.   

olympic games 6314253 1920

#4 French is a lingua franca at international organizations

The benefits of learning French extend beyond national borders to just about every global institution that matters. English might dominate, but French remains a vital language of trade, diplomacy, and international politics.

Here are a few major international organizations keeping French translators in work:

The European Union (AKA Union européenne)

The United Nations (Les Nations Unies)


World Trade Organisation (Organisation Mondiale du Commerce)


The Olympics Committee (Le Comité Olympique)

The International Red Cross

Helping change the world one acronym at a time, Wikipedia details 95 different international bodies that still officially use French.

Not content with sharing the Eurovision Song Contest (AKA Concours Eurovision de la Chanson), the wily French government has talked up replacing English with French as the primary language of the European Union post-Brexit. Nul points from across Europe, no doubt. But watch this space…France may yet win the big prize, adding another layer to the unique benefits of learning French.

paper 3340641 1920

#5 Learning French is still an academic staple 

The relevance and benefits of learning French is underscored by data showing that it is the second or third most studied language globally. Despite shifting global power and influence, millions of students still reach for their Larousse dictionary and struggle with a rolling R sound. 

In Europe and the US, only Spanish and English are taught more (read about the benefits of learning Spanish). While English has steamed ahead as the most sought-after second language by a huge margin, you’ll still be joining a club of millions with access to vast learning resources (many free) and diverse community support. 

#6 French is easy to learn

One of the overlooked benefits of learning French is that you’ll be swimming in a deep pool of fellow learners, with access to some amazing educational tools. Even so, the notion that learning French is easy might seem laughable when tripping over conjugations or comprehending why après-midi is both masculine and feminine.

Yet, according to the US Department of State, who knows a thing or two about training diplomats, one of the key benefits of learning French is that its comparatively easy for English speakers. Similar to Germanic and other Romance languages and understandably less challenging than dialects with different alphabets. 

Pas de surprise with estimates (estimations) that 45% of English vocabulary (vocabulaire) is derived (dérivé) from French. Bracket overkill illustrates the point. 

It all goes back to 1066 when William the Conqueror set sail across the English Channel and landed one in the eye of King Harold and the English language, killing Old English at the same time.

If you’re ready to rewrite your destiny, our free flashcards can kickstart your language-learning journey today.

Learn French to live and work in Paris

6 leading motivations for French learners

The stats may account for why learning French remains relevant on the global stage. But it doesn’t paint the picture with colour or illuminate the motivations for students who could opt for another language.

Reasons may be personal or practical, but there are at least 6 ways that learning French offers opportunities unique to la langue française.

#1 The benefits of learning French for work and travel

France is the 6th largest economy in the world, the land of joie de vivre, where work-life balance and quality of life are up with the best.

From gallic cuisine to the rich artistic heritage across a landscape peppered with castles and pretty villages to the alluring lights of Paris, it’s abundantly clear why France is the most-visited country on the planet. For many students, it’s the one of the ultimate benefits of learning French.

Contrary to stereotype, residents of l’hexagon appreciate conversing with visitors who want to practice what they’ve learned. Even Parisians…mostly. 

Just below France in the immigration-by-country table is Canada. Montreal, the capital of French-speaking Quebec, is often ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world

Aside from the number one tourist destination and most liveable city, there are 38 other countries where French is used locally (we listed them above).

That’s an epic world tour waiting to happen. And Brussels – we take that back, Brussels has character. Although making jokes about Belgium will instantly make you sound more French!

With 43% of British students in a Guardian survey reporting they study a language for better job prospects abroad, among the benefits of learning French is gaining a linguistic passport to a world of opportunity.

Learning French is the key to studying in France

#2 Study at French Universities

The birthplace of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and dozens of intellectual titans is home to many excellent French universities for international students.

That’s unlikely to change soon. 2024 QS figures rank 16 French universities among the world’s top 500, with two in the top 50.

The rewards of studying abroad are only enhanced by dreams of exam cramming in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and sipping coffee in the intellectual milieu on the Left Bank.

There’s another big incentive for learning French: it can be extremely cheap to study in France and almost free for EU students.

#3 Pump up your income with French as a second language

Now we’re talking! A mountain of evidence shows that multilingual workers earn more, and French is one of the top five earners. One report suggests up to a 15% pay bump, which might pay for that trip to Paris.

If no amount of money will keep you in your current job, studies also reveal bilingualists are more employable and mobile in the job market. It’s perhaps one of the least known benefits of learning French, but potentially one of the most rewarding. And satisfying, as it could be less financially ruinous to tell your boss where to go in at least two languages. 

Understanding haute cusine is one of those  unique benefits of learning French

#4 French is the language of gastronomy

This might not be one of the most important benefits of learning French. But if food fires your wanderlust, France is a dream destination.

Where better to savour French culinary delights and put your French to use than Paris? The answer is Lyon, the actual culinary capital of France. Or you could impress the waiter at your local French restaurant and make the dining experience as rich as the mother sauces.

France defined the art of haute cuisine and rewrote the language of gastronomy. From chef to restaurant, entrée to dessert, culinary savoir-faire is all French.

Enjoy Gallic cinema as one of the benefits of learning French

#5 Immerse yourself in French arts and media

France treads its own path in the arts, leaving a sizeable cultural footprint. But something is often lost in translation. 

Forget dodgy subtitles and out-of-sync voice dubbing, the benefits of learning French is the chance explore an expansive world of gallic cinema and TV

Not to mention the colourful diversity of French music, where the lyrics are often part of the poetry. 

While many of France’s literary greats have been translated into English, hearing the voices of Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, or Alexandre Dumas as they intended makes learning French a joy. 

That’s merely the tip of a French media iceberg that extends across continents and genres, all more accessible if you speak the lingo.   

#6 French is fun to learn

We mentioned earlier that among the leading benefits of learning French is that it’s a natural stepping stone for English speakers, with shorter paths to fluency than most languages.

We’ve also explored how French can facilitate working abroad, unforgettable travel, and enliven personal interests.

But as a long-forgotten 1983 ZX Spectrum game put it, “French is fun.” The irony was lost with an immeasurably tedious game. But like many technological predictions of the 80s, they were onto something.

Today, the benefits of learning French is an ever-expanding universe of learning resources, free apps, online lessons, forums, and a vibrant community with the same goals. Above all, you can share experiences with millions taking up the language annually. No need for the irony; learning French today is actually fun. If you want to test that claim, our Anki flashcards will make the point better than we can.

Bonne chance dans tes études!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Don't miss out on any new French Lessons! You will also get a free copy of our graphical overview of all French Verb Tenses!

More To Explore

Do You have any feedback? let me know!

I would love to know how I can make learning Languages easier for you