The Best Books and Textbooks to Learn French

By OptiLingo • 8 minute read

The best books and textbooks to learn French for any level

Best Books to Learn French

Textbooks are amazing when you’re learning a language. They can organize your lessons, and guide your language learning journey. But, some can be very boring and repetitive. It’s crucial to have fun and engaging lessons, so you need the best textbooks to learn French. Here are some recommendations for the best books and textbooks to learn French for any level. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced student, you’ll surely find a great French textbook here for self-study.

Why Use the Best French Textbook for Self-study?

There’s a lot of amazing language learning technology out there today. So, textbooks may seem like an out-of-date method to learn French. But, you need a combination of different materials to successfully reach French fluency. It’s best to have reliable textbooks and a convenient app together. Watch films, listen to podcasts, and read the news in French to have a well-rounded education.

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  1. It teaches you useful words and phrases.
  2. Presented in a natural, everyday context.
  3. Spaced out over time, so you absorb your new language organically.
  4. It’s kind of like learning the words to your new favorite song!

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Advantages of French Textbooks:

  • Grammar: French grammar is certainly a handful. The best books and textbooks can help you learn French grammar effortlessly. There are also specific grammar books at the end of this list, which are especially great to tackle sentence structures or verb tenses in French.
  • Dialogues: If you want to read French dialogues, many textbooks have them as examples to introduce new vocabulary. You can even practice your pronunciation by reading them out loud.
  • Vocabulary: Find useful vocabulary lists in French books and textbooks.
  • Practice: The best French textbooks contain exercises too. You can use these to boost your French language skills. Whether it’s a multiple-choice or fill-in-the-gaps kind of questionnaire, they’ll definitely help you master French.
  • Cultural context: French culture is wonderful. Get to know various aspects of francophone life through great French textbooks.
  • Exam preparation: If you want to pass an exam in French, only the best textbooks can reliably guide you through the test.

learn french with textbooks

Best Books to Learn French for Beginners

As a beginner, having an excellent textbook is essential. A wrong start to your language learning journey could deter you, which is the worst that can happen. The following books give you a solid foundation for the language. They cover basic rules and vocabulary, so you can start speaking the language fluently.

1. Entre Amis

This textbook is not just visually appealing. It’s also interactive, so you can count on engaging lessons with this one. Most of the lessons focus on communication and interactions, so it’s great if you can study with someone else. It also gives great vocabulary for everyday situations. This makes it one of the best books to learn French for beginners.

Enter amis is a great french language book

Check out Entre Amis by Michael D. Oates.

2. Easy French Step-by-step

This French textbook is one of the bestsellers in the French language education section on Amazon. It’s a truly well-constructed French book. You can learn over 300 verbs with this, and they’re even organized by priority. You learn the most essential vocabulary first. If you’re looking for a reliable framework, this is one of the best French textbooks for beginners.

easy french step by step guide book

Check out Easy French Step-by-step by Myrna Bell Rochester.

3. Contacts: Langue et culture françaises

This is an overall perfect textbook for French learners. Along with helpful vocabulary with built-in dictionary features, this book also has audio guides. Improve your listening skills simultaneously. And, most importantly, it also introduces you to French culture, which is an essential part of learning the language.

learn french easily with this book

Check out Contacts: Langue et culture françaises.

Best Book to Learn French for Intermediate Students

If you’ve already gained some French knowledge, but you’re not quite there yet, you should check out these intermediate-level French books. They can help you continue your studies, and bring you to the next level of French fluency.

1. En bonne forme

This is the perfect vocabulary book for French intermediate learners. Learn everyday French expressions and common slangs. It thoroughly explains complicated sentences and gives you useful advice to learn French. 

good intermediate french book

Check out En Bonne Forme.

2. Mise en scène: Cinéma et Lecture

If you’re learning French to watch French films, this is the perfect book for you. French cinema defined international film history. Learn about French films and related texts to deepen your love for the language. You can also learn a lot about French culture with this book.

learn french with films

Check out Mise en scène: Cinéma et Lecture.

3. Moments Litteraires: An Anthology for Intermediate French

If you struggle with the nuances with French grammar, this is the best book for you to learn from. Improve your vocabulary with a book specifically designed for intermediate students. Learning French will become much more enjoyable with this book. And, if you appreciate French art, even better. This book also introduces you to the most important works of French art.

learn french with these best books

Check out Moments Litteraires: An Anthology for Intermediate French.

Great Books for Advanced French Learners

You’re probably fairly fluent by this point. But, if you feel like there’s room to improve, these French textbooks are the best to learn for you.

1. Le Bon Usage by M. Grevisse

This book is the ultimate example of French textbooks. It was originally published in 1936 and has been updated continuously. The staggering 1600 pages long beast of a textbook covers everything an advanced student needs to become completely fluent in French.

advanced french textbooks can help you perfect your fluency

Check out Le Bon Usage.

2. Advanced French Grammar

If you feel like French grammar never seems to end, don’t worry. This French textbook breaks down even the most complicated concepts for you. Designed for English native speakers, it’s the perfect addition to advanced French learners.

advanced French books are the best to learn French with

Check out Advanced French Grammar.

3. Short Stories in French: New Penguin Parallel Text

This is one of the best books to learn advanced French from. It features interesting French short stories. But, its greatest feature is the parallel text. One page is in French, the other is the English translation. So, you can find out the meaning of unfamiliar French words immediately. Have fun, and enhance your reading skills in French.

English French parallel short stories

Check out Short Stories in French by Penguin.

Other Useful Books to Learn French

If French textbooks aren’t your thing, don’t worry. These French books are the best to learn with without feeling like you’re in a classroom. They’re suitable to all levels, so feel free have a read regardless of your current fluency.

1. Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach

If you’ve been a French learner for several years and haven’t had a lot of language experience, but you’ve come to an end with a lot of grammatical knowledge, then you’re possibly searching for some additional vocabulary assistance. This book provides more than 5,000 phrases and words, all structured by concept, to allow it more comfortable and easier to digest.

french vocabulary book

Check out Mastering French Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach.

2. 501 French Verbs

The title of this French book says it all. It features 501 French verbs, with conjugations and grammatical rules. No matter what your French fluency level is, this book will always be helpful. Whether you’re looking for the correct conjugation or you want to enhance your vocabulary, this is the best book to learn French verbs.

learn about french verbs from this book

Check out 501 French Verbs.

3. Exercises in French Phonics

If you’re looking to practice your pronunciation, this is the best French book for that. Learn everything there is to know about improving your accent and build your speaking skills. It’s a wonderfully versatile book that you can take while you’re on all your French-speaking journeys.

Learn about French pronunciation

Check out Exercises in French Phonics.

4. Larousse French-English Dictionary

Every French learner needs a good dictionary. While Google Translate is readily available online, if you prefer to have a physical copy of a French to English dictionary, this is a great one. 

french english dictionary

Check out Larousse French-English Dictionary.

Complement Your French Books with an App

Of course, you shouldn’t learn French from just a book. You need to mix up your French lessons. And most importantly, you need to speak the language to reach fluency. Otherwise, you’ll be proficient, but you’ll never have a conversation with a French local. If you want to practice your pronunciation while enhancing your vocabulary, you should download OptiLingo.

This language learning app uses the best language learning methods. It gives you the highest frequency phrases, so you learn exactly how the locals speak. And it also gives you a platform to practice your vocabulary easily. Build up your speaking confidence in French, and develop your fluency faster. That’s the quickest way you can learn French. Download the OptiLingo today to fast-track your studies!