Course for holiday french

Hi all

Can anyone recommend a course for learning holiday french?

The kind of things I’m after are phrases like “a table for four please”, “Can we park here?”, “How much is a train ticket to Paris?” etc.


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Maybe try Duolingo. Memrise is good for learning individual words or short phrases. Duolingo, on the other hand, is better for speaking, reading, writing, and listening to longer phrases. Hope I helped!

Ahh I’ve stopped using duolingo as, half way through the tree, telling someone they have a beautiful cat only helps so much.

There’s very little there as far as real world situations.


Have you tried memrise official courses French 1 etc?

A few years ago Memrise made a series of “hacking” courses well-suited to getting of to a fast start for holiday travel.
Start there for some quick functionality.

Other resources I recommend for travel are a Rough Guide pocket phrase book, and downloading the first several Pimsleur lessons.


Besides “Hacking French” there is Ben’s beginner course with 306 words/phrases/sentences available:

Probably the same beginner series like the other course “Learn Basic BR Portuguese” which I had finished in the beginning.

Personally I liked the mixture of 362 single words with a few phrases/sentences, playing around with some verb tenses, there probably even were some examples with more advanced stuff like Subjunctive (I am not sure…has been a longer time); IMHO a great introduction to a language when you totally start from scratch without being hit by a quite long CEFR Duolingo tree which might take you ~1,8-2,3 years to get through it.
The bonus are the available native MP3 recordings (no TTS) incl. sentences.

98 French phrases/sentences:


Wow, that was a long time ago…

Finally I have started with the suggested “Minimum Viable French” course from @BenWhately
Had a headstart with French (A1) for 1.0-1.75 years in 2022 on Busuu (written formal tips, grammar quizzes and practice) and 5-6 months on French (with the DE->FR volunteer course, not the ultra-long CEFR course from English by staff/contractors).

But with so many words and phrases missing their audio files I do not think that you can really work with it as a beginner if you do not use the Android mobile app and the “Select to Speak” Accessibility TTS feature.
The Memrise Android mobile app from 2023 IMHO is not really usable for REVIEWS of due word (too easy: multiple-choice, match audio files, tapping of word banks) so I’m only using it to learn NEW words (and gone is the 20 and 15 words setting).
And The above linked Tampermonkey userscript to enable TTS for missing audio files is gone with the new website rewrite.

Ben’s other “Learn Basic Brazilian Portuguese” course was great and I do not recall that any (363) words/phrases/sentences had so many audio files missing.

There is another “Learn Basic French” user-created community course available from user Murielmorgan:

It has 498 “words”.
Have not tried it.
Can’t say anything about the audio files.

In the English (UK) → French category you can find several “Hacking” or “Basic” courses with varying words count,

If you can’t find the right beginner / starter courses on Memrise (with audio files) you may want to go to and/or use phrasebook (which has separate MP3 audio downloads).

For Brazilian or European Portuguese I know that a Colloquial book 1 + 2 series exists where you can download the FREE audio from the Routledge website.
But I have not worked through those audio files and I also do not own the corresponding books. Have not tried them for French either (an audio-only French course won’t help much; you also need to be able to see the text in front of you so you can learn both for better memory).
Might be a bit overkill for a simple tourist / vacation visit if you do not want to step in any deeper.