1. A world language
More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.
French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close on a million learners.
2. A language for the job market
The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and third-ranking destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
3. The language of culture
French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
4. A language for travel
France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
5. A language for higher education
Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world. Students with a good level of French are eligible for French government grants to enroll in postgraduate courses in France in the discipline of their choice and qualify for internationally recognised degrees.
6. The other language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.