Welcome to the resources section, a curated list of the tools and websites I strongly recommend for anyone interested in living or travelling to France. Many of the resources listed here are crucial to my life in France (or were crucial to getting to France). Click on the resource you are interested in the table of contents below or scroll down to see them all in one go. This list is a work in progress.
French Pod 101
French Pod 101- is an online learning system and community geared slightly more for beginners. However, it has enough intermediate and advanced content to keep you busy as you progress from beginner to more advanced. There are over 800 video lessons, an online forum - community, vocabulary learning tools and an awesome mobile app. 3 Monthly Membership Levels exist- ($4-$10-$23 / Month)
Rocket French is probably one of the most well thought out, comprehensive products I have seen. There are interactive audio lessons, tests for writing skills, voice pronunciation recording, flash cards and progress tracking. Plus it also has a mobile app. You can try a fully functioning version for 6 days for FREE. ($99 for beginner level and Lifetime Access)
Frantastique is a little different than most French learning course because it's an e-mail prompted course. Everyday you receive a lesson in your e-mail in box- audio, video & text exercises. The lessons take about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. There are conjugaison tests to help too. The interesting thing is that it adapts itself to your French speaking. If you do well on the tests and questions, it knows to automatically send you more advanced lessons next time to send you review review material to help you get stronger in those areas where you need help. There is a course for adults and children and a mobile app. (Different membership plans $21-$81 / Month)
Short & Long Term Housing
Stay With A Local
Homestay is an international platform created in 2013 for travellers who want a more cultural, educational travel experience by staying with local hosts who rent out part of their home or room. (Hosts are present at the home for the entirety of the guest's stay.) The site works by allowing you to contact hosts to request to stay with them. The host can accept or deny your request. There are user reviews, photographs and a mobile app.
If you are interested in becoming a host you can sign up as one here.
Search worldwide to find the best price hostel in one place
Hostelz.com is a HUGE time saver because It is one of the few website that let's you do price comparison shopping on hostels worldwide that pulls in inventory from other sites (including Hostelworld, Booking.com and a few others) so you can see where to get the lowest prices all in one place. Search by price or search by country. The site also lists hotel contact info, has photographs and user reviews of the good, bad and the ugly so you
Rent a house, a room, a chalet, a boat, a guest house......
AirBnb is my most favourite site to use for finding accommodations around the world. It allows hosts to rent out their entire house, apartment or just a room to would-be travellers. It's a win win situation. Locals make a little money renting their home out to you and you save a ton of money. I usually rent a whole house rather than just a room because I usually travel as a family with my kids. Having a whole house means we have more space to spread out and we can make use of the kitchen for when we don't want to eat out. Like at breakfast or on rainy days. I always check out the photos and read the reviews of a potential house. It allows me to get feedback from other users who have stayed their. For instance I once found a great place to stay in Barcelona only to read the reviews to find out that the place had no internet or wifi (something crucial to me when I travel).
Rent A House Or Just A Room
Homeaway works pretty much the same way as AirBnb. Simply enter your travel dates and desired location. After you’ve found the perfect property, contact the listing owner. If they accept your dates, you can pay securely online. The majority of the accommodations on the site are permanent rentals( meaning they are full time rentals, not someone who wants to rent their house while they are away on vacation).
One stop shop accommodations
Booking.com is my go-to site for researching the best deals on any kind of accommodations worldwide. I usually use this in conjunction with AirBnB. What I love about Booking.com is you can find any, and I mean any type of accommodation on the site from hostels, home-stays and apartments to hotels, boats and campgrounds. You can also reserve the majority of listing on their site without a credit card and cancel within a specific amount of time for free which is great because if you can lock into a deal but if you want to see if you can find a better hotel or deal elsewhere you can. If you are stitching together multiple accommodations, you can have all your booking information in one spot (on their website after you login or on their phone app.) Really convenient!
Free Accommodations: House Sitting & Pet sitting
House sit in exchange for FREE accommodations anywhere in the world
House sitting is a service where you watch someones house, maybe water some plants or feed the owners pets in exchange for free accommodations. It's a WIN WIN for you and the home owner! Many house sitters join several services to increase the number of opportunities available to them. (Here are the popular ones)
HouseCarers.com has been around since 2000 and is one of the longer running house sitting sites. Simply sign up and start searching for house sitting opportunities world wide. There are a ton of opportunities to choose from. The trick is to find one in an area where you want to go, during the date which you can go. The site tends to have house sits mainly in Australia, USA and Canada but the site is growing rapidly. (About $ 50 USD per year.)
Trusted House Sitters
Nomador started in 2014 and is relatively new compared to the other more established sites and has the mos house sits available in France. The site is growing fast especially and is starting to get more opportunities for house sits in other parts of the world especially Australia. You can try out the site by applying for up to 3 house sits for free, after which time it costs 65 Euros per year or about $75 USD depending on the exchange rate.
Find and read English books abroad
English books are hard(ish) to find in France. If you do find an English bookstore, chances are they won't have a very expansive selection of books. I've been turning to audible books. They allow you to listen to your books while walking, working out, driving, cooking and at night with the lights turned out. You can try for free for 30 days. Audible Free Trial [Digital Membership.
Protect your data and watch blocked Streaming videos and TV shows abroad
If your using public internet while travelling (hotels, internet café, airports etc) than you may be putting your personal information at risk because anyone on that same network as you could potentially grab your un-encrypted data as it soars through the air. Credit card info, internet cookies and other identifying information are just waiting to be snatched up. A VPN protects you from these security issues. A VPN can also unblock some geo restricted sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other site which can only be viewed from the US. I wrote about this here
How To Buy From US Retailers Who Don't Ship Internationally And Save Money
SAVE UP TO 80% ON FAST, RELIABLE SHIPPING FROM U.S
Sometimes the items you want to buy either don't exist in France or they are much more expensive than they are in your home country so you turn to US retailers. But what if those US retailers only ship to US address -not to France. Enter MyUS.com. When you sign up, you use their address, they then turn around and ship the item to you. Bonus, you don't pay any sales tax.