French in Action: Cult Classic French Lessons from Yale (52 Episodes) Available Online

Dur­ing the 1980s, Pierre Capretz, a Yale pro­fes­sor, devel­oped French in Action, a French immer­sion pro­gram that fea­tured text­books, work­books, and a 52-episode tele­vi­sion series. Aired on PBS, the tele­vi­sion series gained a devot­ed fol­low­ing and, years lat­er, a 25th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion at Yale asked the ques­tion: Is it fair to say that French in Action now has a cult fol­low­ing?

You can watch French in Action for free online at the Annen­berg Learn­er web­site. (Scroll down the page to find the videos.) The pro­gram fol­lows the adven­tures of Robert Tay­lor, an Amer­i­can stu­dent, and Mireille Bel­leau, a young French woman. And each 30 minute episode pro­vides a con­text for learn­ing new words and expres­sions. (A cou­ple of episodes gen­er­at­ed a lit­tle con­tro­ver­sy, we should note.) The show is con­duct­ed entire­ly in French.

French in Action appears in our col­lec­tion of Free Lan­guage Lessons, which now offers primers in over 40 lan­guages, includ­ing Span­ish, Man­darin, Ital­ian and beyond.

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Comments (61)
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  • Ruben says:

    The free videos are only watch­able if you are in Unit­ed States or Cana­da :(

  • jennie w. says:

    Loved these videos. I still have my text­book that went along with the series. It was so scan­dalous to my high school self that Mireille would go bra­less!

  • Vicky says:

    @Ruben I believe that they are also avail­able via youtube. Maybe you can try see­ing them there.

  • Sean says:

    Only avail­able in US and Cana­da? So what the hell are you doing on the WORLD WIDE web?

  • Tormentilla says:

    Only avail­able for US and Cana­da users…

  • Gene says:

    This approach is not for every­one. They talk way too fast.

  • john doe says:

    put your FUCKERS pro­grams en in shit bath­room of your hous­es moth­er­fuck­ers

  • Derp says:

    Vicky, I could kiss you.

  • Parviz says:

    I love to learn French lan­guage a.s.a.p. and this is all I want to do.


  • germiles says:

    i just amor french in action espe­cial­ly mir­rielle, and her lit­tle sis, marie.oui,oui,loves and kiss­es

  • Bill Notgrass says:

    Tran­scripts of the lessons would help us to learn the lessons! At least it would give us an idea of the action.

  • Guest says:

    While not tran­scripts, you can buy the text­book and work­book, which are help­ful sup­ple­ments.

  • uneydr says:

    Can any­one tell me where to find the doc­u­ments need­ed to do some exer­cis­es? I have a pho­to­copied Tex­book & work­book, but aside from the sole main doc­u­ment at the end of the lessons, I can’t find the doc­u­ments 1A, 2 any­where :(

  • uneydr says:

    Can you tell me where to find the doc­u­ments need­ed to do some nex­er­cis­es? I have a pho­to­copied Tex­book & work­book, but aside from nthe sole main doc­u­ment at the end of the lessons, I can’t find the ndoc­u­ments 1A, 2 any­where :(

    • uneydr says:

      Thank you very much!nI thought they were in the Study Guide or some mate­ri­als that I could­n’t obtain. Seems like I have to give up on those exer­cis­es :/

  • jm says:

    Thanks for this. Great approach. And yes, I’m in love with Mireille

  • dave says:

    who­ev­er needs the tran­scripts, send me an email and I will glad­ly share this mag­nif­i­cent french course tran­script, so you will under­stand even more.

  • Mike says:

    Dave. I would like the tran­scripts. How do I email you.

  • Classis says:

    Dave, I, too, would love the tran­script as well. I found some of the trans­la­tions of some words/phrases (not ver­ba­tim) on what turned out to be an ad for, but I can’t find the remain­der 50 lessons. I think that was a tease just to get me to sign up. I am most grate­ful to you for send­ing what­ev­er you have. Many thanks.….

  • Patrick says:

    Hi Dave I would love the tran­scripts if you would­n’t mind send­ing them to me. I’m not sure how to find your email address??

  • Sue says:

    Just came across this dis­cus­sion. I remem­ber watch­ing French in Action in the 80s and would love the tran­scripts, if they’re still avail­able. Could some­one pro­vide the email address for Dave, please?

  • Rob says:

    The video has always been the heart of the course, but it isn’t the course at all!!! Each video is actu­al­ly the intro­duc­tion to that les­son. The real learn­ing comes when you fol­low the audio course. You MUST obtain the audio which, togeth­er with the text­book and 2 work­books, Part I and Part II, breaks down the lan­guage very effi­cient­ly and teach­es you all the con­struc­tions and gram­mar etc. AND, most impor­tant­ly, improves your ear to where you can make the tran­si­tion to real French pro­gram­ming, as I have. Used work­books and text­books can be pur­chased very inex­pen­sive­ly. The audio is worth every pen­ny, far bet­ter than a cou­ple years at uni­ver­si­ty. The best thing about French in Action is that it is authen­tic French, and also that it gives you all the nec­es­sary tools to actu­al­ly go to France, as I did, and talk intel­li­gent­ly. For instance, you will learn all about trans­porta­tion in France, some­thing that you will need!!!

  • Rob says:

    And just hav­ing the tran­scripts are not enough. There is no Eng­lish in French in Action, so you need the text­book, which gives you explaina­tions and car­toon visu­als which enable you to under­stand key con­struc­tions as you read. One of the foun­da­tions of French in Action is that trans­lat­ing can be a waste of time. Trans­late “Where the heck is she?”. You can’t, but you will learn the appro­prate con­struc­tion if you have the mate­ri­als and fol­low the course. And as I stat­ed above, it is the audio course that will get your ear the where you want it to be.

  • Brian says:

    Rob is cor­rect. I pur­chased the audio course for $200. This is after tak­ing a cou­ple of night terms using the book and work­book and watch­ing the videos. It helps tremen­dous­ly in train­ing the ear. One is able to go back and replay as many times as nec­es­sary so that the stu­dent can start speak­ing in phras­es rather than words.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Dave, I would appre­ci­ate the tran­scripts.

  • nacerguechtouli says:


  • Ann Fishman says:

    Can you down­load French in Action onto an iPac or Mac com­put­er?


  • Constance says:


  • ed digiambattista says:

    Annen­burg learn­ing offers the entire series and many more free.

  • ed digiambattista says:

    Annen­burg learn­ing offers the entire series and many more free.

    Dupli­cate com­ment? that’s ridiculous.I’ve nev­er post­ed here bev­fore on any top­ic.

    Screw it then.

  • Dan Colman says:


    We don’t own the rights to these mate­ri­als. We are sim­ply point­ing out that they are avail­able for free on the Annen­berg Learn­er web­site.

    You might want to con­tact the Annen­berg peo­ple to see if they can help you.

    Best regards,

  • Anthony says:

    What is a waste of time is look­ing up words and idiomat­ic phras­es because there is no trans­la­tion. There­fore, the mean­ings are either ambigu­ous or wrong­ly under­stood (words in French that look like words in Eng­lish but have total­ly dif­fer­ent mean­ings). Car­toons just don’t cut it. Tons of time wast­ed on that.

  • Suzie says:

    how do I get the audio lessons. I have the book and work book,

  • Michael Crehan says:

    Hel­lo and Mer­ci Beau­coup!

  • Robert P. Grathwol says:

    I Just want to down­load indi­vid­ual chap­ters, as I was able to do on my ear­li­er Microsoft com­put­er (now defunct). ow do I do this? At the moment, I need Les­son 47 and 48. With the new com­put­er, I can’t find the right way to do this–or has the sys­tem changed?

  • Rishi says:

    Please tell where to find those audio course on the inter­net!

  • Josh Hazlewood says:

    If you are using fire­fox brows­er then just down­load a VPN add on.
    Hoxx vpn is a good one but oth­er options are there. The you can view the videos even if you are out­side U.S. and Cana­da.

    Any VPN app should work as well.

  • Kavanvill says:

    If you want to down­load VoD videos from,
    You can sim­ply get the Learn­er Down­loader- Allav­soft to batch down­load Learn­er videos to MP4, AVI etc on Mac or Win­dows com­put­er.

  • Taher Saari says:

    Yes, absolute­ly you’re right…

  • 8avalon82 says:

    J’aime apprend le fran­cais!

  • John says:

    I can’t find the videos that cor­re­spond­ing to the third edi­tion, which starts with Genese I and II.

    Do they exist?

  • Abdul Albusaidy says:

    Hi Dave, do you still have the tran­script of French in action videos? Please send to my email and thank you in advance.


  • Dripto says:

    no tried it on my mac­book pro

  • Chris De Tone says:

    I tru­ly enjoy this show! I guess I am one of those cult fol­low­ers because when­ev­er I came across it on PBS, I could not look away! I stud­ied French for 4 years in High School and 4 years Uni­ver­si­ty. Since I do not live in France, these shows kept me in prac­tice. Great show!

  • Vishwas Umap says:

    Plzz share the course you have.. which you men­tioned on above mas­sage.

  • George DeTitta says:

    Feel­ing a bit rusty, I went to the Annen­berg Learn­er site to watch a few episodes of French in Action. Although I could hear the audio, I could not get the video. Does any­one know if Yale and/or Annen­berg have pulled the plug on FIA? I cer­tain­ly hope not.

  • V. M. Walker says:

    You can find some of the videos on YouTube.

  • June says:

    How can I learn lan­guages?

  • Amir says:

    Pro­vide free French learn­ing videos

  • Geoff Amsel says:

    Hi Abdul,

    Do you have Dave’s email or did he send you the tran­scripts? I would love a copy of them if he did.



  • Marsha Roberts says:

    Would like access to French lessons

  • Julia says:

    Hel­lo Parviz, And so do I. Even after all these years. Did you ever learn French? Thanks for your­re­ply.

  • Julia says:

    Hi Mar­sha … or any­one,
    Is this thread still active? I would love to con­nect with anoth­er FIA learn­er.

  • Michael says:

    I’m look­ing for the Audio CD’s or mp3 files for French in Action part 2. Any­one know where they might be found? Yale does­n’t offer them any­more. ;-(

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