It all started when a friend of mine happened to mention the language-learning site Duolingo (www.duolingo.com). I was immediately drawn to how addictive it was, how fun it was, and how free it was. Ironically, I first wanted to improve my Spanish, as that is the foreign language I had been using (trying to use) the most. But I also took French in high school, and soon I couldn't resist using Duolingo to find out how much French I remembered. I quickly discovered that I had lost a lot of it -- in fact, Duolingo's test took me right back to the beginning, "Basics 1" -- but I also discovered that it started to come back to me, and the more I progressed through Duolingo's lessons, the more lessons I was able to test out of. I am now two lessons away from completing all of Duolingo's French lessons, and I am at least as good at French as when I took it in high school, and possibly even better.
Besides Duolingo, I have been able to practice my French with lots of other free resources on the internet. In fact, it's amazing how many resources are out there if you go and look. Here are my favorites so far:
-- Watching episodes of a French anime series, "Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir" (The Adventures of Ladybug and Black Cat). I have primsong
to thank for this; she recommended this show and it is both charming and addictive to watch. I watch in French with English subtitles, although I sometimes watch without the subtitles just to gauge how good I am at picking up the French without the translation. (Not too good yet, but improving.) The episodes can be found on youtube.
-- A site that has you watch French music videos and fill in pieces of the lyrics. Sometimes there are technological hiccups (asking for the word before the video played the word; not allowing you to type in apostrophes while requiring apostrophes for the correct answer), but it's so much fun, I have to list it here. Also, the site has introduced me to the French musical group "Carrousel," and I now love their music, especially the song "Le Manque De Place." Here's the site: http://www.bonjourdefrance.com/karaoke-fle/index.php/fr
-- Reading fanfic in French on AO3. So far, I have read several French Doctor Who fanfics and a few Marvelous Ladybug fanfics (i.e., Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir). I have also managed to comment on the fics in French, although you'll have to ask the authors how comprehensible I was. Anyway, it's another great way to strengthen my reading comprehension with material that I'm actually interested in reading.