Whether you are just at the beginning stage of learning French or an intermediate speaker looking to put your skills to the test, you may be wondering: where do people speak French around the world? Just as English is a global language, French is spoken all over the world, including in places you might not expect. In fact, after English, French is used as the national language of most countries in the world.

Aside from France, French is spoken in dozens of countries on every continent. Speaking French is a skill that will come in handy all over the world, thanks to French-speaking countries, French Overseas Territories, and speakers of French as a foreign language.

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French is officially the national or official language of 29 countries. France also has 11 Overseas Territories, which are administrative divisions of France located outside of the mainland. These are analogous to Puerto Rico in the United States.

These countries and regions are distributed throughout the world, with at least one in each of the following regions:

  • Africa
  • The Caribbean
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America
  • The Caribbean
  • Oceania

French-speaking countries

It’s difficult to imagine how many countries speak French if you’re studying French online or at home. We will divide the countries that speak French by continent or region to make the list more manageable.

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French-speaking countries of Africa

By far most French-speaking countries are found on the African continent. It is also the continent with the greatest number of French speakers. Africa is also the most populous country with French as its national language.

Indeed, French has become a lingua franca in much of Eastern Africa. Whereas Northern Africa tends to use Arabic as a lingua franca, Central Africa uses Swahili, and Southern Africa uses English, the majority of the East uses French.

The following are the 21 African countries where French is the national or official language:

CountryCapitalPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French
Burkina FasoOuagadougou22,103,00024.45%
Central African RepublicBangui5,017,00028.60%
Côte d’IvoireYamoussoukro27,742,00033.61%
Congo, Democratic republic ofKinshasa95,241,00051.37%
Equatorial GuineaMalabo1,497,00028.92%

French-speaking countries of Europe

Do you know that French is also spoken in four other European countries? Look at the table below to get amazed:

CountryCapitalPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French
LuxembourgLuxembourg City642,00092.06%

This table must have removed your confusion about what language is spoken in Belgium because now you know that 75.55% population in Belgium speaks French.

French-speaking countries and cities in North America

Québec, Canada’s largest territory, speaks almost entirely French, with over 93% of the population fluent in the language. New Brunswick also has a sizable French-speaking population, with 42% of residents fluent in the language.

CountryCapitalPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French

French-speaking countries of the Caribbean

The Caribbean only has one country that speaks French as its official language.

CountryCapitalPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French

French-speaking countries of Oceania

French is spoken across Oceania. Australia and New Zealand are known as “the Antipodes,” which refers to the point on Earth that is diametrically opposed to where you are. In this case, Oceania in general is Europe’s antipode. French made it all the way to France’s antipode.

CountryCapitalPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French
VanuatuPort Vila322,00031.06%

French Overseas Territories where French is spoken

TerritoryContinentPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French
French GuianaSouth America294,43666.23%
French PolynesiaOceania279,30099.53%
Saint BarthélemyCaribbean9,96190.0%
Saint MartinCaribbean32,48998.49%
Saint Pierre and MiquelonNorth America6,000100.0%
Wallis and FutunaOceania11,55877.87%
New CaledoniaOceania271,40766.62%

Regions where French is spoken but not an official language

The fact that French is not an official language of a country does not imply that it is not widely spoken. Many countries around the world have a sizable francophone population. All of the countries listed in the table below have at least 10% of their population speak French.

CountryCapitalContinentPopulationPercentage of the population who speak French
The GambiaBanjulAfrica2,558,00020.02%
MauritiusPort LouisAfrica1,275,00072.63%
São Tomé and PríncipeSão ToméAfrica228,00020.18%
AndorraAndorra la VellaEurope77,00070.13%
Cabo VerdePraiaAfrica568,00010.74%
United KingdomLondonEurope68,498,00016.47%

How many people in the world speak French?

As of 2022, there are over 321 million French speakers worldwide. Surprisingly, only about 100 million of them speak French as their first language. This makes French one of the languages with the highest proportion of non-native speakers in comparison to native speakers.

There are two main reasons for this. For starters, many countries have French as one of their official languages. This means that a country has multiple official languages, with French serving as the lingua franca.

Second, French is one of the most widely studied languages in the world Perhaps it’s because French culture, including its cuisine, media, literature, and arts, has such a strong global influence. Perhaps there’s something inherently appealing about French. In any case, students all over the world can’t get enough of French. And, now you know how important it is for you to learn French pronunciation so pull up your socks!

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is French still useful around the world?

A. Aside from being the official language of 29 countries worldwide, French is an extremely useful language to learn for business or for pleasure. According to Bloomberg, French is the third most useful business language, trailing only English and Mandarin.

Q. Is it better to learn French or Spanish?

A. According to the Power Language Index, French is more useful than Spanish in general because it is a better business language and a more powerful language. But, it also depends on where you live. If you live in the United States, learning Spanish will almost certainly be more beneficial than learning French.

Q. What country has the best French accent?

A. Metropolitan French, also known as Parisian French, is generally considered to be the best French accent.


Now that you know about different French-speaking countries, it is also significant to know that French is expected to have over one billion speakers by 2065. In less than 50 years, the current number of French speakers will have more than tripled. If these forecasts are correct, French will overtake Spanish and Arabic in terms of the total number of speakers.

Then, what are you waiting for? Start learning French today with italki! You can also look for some additional learning resources for instance, learning French through podcasts is a very effective strategy to gain fluency like native French speakers.

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