There have been two occasions in my life for which I’ve tried to learn French: one was a two-month sojourn to France, and the other was my current open-ended residence in Paris. I’ve tried so many different ways to learn French over the years that I feel I should be fluent by now, but I still stumble whenever a Frenchie says anything longer than 10 syllables to me. Maybe it’s because each method focused on a different way of learning, but my handle on French seems to be stuck at a level that includes being able to order food and discuss what I write, as well as a mélange of dirty words and curses. Oddly enough, none of my methods has included going to school. But not all French lessons are created equal. Here’s what has worked for me (and what hasn’t).