Presenting the Defi

About us ?

The DEFI is the largest higher education institution for French teaching as a foreign language (FLE – Français Langue Etrangère) north of Paris.

Each year it welcomes more than 1000 students from around 45 different countries, offering classes for non-Francophones. It approaches French language learning with the aim of introducing students – from beginner to advanced level – to the wealth and beauty of the French language and culture as well as the secrets of academic methodology at university.

Classes at the DEFI follow the principles of the Common European framework of reference for languages developed by the Council of Europe and a pedagogic approach based on an “action perspective”, the view that learning a language and culture must be done in a way that allows the student to communicate and act effectively, whether in class, at university or in French society.


We vary the activities for a better understanding of French culture and to prepare students for a smooth integration to higher education here. Keeping groups small (15 to 20 students), from beginners to level C2, makes it possible to include cultural, gastronomic and even industrial visits in a multicultural setting.

Students registered at the DEFI can benefit from all the services available at the University of Lille (University residence, libraries, orientation and information services, etc.) and take part in all of the sports, artistic and cultural activities on offer (museums, theatres, festivals, KINO cinema, concerts, exhibitions, and group trips organised through the Ulysse association to Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Aachen and elsewhere).