French as an Official Language
While French is spoken by a significant part of the population of about 60 countries, it is only recognized as an official language by 29 countries. The countries that speak French as an official language are Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo and Vanuatu.
European Countries Where French Is Spoken
Aside from France, the European countries where French is widely spoken include Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland, all of which also recognize French as an official language. While French is an official language in these countries, each of these countries, aside from France and Monaco, also recognize other languages officially. For instance, Switzerland recognizes German, French, Italian and Romansch all as official languages.
French Speaking African Countries
France was a major player in the European efforts to colonize Africa and certainly left its mark in many ways, including language. French is widely spoken, though it may not be recognized as the official language, in many African countries. French speaking countries in Africa include: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia. While French is widely spoken in these African countries, native languages are still commonly spoken by most of the population, along with other languages such as English and Dutch.
French Speaking Countries in the Americas and Caribbean
The list of countries that speak French in the Americas and Caribbean include Canada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Martinique. French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique all recognize French as their official language, are formally governed by the Overseas Department of France and are considered non-sovereign.
Countries in the Pacific Where French Is Spoken
Three countries in the Pacific — French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu — have a significant French-speaking portion of their population. French Polynesia includes the popular tourist destination of Tahiti and is considered an overseas territory of France, thus recognizing French as an official language. New Caledonia is also an overseas territory of France with French as its official language, while Vanuatu is a sovereign republic.
Valuable Language to Master
With so many places that speak French, it's easy to understand why so many people who are not native speakers choose to learn this language. Whether you are intersted in moving to an area where French is spoken or if you simply plan to travel to France or other international destinations, being able to speak French is a valuable skill that will serve you well.