I have been trying to learn to speak French, but so far I can't say it's been going well. It would have been nice to have the change to live there for a year or so, but I suspect with the current economic outlook, it's not very likely.
For the language itself:-
I'm still working my way though them, Michael Thomas has a good reputation for his European languages, but I have yet to see how the Chinese course works.
Can't say I found French For Dummies very helpful, it was very dry, and not very interesting.
There is also Rosetta Stone software, I hear it's very good. But these days I use Linux at home, and it's Windows only
I would love to spend some time in France hopefully in July, but that is when the French all take holidays.
It's also a case to decide what part of France to visit.
The history of the country is surprisingly diverse, at least as written by Graham Robb. Much more than the simplistic ideas than the Anglo Saxons moved in after the Romans left.
I've been to Paris once before, and Calais twice, and living in the UK for so many years I really would like to see more of Europe.
We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be, detested in France.
The Duke of Wellington