Like many, I spent years at school studying French, but was turned off by how it was taught and the fact that, at the time, I could see little point in learning a foreign language. After all, I spoke English, why did I need to speak any other language?! Anyway, after a miraculous 'A' in GCSE French, I quickly forgot almost everything.
Skip forward a decade, and I've spent the past two years working on my French. The mainstay of my french learning has been Radio Lingua's 'Coffee Break French' series of podcasts, downloaded through iTunes. I can't recommend these enough, and have raved about them to every French (and Spanish, and German) learner I meet. There are four series of programmes (the fourth one is around a quarter of the way through as I write), starting off at an absolutely beginner stage and progressing to an upper intermediate level. Each series consists of 20 programmes which are around 20-30 minutes long. The presentation style is light and breezy, and the teaching is very clear and accessible. And as a bonus, you will also learn a little Scottish vocabulary along the way! This video is the introduction to the intermediate-level fourth series.
I've also dipped in and out of various other podcasts, and I can particularly recommend Learn French by Podcast (beginner to intermediate), News in Slow French (intermediate) and Daily French Pod (intermediate).
The second aspect of my French learning has been organised lessons. For me, these have been secondary to using podcasts, but still very useful. I've taken courses at both l'Alliance Française and l'Institut Français, and really couldn't pick between the two in terms of quality of teaching - they're both good. The plan is to sit the DELF B2 at l'Institut Français later this year.
The great thing about lessons is that you can interact with the teacher and ask questions. And it's a really good way to keep yourself motivated. I don't find organised lessons quite as useful as podcasts simply because you can repeat the podcasts many times to really remember important points or vocabulary. That said, perhaps I should buy a dictaphone to record the lessons....
Cost: £300+ per term, typically four terms per DELF level - ça coute bonbon mais, à mon avis, ça vaut le coup!
Recently I've been reading Le Monde, euronews (particularly good because the videos above articles follow almost exactly the same script as the articles themselves, and because the articles appear in both English and French) and Paris Match.
I also rate the Mondes en VF series of novels. These are written for learners, and are even labelled with the CEFR level they are best suited for.
Cost: news online is free, around £12 for the books.
The most recent thing I've been trying are conversation exchanges. In short, you meet up with someone who speaks the language you're learning, and is learning the language you speak, and you exchange the two! I want to write a post about doing conversation exchanges at a later date, so I'll leave the explanation there.