Nothing can be more frustrating than to be in France and not been able to speak their language. For, I remember the days when I was among people chanting around in a language totally alien to me, and me, trying to bring a smile in my face while shaking my head from north to south doing as if I am getting everything what they are speaking about, and waiting impatiently for my French wife to do the translation - and I can't deny, that that was not the most comfortable period of my life.
One of the most important thing thus becomes, once you land in this country, is to grasp their language as fast as possible. Unless, of course, you are planning a real short trip to this country and you have enough local French speaking acquaintances who can swim you through your brief visit.
If you are a brand eater, I think nothing stands even nearby the Alliance Fran?aise, at least so far as their international reputation is concerned. That's one of the biggest single French teaching institute, if not the biggest. But then, their course fees may not suit everybody's budget. That hovers around 10 Euros an hour + an enrolment fee of 55 Euros. If you still think to go ahead, and if the price suits you (after all, we can't forget the assurance of quality that they offer), you can speak directly to them for additional information at 01 42 84 90 00 or can send them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the other end, there is a cheaper way of learning French as well, if you prefer keeping your money for some other cause, and that is to approach the local 'La Mairie' (Town hall). There are several 'La Mairie's in Paris, one in each arrondissement to be more precise, and you can simply approach the one that is found in the arrondissement where you are putting up, and they will be glad to give you details of their next session. The good thing here is that they are quite cheap, may be about 100 euros a year, and we can be sure about their quality (as it is state sponsored and it is in their interest to teach us good French), their sessions are not as often as the former one and depending on in which center you are going, chances are that their teachers don't speak English at all. Thus, if you don't have even the basics of French, Alliance Fran?aise would probably be a better bet for you. However, the best of course, is to take information personally by knocking door of the 'La Mairie' of your neighborhood.
Between these two, where you can be sure about the quality of teaching, there are plenty of others who offer French courses to foreigners. Fees and quality vary largely in those, and I would like suggesting you before getting into any of those, to try speaking with the existing students about the quality / price issue. In case you decide to carry on with this type, try taking information about the number of students per class. A bigger group is better to meet more people, but that also limits the one to one contact between you and your teacher.
Last but not the least, if you are the 'only me' type, and if your wallet is heavy enough, you also have the possibility to go for those so called private tutors. The basic principle remains the same ... you need to speak before with a student who is having experience with the same teacher.
One way to go for taking more information is to be a part of a local forum where people speaks about local issues. And a nice place for the english speaking community in Paris is the English speaking community forum where you will get a lot of information, not only about this but also a lot of other practical aspects of life in Paris as an expat.
Author is having a Master in Biological Anthropology, by hobby and profession, is the owner of a Paris based web design company 'Kigoobe'.
Anybody interested to put authors article in their site are requested to give a link back to Cr?ation site internet Paris: http://www.Kigoobe.com