The best way to learn to speak French is from a young age, the second best way is from a really good course. Either way, listening to the way the words are pronounced and then trying them for yourself is the fast way to successfully mastering this as a second language.
From as young as I can remember, growing up in Europe, French was as important a second language to us as Japanese is to Australians. From tourism to duty free shopping, to migrating to a warmer climate to being an interpreter, learning French was an essential part of English primary school. To learn to speak French starts with the desire. What is the reason you would like to learn to speak French? The language itself has a flowing, free and somewhat sensual rhythm to it that the French say with pride is the only true romantic language and once you grasp the structure, it is relatively easy to build upon.
Back in the days when I was at school, they started us young. I learned French from the age of 7 and it was a totally interactive experience. We had French names, we were French shop-keepers, had French friends, of course this was all fictitious but it helped us to use and remember the language. After primary school we went on to what they called the language labs. This is where we heard a French phrase being spoken correctly and then we had to copy it onto a tape. Language Laboratories were a tremendous success in schools in the 1970s, there would be a whole classroom of students listening to French phrases over headphones and then recording their version of this phrase onto the tape to play back and listen to. There were some rather funny episodes too where we would be passed headphones to hear somebodys pronunciation of a particular word or phrase! In the main though, this is a very effective method and one that is used today in many How To Speak French programs.
Kinesthetic learning is the fastest way to put something into your long term memory. It is one thing to read the French language, another to hear it being spoken, but when you actually start to hear yourself using the language, particularly when you can hear it played back if you have recorded it, this is a powerful learning method.
You may be considering going to France for a holiday, or you may just like the challenge of becoming bi-lingual, whatever the reason, learning to speak French will be one of the most satisfying experiences you can have. It is also very interesting to begin to use the language in the country itself; French people will be very flattered that you took the trouble to learn, even a few words, that you could use in a conversation with them.
So if you have been thinking about learning French, perhaps now is a great time to take it up. Amaze your friends, amuse your children, seduce your partner, whatever the outcome you will have a tremendous amount of fun and enjoyment learning one of the most beautiful languages in the world.