A French 'r' is a usually a uvular sound, closer to the Spanish /x/, spelled 'j', than anything in English. The French version is actually further back and voiced, however, and the IPA symbol is an upside-down capital 'R'. In some dialects, this sound can be a uvular trill, a sort of purring sound.
I don't know what the hell inky is talking about, as a French 'r' is not like a Russian 'r' (Cyrillic 'p'), but more like a Russian 'kh' (Cyrillic 'x'). French's 'r' is actually not too standard as far as European languages go, though not as weird as English's 'r'. German, on the other hand, has an 'r' similar to French.