I'm moving to France for a year and will be travelling round Europe intermittently. Some websites claim it's cheaper to use trains, busses etc in each country rather than travel by Eurail. Is this true or is Eurail the best, most economical way to see Europe?
Eurail is a type of ticket and NOT a different way of travelling, or an independent type of train.
Eurail tickets can only be bought by people who haven't been resident in Europe for the last 6months, so after 6months you won't be able to use it anyway. There are Europe based options - Interrail, Eurodomino, and numerous smaller area and regional passes.
In addition, if you will be travelling alot in france, there are discount cards you can get from SNCF (French Railways).
Also, for there and back trips in Europe, look out for the cheap airlines - Ryanair and Easyjet are the- two biggest, but there are many more - who offer some ludicrously cheap flights around the continent, especially if book ahead and plan well (i.e. flights for FREE - you just pay the taxes - are common place)
I'd strongly advice against continental flying. It puts an enormous burden on the environment. Stick to the trains, they get you everywhere.