At school, I loved the "parascolaire" section of the enormous secondhand bookshop. Last year, I was sorting through my books and I come across these dated (2004/5!), flimsy little books and question why I became so addicted to them, and why the little Hatier logo had the same effect on me as a carambar.
In the U.K, there seems to be less of a market, but the internet has some sweet sites. Here are three examples:
ONE: For 14-17 year olds: GCSE Bitesize
TWO: For all ages: the BBC learn French website - I used the equivalent for Mandarin, and found it really useful.
THREE: Some-one who sat French A level offers up his essays and personal "tips."
As for the absurdity of French parascolaire, you could check out this Google Books link to a recap on Kant's thoughts on Le Beau - go to page 163.