ctypes library makes it easily possible to call functions from C libraries, but you do need to be careful with memory access and data types. Python is generally very lenient in memory allocation and type casting; C is, most definitely, not that forgiving.
Even though all platforms will have a standard C library available somewhere, the location and the method of calling it differs per platform. For the purpose of having a simple environment that is easily accessible to most people, I will assume the use of an Ubuntu (virtual) machine. If you don't have a native Ubuntu available, you can easily run it through VirtualBox on Windows, Linux, and OS X.
Since you will often want to run examples ...