One of my favorite things about being in someone’s home is looking through their collection of books, usually amassed over many years. When I moved to Paris, I had to leave most of my books at home in Dallas due to weight restrictions. One day I’ll be reunited with my collection of books. This morning I was flipping through some of the books here and started thinking about my five favorite coffee table books about France.
I’ll begin the list with the books I grabbed off the shelf today in Normandy because I think they’re winners and worthy of being on the list for simply inspiring it.
The Coffee Table Books in Normandy
Splendeur des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur
Splendeur des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur is a dream. The gardens featured and the settings are absolutely breathtaking. I think after I get through this book I’ll have an entire trip planned to visit each and every garden featured. The book is available in English as Gardens of the French Riviera.
Dior et Ses Décorateurs
I attended a panel at Sotheby’s in Paris where Maureen Footer spoke about her book Dior et Ses Décorateurs. I bought a copy for Romain’s mom to have here since we’re so close to Les Rhumbs, Dior’s childhood home in Normandy which is now the Musée Christian Dior. The book brings together history, fashion, and fabulous interiors. The book is available in English as Dior and His Decorators.
Les Plus Beaux Villages de France
Who doesn’t love a beautiful French village? Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is filled with plenty of examples. Besides all of the beautiful photos, the book also explains architectural elements specific to each village. The book organizes the villages by region with maps. Perfect for future French road trips! You can find the most updated edition of the book in English here.
Paris Story tells the history of Paris and its story chronologically. It takes an overwhelming amount of history and breaks it down into smaller digestible snippets. This is the perfect kind of book for me – filled with wonderful photographs, illustrations, and maps.
My Five Favorite Coffee Table Books About France
Marc Chagall: The Ceiling of the Paris Opera
My grandmother gave me this book from her collection and it’s one of my greatest treasures. Palais Garnier one of my favorite places in Paris and the book is so unique with it’s focus just on the Chagall ceiling. While Marc Chagall: The Ceiling of the Paris Opera isn’t an easy book to track down, it’s a special one.
The Hermes Scarf
One of the first books I added to my collection of coffee table books is The Hermès Scarf. I think Hermès scarves are a perfect subject for a book. All of the colors and patterns are endlessly interesting, detailed, and beautiful. It reminds me that I’ve been meaning to frame a couple of special scarves for my living room for quite a while. The book is available in French as Le Carré Hermès.
The French Riviera In The 1920s
I recently posted a series of photos from the French Riviera on Instagram. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how utterly fabulous it must’ve been to vacation there in the 1920s. The French Riviera In The 1920s is a photobiography of the era and part of the Assouline Legends collection. I have a few other books from the same series – they look great on a shelf or table together!
Paris: Portrait of a City
Another French favorite is Paris: Portrait of a City from Taschen’s Portrait of a City Series. My cover is the Helmut Newton “Bergstrom over Paris” version. The photographs are a mix of some of the first ever taken of Paris as well as iconic images of the City of Light. No collection of coffee table books about France would be complete without this title!
Les Brasseries de Paris
Les Brasseries de Paris is one of my favorite books to give as a gift. It’s a very large book and the photos of the brasseries and cafés are whimsical and fun. Plus it’s a great collection of really great addresses to visit in Paris.
Do you have any other favorite coffee table books about France? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my collection! If you’re looking for more books about Paris and France, be sure to check out my reading list.
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