I’ve been meaning to put together a list of some of my favorite books about Paris and France. I’ve also been meaning to do a list of what’s currently on my nightstand (which is now in Normandy). With everyone spending more time at home, this seems like the perfect time to share my reading list!
The books are a mix of timeless classics that are always worth rereading, biographies, and page-turners. There’s a good mix of titles and genres to keep every Francophile entertained!
Tender Is the Night
My Life in France
I recently finished rereading Julia Child’s My Life in France. It remains one of my favorite books about France, food, and Julia’s experience moving to France. The book is written in a way where you can almost hear Julia speaking. I have plenty of dog-eared pages with quotes!
My mom gave me The Cartiers for Christmas and I can’t wait to read it! The book written by Francesca Cartier Brickell, the great granddaughter of one of the Cartier brothers, details the story about the family behind the famous jewelry empire. It’s apparently filled with drama, romance, and betrayal as well as behind-the-scenes looks at some of the most iconic jewelry pieces and famous clients.
A Year in Provence
After spending some time in Provence last summer I heard a lot about Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. The book details Mayle’s move to France and a 200-year-old house in Provence and what ensues afterwards.
The Bettencourt Affair
Another book on my list is Tom Sancton’s The Bettencourt Affair, which is the story of the heiress to the L’Oréal fortune and a massive scandal that dominated the news in France. The book promises plenty of secrets, shocks, and plenty of action in Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine.
My Paris Dream
I read Kate Betts’ My Paris Dream before moving to Paris. The memoir describes Betts’ experience moving to Paris after college and learning French, falling in love, and finding a job with plenty of great moments in-between. It’s an easy read and was a page-turner for me!
A Moveable Feast
No list about books about Paris and France would be complete without mentioning A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir about his life living in Paris in the 1920’s. For any Francophile it’s a book that you can read again and again.
Paris to the Moon
I just started Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon. The story of Gopnik’s family’s move to Paris at the end of the twentieth century promises to be funny and heartwarming. The book is often regarded as one of the best memoirs of an American in Paris.
Anne de Courcy’s Chanel’s Riviera is all about the history of the Côte d’Azur from 1930 to 1953, including the horror of Nazi arrival in 1942. I think the book might just inspire another trip to Èze and/or Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat later this year.
Me Talk Pretty One Day
If you’re in the mood to laugh out loud, David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day is a great choice. The book of short essays includes many about Sedaris’ move to Paris and comical experiences learning French. Needless to say, I can relate!
Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key follows two parallel plots. The first plot centers around 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski, a Jewish girl arrested during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in Paris in 1942. Sarah locks her four-year-old brother in a cupboard before she leaves with her parents, expecting to return within a few hours. The second plot follows Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris as she writes an article for the 60th anniversary of the roundup.
If you’ve read any of the books about Paris and France from my reading list or have any additional suggestions for titles, please leave a comment below!
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