19 best books about France to read before you visit
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France is one of the most visited destinations in the world with over 82 million annual visitors. Its capital Paris is consistently one of the top three most visited cities with only Bangkok and London attracting more.
Culture, art, food, wine, history, lakes, beaches, mountains, wonderful villages, sophisticated cities, and more France has it all in abundance.
After living in France for 18 months and visiting numerous times over the decades it still remains one of my favourite European cities and is the subject of many famous quotes.
Choosing where to go can be the most difficult part of planning any trip to France – the lure of Paris with its historical buildings, museums and culture or the beauty of the Dordogne with its castles and vineyards, the villages of Provence, the beaches of the Cote D’Azure or the beauty of the mountains (Alps or Pyrenees!) and lakes. Your choices are endless.
If you can’t decide or simply want to prepare for your French vacation why not check out some of these best books about France?
A murder-mystery set in the Paris of 1889. The Eiffel Tower is brand new but the scene of a mysterious death. Caused by a bee sting or where there other forces at work? Young bookseller Victor Legris makes it his mission to uncover the truth!
"City of Darkness, City of Light" is the story of two women who are driven to join the French Revolution. Claire Lacombe and Pauline Leon both come from poor families, but their lives take very different paths.
Claire is an actress whose theatre group performs at lavish homes for aristocrats; Pauline is a laundress who works for those same nobles.
When they see the stark disparity between their lives and those of their wealthy employers, they become determined to change society.
Translated from German this bestseller is a perfect summer read to accompany you on your French vacation. Set on a floating barge on the Seine this is a beautiful novel about the power of books and a lost love.
From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestselling work of historical fiction All the Light We Cannot See is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo.
A historical and cultural guide revealing the French approach to land, food, privacy, language, and more and how globalization led France to become one of the unlikeliest influential countries in the world.
The French drink, smoke and eat more fat than anyone in the world, yet they live longer and have fewer heart problems than Americans. They work 35-hour weeks and take seven weeks' paid vacation each year, yet they are the world's fourth-biggest economic power. So how do they do it?
If you have seen the film Julie and Julia this book will be a must-read. Telling the story of Julia Child and her move to France at the age of 36 and her subsequent transformation into the internationally renowned expert on French cuisine.
1,250 speciality foods, 375 iconic recipes, 350 topics, 260 personalities, plus hundreds of maps, charts, tricks, tips, and ... you want to know about the food of France
There’s never been a book about food like Let’s Eat France! A book that feels literally larger than life, it is a feast for food lovers and Francophiles, combining the completist virtues of an encyclopedia and the obsessive visual pleasures of infographics with an enthusiast’s unbridled joy.
Here are classic recipes, including how to make a pot-au-feu, eight essential composed salads, pâté en croûte, and blanquette de veau.
The perfect gift for the Francophile in your life, this book features photographs of Paris arranged by color. From a blue bicycle against a fence to an orange café chair, from a weathered white door to a bright red fire hydrant, these sumptuous images capture the distinctive details of one of the world's most romantic cities.
An ode to art and design, Paris in Color will surprise and delight those who love art and design as well as Paris!
Almost finished her backpacking adventure around Europe Sarah is about to return home to Australia when a chance meeting in Bucharest is about to change her life forever. A visit to spend a week in Paris with the Frenchman she met ends in some hilarious adventures and a girl falling in love with French culture and life.
France has a long and storied history, from its earliest days as a Roman colony to the present. In this classic history of France, eminent historian J. M. Roberts traces the country’s development from Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul in the first century BC to the end of World War II.
He covers both French history and that of France’s colonies and territories around the world, including Canada, India, Algeria, Vietnam and modern-day Haiti.
A Bite-Sized History of France is a thoroughly original book that explores the facts and legends of the most popular French foods and wines. Traversing the cuisines of France's most famous cities as well as its underexplored regions, the book is enriched by the "authors' friendly accessibility that makes these stories so memorable" (The New York Times Book Review).
This innovative social history also explores the impact of war and imperialism, the age-old tension between tradition and innovation, and how food has been used to express political dissent.
The Parisian way is to live well, and to take pleasure in the little things. They know how to dress, entertain, flirt and attempt to behave themselves. In short, the quintessential Parisienne knows how to have fun!
In this book you will find their very original views on style, beauty, culture and men. The authors—Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas—are unmarried but attached (to their children), talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in music, film, fashion and publishing.
Set during the first world war this novel follows the life of a young woman as she follows her destiny from London to a field hospital in France. A love story portraying love, war and a world divided by class.
A novel about self discovery and new beginnings. Set in Brittany this novel depicts life in a Breton village as Marianne endeavours to embrace a new life. If this novel doesn’t have you booking a trip to Brittany nothing will!
Follow the investigations of Bruno the Chief of Police of St Denis, France. Set in the wonderful Dordogne this series of books all about Bruno will have you gripped and enthralled in equal measure. If retiring to a life in France was your dream (pre-Brexit) at least you can enjoy what life might have been before 52% of the British population ruined it for the rest of us.