Until such time as we can board a plane to our beloved France, here’s a list of books we compiled to help transport you across the Channel…
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
This book is featured on every ‘best books set in Paris’ list for a reason. Since it was first released in 2006 it has become an international best-seller, translated into more than forty languages and named as a New York Times bestseller.
In it, we discover what goes on behind closed doors in an elegant, bourgeois Parisian apartment building where the inhabitants are not as they seem…
2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
‘An epic and a masterpiece’ – The Observer
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2015 this is a novel set in occupied France during World War 2. It follows the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
3. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
“He might be ragged and cold or even starving, but so long as he could read, think and watch for meteors, he was, as he said, free in his own mind.”
Published in 1933 this 2-part memoir recounts Orwell’s time as a struggling writer living a life of poverty in the great cities of Paris and London. Sleeping in bug infested rooms and working as a dishwasher in a hotel, Orwell exposes the hardships experienced by those on the fringes of society. Not a light read by any stretch but an interesting account of the underworld of these dazzling cities.
4. Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull
“This isn’t like me. I’m not the sort of girl who crosses continents to meet up with a man she hardly knows. Paris hadn’t even been part of my travel plan…”
A must-read for anyone who has fallen in love with a French person and is trying to integrate into French society. This book follows the real-life highs and lows experienced by Turnbull – an Australian – as she navigates her new life in Paris.
5. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Set in both 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, this is a book about friendship and redemption in the aftermath of the AIDs crisis. It was selected as one of New York Times Best 10 Books of the Year, a Washington Post Notable Book and a pick for the New York Public Library’s Best Books of the year.
Do you have a recommendation to add? We’d love to from you @frenchtoast_lessons or firstname.lastname@example.org.