Friday, April 2, 2010

The essential bookshelf for fellow Francophiles

I spent my first year here really boning up on French culture… albeit in a frivolous, beach-reading kind of way. I read tons of great Franco-centric books and recently realized I’ve been missing them. So I picked up Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon (for the third time) and, dammit, try as I might, I’m just not loving it (three times, not the charm in this case). I’ll skim it to the end, picking out the bits on fashion and food, but would love to sink my teeth into something like one of these goodies from last year (plus a few from avant):

True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth
Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco
A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke
The Authentic Bistros of Paris by Francois Thomazeau and Sylvain Ageorges
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Paris Was Yesterday by Janet Flanner
Betty & Rita Go To Paris by Judith Hughes
A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Return to Paris by Colette Rossant
Pardon My French by Charles Timoney
Paris Out of Hand by Nick Bantock and Karen Elizabeth

The Louis Vuitton City Guide
Taschen’s Paris
StyleCity Paris


  1. Some of my favorites were Julia Child's "My Life in France" and "Paris Was a Woman" ... though they are just as much Womens' studies as Francophilia. :o)

  2. Skimmed through A Year in the Merde in Liverpool and got annoyed pretty quickly. There are a couple by the same author, no? I wanted to like it but maybe I just need another of his titles.

  3. Les Miserables

    Enough Said

    Jeff B

  4. Thanks for the list, there are some I had not seen before!

  5. Ohmigoodness, Theresa, how could I forget "My Life in France"!? I *loved* that book. Definitely has to go on the list.

    LGZ, I agree, "A Year in the Merde" gets old real quick. But I read it almost upon arrival and the first half or so really made me laugh and feel like it wasn't just me... (it's the French!)

    Jeff B, I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't read "Les Miserables". That will go on the To Read list.

    Andi, you're welcome!! :)

  6. I'm going to have to order some of these!! I'm off to Paris for a weekend in May and have been devouring every book I can. Recently discovered Francoise Sagan (Bonjour Tristesse and A Mad Ache - both amazing!). Also read Hemmingway's A Moveable Feast. Love old school Paris.

  7. And if you're down for some "good" chic lit, Kirsten Lobe's "Paris Hangover" is fun.