10 Great Books About Paris

Paris, France has captured the imagination of writers around the world in a way no other city has. Learn why with these 10 great books about the City of Light.

1. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

In 2004, celebrated pastry chef David Lebovitz ditched the USA and headed for Paris. The Sweet Life in Paris, born from Lebovitz’s blog during that time, is partly a recipe book and partly a memoir of Lebovitz’s experience adjusting to the City of Light. Just make sure to have a sweet treat on hand as you read.

2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

You may have never heard of The Elegance of the Hedgehog – but Muriel Barbery’s novel captured France’s attention when it was first published in 2006. The novel focuses on the unlikely friendship that forms in a Paris apartment building between a 12-year-old girl, the homely concierge and a Japanese businessman.

3. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

Paris in the 1920s was a literature nut’s dream, as luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce all gathered there. A Moveable Feast details Ernest Hemingway’s own journey in the city during that period, as he struggled to make it as a writer.

4. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy.

Set in the late 1950s, The Dud Avocado tells the story of Sally Jay, an American who moves to Paris after college. Follow along as she struggles to conquer the city and has several comedic mishaps on the way – particularly romantic ones.

5. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.

In 1995, Adam Gopnik moved his wife and infant son to France for 5 years to become the Paris corrpespondent for The New Yorker. Paris to the Moon is a series of “comic-sentimental” essays from that time, as Gopnik falls in love with both Paris and parenthood.

6. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.

Want to travel via armchair to Paris without committing to a full novel? The classic children’s tale Madeline captures the city in both word and illustration, as the title character goes on an adventure to the hospital.

7. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein.

Confused by the title? Gertrude Stein wrote this biography from the perspective of her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas. The book details both their relationship and the decades they spent in Paris at the center of its intellectual and artistic communities.

8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

Les Miserables is one behemoth of a novel, so get ready to be reading this one for a long time! Victor Hugo’s classic follows a rich cast of characters as they struggle for survival and freedom in the Parisian underworld.

9. Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne.

From Versailles to Napoleon to the Nazi occupation, Paris has a rich history few Americans know about. Remedy that with Seven Ages of Paris, celebrated historian Alistair Horne’s account of how his beloved city came to be.

10. Perfume: The Story of a Murder by Patrick Suskind.

Grenouille is born in the slums of 18th-century Paris with one extraordinary talent: an incredible sense of smell. So he becomes one of the best perfumers in the city. Unfortunately, Grenouille must possess every scent he can find…and for Grenouille, that means murder.

Liked this? Check out 10 Great Books about New York!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Paris, France has captured the imagination of writers around the world in a way no other city has. Learn why with these 10 great books about the City of Light.

1. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

In 2004, celebrated pastry chef David Lebovitz ditched the USA and headed for Paris. The Sweet Life in Paris, born from Lebovitz’s blog during that time, is partly a recipe book and partly a memoir of Lebovitz’s experience adjusting to the City of Light. Just make sure to have a sweet treat on hand as you read.

2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

You may have never heard of The Elegance of the Hedgehog – but Muriel Barbery’s novel captured France’s attention when it was first published in 2006. The novel focuses on the unlikely friendship that forms in a Paris apartment building between a 12-year-old girl, the homely concierge and a Japanese businessman.

3. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

Paris in the 1920s was a literature nut’s dream, as luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce all gathered there. A Moveable Feast details Ernest Hemingway’s own journey in the city during that period, as he struggled to make it as a writer.

4. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy.

Set in the late 1950s, The Dud Avocado tells the story of Sally Jay, an American who moves to Paris after college. Follow along as she struggles to conquer the city and has several comedic mishaps on the way – particularly romantic ones.

5. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.

In 1995, Adam Gopnik moved his wife and infant son to France for 5 years to become the Paris corrpespondent for The New Yorker. Paris to the Moon is a series of “comic-sentimental” essays from that time, as Gopnik falls in love with both Paris and parenthood.

6. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.

Want to travel via armchair to Paris without committing to a full novel? The classic children’s tale Madeline captures the city in both word and illustration, as the title character goes on an adventure to the hospital.

7. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein.

Confused by the title? Gertrude Stein wrote this biography from the perspective of her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas. The book details both their relationship and the decades they spent in Paris at the center of its intellectual and artistic communities.

8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

Les Miserables is one behemoth of a novel, so get ready to be reading this one for a long time! Victor Hugo’s classic follows a rich cast of characters as they struggle for survival and freedom in the Parisian underworld.

9. Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne.

From Versailles to Napoleon to the Nazi occupation, Paris has a rich history few Americans know about. Remedy that with Seven Ages of Paris, celebrated historian Alistair Horne’s account of how his beloved city came to be.

10. Perfume: The Story of a Murder by Patrick Suskind.

Grenouille is born in the slums of 18th-century Paris with one extraordinary talent: an incredible sense of smell. So he becomes one of the best perfumers in the city. Unfortunately, Grenouille must possess every scent he can find…and for Grenouille, that means murder.

Liked this? Check out 10 Great Books about New York!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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