Best Books for Francophiles


One glance at my library and it’s easy to see, I’m a bit of a Francophile. Since my first trip to Paris at fourteen I’ve been enamored with all things French. I can’t help myself–I love their language, their cheese, their style! The French are such fascinating, resilient people. They live life fully and without apology, “joie de vivre” indeed. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of French-inspired books on my shelf (and a few on my wish list). Do you love them as well? What am I missing?

1. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes – I absolutely adored reading Elizabeth’s adventures in Paris. I can’t cook so I skipped the recipes. // 2. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits – French model and street style star Caroline de Maigret is one of the authors so you know this book is impossibly cool. I loved its at times tongue-in-cheek advice. // 3. Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange – penned by the French style god and former muse of Yves Saint Laurent, this book is packed with practical advice and outlines some of Fressange’s favorite Parisian haunts. // 4. My Life in France – Julia Child’s classic read will have you on the next flight to Paris. Seeing the country through her eyes is such a treat. // 5.  The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City – I’ve yet to read this one! It has amazing reviews. Next on my list. // 6. Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic – filled with images of real Parisians strutting the streets in their impossibly cool way. Wish I could pin every image. // 7. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris – David McCullough tells the story of the great migration of American artists, doctors, politicians, and writers (such as Mark Twain) to Paris between 1830 and 1900. A page-turning work of historical non-fiction. // 8.  Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris – cute and practical, this guide shares tips based on advice from the American author’s French host mother. If you ever studied abroad in France you will relate. // 9. Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi – This hysterical book celebrates a wide variety of things Parisians love such as sushi, Converse, and Robert Doisneau. Written by a clever Parisian, it provides an insider’s look at the inhabitants of the City of Lights. // 10. At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life – The follow-up to Scott’s wildly successful first book. This time she compiles her French host mother’s advice for “la maison.” // 11. Mastering the Art of French Eating: From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love – If you love food and you love the French this book is the answer to your souffle-loving heart. An extremely fun read for foodies and non-foodies alike. // 12. Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart – a travel guide written specifically for fashion and design lovers like you and me. //


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12 comments on “Best Books for Francophiles

  1. Ania

    Thank you for such fun recommendations!
    I just started reading Lunch in Paris, skipping the recipes like you did:)
    What a wonderfully light hearted book, just something I needed!
    I love French themed books! I have read most of the fashion based ones you recommended. I totally agree with your opinions.

  2. Jackie (York Avenue)

    So funny – I guess I’m a Francophile as well, as I have 10 out of the 12 of these books! One I would highly recommend is Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate), by Amy Thomas. I absolutely loved the way she blended stories about NYC and Paris together.

  3. Katie Armour Post author

    Ania – I’m tempted to reread Lunch in Paris I remember enjoying it so much. Or better yet, I should just follow Elizabeth’s lead and move there :)

    Jackie – Will have to order Paris, My Sweet! Sounds like something I’d love. Thank you for sharing!

  4. thea

    I loved the Greater Journey and Sweet Life in Paris! Check out Peter Mayle’s books about life and eating in Provence, they’re great.

  5. Katie Armour Post author

    Thea – Loved ‘A Year in Provence’ – have been meaning to pick up his others! Thanks for the reminder!

    Emma – I have it on my shelf, but have never read it! Will have to finally crack it open, thanks!

  6. Maggie

    We are kindred souls! I would love to suggest some other favorite frenchie books:
    -The Ladies Paradise by Emile Zola (my favorite book! it’s about the birth of the modern department store in Paris)
    -Marie Antoinette by Antonia Frasier (best biography out there)
    -A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (such wonderful details about life in Paris, when an american dollar went a loooooong way)
    -The Memoirs of Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun (details of the life of one of France’s most successful portraitists, female nonetheless! She had nothing but wonderful things to say about her encounters with Marie Antoinette while painting her portrait.)

  7. Maggie Stephens

    Set in the French countryside, a great foodie book is “From Here You Can’t See Paris” – it made me want to pick up an move to a stone house surrounded by lavender and chickens ;) Be prepared to want to eat eat eat after reading!

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