In an increasingly digital world, books are still a great way to escape our daily lives, to learn from the author’s research and experiences, and to travel without leaving our couches. In Paris, it’s still common to see people reading small paperbacks on the metro or on park benches instead of mindlessly scrolling through their phones. While you might not be able to jump onto a flight to Paris right now, these books set in Paris are the next best thing! Explore Paris’s newest restaurants and cafés, fall in love, or transport back to the 1920s within their pages.
The New Paris Lindsey Tramuta
Take a trip through Paris’s rapidly evolving food, drink and design scenes and meet the entrepreneurs behind this movement. If you follow Lindsey on Instagram, many of these places will be familiar, but in the book she really dives into the journeys that have changed the landscape of Paris food culture during the 21st century. You can also pre-order her new book The New Parisienne HERE (it comes out in July)!
Order The New Paris HERE.
Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation Anne Sebba
This one’s for the history lovers. Anne Sebba explores the roles and stories of women in Paris during the Années Noires of the German occupation, from Resistance members Genevieve de Gaulle and Noor Inayat Khan to translator-turned-double-agent Jeannie Rousseau to Coco Chanel’s affairs with a high-ranking German officer.
Order Les Parisiennes HERE
Paris On Air Oliver Gee
As the host of popular podcast The Earful Tower, Oliver has told the stories of many influential people around Paris. Now, he’s telling his own in his memoir, recounting what he’s learned over the last 5 years in Paris and his various adventures (including a honeymoon tour of France with wife Lina on a little red scooter)!
Order Paris On Air HERE
The Seine: The River That Made Paris Elaine Sciolino
If you’re missing strolling along the banks of the Seine, discover the stories of the river and the people who’ve made their lives on its waters. Sciolino’s “love letter” explores the history of the Seine and how it has changed and affected the city of Paris throughout the centuries.
Order The Seine HERE
L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home David Lebovitz
Ever dreamed of owning a little pied-à-terre in Paris? It’s not as easy as it seems! Chef, author and blogger Lebovitz chronicles the trials and tribulations of renovating an apartment in Paris, with all the red tape and triumphs that come with it- and of course, with recipes at the end of every chapter.
Order L’Appart HERE
Paris in Bloom Georgianna Lane
If you’re as sad as I am to be missing Paris in the spring, look no further than photographer Georgianna’s beautiful book with gorgeous blooms on every page. Check out her other books New York in Bloom and the brand-new London in Bloom for even more springtime magic. You can even get a calendar with gorgeous images from the book!
Order Paris in Bloom HERE
Bright Lights Paris Angie Niles
Filled with gorgeous photography and suggestions for what to wear, where to eat, and everything in between, Angie’s insider guide (with sections based on different Parisian archetypes) will make you want to break out your inner Parisienne and jump on the next flight to Paris.
Order Bright Lights Paris HERE
Vernon Subutex Virginie Despentes
Looking for something set in Paris’s gritty underbelly as opposed to its glittering streets? Recommended by my literary/theatre buff friend Effie, this book tells the story of a music shop owner in Bastille who finds himself on the street after a series of unfortunate occurrences- in possession of the last filmed recordings of a recently-deceased famous musician. This is the first book in the series- you can pre-order the second book, which will be released in English in July.
Order Vernon Subutex HERE
The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs Elaine Sciolino
“I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino says, and you won’t be either while reading this delightful homage to the famed street in Paris’s 9th arrondissement. The book takes you from the historic (the patron saint of France was beheaded here) to the artistic (Degas and Renoir have both painted this street) to the modern and is a true tribute to the classic Paris street culture.
Order The Only Street in Paris HERE
When in French: Love in a Second Language Lauren Collins
If you’ve ever loved someone whose native language is different than your own, then you’re sure to enjoy this charming memoir of navigating a bilingual relationship. Collins (a North Carolina native like me!) details her mistakes and missteps that will be relatable to anyone who’s ever struggled to learn another language, especially French.
Order When In French HERE
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
This New York Times bestseller and 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner, set in occupied France during the second World War, follows the stories of a French girl, the blind Marie-Laure, and German boy, Werner, brought together by a potentially magic gemstone and the Nazi officer hell-bent on finding it. While not set entirely in Paris, Doerr’s evocative prose will keep you turning the pages.
Order All the Light We Cannot See HERE
A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway
Last but certainly not least, this classic Hemingway memoir of the author’s life in Paris in the 1920s presents a vivid image of Paris in its prime, filled with familiar places in the Latin Quarter and familiar literary faces, among them Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. An oldie but goodie!
Order A Moveable Feast HERE
Have you read any of these books? Which one was your favorite?
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