Ah! Paris! The city of love. Many books have been written about the world’s most romantic city. But what books should you read to prepare yourself for your trip to Paris? To get into the mood, to learn more about the city or just to fall in love with Paris all over again? I have put together a list of the best books about Paris you should read before heading to the capital of love!
Pick up one of these books to read at your favourite restaurant with Eiffel Tower view!
Table of Contents
Lunch in Paris - A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘real’ Paris feels and tastes like, this book will give you a glimpse. It will be like biting into a delicious lime pie, with the sweet balancing the sour with funny, upfront, and slightly sarcastic tones. The protagonist finds herself moving to Paris after falling in love with a Frenchman and embarks on a journey of starting a life in an entirely new place intertwined with recipes, learning the gruesome side of cooking, and finding new food favorites in a whole different land. It’s perfect for anyone that can see a life-altering experience in a new dish.
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are - Love, Style, and Bad Habits
Hollywood has taught us that being French is an art that everyone tries to embody. Most women on earth look to the ‘light as a feather’ look and ‘walk around like nothing in the world matters’ air that seems to encapsulate the typical French woman. This book, however, dismantles these theories by some amazing women who have done so first hand. The authors expertly dismantle the usual views on culture, fashion and attitude and replace them with witty advice on how to beat the norm in the new ‘Parisienne’ way, from the first date to expert vintage finds, to being sensual and handling day to day drama.
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
Paris transformed itself between one century to the next. It turned itself into a mysterious urban oasis from being the hoarder of secluded monuments and unvisited locations. It emerged from medieval times into something that no one expected. The author, Joan DeJean, takes the reader through how Paris was born, not physically, but conceptually. He shows how the images, drawn up over two centuries, came to life. The first city that started inviting people in instead of keeping them out provided recreational facilities such as parks and shopping and the earliest sidewalks and bridges. This book will show the birth of the opera, ballets, streetlights, and other elements that make it one of the best walking cities.
Lonely Planet Pocket Paris
The modern passport to every city with brightly colored pictures and maps. Lonely Planet takes you from the most wanted to the least wanted or everything you can imagine. It gives you an insight into what can be skipped, and maybe just viewed on google maps, to the hidden treasures and local favorites, the best restaurants but also the ones to avoid if you don’t want to be ripped off. This little guidebook will show you how to be a Parisian and drift between the Jardin du Luxembourg to the funicular ride to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur and brief you on all the French art found at the Musee Rodin.
The Paris Secret: An epic and heartbreaking love story set in World War Two
The tragedy of the Nazis taking over the city led to many families being destroyed and many mothers having to choose between their life and that of their daughter; this is one such story. Paris, while beautiful, has also experienced atrocities that will be engraved in the memory of many. The book takes you on the journey of a young girl, just three years of age, who had to run away from the Nazis and the only home she knew. She is now looking for her parents and must return to the place she once called home. You will read about fear, courage, love, difficult choices, and hidden answers.
Paris By Starlight
This story is about the motivation ignited in a little boy by the stories told by his grandmother. Tinted with tones of magic and fairy dust, it shares the harsh realities faced by some, the troubles endured, and the places little children choose to escape to. It says that Paris is suddenly inhabited by “nocturnal water dogs” who used to live long ago, and the Eiffel tower is lit in a supernatural glow and rays of moonlight. Unfortunately, not everyone likes to change, and someone will inevitably resist even the most beautiful thing in fear of the different. It is a book to read to see Paris from a mystical perspective.
Paris - The Secret History
Paris is known to be an urban jungle where opposites attract and coexist in harmony; it is the inspiration of many artists and poets and the refuge to many idealists. This book takes the reader through the secrets of everything from royal palaces to brothels, sidewalk cafés to political lives, showing off Paris’ daily life throughout history from the perspective of Parisians themselves. The book allows the reader to see Paris from a more profound perspective, unveiling layers across time through cultural shifts and movements.
P.S. from Paris
Paris is the perfect place for a getaway, whether it be the holiday kind or the kind where you’re getting away from an obnoxious husband and the real-life troubles it brings. That is precisely what the protagonist of this book is going through, and they look to Paris for an escape. She meets an American author in Paris with the hope of returning to fame and an equal drive to remain neutral with her as she wants with him. They are, of course, as any Parisian love story would allow, perfect for each other.
The New Parisienne: The Women and Ideas Shaping Paris
Women, as everyone knows, are mysterious and complicated creatures, Parisian women even more so. The entire world looks to them for guidance on fashion, femininity, and sensuality. The author of “The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris,” Lindsey Tramuta, does exactly the opposite. She reveals Parisian women for who they indeed are and exposes all their realness, in all their beauty, glory, and complexity.
Anna and the French Kiss
Ideal for anyone wanting to get out of reality and into some first world problems. This book speaks of a young girl, just about finishing high school who’s been moved from Atlanta to an American College in Paris called ‘SOAP’. The story is relatively lighthearted but deep in romance and drama, with friends falling in love with people they shouldn’t be and friendships almost collapsing. It is a beautiful read for those, like the protagonist, exploring Paris for the first time.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!