So you’re about to set off on the trip of a lifetime to one of the most popular countries in the world – – France ! You’ve been practicing your ‘ bonjour s “and” Mercis “and get studying maps of Paris to work how to get around, but there is one more thing you can do to make sure your trip is extra special. And that is to immerse yourself in French life by reading a number of books in France.
reading novels in Paris or the French countryside will give you an insight into the country to come and give it is impossible from the guides. If the characters along the Seine or drink their coffee on a table at the Paris pavement, it will fill you with anticipation to do the same – to make the experience that much sweeter when you finally get to do it yourself. If the novel is in the past, you will have more appreciation for the history of France, causing many of the sites and old buildings to life as you visit them on your trip. And if the novel is set in the present time, there is nothing better than trying to find the streets, bars and restaurants that could be mentioned in the story.
So what books you have read? Here is a selection of five novels which do a great job in bringing France to life, even before you set foot on that plane.
‘language’ by Vanina Marsot
Nursing a broken heart, Anna moved to Paris from Los Angeles. She starts work as the translator of a cryptic erotic novel and of course, find himself some romance. The book is a love letter to the city, with many wanderings through the streets, as well as descriptions of French life, food and cafes.
“The Coral Thief” by Rebecca Stott
history, mystery, romance and intrigue intertwine in this novel set in post-Napoleonic Paris. It’s 1815 and a young Englishman travels to Paris to take up a position at the renowned Jardin des Plantes. But when the collection of rare coral specimens he wears stolen by a beautiful woman, he in a plot in question is where revolutionaries, spies and the intelligentsia. Victorian Paris comes to life in this novel, which is certainly one of the current day visit to Jardin des Plantes will improve the main botanical garden in France.
“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Susan Vreeland
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” is a famous painting of a group of Parisians enjoying lunch the terrace of a restaurant on the Seine. In this novel Vreeland tells the story of the people in the painting and how they came to be there. It is a lovely view of Paris at the time of the Impressionists, and you can still eat in the restaurant itself today.
“five quarters of the Orange” by Joanne Harris
Now we go out of Paris in the Loire Valley with this novel Harris who took us to a village occupied by the Germans in World War II. The book moves between WWII and the present day, gives us an insight into the long-term effects, the German occupation of the French people. And if it is a book by Joanne Harris has obviously spent a lot of time exploring the French food!
“The Matchmaker of Perigord ‘by Julia Stuart
we end up with something cute and quirky, in a fictional village in the French South West. Amour-sur-Belle might not be a real place, but it gives a taste of some of the falling villages of rural France. Here, the town barber decides to reinvent himself as a match-maker, quite a task as there fit only 33 people. Filled with wonderful characters and semi-ridiculous situations, this novel should just leave you giggling and enjoying the French temperament.
So if you booked your tickets to the Charles de Gaulle airport or you wish you had planned a vacation to France, try the books above to immerse yourself in a bit of French life and culture. And if you find yourself enjoying … well, there’s much more to explore … Bon Voyage!