I was cleaning my bookshelf the other day and noticed that I have read a fair few books about France over the years. I loved France during my Europe adventure in 2012 because of the cuisine, the elegant language, the people, the culture, Paris as well as the countryside and villages. I think most girly girls fall in love with France because it’s just – well, very pretty! So it’s no wonder that there are so many books set in France, or about the people, culture or cuisine.
Here are my recommendations in no particular order:
1. ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ by Richard C. Morais
I just finished reading this novel after watching the movie a few weeks ago. The movie was just delightful – a heart-warming tale of an Indian family who moves to Paris and starts a restaurant across the road from a Michelin-starred restaurant. There’s plenty of romance, pretty scenery, gorgeous food, lovable characters and a happy ending. The book, I thought, was surprisingly very different from the movie although had the same main themes of destiny, positivity and food. The book is a bit more realistic with some heart-warming moments, but also real life themes. And it’s more about protagonist Hassan’s life as a chef. Despite being different from the movie, I still enjoyed the book thoroughly and highly recommend it.
I’m such a huge fan of Mireille Guilano, that I even went to see her speak at the launch of her latest novel ‘French Women Don’t Get Facelifts’. She writes in such a warm, positive, conversational manner and I was pleasantly surprised to see that she is exactly the same in person. She was chic, well-presented and so personable! I’m biased, I know, but I love her books! I recommend ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ as a start, and if you enjoy it, then ‘Women, Work and Art Savoir Faire’ and ‘French Women for All Seasons. Great self-help books with a French flair.
3. ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery
Philosophical, elegant, warm and very French. It’s a story revolving around 2 characters (Renee Michel, the concierge and Paloma Josse, an intelligent teenager) living in the same apartment building 7 Rue de Grenelle. It’s a beautiful book although the ending is a little abrupt and unsatisfying.
4. ’What French Women Know Matters by Debra Ollivier
I think most girls are a little intrigued with French women – they seem so mysterious, elegant, chic and intelligent. This American author who married a Frenchman and lived in France for almost a decade certainly uncovers a few secrets. A fun read.
5. ‘Almost French’ by Sarah Turnbull
I had to add this to the list, despite being on another book list I compiled here. It’s a charming tale about a Sydney-sider fitting into French society when she moves to France for love. It’s personable, entertaining and very French!