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Novels/Stories with Paris theme

I'm looking for recommendations for novels, books, etc., with a Paris theme. (NOT guidebooks.) By way of example: a recent travel article listed 52 "destinations of the year," and for each recommended some reading that would help you get the feel of the place, the culture, the people, etc. One of the destinations was Provence, and the recommended reading was Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence." Any thoughts regarding analogous reading re Paris?

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3789 posts

There is a similar thread going on in the past 24 hours called Historical Fiction.
They might be more french than Parisian, but history can impact either.
I suggested the book 'Paris'.

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5149 posts

If you're up for essays, rather than fiction, I cannot recommend David Downie's "Paris, paris" enough. It's a beautiful book. Subtitle is "Journey into the City of Light."

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4370 posts

"All the light you cannot see", "Invisible Bridge" (Mostly Budapest some in France), Julia Child, "My life in France", "The Paris Wife", "Sarah's Key"

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8493 posts

Down and Out in Paris and London—George Orwell
Moveable Feast—Hemingway

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776 posts

Anything by Nobel prize winner Patrick Modiano especially Dora Bruder.
Simenon's novels of Detective Maigret are also fun. Although Simenon is Belgian his Maigret novels for the most part are set in Paris.

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809 posts

Adam Gopnik’s book of essays, “Paris to the Moon,” published in 2000.

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2923 posts

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I love this book.

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4684 posts

Leo Malet wrote a series of detective stories themed around different parts of Paris, some of which are translated into English.

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150 posts

From the culinary angle, "Lunch in Paris : a love story with recipes" by Elizabeth Bard.

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1681 posts

Cara Black's mysteries are enjoyable light reading. Each is set in a different neighborhood. The main character Aimee Leduc is very complex.

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2251 posts

The Other Paris, by Luc Sante. Paris at the turn of the last century, fascinating and somewhat raw. Already mentioned and liked by me: Paris, Paris by David Downie and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

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5149 posts

Again, not fiction, but wonderful. David McCullough "The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris." Doctors, artists, and just plain folks who went to Paris to study, live, and experience. Lots of interesting tidbits about famous Americans through several generations.

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10116 posts

“The Paris Architect” is a fabulous WWII novel. Very moving.

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9 posts

If you are at all interested in WWII books, I suggest Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. I found it after taking the Paris and the Heart of France tour a few years ago. I sure wish that I had read it before taking the tour as it would have given me a very interesting story to refer back to while traveling through Normandy. And a better understanding of the history of Paris itself.

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526 posts

“Seven Ages of Paris” by Alistair Horne is one of my favorite books. It’s a history, but very easy to read and richly told. It spills over with wonderful, evocative descriptions and quotes from historical figures. I tells the story of Paris, and with that the story of France and the French. When you look at Paris through a long lens as a continually inhabited place, it really helps you make sense of the place and the people. His book is also the only way I could get my head around things like the Commune, complicated events borne of longstanding issues. Brilliant book.

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5149 posts

Another vote for "Is Paris Burning." We read it last fall and loved it. I'd like to skim it again, but I had to get it through Interlibrary Loan, and my library thinks I haven't returned it. Bummer.

And awrzesinski, thanks for the recommendation. I'll start looking for that on right now. We leave for our Paris and Heart of France tour in a few months, so I'm cramming in as much as I can.

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2401 posts

Not sure if I'd call it a "Paris theme' but a primarily Paris setting I'd recommend Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd is definitely a Paris theme.

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653 posts

Thank you for posting this thread! There are so many good choices for Paris! Here are a few that I've enjoyed:

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin, Mademoiselle Chanel by C. W. Gortner, L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz, The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel and Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

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37 posts

Also endorse Sarah’s Key and All The Light We Cannot See. Also recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel. All are Fictional books set in Paris and surrounding region during WWII.

Many interesting selections in this post! I need to do more reading before our France trip in the spring

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373 posts

Another vote for A Tale of Two Cities and for The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

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12968 posts

I suggest too "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. The setting is in Paris behind the backdrop of the Revolution of 1830, which saw the end of the Bourbon dynasty.

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314 posts

Just wanted to pop back in here to tell you all about a book that I am really loving called "A Paris All Your Own". I am listening to it as an audio book, one which I think is particularly well narrated, but believe it would be quite good in print as well.

It is a series of essays from various best selling female authors who have all written books set in or are about Paris (none of which I am inclined to read), but I think it does an excellent job of mentally transporting the reader to Paris.

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8394 posts

City of Light by Rupert Christiansen
Little French Bistro by Nina George

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749 posts

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thaddeus Carhart remains one of my favorites. Carhart tells the wondrous story of how to buy a second hand piano, and so much more...