8 Paris Books
The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Readers, this novel has been languishing on my TBR list for years. There's nothing like a translated work to fully immerse yourself in some armchair travel. It was first published in the United States in 2008 as a gorgeous Europa edition. My readerly friends are split: some love it, some hate it, some say it's over their heads. I intend to read it for myself. (I've been warned to not give up until Mr. Ozu shows up.) Originally written in French and translated by Alison Anderson. More info →
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Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris

Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris

Our December book club pick. Ann Mah’s delectable memoir is a rich account of culinary—and expat—life in Paris, City of Light and city of her dreams, where she sinks in for three glorious years when her diplomat husband is stationed there … that is, before he gets reassigned to Iraq, alone, stranding her in an unknown city. You’ll be cheering her on as she tentatively explores the city, dabbles in its cuisine, and begins to build her own community far from home. More info →
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Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I

Though the title is Christmas-y, this book is actually wonderful for any time of year. For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this epistolary novel tells the story of a great romance. When the Great War begins, Evie believes (as do many others), that it will all be over by Christmas. As her brother Will and his friend Thomas leave for the front, they make plans to meet for a holiday in Paris when the war is resolved. As time passes, Evie feels helpless and struggles to find a way to help the cause, while Will and Thomas experience the trials and terrors of war. The letters between Evie and Thomas are candid and heartfelt. Note: this one is excellent on audio! More info →
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Giovanni’s Room

Giovanni’s Room

Baldwin's iconic novel explores desire, love, and identity in 1950s Paris. James Baldwin draws on his own Parisian experiences and travels and constructs the most beautiful sentences. The story follows David, a young American in Paris whose girlfriend just left him. Following her absence, he explores his own sexuality and grapples with modern masculinity, social expectations, and guilt. There's so much to unpack in such a short classic. More info →
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The Queen of the Night

The Queen of the Night

A sweeping, glittering novel of the Paris Opera. Lilliet Berne is the leading soprano, the best of the best and a shining star. She craves an original role, but when one is offered to her, she's shocked to find that it's based on a secret from her past. Seeking the truth in her memories, she recalls her life as an orphan and countless transformations along the way to her opera career. Full of drama, intrigue, and secrets, and a memorable main character. More info →
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Half-Blood Blues

Half-Blood Blues

A finalist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Edugyan's historical fiction story spans across WWII Paris and 1952 Berlin, but the vivid depiction of salons, cafés, and jazz clubs lands this novel on the Paris list. The Hot Time Swingers are about to make it big when the Nazis forbid them to play. Hieronymus Falk, their start trumpet player, is arrested and never heard from again. Falk was Black, a German citizen, and considered a musical genius at the age of 20. Years later, Falk's band members take a journey from Berlin to Paris, revealing the intricacies of the events leading up to Falk's arrest. More info →
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The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves

My friend Leigh describes this as "Six Of Crows meets Ocean’s Eleven meets The Librarians, with a dash of Indiana Jones." Full of mystery, adventure, and the glittering world of 1889 Paris. You don't need to be a YA reader in order to enjoy this book. If you love treasure hunts, a diverse cast of characters, and being immersed in a different world, pick this one up. I'm told that the series just keeps getting better and better. More info →
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The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

If you're the type that tends to over-romanticize the City of Lights, let David Lebovitz snap you back to reality. As an American expat who chose to move to France (but didn't feel like he really belonged until the day he put on dress pants and a freshly ironed shirt to take out the trash), he loves Paris—of course he does—but he also has no qualms about exposing the ridiculous, baffling, and frustrating side of le France. You'll be inspired to make (or at least eat) French favorites like warm goat cheese salad, chocolate mousse, and macarons. For those who have lived in Paris, been to Paris, or just want a good laugh. More info →
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