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Five Books for a Potential Francophile

Release Date: January 12, 2024

Category: Blog

Getting ready for Paris 2024? Book Club Claire has some recommended reading to get you ready for the City of Lights!
As the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris, France draw ever closer, some of you might want to inundate yourselves with French culture. Maybe you’ll do that by watching French movies, learning a little bit of the language, or watching someone’s travel vlogs.
A great way to get in the French spirit is to read books! We’re recommending five books that will help you get in a French mindset as much of the world begins to look to France. Every book will have a link to our Bookshop.org site, where you can purchase books and help out the show at the same time! (And remember: if you use our affiliate link, you can buy any books from Bookshop.org and we will get a commission!)
Without further ado, let’s sit back with a relaxing playlist, a glass of wine or a plate of cheese, and enjoy some literature that will bring us into the French spirit! Oui!
 
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
We’ll start our dive into France with some genuine French literature. Many books by French authors are tops on many lists (see: The Little PrinceAround the World in 80 Days, or The Three Musketeers to name just a few), many will look to Les Miserables as an amazing set of stories woven through the lives of people from all walks of life. The book rewards those who are willing to ruminate on philosophical questions and dig deep into French history of the time of the June Rebellion of 1832. If you’ve seen the musical, do yourself a favor and dig into the book it’s based on. It enhances the beauty of the dialogue and lyrics even more!
Let’s Eat Paris! by François-Régis Gaudry
If the first thing you think of when someone says “Paris!” is food, then this is your book. It’s 400-pages of infographics, restaurant recommendations, recipes, and history of all the foods that you’ll find in Paris that are distinctly Parisian. If you want to stretch beyond Paris, the author also has a book entitled Let’s Eat France! You will undoubtedly learn more than you ever thought you would about le jambon-beurre (a ham sandwich like no other) or macarons. I spent a lot of time on Google maps typing out the author’s restaurant recommendations, in hopes that I will be able to sample at least one or two of the amazing foods recommended here!
The Bonjour Effect by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau
I had a friend who said that she went to France and really did not enjoy it. She provided a few reasons, but the thing that stuck out for her was the attitude of the French. In The Bonjour Effect, Barlow and Nadeau are able to provide potential travelers with the reasons why the French are French! How can we converse with French natives with respect to their culture as well as our own? What in their history has shaped them and created their culture of communication? You might get this at the library and immediately realize that you need a copy for your own bookshelf that you can refer to your friends and family! And perhaps your understanding of French communication will help you in your communication from people in all parts of the world.
F is for France by Piu Marie Eatwell
If you’re a traveler that likes to say “Frommers be damned,” then this is the book for you! Learn a little more about the left-of-center French culture instead of the ones that are always talked about in the guidebooks or the travel sites. You can think of this book as France 102 – the next level of your France education after you learn the basics! (This is also a great book for those who want to just blurt out random facts about France that you know no one else will know about!)
A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown
This anthology book allows women authors to wax poetically about Paris in a variety of styles! From the romantic to the realistic and everything in between, these authors provide a wide scope of people that help us to understand the City of Light just a little more. Best of all – while these authors have written fiction stories set in Paris, these are true stories told from their perspective! You’ll find real beauty in the city through many different viewpoints – something for everyone!
–Book Club Claire
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