Books set in Paris

(44 Posts)
BestIsWest Thu 07-Feb-13 21:32:12

Just finished Les Miserables and going there in April. Can anyone recommend any other books set in or about Paris?

LineRunner Thu 07-Feb-13 21:37:43

Do not read the Da Vinci Code. That is my top tip.

Have a fantastic time.

ControlGeek Thu 07-Feb-13 21:38:18

One of the Dexter books starts off with a honeymoon in Paris, though Les Mis it's not!

BestIsWest Thu 07-Feb-13 21:52:36

Oh yes. Unfortunately I have read the Da Vinci Code. And mercifully forgotten most of it!

I'm not necessarily looking for anything heavy going! I've not read the Dexter books are they any good?

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Thu 07-Feb-13 22:00:16

Not a novel, but The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is a lovely read, but probably not if you have no interest in pianos.

It's not heavy going, not much happens but it's gentle and atmospheric.

Quote on the back cover of my copy says "a thoughtful exploration of the twin delights of the piano and Parisian life" (am I allowed to quote? - apologies if not)

It's marked to be shelved under autobiography/music/travel if that helps.

Therese Raquin - Emile Zola. In my top 10 books of all time.

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell is brilliant.

PimpMyHippo Thu 07-Feb-13 22:09:52

Sacre Bleu: A Comedie d'Art by Christopher Moore. I lent it out to someone actually, I should chase them up for it...

Portofino Thu 07-Feb-13 22:14:47

Don't Tell Alfred - Nancy Mitford.

izzybobsmum Thu 07-Feb-13 22:17:22

Again not fiction, but Julia Child's "My Life In France" is wonderful.

BestIsWest Thu 07-Feb-13 22:22:40

I didn't realise there was a sequel to Love in a Cold Climate! Fantastic! I've ordered that and the George Orwell from my library for starters ( the bliss of an online ordering system for libraries - like Amazon but free).
I will take a look at the others too.

KikkiK Thu 07-Feb-13 22:26:41

If you like historical fiction, try The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It's a novel, but tells the story of Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. I loved it.

ControlGeek Thu 07-Feb-13 22:46:52

Bestiswest, the Dexter books are good if you like humorous writing and dark subtext (which I do) but if you've seen the series then it's been pretty true to the books in its style so you'll probably enjoy them.

If you haven't seen the series, it's about a blood spatter technician working for the miami police who has a penchant for bumping off bad guys that the legal system can't put away.

stubbornstains Thu 07-Feb-13 22:58:50

A Moveable Feast- Ernest Hemingway

Good Morning Midnight- Jean Rhys- good, but rather miserable.

Most of Colette's books...erm...struggling for titles..I think "Claudine Married" and her autobiography have the most Parisian bits...oh, and The Innocent Libertine. Her autobiography/biographies are fab though, what a life- and then you can go and visit her grave in Pere Lachaise.

Also Tropic of Cancer- Henry Miller, although I can't recommend this- literature schmiterature, all he does is bloody moan.

Ooh, can I recommend a film? Before Sunset.... I can't watch it again, I'd want to go to Paris tomorrow!

So glad your memory has erased most traces of the Da Vinci Code...

highlandcoo Fri 08-Feb-13 10:27:21

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery .. the private life of a concierge in a block of grand Parisian apartments. Really good.

nevergoogle Fri 08-Feb-13 10:33:44

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (really good read)
Suite francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (I haven't read it but it's meant to be good)

BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 10:35:58

the Orwell and Mitford are BRILILANT.
Try also Somerset Maugham - Razor's Edge - part of it is in 20s / 30s Paris
The Dud Avocado
which is the Hemingway where he talks about his life in Paris and going to write at Les Deux Magots / sharpening his pencils etc? Made me go to Les Deux M a lot when I lived there...

carlajean Fri 08-Feb-13 17:25:19

I'd also recommend Orwell. I don't like Colette's Claudine novels, but do get a collection of her short stories (which are wonderful), many of them are set in the city.The Rainy Moon is one of my favourites, and includes wonderful descriptions of Paris.
Also read Colette's autobiographical books. She had an amazing life, including time as a mime artist in the music halls of Paris. Music Hall Sidelights and The Pure and Impure are fascinating descriptions of this time.

goldmum Fri 08-Feb-13 20:05:49

Loved the Collete's Claudine books when I read them (it was over 20 years ago!) Just on the last chapter of Rebecca Stott's The Coral Thief and it is brilliant. Set in Paris, just as Napolean is exiled on St Helena - totally compelling.

BestIsWest Fri 08-Feb-13 20:17:55

<makes list> These all sound fantastic. Will keep me going until April at least. We are staying just off the Boulevard St Germain not far from Les Deux Magots.

BestIsWest Fri 08-Feb-13 20:18:38

I meant to say thank you all so much thanks.

stubbornstains Fri 08-Feb-13 20:18:52

Ooee OP! Tres posh....

BestIsWest Fri 08-Feb-13 20:22:14

With the teenage DCs in the same room.

stubbornstains Fri 08-Feb-13 20:22:26

God, I nearly forgot OP- if you're a book fanatic in Paris you MUST go to Shakespeare & Co. It's on the Left Bank quais, right opposite Notre Dame (Rue de la Bucherie). Crammed with English and French wonderful books...

(The opening scenes of Before Sunset are set there smile)

(I stayed there when I was 16 grin)

MrsRebeccaDanvers Fri 08-Feb-13 20:23:32

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

stubbornstains Fri 08-Feb-13 20:25:12


Well there's your answer.....send 'em off to Shakespeare & Co maybe they'll lose their virginity like I did

(sorry, Friday night wine....)

Helpyourself Fri 08-Feb-13 20:30:23

Another vote for Zola. Especially L'Assomoir. I've not yet read Les Misérables, but it's similar in subject matter, less romantic and grittier.

beanandspud Fri 08-Feb-13 20:35:07

The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston LeRoux?) is very good!

Thornintherose Fri 08-Feb-13 20:36:51

Another vote for The Paris Wife

1978andallthat Fri 08-Feb-13 20:37:51

Watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset on DVD

stubbornstains Fri 08-Feb-13 20:49:15

I watched Before Sunrise after Before Sunset, and was a bit disappointed. Maybe it's because I was a bit disappointed by Vienna too?

FreddoBaggyMac Sat 09-Feb-13 08:50:38

Just want to second 'The Paris Wife' - fabulous book, made me want to set off for Paris immediately!

tripfiction Sat 09-Feb-13 17:48:57

Here's a mix of genres for novels set in Paris:

A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse
The Good Thief's Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan
April in Paris by Michael Wallner
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Ominous: Borders: Coffee by Peter Standish Evans
Pure by Andrew Miller
The Emperor of Paris by C S Richardson
The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

And for a couple of chicklit suggestions click on:

And just out in time for your trip you could try: Jenny Colgan's The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris.
Have fun!

onlymeee Sun 17-Feb-13 19:26:46

And of course there is The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth.

BikeRunSki Sun 17-Feb-13 19:32:07

The Woman in the Fifth - Douglas Kennedy.

aftereight Sun 17-Feb-13 19:32:50

Another vote for The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Really original story and interesting protagonist.

sieglinde Mon 18-Feb-13 09:28:54

Yyy for A Moveable Feast. Not just Deux Magots - also Lipp and Closerie des Lilas and indeed Pre aux Clercs. And also his Fiesta - first half is set in Paris. I'd read all those ahead of The Paris Wife.

Has anyone said Notre Dame de Paris, also by Hugo?

Has anyone said Balzac, especially Lost illusions?

BestIsWest Fri 01-Mar-13 23:26:00

Thoroughly enjoyed the Orwell and the Nancy Mitford so a big thank you to everyone who recommended those. The Paris Wife is on it's way to my kindle.

I have been sidetracked somewhat as my utterly fantastic library found me Orwell's collected non fiction so I'm now reading The Road to Wigan Pier.

Onlymee I adored Frederick Forsyth as a teenager - am sorely tempted to read The Day of The Jackal again.

BestIsWest Fri 01-Mar-13 23:31:18

Oh dear. The perils of Kindle. Have just downloaded A Moveable Feast too.

elkiedee Mon 04-Mar-13 14:40:18

I enjoyed A Moveable Feast.

I like Zola's Rougon-Macquart books much better than Therese Raquin - the Paris ones include L'Assommoir, Nana and La Bonheur Des Dames (The Ladies' Pleasure - there are other translations of the title) - the last is the one that was recently dramatised (and transposed to a Northern English city) as The Paradise.

BestIsWest Thu 14-Mar-13 21:42:01

Just wanted to update this thread.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Moveable Feast and The Paris Wife, glad I read them in that order. I feel a bit bereft now and missing Ernest and Hadley.

I haven't read any Hemingway since reading For Whom The Bell Tolls as a teenager. I think I might order The Sun Also Rises.

allagory Thu 14-Mar-13 23:21:09

Some worthy suggestions here. Can I suggest "A Year in the Merde" as a counterpoint? Very funny.

BestIsWest Fri 15-Mar-13 20:21:56

grin I read that a few years ago - must dig it out. I remember it had some handy tips on ordering beer

Teddimac Fri 15-Mar-13 23:19:24

Perfume by Patrick Suskind smile

Cremolafoam Fri 15-Mar-13 23:49:00

Cara Black series of mysteries with PI Aimee LeDuc.
Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
The way I found Her by Rose Tremain
April in Paris by Michael Wallner
The lollipop Shoes( the sequel to Chocolat) by Joanne Harris
Any of the Victor Legris mysteries by Claude Izner ( set in Belle Époque Paris)

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