I’ve started this series to highlight my favorite real world settings for books and what makes them so good! Feel free to join in on the fun and explore the world through your books!
*note: I’m only including books where the primarily location is Paris; many books travel to Paris but will be included in a different country/city post.
Ahh Paris, you wonderful city. I’ve been to Paris several times and my heart yearns for it when I’m not there. It’s has a stereotype of being unwelcoming or rude to travelers, but honestly, I’ve never felt that to be the case. I’m terribly in love with this city and I could spend forever walking down the Siene and gazing at the Eiffel Tower. Since I cannot, however, I have to settle for reading books about Paris…it’s not the same, but it’s dang near to the real thing.
1. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: Everyone knows Ernest Hemingway for his literary genus, but not many remember his first wife Hadley–this book remembers her. Hadley meets Ernest in Chicago and they fall in love. She follows him to Paris and lives the 1920’s, penniless lifestyle we always hear about.
“Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.”
2. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: I went a very long time thinking I had read this book because I knew the story so well, only to discover that I had only read abridged versions of the story. When I finally read this massive book, I fell pretty hard for it. Athos, Pothos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan are fantastic characters, and their adventurous spirit brings Paris to life.
“Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.”
3. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: Paris + Books = Perfection. This charming novel is about a man who owns a book barge and calls himself a book apothecary–when someone comes into his store he does not sell them book, he prescribes them books. This book is darling and I had to resist buying a plane ticket while reading it.
“Books keep stupidity at bay. And vain hopes. And vain men. They undress you with love, strength and knowledge. It’s love from within.”
4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: This one could also go on my future London list but for some reason Paris sticks out to me as the primary city in this book. Set during the French Revolution, this book highlights the strength of the city and of it’s people in the best of times and the worst of time (see what I did there…) ;).
“What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world!
5. Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee: Lilliet Berne has made herself the talk of the city, but there is much more to her than people see as she performs in the Opera House. This exciting novel has a “Phantom of the Opera” feel and it hold the magic of Paris in it’s pages. Read my review here!
“When the earth opens up under your feet, be like a seed. Fall down; wait for the rain.”
6. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: This is maybe the most famous “Paris” story, and even the most famous French novel, thanks to the musical and the multiple movies, and because of the popularity of Hugo himself. This book follows many different plots, but the most prominant plot is that of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict, who escapes parole to turn his life around and make up for his sins. Yes, that was the most abridged summary of Les Mis ever, but it’ll do for now :).
“He who contemplates the depth of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.”
What is your favorite Paris book? I love adding to this list, so please let me know what Paris book I absolutely have to read!