Best Books Set in Paris: Novels, Memoirs, Biographies and More

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Best Books Set in Paris: Novels, Memoirs, Biographies and More
Another day, another great book comes out about Paris. Or so it seems. The City of Light fuels an endless literary appetite. We are seemingly fascinated with this city like no other, and dozens of books fly off the shelves to feed the need. Not to mention the importance of the city as a source of inspiration to expat writers—from James Fenimore Cooper to Gertrude Stein. This rich literary tradition continues today, with a slew of impressive expat writers taking up residence in Paris. Recent picks Bonjour Paris is lucky to review a number of Paris books. Below is a frequently-updated list of recent volumes (and advance copies) that have crossed our desks. Lauren Elkin’s fabulous Flâneuse, Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London. This wonderful volume has been listed as a best book of 2017 by multiple critics.   When in French: Love in a Second Language by New Yorker columnist Lauren Collins. We highly recommend this excellent book.  A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie. The Mistress of Paris, a fascinating biography by Catherine Hewitt about “the 19th century courtesan who built an empire on a secret.” City of Noise, professor Aimée Boutin’s insightful study of historic Parisian soundscapes.  The Streets of Paris, Susan Cahill’s guide to the City of Light following in the footsteps of 22 famous Parisians throughout history. Say our colleagues at France Today magazine: “Let yourself be guided through history along Paris’s sweeping avenues and tapered passages, with the odd pitstop in the capital’s coveted patisseries!”   A Paris Year, an illustrated journal and city guide by Janice MacLeod. The author built up a following with her “Paris Letters”– a fun subscription service featuring painted letters about life in Paris. This is her second book.  The Bonjour Effect, The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed by Julie Barlow & Jean-Benoît Nadeau. This is the latest book by the award-winning authors of the international bestseller Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong.  Murder on the Quai by Cara Black, the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of 16 books in the Aimée Leduc mystery series, all set in Paris.  The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown– a novel she was inspired to write when she discovered a stash of letters written by her grandmother as a young woman in Paris.  The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos.  Lindsey Tramuta’s buzzed-about The New Paris: The People, Places and Ideas Fueling a Movement. There’s a dynamic new energy in the City of Light, and journalist Tramuta has mapped out this exciting scene.  Doorways of Paris by Raquel Puig, the Parisian woman who’s behind the Instagram account “Doorways of Paris.” Peruse the photographs and discover “the most beautiful city in the world through its doors.” The Pilot by Ed Cobleigh, a BP contributor Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance by Roni Beth Tower, a BP contributor. Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War One by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. A romantic novel set during the Great War. Our reader’s…
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Lead photo credit : "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough

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BP's expert editorial team includes some of the city's top English-language journalists.

Comments

  • Aida La Brutte
    2017-12-08 11:05:32
    Aida La Brutte
    Thank you for this wonderful list of books about Paris. I've read some of these, and I've put others on my "must read" list. I'd like to recommend, "Paris to the Moon," by Adam Gopnik, Random House 2008. A wonderful Paris "memoir" by an American journalist.

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  • Sue G
    2017-12-08 01:25:08
    Sue G
    This is one of my favorites too. I’ve read it many times. It’s by Thad Carhart and his latest book, ‘Finding Fountainbleau: An American Boy in France’ is also worth a read even though it’s not set in Paris, but a short train ride away.

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  • KERRIN HOFSTRAND
    2017-12-07 15:04:44
    KERRIN HOFSTRAND
    Me too!!!....my question is why are we in Australia getting this part of Bonjour Paris now when all your replies are in April??...anyway I totally agree with you!!! He was just on my favourite podcast ...Earful Tower ...and i won a signed copy of Montparnasse!!!!

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  • KERRIN HOFSTRAND
    2017-12-07 14:58:59
    KERRIN HOFSTRAND
    Paris Revealed by John Baxter Dirty Bertie by STEPHEN Clarke The golden Moments of Paris by John Baxter Montmartre by John Baxter Montparnasse by John Baxter Can’t remember the full name but the book about the Ritz!...Hotel Vendome The Flâneur!!!

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  • Jerry Stanton
    2017-04-29 12:56:01
    Jerry Stanton
    The Autobiography of Waverly Root Read it for the description of Lindbergh's arrival in Paris after his solo flight across the Atlantic.

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  • Kasia Dietz
    2017-04-29 12:23:00
    Kasia Dietz
    I really enjoyed The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman. A great read for romantics and history buffs!

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  • Jo Moncrieff
    2017-04-28 04:12:48
    Jo Moncrieff
    Joanne Moncrieff Any book on Paris by John Baxter gives the most interesting, factual, educational view whilst his personal sweet fascinating touch makes me smile as I read. My bedside table is like a John Baxter shrine, love those books !!

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  • Merryn Sterling
    2017-04-27 19:54:30
    Merryn Sterling
    I can't go past 'The Piano Shop on the Left Bank' as my favourite book set in Paris. It combines the uniqueness of the city with interesting musical musings. There is so much to be learnt about the noble piano, as well as lots of Parisian atmosphere.

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  • Michael Burns
    2017-04-27 18:46:05
    Michael Burns
    Delicious Days in Paris @Amazon, Book Depository by Jane Paech. This book is one of best looks inside Paris as a traveler you NEED to read it.

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  • Cheryl Stoy
    2017-04-27 13:31:40
    Cheryl Stoy
    IRRESISTIBLY YOURS by Lark Brennan is set in a fictionalized Deyrolle. It's an adult novel--a combination of suspense, fantasy, and a bit of romance where the protagonist has the ability to "bring the animals to life." Charming and fun to read!

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  • Mary Rack
    2017-04-27 13:22:28
    Mary Rack
    Who is the author of "Shocking Paris"?

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  • Ed Cobleigh, Author
    2017-04-27 12:10:47
    Ed Cobleigh, Author
    My all-time favorite book set in Paris is, of course, The Pilot: Fighter Planes and Paris. Why? Because I wrote it. I've visited The City of Lights over 50 times, I know it well and I put my experiences in the book, from bistros on l'ile Saint-Louis, Le Tour Eiffel, Fouquets, the inner office of the US Ambassador, Le Coup Chou, Sidney Bechet, and naturally a boudoir or two. The book is a literary aviation novel, a genre invented by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He wrote the third best selling book of all time, maybe some of that success will rub off on me. My current project is a creative non-fiction bio of Roland Garros. Thanks for enduring this exercise of shameless commerce.

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  • Joe Jurick
    2017-04-27 12:07:44
    Joe Jurick
    Cara Black has a nice mystery series of Aimee Leduc, a French computer security pro and part-time private eye in her Murder mystery series. Each book is written to occur in a different arrondisement. She is more than half way there, and I am not sure what she will do if she gets past 20. She does a prodigious amount of research, so the background is reasonably accurate.

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