5 Books for Francophiles

1. How Paris Became Paris – by Joan deJean

how paris became paris.jpg

An intriguing and very readable account of Paris’ transformation from a medieval collection of buildings and monuments into the first modern city of public urban spaces and planned boulevards.

2. The Greater Journey – by David McCullough

the greater journey

This fascinating collection of stories features a wide variety of 19th century Americans who spent time in Paris. Some of them are famous — think James Fenimore Cooper or Oliver Wendell Holmes — and others less so. But all of them came away from their time in the Old World changed in some way. David McCullough weaves a compelling narrative, and one that helped me to understand some of the history and roots of the lasting fascination with France in America. Read more

3. Three Tales – by Gustave Flaubert

three tales

This slim collection of three stories by Gustave Flaubert provides a very accessible introduction to classic French literature. Flaubert’s writing has a beautiful simplicity and elegance, and his portrayal of the human soul is quite poignant.

4. My Wish List – by Grégoire Delacourt

my-wish-list-cover (1).jpg

If you’re looking to read a contemporary French novel, this book is a wonderful place to start. The main character, Jocelyne, wins the lottery but then hesitates to cash the check, wondering how it will change her life and if it would really be for the better. The cast of characters are delightfully real and quirky, and it’s psychologically rich novel.

5. Flirting with French – by William Alexander

flirting with french

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir about a man who decides to learn the French language when he’s in his 50s. It addresses a lot of the issues and theories in foreign language acquisition, but in a very accessible and often very humorous way. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by trying to learn a language, you’ll relate to this book.



17 thoughts on “5 Books for Francophiles

  1. Linnae

    I just checked, and my library has “My Wish List.” I will give it a try! One thing I like about reading your blog is that our reading tastes are very different, so that I learn about books that I would never seek out on my own. It’s a good thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rhoffnagle

    I’d add Paris by Edward Rutherford to this list! A sweeping fictional history of the city and the types of people that lived there throughout the centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Forever Joyful

    Your list makes me wish I was a Francophile. My daughter recently had fun learning about France with last year’s American Girl featured girl of the year Grace Thomas who visited Paris. Thanks for sharing you suggestions at the #LMMLinkup.

    Liked by 1 person

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