Monday, December 31, 2012

My 5 Favorite Paris Books

I have debated for some time now just what are my favorite books about Paris and/or France.  There are an abundance of books both fiction and non-fiction about my favorite city.  I have read MANY of them, which is why I have been so indecisive about which are my favorites.  For the sake of keeping my post short, I have come up with 5 that have been a joy to read.  These ended up all being non-fiction, I suppose because I cannot get enough of the Parisian way of life.  I am always hoping some of that will rub off on me.  All of these books I look back at from time to time.  Guess it is part of the attempt to relive visiting Paris.  I have hard copies of all these as a result.

These are in no special order and each has its own purpose.

In preparing for my trip in 2011 I was obsessed with knowing as much about Paris as I could.  I bought Rick Steves Paris 2011.  I didn't realize what a help that book would be to me.  I carried it everywhere.  Even though I was with a tour, I wanted to know what I wanted to see on my free time. Note how I still have all those post it tabs to mark interesting things!  Also it was a god send to have after my trip when I was preparing to make my photo book and fill in my travel journal. It made it easier to recall monuments and other things that I thought I would remember but didn't

Being the committed Francophile that I am these next two taught me much about French culture.  French Or Foe by Polly Pratt explains what makes the French so different from us. From the working culture to family life, this book is a must read for anyone interested in traveling or moving to France.  Say what you want about the French, but their lifestyle makes for some interesting reading!  Along with that,  French Toast by Harriet Welty Rochefort is a wonderful memoir by a woman who grew up in Iowa but had an attraction to France.  I always admire people who can take a leap of faith and follow their dreams.  Even if those dreams take them half way across the world.  She tries to make sense of the Paris lifestyle. Not so easy for someone from Iowa!

To me the king of American expats living on Paris is David Lebovitz.  If you have never read his blog you have to take a look.  His book The Sweet Life In Paris is full of recipes done the French way and funny insights into the city of light.  As a lover of all the food Paris has to offer (especially of the sweet kind!), this book is a perfect match for me.
My last favorite book is Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange.  This book is a step by step guide to create that unique Parisian style. It is full of colorful  illustrations.  Not everyone in Paris shops at Hermes or Louis Vuitton.  There is style to be found at (gasp) your nearest Monoprix.  Buy the best you can afford for the classic pieces and have fun with the rest.
So that does it for my list.  Like I said there are lots of others that I loved (saved for another blog post perhaps).  I am always looking for books about Paris and the French.  You may have some suggestions for me.  Please let me know!

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