Before I travel, I read as much as I can about the place I’ll be visiting (or living!). Guide books are great of course, but I also enjoy reading books that are set in the place I’m about to experience. I find they get me in the mindset to be in that space and even more excited to go. Picking up tips and learning lessons from the authors is invaluable. When I was preparing to leave for Paris, there were a handful of books (in addition to numerous guide books) that I read in the months leading up to the trip that taught me about the culture I was about to immerse myself in and gave me ideas for side trips and fun things to do. Here are the books I read to help prepare me for a month in Paris!
- Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. A memoir that follows author, Elizabeth Bard, as she falls in love with her Frenchman and French cuisine. A well-written story that leaves you wanting more…and it’s peppered with mouth-watering recipes throughout.
- Lessons from Madame Chic: The top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott. As Jennifer embarks on her study abroad experience in Paris, she meets her hostess “Madame Chic” who teaches her about French living and inspires her to live an elevated lifestyle. Jennifer gives you a sneak peek into what it’s like living in the elegant 16th arrondissement while sharing the lessons she learned and offering tips so you can live life to the fullest-even on a budget.
- Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange with Sophie Gachet. Famous model and French fashion icon, Ines de la Fressange shares how you can add Parisian chic to your style and home. She also shares some of her favorite spots in the city!
- The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz. Pastry chef and cookbook author, David Lebovitz, moves to Paris and gives an insider’s look at what it’s like to pick up and move to France. With funny stories about dealing with French banks and the art of waiting in line, he shares lessons on the culture and some great places for a baguettes, pastries, and chocolate when in town.
- Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas. Amy Thomas moves to Paris for a dream job. Reading about her daily adventures and struggles in the city is as delightful as her descriptions of French treats. I visited many of the spots she listed and they made my trip complete.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Have you ever wondered what it would’ve been like to live with Ernest Hemingway in 1920s Paris? This novel tells the story of Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife, and their love story from her point of view.
- Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz. Three female strangers all starting over in a charming house in the heart of Paris. Need I say more?
I wrote my list in the order in which I read the books. Thanks to Goodreads, I had record of the dates I read them-I love that feature! I didn’t rate the books because I liked them all for different reasons, but if you’re curious they all rate from 3.5-3.85 on a 4-star scale on Goodreads.
I’d love to know if you’d read any of these books and what you thought! If I hadn’t read them, I would’ve missed out on some of my favorite memories in Paris so thank you to the authors for sharing your journeys!
Interested in reading one of these books? Here are easy (non-affiliate) links below for your convenience.
Photos by: Living Frenchly
- Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
- Lessons from Madame Chic: The top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott (The subtitle has changed since I read it.)
- Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange with Sophie Gachet
- The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz
- Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
- Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz