One place I love returning to in Europe is the beautiful country of France. Living in London it is so easy for me to hop across the Channel and into France. I love the country so much that I have been learning the language (badly) for a few years. While I’m not the greatest at speaking the language, I do know a lot of words in French. What I really like is that a lot of books set in France will also teach you a few words and phrases in French so they are great if you are looking to learn the language.
If you want to be transported to France from your living room then here are 35 amazing books set in France. From romance, to thrillers, these books will mentally transport you to beautiful France.
- 1 35 Incredible Books Set in France
- 1.1 The Little Vineyard in Provence
- 1.2 You Had Me at Bonjour
- 1.3 Treachery in Bordeaux
- 1.4 The Lost Girls of Paris
- 1.5 My Good Life in France
- 1.6 Summer at the Little French Cafe
- 1.7 The Paris Secret
- 1.8 The Da Vinci Code
- 1.9 Paris Letters
- 1.10 A Year in the Merde
- 1.11 Merde Actually
- 1.12 Confessions of a Paris Party Girl
- 1.13 Murder on the Eiffel Tower
- 1.14 A Year in Provence
- 1.15 The Paris Effect
- 1.16 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- 1.17 Just Jenna
- 1.18 The Sweet Life in Paris
- 1.19 Murder in the Marais
- 1.20 Anna and the French Kiss
- 1.21 Mastering the Art of French Eating
- 1.22 A French Affair
- 1.23 Paris For One
- 1.24 Madeline
- 1.25 The Little Paris Bookshop
- 1.26 The Red Notebook
- 1.27 My Life in France
- 1.28 P.S. From Paris
- 1.29 Death in the Dordogne
- 1.30 Summer at the Vineyard
- 1.31 A Very French Affair
- 1.32 Almost French: A New Life in Paris
- 1.33 Seeking Whom He May Devour
- 1.34 My Grape Year
- 1.35 My Grape Paris
- 2 Travel Books
35 Incredible Books Set in France
The Little Vineyard in Provence
By Ruth Kelly
Stuck in a dead-end job she hated and discovering her husband had left her with a mountain of debt and no idea when he’d be back, life for Ava wasn’t looking good. She then receives news that her estranged grandfather has passed away and left his entire vineyard, Château Saint Clair, to her. While she starts out with the intention of selling the vineyard, after spending warm sunny days in Province enjoying croissants and red wine, Ava starts to rethink selling her grandfather’s vineyard. With the help of a handsome local waiter, she starts to feel at home. Would it be mad for her to walk away from her marriage and take a chance on the vineyard she fell in love with as a child?
You Had Me at Bonjour
By Jennifer Bohnet
Jessica’s near perfect world is turned upside down after a messy divorce and she’s not sure what direction her life should take. She decides an adult gap year in Southern France is the perfect place to recover and plan her new life. While meeting a new man was never part of the plan, she finds it hard to steer clear of romance when introduced to her neighbours sexy nephew. Is it time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind and take a few risks?
Treachery in Bordeaux
By Jean-Pierre Alaux
In modern day Bordeaux there are still a few wine estates within the city limits and the prestigious Moniales Haut-Brion is one of them. When some of the barrels turn, Benjamin Cooker, world renowned winemaker turned detective, starts asking questions. Is it negligence or sabotage?
The Lost Girls of Paris
By Pam Jenoff
Inspired by true events, The Lost Girls of Paris is an emotional story of friendship and betrayal during the Second World War. Eleanor Trigg leads a mysterious gang of female secret agents in London. Twelve were sent to aid the resistance but never returned. Six years later Grace Healey is drawn to the mystery of the lost girls of Paris after finding a suitcase full of old pictures.
My Good Life in France
By Janine Marsh
Janine Marsh was on a trip to Northern France to pick up some cheap wine, however, she returned to England having put an offer on an old, rundown barn in the rural area of Calais. While unplanned, Janine eventually gave up her job in London and moved to France with her husband. This is the true story of Janine’s rollercoaster ride moving to France and adapting to a different way of life with new culture and etiquette than she is used to.
Summer at the Little French Cafe
By Karen Clarke
When thirty year old Elle decides it’s finally time to find the mother who gave her up as a baby, she heads to Ile de Re with just a faded postcard from the Cafe Belle Vie to begin her search. With only the postcard and the ivory shawl she was wrapped in as clues, Elle’s search for her mother is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But after a while Elle starts to feel at home on the beautiful island with welcoming locals, especially with the friendly and gorgeous cafe owner Charlie. Could Elle discover not just where she came from but where she belongs?
The Paris Secret
By Lily Graham
Valerie hadn’t been to Paris since she was three years old running from the Nazis. Now as a young woman, Valerie must return to Paris to the bookshop of her sole surviving relative. Her grandfather Vincent is the only person who knows the truth about what happened to her parents. As Valerie gets to know grumpy Vincent she learns about the tragic story of Nazi-occupied Paris and how her mother was willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter. But what is the one secret Vincent is determined to hide from her?
The Da Vinci Code
By Dan Brown
While not set entirely in France, the major parts of the book are, so it still deserved to be included in this list. While Harvard professor Robert Langdon was on a business trip in Paris, the elderly curator of the Louvre is brutally murdered inside the museum. A series of baffling codes have been found and it’s up to Langdon and gifted cryptologist Sophie Neveu to try and figure out the riddles. Unless Langdon and Neveu can quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever.
By Janice Macleod
On the verge of burnout, Janice starts to ponder how much money does it take to quit your job? With determination she cuts back enough to save up for two years of freedom around Europe. Only after a few days in Paris Janice meets a cute butcher who doesn’t speak English. This doesn’t stop Janice and Christophe starting a whirlwind Paris romance. With her savings running low and not wanting to return back to her old corporate life, Janice must find a way to make her Paris dream life last forever.
A Year in the Merde
By Stephen Clarke
Originally published as a fake autobiography, A Year in the Merde is the ‘almost true’ story of when Paul West, a young Englishman, arrives in Paris to open an English tearoom. This comic novel had me laughing out loud as Paul discovers what the French are really like.
By Stephen Clarke
In his second comedic book, Paul West has been living in Paris for a year running his English tearoom and is beginning to mutate into a Parisian waiter. Paul continues his search for his perfect French mademoiselle but will his story end in merde?
Confessions of a Paris Party Girl
By Vicki Lesage
When Vicki, a newly single party girl, moves to Paris she dreams of being able to indulge in wine, stuff her face with croissants and fall in love. However, falling in love in Paris proves to be more difficult than she imagined. In this cheeky memoir, outspoken and honest Vicki recounts the highs and lows of her life in Paris.
Murder on the Eiffel Tower
By Clavde Izner
Set in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was brand new, a woman tragically collapses and dies caused from what appeared to be a simple bee sting. The young bookseller Victor Legris who was at the Tower during the incident is determined to find out what actually happened. Victors investigation takes him all over the city but as the deaths begin to multiply it’s a race against time to find out what’s been happening.
A Year in Provence
By Peter Mayle
Peter and his wife decide to throw caution to the wind to live out their long cherished dream of living abroad. They buy a glorious two hundred year old farmhouse in the Luberon Valley and begin a new life in France. The book follows their hilarious journey transferring to rural life as they survive the unexpected.
The Paris Effect
By K.S.R Burns
Amy and Kat have planned a secret trip to Paris that even Amy’s husband doesn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat to cancer she thinks the plan might be over but is it? Guided by Kat’s bold voice, Amy sneaks off to Paris without telling anyone. With adventure and a glimpse into an unexpected side of Paris, Amy has to choose between her new life in Paris or the one she left behind.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
By Victor Hugo
Made popular by the Disney movie, fans of the story should also check out the book set in 1482. Quasimodo, nicknamed the Hunchback of Notre Dame due to his disfigurement, falls in love with the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda. This compelling story features romance and betrayal and the book does not disappoint.
By Diane Claire Benant
With a romantic skiing holiday in France planned, Jenna Andrews sees a diamond ring in her immediate future. That is until the relationship ends with no warning. Suddenly Jenna is 33 and single for the first time ever. Something she needs to change. That is, until her friends intervene. Concerned about the relationship choices Jenna is making, they challenge her to go on the skiing holiday alone. Can Jenna rise to the challenge of having fun without boys?
The Sweet Life in Paris
By David Lebovitz
Like many people, David Lebovitz dreamt about living in Paris since his first visit. After working nearly two decades as a pastry chef and cookbook author, David finally moves to Paris to start his new life. With his life packed up into three suitcases and a new apartment in the lively Bastille neighbourhood, David soon discovers that life in France is very different.
Murder in the Marais
By Cara Black
After her father was killed in the line of duty, Aimee Leduc had always sworn she would stay away from criminal cases and stick with tech investigations. However, after being approached by an elderly Jewish man with a top secret decoding job on behalf of a woman in his synagogue, Aimee unwittingly takes on more than she expected when she finds a woman strangled with a swastika carved on her forehead. With her partner Rene, Aimee sets out to solve this horrendous murder but finds herself in a dangerous web of ancient secrets and buried war crimes.
Anna and the French Kiss
By Stephanie Perkins
Anna is not happy to be shipped off the boarding school, especially since that means leaving behind a fledgling romance. However, she soon changes her mind when she meets the charming and beautiful Etienne St Clair. Sadly, for Anna, she also meets his girlfriend. But in the city of light can surely her near misses will finally end in her longed for French kiss?
Mastering the Art of French Eating
By Ann Mah
When Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three year assignment in Paris, Ann couldn’t be happier. As a long time foodie, she immediately plans gastronomic adventures. That is, until her husband is called away to Iraq for a year long post alone. Ann’s romantic visions of life in Paris are destroyed. Now Anna must combat her loneliness with French food.
A French Affair
By Susan Lewis
When Jessica’s daughter Natalie is killed in a freak accident in France, she instinctively knows there is more to the story. Natalie’s father Charlie on the other hand, is so paralysed by his daughter’s death that he refuses to discuss his wife’s suspicions. Jessica decides to go to France alone in search of answers. However, once in Burgundy, she soon discovers a great deal more than she expected.
Paris For One
By Jojo Moyes
Nell had the perfect romantic weekend planned in Paris but minutes before setting off she was deserted by her boyfriend. Can she use this time alone in Paris to find herself?
As well as Paris For One, this book offers 10 more romantic stories including Honeymoon in Paris, Love in the Afternoon and Between the Tweets.
By Ludwig Bemelmans
One of my favourite films as a kid so as an adult I was happy to learn about the book. The story of twelve little girls in two straight lines, the smallest one being Madeline, has delighted children for more than seventy years.
The Little Paris Bookshop
By Nina George
Jean Perdu runs a bookshop on a beautifully restored barge on the Seine and possesses a gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. Sadly for Jean though the only person he is unable to cure is his own heart ache. But can the arrival of an eccentric neighbour change that?
The Red Notebook
By Antoine Laurain
When bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on the streets of Paris he is determined to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money or contact information, just a small red notebook with handwritten notes. These thoughts reveal a person that Laurent would actually like to meet. Now with just a few of her possessions, Laurent hopes to find one woman in a city of millions.
My Life in France
By Julia Child
When Julia Child arrived in Paris back in 1948 she was a thirty six year old, rather loud Californian who barely spoke French and didn’t know the first thing about cooking. After living in France she fell in love with French culture and French food. My Life in France follows Julia’s incredible story from being inexperienced to becoming an internationally renowned expert in French cuisine.
P.S. From Paris
By Marc Levy
Mia may play a woman in love in the movies but in real life the actress is in need of a break from her philandering husband, who also happens to play her romantic interest in the movies. She decides to head to Paris and hide behind a new haircut, fake glasses and a waitressing job at her best friends restaurant. In Paris she is set up with Paul through friends and while it seems fate is nudging them together, the pair are determined to stay ‘just friends’.
Death in the Dordogne
By Martin Walker
In the ancient town of St Denis in south-west France an old man, head of an immigrant North African family, is found murdered. The suspicion falls to the son of the local doctor who was found playing sex games surrounded by Nazi paraphernalia. Police Captain Bruno isn’t convinced though but will the local people of St Denis allow him to go digging through the past in order to find the killer?
Summer at the Vineyard
By Fliss Chester
After getting sacked from her job, Jenna Jenkins needs to get away so takes a summer job at the beautiful Chateau Montmorency. Enjoying partying and dining out with suave Frenchmen is part of the fun until she gets caught in a trap. A mysterious benefactor helps her out of her jam but there’s something familiar about him.
A Very French Affair
By Sue Roberts
Life just got more complicated for thirty-eight year old single mum Liv when her son Jake started asking some difficult questions. The answers lie in a holiday romance twenty years ago when Liv was staying with her aunt on the French Riviera. To give the answers that Jake needs, Liv must return to the Cote d’Azur and track down her first love.
Almost French: A New Life in Paris
By Sarah Turnball
While backpacking around Europe, Sarah Turnbull meets Fredric and impulsively accepts his invitation to visit him for a week in Paris. Eight years later and Sarah is still in Paris and now married to Fredric. This travel memoir covers the highs and lows of Parisian life and as Sarah becomes ‘almost French’.
Seeking Whom He May Devour
By Fred Vargas
Disturbing things have been happening in the French mountains with more and more sheep being found with their throats torn out. Suzanne Rosselin thinks this is the work of a werewolf and then Suzanne is found slaughtered in the same manner. Her friend Camille and Suzanne’s son Soliman try to discover who or what is responsible.
My Grape Year
By Laura Bradbury
In a last minute twist of fate, Canadian seventeen year old Laura Bradbury is sent to France for a year’s exchange. Knowing very little French but having a desire to please, Laura quickly adapts to Burgundian life, learning about the fine art of wine tasting. However, after meeting local man Franck, Laura is torn between abiding by the no dating rule and keeping her hosts happy or following her heart.
My Grape Paris
By Laura Bradbury
Laura returns to France for the third book in The Grape Series. Book 2 was set in Canada, but for Book 3 Franck and Laura are back in France when they move to Paris. Laura, who is studying at McGill University in Montreal, has organised a year exchange at the Sorbonne in Paris. Franck, who has been living with Laura in Canada is delighted to return to his native France. Laura soon discovers that her fantasy life in Paris is much more complicated with inappropriate relatives and spiteful teachers. The situation is made worse for Laura when she worries that Franck, who is having a much different experience, will want to stay in Paris when Laura’s stint at the Sorbonne is up. Is this Parisian year the final hurrah for their romance?
There you have it, 35 incredible books set in France to help inspire your next trip. Which will you read first? Any books not on the list that you love? Let me know in the comments below
If this list has inspired you to visit France, these posts may help you plan your trip:
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