What I’m Reading – Getting Ready for France

There’s no shortage of books written about Paris, and I’ve been reading my fair share of them, since we are preparing for a three week trip there. Actually, we’ll be in Paris for seven days, and the spending the rest of the time touring select destinations in France.

Here are a few of the books that I have enjoyed focusing on Paris.


This is a historical novel that spans the centuries from the genesis of this great city through modern times. We follow several multigenerational families the the years as they experience pivotal events, places and people that shaped Paris and France. It’s long…800+ pages, and I must warn you, flips back and forth through time and well as characters/families. Despite this, I absolutely loved this book. A must read for anyone wanting an interesting history about Paris. Thanks Libby Wilkie for this recommendation, as well as the title below.

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs

I loved learning about this special little street located in the shadow of the Sacre Coeur. I loved her descriptions of local personalities and peeking with her into local shops and landmarks dotting this street.  We’ll be on a tour while in Paris, so I don’t know how much free time we’ll have to explore this special street, but I hope we’ll be able to spend one of our free afternoon’s exploring this neighborhood.

The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris

This is a historical account of the famous Ritz Hotel located in the heart of Paris. It focuses on the hotel’s famous guests before, during and after WWII, and I found it fascinating. It chronicles important Parisians hobnobbing with German officers of the highest order. I was amazed at how important it was to the Nazi regime, This book has it all,  glitz and glamour along side fame and intrigue all wrapped up in historical facts.

Mademoiselle Chanel

There are lots of books written about Coco Chanel, but I found this novel very compelling. It chronicles this ambitious and rebellious woman from her childhood to her last years. If you’re a Coco fan, you’ll love this book.

The Paris Wife

And lastly a book I’m sure you’ve read, but I had to include it here. I’m a huge Hemingway fan, so a few years ago  I was interested in learning more about him. This novel did not disappoint. It’s about Papa and his first wife Hadley, and written from her perspective. Both  insightful and tragic, it gives us a fresh glimpse into life in and around the “lost generation.”
If we have another free afternoon, I definitely would like to visit some of his old haunts.
So there you have it – a few of my recent reads that focus on Paris – Goodreads gives them all 4 stars. If you’re a lover of France, especially of Paris and haven’t read them, I highly recommend you give them a try…
I still have a little time to read a book or two. Do you have any “must reads” before I leave?
Until next time…


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I’m passionate about design in all forms – interiors, architecture, food, fashion, and…life. Join me in my adventures.

2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading – Getting Ready for France

  1. You must be so exited about your trip to Paris! I was there years ago but didn’t really get to do all the things I’d love to do. So a trip back is on my bucket list. I have read “The Paris Wife” and really enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to have to check out that book about Coco Chanel!

    • The Coco Chanel book was very informative, and since it was a historical novel, it read easily. What a fascinating life! The Hotel on Place… was related, since she lived there periodically during WWII. I’m, VERY excited and trying to fit it all in since we don’t seem to revisit a country. I know we can’t to it all, but I’m going to give it a go.