Book Reviews (#FridayReads)

10 Magnifique Books That Take Place In France to Inspire Your Next Trip | #FridayReads

France is considered one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and features varied culture, traditions, and a mix of modern and ancient architecture. The country can be explored in many ways including a drive across the country or through several documentaries.

Ever since my return from my trip to France last 2019, I’ve been longing to go back. There are a tons of picturesque places to explore and a lot more yummy food to indulge to. Well, the pandemic is making it impossible to travel so here are 10 books that will surely transport you to France from your living room/bed room. Enjoy!

You Had me at Bonjour by Jennifer Bohnet

If you’d asked Jessica a year ago, she would have told you that her life was pretty near perfect. But one year – and one very messy divorce – later, she’s not so sure. Which is how she found herself boarding a plane to the south of France, determined to put her past behind her… preferably via some deliciously chilled rosé.

Meeting a new man was never part of the plan. Yet when she meets Nino, her new neighbor’s impossibly sexy nephew, steering clear of romance seems easier said than done. Suddenly, Jessica finds herself right back where she started: with her heart on the line. But now she’s made a new start, perhaps it’s time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind, take a few risks… and learn to regrette rien!

Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke

In the beautiful village of Chamillon lies the Café Belle Vie, where you’ll always find croissants and friends when you need them the most – and where Elle is hoping to uncover the truth about her past…

Thirty-year-old Elle Matheson has decided it’s finally time to find the mother who gave her up as a baby. With a faded postcard from the Café Belle Vie in hand – one of the very few things she has from her mother – she heads straight to the Île de Ré to begin her search.

With only the postcard and the ivory shawl she was wrapped in as clues, finding her mum is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, even with the help of friendly – and gorgeous – café-owner Charlie. And since Elle hasn’t exactly told her younger sister what she’s up to, the little white lies about where she is are starting to add up…

But Elle is really starting to feel at home on the beautiful island. The locals are welcoming, the café is homely, and Charlie is always there with a helping hand, a listening ear, and a pain au chocolat.

Is Elle about to discover not just where she came from – but where she belongs?

A Year In The Merde by Stephen Clarke

Based on Stephen Clarke’s own experiences and with names changed to avoid embarrassment, possible legal action, and to prevent the author’s legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit, A Year in the Merde provides perfect entertainment for Francophiles and Francophobes alike.

A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January’s frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo’s brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.

Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbor in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever. 

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Chocolat is a timeless novel of a straitlaced village’s awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.

Chocolat’s every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It’s a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday. 

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi.’

Et voila! 10 magnifique books that take place in France to help inspire your next trip. Which one will you read first? What are the books that you love that’s not on the list? I’d like to know by commenting below!

12 thoughts on “10 Magnifique Books That Take Place In France to Inspire Your Next Trip | #FridayReads

  1. I know I’ve read Madame Bovary a looong time ago but I don’t remember the story anymore! Thanks for this list. I’ve been looking for books to relax with and these all sound very light.


  2. Those are interesting titles. I’ll look at them one by one in detail. Anyway, I’ve long wanted to go to France. I guess there will be no need to convince me. Haha.


  3. Haven’t read any of the books on the list but looking on those book covers makes me feel I shouldn’t miss these titles. I might start with the Summer at French Cafe coz I’ve seen a dog on the cover. 😉


  4. France is my dream destination, especially Paris! The book “Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke” caught my attention because of the nice cover and plot! 🙂


  5. The only book I read on your list is Da Vinci Code! I love that book, I think I read it 3 times! Hehe Anyways, I will try to read more from your list! They seem to be bestsellers, too! 🙂 I love France! I hope I can visit there too. Of course, will explore it through reading for now hehe!


  6. I am always fascinated with European countries and France is one of them. This is nice collection of books worth reading and among them, what piqued my interest would be The Little Paris Bookshop and You Had Me at Bonjour. Very interesting stories about love. I would love to check on them if I wanted to indulge on new reads.


  7. Indeed, these books are all magnificent. France is a fascinating country and by reading these books, we can at least experience their culture and lifestyle. This is a great list


  8. eeehh i think im going to look for ebooks nun iba here. i want the chic flicks ones. ill find time to read again lalo na vacay time na ni bagets. nakoooo malamang maiignite yung feelin na gusto ko mag paris nito!


  9. I have only read Anna and the French Kiss. Will definitely check the others out. Gaaah the long list of to-read with little time :((


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