Paris has captivated people for centuries.
The city of love, as they say.
It has long been a city of romance and literature, with many works of fiction set in the romantic City of Lights. From the classic Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables to Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, novels set in Paris have captivated readers for centuries.
Sometimes it seems that anything that is set in Paris is just better.
Take Emily in Paris, for example.
The most redeemable thing about that show is, well, Pris.
So if you’re also a francophone looking to get that romatic aura or Paris, we’ve got you cover.
If you want to read more about this amazing City and get to know about its history and also the fictions written about Paris or in Paris, then these books are a must-read for you!
The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale is a historical fiction novel written by an American Author Kristin Hannah.
The novel narrates the story of two sisters living in France during World War II along with their struggle to survive and resist the German occupation.
The inspiration for this book comes from the story of a Belgian woman named Andree de Jongh.
Andree was the woman who helped downed Allied pilots in escaping the Nazi territory.
So, if you are interested in reading about the struggles of this great woman, then you must read the nightingale as it also entered multiple bestsellers list on its release and has sold over 4.5 million copies as of 2021 in 45 different languages.
Paris Was the Place – Susan Conley
Paris was the place is written by Susan Conley.
It is a tale about a girl named Willie Pears.
When she arrives in Paris, she looks for an adventure and also to reconnect with her brother, Luke.
After taking a job teaching at a center for immigrant girls, while hoping for French Asylum, she doesn’t expect to feel for the ups and downs of her students’ lives or to find a romantic interest with their handsome lawyer, Macon.
As her bond develops with the girls after learning about their histories, Willie’s lines between teaching and mothering begin to blur quickly.
This leads her to make a very risky move that might threaten to upend the life and relationships she has built in Paris.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See is also one of the best books set in Paris that you must give read! This is a war novel written by an American author Anthony Doerr. The novel revolves around two characters:
- Marie-Laure Leblanc – a blind French girl taking refuge in her uncle’s house in Saint-Malo after the Nazis take over Paris.
- Werner Pfennig – A boy with amazing radio technology skills serving in the German military.
This novel has a poetic style that switches between both characters’ stories in almost every chapter.
This nonlinear structured narrative flashes between the Battle of Saint-Malo and also the events leading up to it. This tale has themes of morality and the nature of sacrifice.
Murder on the Eiffel Tower – Claude Izner
Murder on the Eiffel Tower is the debut novel by Claude Izner.
Murder on the Eiffel tower is a part of the historical mystery series that won the Michel Lebrun French Thriller Prize in 2003.
The best thing about this novel is that you can find more about 19-century Paris.
The story sets back in 1889 when the Eiffel tower was built, and on one sunny afternoon, a woman collapses from the tower and dies on this landmark.
This series revolves around the mystery that is a bee sting cause of the death or is there a more sinister explanation.
The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham
The Razor’s Edge is a brilliant novel written by W. Somerset Maugham in 1994.
It features the story of Larry Darrell who is an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I and how he has transcendent meaning in his life!
The story begins with Larry’s friends and acquaintances observing a major change in his personality after the war.
This novel includes his rejection of conventional life and how the search for meaningful experiences in his life leads him to thrive even more.
This a very well-written novel which can easily be nominated as one of the best books set in Paris!
The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
If you are interested in historical fiction novels, then The Paris Wife is the perfect fit for you! This novel was written by Paula McLain in 2011 and it instantly became New York Times Bestseller.
This tells a tale from the 1920s, where Hadley Richardson (a quiet 28-year-old) has it all but he has given up all hope on love and happiness.
But her life changes forever after meeting Ernest Hemingway.
After marrying Ernest, the couple sails for Paris where they instantly become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group.
The tale takes us on how Hadley manages to fulfill her roles as a wife, friend, and muse in her challenging life in Paris.
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s love and life in Paris is well-know, and this list wouldn’t be complete without him.
The Sun Also Rises is a masterpiece novel written by American writer Ernest Hemingway that has to be included in our list of best books set in Paris for sure!
This novel portrays British and American expatriates traveling from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the bullfights and running of the bulls.
The characters in the novel are completely based on the people in Hemingway’s circle and the action is based on events during Hemingway’s life in Paris and his trip to Spain in 1925.
Here, the author investigates themes of love and death, the concept of masculinity, and revivifying power of nature.
Set during the early 1920s, the novel focuses on a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to Pamplona for the annual running of the bulls and fiesta.
Through the narrative, Hemingway captures the disillusionment of the post-war generation and their pursuit of love, meaning, and pleasure.
The novel is renowned for its minimalist style and exploration of themes like death, lost love, morality, religion, and masculinity. It is considered a classic of modern literature and has been adapted into numerous films.
The story primarily follows Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, two lovers who are unable to be together due to Jake’s war wound that has left him impotent.
Throughout the novel, the characters attempt to find personal fulfillment and satisfaction by seeking out moments of joy in small things like friendship, companionship, and physicality.
The symbolism Hemingway uses throughout the novel – such as bulls, the fiesta, and a wounded Jake – creates a powerful representation of how life can be full of pleasure and pain, beauty and suffering.
The Sun Also Rises serves as an exploration of relationships between men and women in the post-war era, displaying how traditional gender roles were shifting and being redefined.
The novel also touches upon themes of morality, faith, and the idea of “lost generations” who have searched for a purpose in life. Through his characters, Hemingway expresses a feeling of hopelessness and alienation that is both relatable and timeless.
The Sun Also Rises remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most influential works.
It is an important piece of literature that still resonates with readers today, exploring themes of love and war in a powerful and meaningful way.
Its minimalism and exploration into the human condition have since become hallmarks of Hemingway’s writing style, showing his talent for weaving together complex stories with few words.
The Sun Also Rises is an excellent example of the power of literature to capture a moment in time, and remains an inspiring and important piece of modern fiction.
Paris to the Moon – Adam Gopnik
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik contains essays that talk about the details of life in modern Paris and what drew him to Paris in the first place.
The writer left the hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of Paris back in 1995 with his wife and their infant son!
According to Gopnik in this book, the dual processes of adjusting to a foreign city and becoming a parent are not dissimilar, as both require adapting new routines, learning new languages, and a new set of rules for every day!
If you want to see how life is actually in Paris, then you must give this one a read!
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky is a remarkable work of fiction, set during the German Occupation of France in World War II.
This novel paints an incredibly vivid picture of life under Nazi rule, exploring themes of love, loss and terror through the eyes of ordinary French citizens.
The story follows two intertwined narratives: that of Lucile Angellier, a woman whose husband has been taken away to fight in the war, and Bruno von Falk, a German officer assigned to oversee their town.
Through these two perspectives, Némirovsky explores the complex nature of human relationships during a time of fear and confusion.
As wars rage outside their homes, the characters in Suite Française come to terms with their own domestic concerns and find love in the most unexpected places.
The novel is a powerful reminder of how war can both create and destroy relationships, and serves as an important piece of literary history that continues to influence readers today.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective novel written by Dan Brown.
It follows the journey of Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconography, and Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist from the French police, as they investigate a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris and discover clues that point them to the discovery of a centuries-old Secret Society and an ancient religious mystery.
The novel has been adapted into a movie released in 2006 starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.
Since its publication, the book has been translated into 44 languages and sold more than 83 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling books of all time.
The main controversy surrounding the novel is its assertion that there are secrets about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene which have been hidden by the Roman Catholic Church for centuries, and that these secrets could alter the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.
This has sparked a great deal of debate among religious scholars, both in support and critique of Brown’s claims. Despite the controversy,
The Da Vinci Code has remained popular, generating a number of sequels and spin-offs. It is an entertaining novel that serves as an introduction to the world of conspiracy theories and secret societies. Whether or not the claims made in the novel are true remains a mystery.
The Da Vinci Code is full of puzzles and riddles, questioning the very foundations of religion. It is an entertaining novel that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
The Da Vinci Code has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring countless works of fiction and non-fiction including books, video games, and even a stage musical. It remains an important work of modern fiction and has inspired readers to seek out the truth for themselves.
The Da Vinci Code is set primarily in Paris, France, with some scenes taking place in London and Scotland.
The novel features numerous landmarks located in these cities such as the Louvre Museum, Westminster Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel.
Additionally, the book also visits other places around Europe including a Swiss bank vault in Geneva and a secret society meeting in Italy.
Additionally, some scenes take place in the United States.
Langdon and Neveu visit various locations in the United States such as Harvard University, the National Air and Space Museum and a secret meeting of The Priory of Sion.
These locations form an important part of the novel’s narrative, revealing clues to solving its mysteries.
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
The Red and the Black, written by Stendhal in 1830, is a classic French novel that tells the story of Julien Sorel, a young man determined to rise above his humble beginnings.
The novel follows Julien’s journey over the course of several years, detailing his struggles and triumphs as he works to make something of himself.
The novel is heavily influenced by Stendhal’s own experiences and views of social structures in the early 19th century, and features a deep exploration of morality and morality’s role in society.
Julien serves as an archetypal figure of individualism, struggling against the constraints of his class and upbringing to rise above it all, but ultimately learning that a man’s fate is largely determined by the world around him.
Despite the many obstacles he faces, Julien remains hopeful and determined, forging ahead with his ambitions and dreams despite any set-backs or dangers.
Ultimately, The Red and the Black captures Stendhal’s view of humanity; that we are all shaped by society, but it is ultimately up to the individual to make something of themselves, regardless of their background.
It is a timeless story of resilience, ambition and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Stendhal’s profound insight into the struggles of everyday life are still relevant today, making The Red and the Black an enduring French classic that speaks to readers of all backgrounds.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a classic novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1831.
Set in the late 15th century, the book tells the story of Quasimodo, an outcast hunchback living in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Through his interactions with Esmeralda, a beautiful gypsy girl, and the archdeacon Claude Frollo, Quasimodo discovers his humanity and is redeemed.
The novel showcases Hugo’s skillful use of descriptions, which evoke vivid imagery of the city of Paris during that era.
Along with its compelling story and characters, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has become a beloved classic for its exploration of themes such as love, identity, and justice.
The novel has been adapted into several films and musicals, which have further cemented its legacy in popular culture.
Overall, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an essential piece of literature that continues to capture the imaginations of readers today.
Through Quasimodo’s journey, Hugo skillfully explores timeless themes of justice and redemption that resonate with readers in the present day.
This classic novel is a must-read for anyone looking to explore Victor Hugo’s writing or gain insight into an integral era of French history.
To end, The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo is a timeless literary classic that deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf. Its themes of love, justice, and identity can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, making it one of the most iconic works of 19th-century French literature.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
In The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery tells a story that centers around two characters: Paloma and Renée.
Paloma is a precocious 12-year-old girl who lives in an apartment building in Paris, while Renée is the concierge who works there.
Despite their differences in age and social class, the two form an unlikely bond as they confront the challenges and expectations of their respective lives.
Paloma’s idealistic world view isn’t accepted by her parents or classmates, while Renée is stuck in a job that she feels underappreciates her intelligence and sophistication.
Through their conversations and experiences, both characters learn to appreciate life for what it is and to embrace their own unique perspectives.
In the end, Paloma and Renée recognize that dignity and intelligence can be found in all walks of life–even in the seemingly mundane aspects of everyday living.
Ultimately, The Elegance of the Hedgehog celebrates an idea that has been around for centuries — that beauty can be found everywhere, especially in the unexpected.
The story offers a heartwarming reminder to look beyond what is seen on the surface, and to uncover the hidden beauty of life that lies beneath.
The novel has won numerous awards, including the Prix des Libraires and the European Prize for Literature, and it has been adapted into both a film and a stage play.
With its thought-provoking themes, memorable characters, and unique setting, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is an engaging read that encourages readers to think about life in a different way.
Through Paloma and Renée’s journeys, Muriel Barbery encourages us to appreciate the beauty of each moment we have and to discover something valuable no matter what our circumstances may be.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is an uplifting story that emphasizes the importance of empathy, self-discovery, and finding joy even in the midst of adversity.
It is a timeless piece of literature that captures the beauty of life and will remain relevant for generations to come.
It encourages us to look beyond our preconceived notions and to appreciate what lies beneath the surface.
Muriel Barbery’s novel is a must-read for anyone looking to be reminded of the beauty that can be found in life when seen through the right lens.
It is an unforgettable story about finding joy and positivity in even the darkest times.
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
This novel tells the story of a teenage girl’s journey of self-discovery as she comes of age in 1950s Paris.
Published in 1954, Bonjour Tristesse is Françoise Sagan’s first and most famous novel.
Told from the perspective of a 17-year-old girl named Cecile, it follows her summer holiday with her free-spirited father and his mistress, Anne.
As the story progresses, the reader watches as Cecile’s adolescent curiosity and her growing understanding of the complexities of adult relationships begin to shape her world.
The novel caused a stir when it was released, as its frank look at teenage sexuality was highly unusual for the time period.
Cecile’s relationship with Anne is something she explicitly seeks out – if not in an entirely conscious way – as it gives her the freedom and independence she has longed for.
The story culminates in a dramatic climax that causes Cecile to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew about love and life.
At its heart, Bonjour Tristesse is a coming of age story.
It’s an exploration of how we learn to understand ourselves and our relationships with others in the face of a changing world.
Sagan’s writing is lyrical, her characters are deep and complex, and her themes are timeless – making Bonjour Tristesse an enduring classic.
It continues to captivate readers with its sensitive portrayal of human emotion and poignant reflections on growing up.
At once heartbreaking and beautiful, Bonjour Tristesse is a timeless masterpiece that will stay with you long after the final page.
It is an essential read for anyone looking to explore the depths of adolescent feelings and relationships.
The book is set in the 1950s, but its themes remain relevant today.
It is a powerful reminder of the importance of cherishing our moments together and the need to embrace change in order to find our own path in life.
With its exquisite writing and unforgettable characters, Bonjour Tristesse is sure to make an impact on every reader.
Whether you’re a fan of romance, mystery, or historical fiction, these books set in Paris have something to offer every type of reader.
So grab your passport and embark on a literary journey through the City of Lights
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