How To Travel To France Without Leaving Your Couch
You already know how to trick everyone into thinking you're French. So how about taking your love for the country to the next level--without even going through airport security? Slip on your best black turtleneck, listen to some Lulu Gainsbourg and devour these nine stunning portraits of France.
“The Virgin Blue” by Tracy Chevalier
Ella and her husband are Americans who move to Lisle-sur-Tarn, a small town in southwestern France. What follows is a cross-century tale of witchcraft, torrid affairs, lies and shocking discoveries.
“My Life in France” by Julia Child
Anyone who has seen or read Julie and Julia, or counts themselves among the zillions who have watched her on PBS, should not consider their Julia Child experience complete without reading her delightful autobiography about the things she loved most in life: her husband, Paul; cooking; eating; and her “spiritual homeland,” France.
“The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery
Jam-packed with philosophy, literature and satire, Elegance of the Hedgehog follows two narrators, Paloma and Renée, as they live and work in an upscale apartment on the Left Bank. (Not to mention, this is one of the most beautifully written novels of the 21st century.)
“I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere” by Anna Gavalda
This collection of French short stories is nostalgic, witty and whimsical, and captures the reality of the human experience in all its messy glory. While each story is uniquely French, the themes of love, lust and loneliness are totally universal.
“The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain
This New York Times best seller is a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson (the first of his four wives). Enter romance, heartbreak, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald and, of course, Paris.
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl, an orphaned German boy, a radio, a cursed diamond and WWII. A finalist for the 2014 National Book Award, this story will sweep you off your feet and into the world of Nazi-occupied France and the walled fortress of Saint-Malo.
“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
OK, it's technically about Paris and London. But, come on. Madame Defarge and her knitted hit list? This classic is entirely focused on the romance, intrigue and tragedy of the French Revolution. (FYI: Best. Ending. Ever.)
“Nothing Holds Back The Night” by Delphine de Vigan
Part memoir, part novel and part elegy, Nothing Holds Back the Night recounts the author’s tragic Parisian childhood, marked by the descent of her mother, a former model and French bohemian, into depression and madness.