Ten great books set in Paris 13th September 2017

Ten great books set in Paris

Photo: Wikipedia

Ten great books set in Paris.

For the first of our ‘Ten great books set in…..’ series, we have chosen Paris. Paris is the romantic capital of Europe with its famous landmarks, its bridges over the Seine, its winding streets, and its culinary delights. The ideal location for a relaxing few days… And what better to do there – after a hard day’s sightseeing – than to curl up with a book set firmly in the city. The ten books below are all very highly rated by members of the TripFiction community.

1. An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

1895: an army officer, Georges Picquart, watches a convicted spy, Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of a baying crowd. Dreyfus is exiled for life to Devil’s Island; Picquart is promoted to run the intelligence unit that tracked him down. But when Picquart discovers that secrets are still being handed over to the Germans, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption that threatens not just his honour but his life…

2. And the Show Went On by Alan Riding

In June 1940, Paris fell to the Nazis who made the world’s cultural capital their favourite entertainment ground. Music halls and cabarets thrived during the occupation, providing plenty of work for actors, singers and musicians – except for Jews. The likes of Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf, who had entertained the French troops, now unabashedly provided amusement to the Germans. After the invasion of France, those artists still in Paris had to find ways to survive. Although Matisse and others kept out of view, Picasso could not avoid Nazi visitors. A few, like Beckett, joined the Resistance.

3. Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot

Anna has just had her heart broken in LA. But unlike most women who have been unlucky with love, she has an enviable backup plan – she uses her dual citizenship and moves to Paris to live in her aunt’s empty (and free) apartment. Paris, the city of romance, might not seem like the easiest place to mend a broken heart, but Anna tries to find solace in the cobble-stoned streets, fresh bread, delectable pastries, and sexy Parisian men. While there, she finds a job translating a mysterious, erotic French novel by a famous French author who is staying anonymous. As she is intrigued by his story and taken in by the mystery behind the book, she learns more about herself and how to find the best parts of her French and American self.

4. Quiet Corners of Paris by Jean-Christophe Napais

Quiet Corners of Paris is a beautifully illustrated peek into eighty-one often overlooked, always beautiful, locales: hidden villas, winding lanes, little-known 19th-century passages, serene gardens, and cobblestone courtyards. Some of the places have breathtaking views, others are filled with historic and architectural details, from stone archways, garden follies, boxwood mazes, ornamental statuary, stained glass, and Renaissance fountains….

5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

In a brilliant reworking of the tale of Beauty and the Beast, Hugo creates a host of unforgettable characters – amongst them, Quasimodo, the hunchback of the title, hopelessly in love with the gypsy girl Esmeralda, the satanic priest Claude Frollo, Clopin Trouillefou, king of the beggars, and Louis X1, King of France. Over the entire novel, both literally and symbolically, broods the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

 

6. The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

1928 Avant-garde Paris is buzzing with the latest ideas in art, music, literature and dance. Lucia, the talented and ambitious daughter of James Joyce, is making her name as a dancer, training with some of the world s most gifted performers. When a young Samuel Beckett comes to work for her father, she s captivated by his quiet intensity and falls passionately in love. Persuaded she has clairvoyant powers, Lucia believes her destiny is to marry Beckett.

 

7. 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.

8. Murder in Clichy by Cara Black

Aimée Leduc, private investigator specializing in computer security, has been introduced to the Cao Dai temple in Paris by her partner René Friant. He urges her to learn to meditate: she could use a more healthful approach to life. The Vietnamese nun Linh has been helping Aimée to attain her goal, so when she asks Aimée for a favor—to go to the Clichy quartier to exchange an envelope for a package—René prompts Aimée to agree. But the intended recipient, Thadée Baret, is shot and dies in Aimée’s arms before the transaction can be completed, leaving Aimée with a wounded arm, a check for 50,000 francs, and a trove of ancient jade artifacts.

9. Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello

When Alexandra discovers that her husband Philippe is having an affair, she can’t believe he’d risk losing the love that has transformed both their lives. Still in shock, Alexandra finds herself powerfully attracted to a much younger man. Jean-Luc Malavoine is twenty-three, intense and magnetic. He’s also the son of Philippe’s best friend.With every increasingly passionate liaison, Alexandra is pulled deeper into a situation that threatens everyone she holds dear. Beautifully told through the boulevards and arrondissements of the City of Light, Paris Mon Amouris a sensual novel about inescapable desire and devastating betrayals.

10. Paris Spring by James Naughtie

Paris, April 1968.
The cafes are alive with talk of revolution, but for Will Flemyng – secret servant at the British embassy – the crisis is personal. A few words from a stranger on the metro change his life. His family is threatened with ruin and he now faces the spy’s oldest fear: exposure.Freddy Craven is the hero and mentor Flemyng would trust with his life, but when he is tempted into a dark, Cold War labyrinth, he chooses the dangerous path and plays his game alone.Then a bizarre murder reveals a web of secrets, and his loyalty to family and friends is tested as never before.

Which titles would you add? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below, there are so many more books that will transport you for some excellent location fiction.

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For many more books set in PARIS, search the TripFiction database

Comments

  1. User: Andrew Cairns

    Posted on: 16/09/2017 at 10:22 pm

    My novel, The Witch’s List, is partly set in Paris. Take a trip to the Catacombs, the Cité Université, and the Locomotive nightclub, as seen through the eyes of young Scotland, Sandy Beech…

    Comment

  2. User: Rachel Bridgeman

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 6:17 pm

    Emile Zola’s ‘Germinal’ is an all time French favourite of mine,a newer one is ‘The Awkward Squad’ which gives a Parisian twist to the police procedural

    Comment

    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 14/09/2017 at 11:00 am

      Rachel

      Thanks – we’ve added both to the database…

      We have, though, set Germinal in Val-d’Oise – in the Île-de-France, just outside Paris.

      Thanks again.

      Comment

  3. User: Jennifer S. Alderson

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 4:24 pm

    Excellent list! Murder in Clinchy is now on my TBR list. 😉

    Comment

  4. User: Harriet Steel

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 3:32 pm

    Oh and to add? Zola’s Nana, Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. If you want some ideas for walking tours, there’s a good little book called Forever Paris that follows in the footsteps of celebrities like St Laurent, Audrey Hepburn and Colette.

    Comment

    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 14/09/2017 at 10:56 am

      Harriet

      Thanks for the feedback. We’ve added Nana and Forever Paris to the database. A Tale Of Two Cities was already there, but classified as being set in both London and Paris. We looked at only books set purely in Paris for the list we generated! Hope that worked OK…

      Comment

  5. User: Harriet Steel

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 3:28 pm

    The Robert Harris one is teriffic and I like the look of the James Naughtie thriller. More for the tbr pile!

    Comment

  6. User: Bev Bookless

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for the list, I have read two of them. Paris Spring reminded me of my trips to Paris and particularly the banks of the Seine. Must try the rest. The book pile is getting bigger.

    Comment

  7. User: Jessica Norrie

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 10:57 am

    The Robert Harris is unputdownable. For something set at similar time which keeps Paris firmly in the socially corrupt mire, try “Old Goriot” by Balzac. Formidable!

    Comment

    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 12:10 pm

      We’ll be adding it!

      Comment

  8. User: Martine McDonagh

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 10:46 am

    I would add to this list: Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Gertrude Stein’s Paris France, the graphic novel Kiki de Montparnasse by Catel & Bocquet, and George Simenon’s The Man Who Watched Trains Go By.

    Comment

    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks for this:

      1. A Moveable Feast is in our Paris database, but didn’t make the top ten

      2. We have neither Paris France nor Kiki de Montparnasse in the database. We shall add them!

      3. We have The Man Who Watched The Trains Go By down in our database as a Dutch title. We’ll happily add Paris as well…

      Thanks again for the feedback.

      Comment

  9. User: Mary K Paxson

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 10:45 am

    I’ve read two of the titles and look forward to reading the rest .

    Comment

  10. User: Janine Phillips

    Posted on: 13/09/2017 at 10:34 am

    I have only read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, to be honest I like the look of most of them x

    Comment

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