Want to add some Paris books to your reading list but not sure which ones to choose? From fiction, romantic, historic to classic, here are the best books about Paris you have to read!
Paris, a magical city that has been written about by thousands if not millions of writers! Its beauty, charm, history, and romantic feel inspire so many words that keep flowing from writers’ minds!
And for us readers, we keep referring to those books set in Paris to get inspiration and envision ourselves in the city and how it would feel like or even get a clear picture of how the city was like in the past years.
So if you’re like me who loves everything about Paris, from popular Paris quotes, movies to actually visiting the city, then you’ll absolutely love these best books on Paris.
These books about Paris will inspire you, make you daydream about traveling to this beautiful city, and some will give you a glimpse of the daily life of Parisians in the olden days!
And if for whatever reason you can’t travel to Paris now, this post will give you a number of ideas on the best Paris books that will make you feel like you’re strolling the pretty streets of the French capital.
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With this Kindle Paperwhite, you can download all these Paris books for a few bucks! But if you’re all about the freebies, you can actually download all these books for free by signing up for a Kindle Unlimited subscription here!
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Best Books About Paris You Should Read
Best Classic Books About Paris
1. A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens
If you love reading about historical fiction, you will love this 1859 novel by Charles Dickens. The opening sentence of this novel, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness….” has become a famous phrase!
The story highlights the major conflict between family and love, light and darkness, and the good and evil right before and during the French revolution in Paris and London. There is nothing not to love about this Paris book – a story with self-sacrifice, love, revenge, oppression, violence, and hate.
This book follows the life of a French doctor Manette after his release out of prison in 18 years and going to live in London with his daughter Lucie. You will learn what led to the French revolution and the reign of terror.
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Signet Classic) By Victor Hugo
This book is one of the classic Paris books that tells a story whose main occurrences happened in the city’s most beloved sight, Notre Dame, a medieval Catholic cathedral and a magnificent French landmark.
The story, which takes shape in a profound sense of tragic irony, highlights the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the cathedral’s hunchbacked bell ringer, Esmeralda a gypsy dancer, and Claude Frollo, the priest. You will fall in love with the author’s vivid imagination and his prowess powers of description.
3. Les Miserables (Signet Classics) By Victor Hugo
Les Miserables is one of the greatest novels sets in Paris of all time. First published in 1862 and written by Victor Hugo, this classic fictional novel takes you back to the Parisian world in the years following the French Revolution through the lives and interactions of several characters.
It is a sweeping, dramatic story that mainly focuses on the struggles and sufferings of ex-convict Jean Valjean. It also exposes and critiques the social injustices during the 19th century from the story of crime, punishment, and shows the resilience of the human spirit.
4. A moveable feast:The Restored Edition By Earnest Hemmingway
If you are curious to know how life in Paris was in the 1920s, read ‘A Movable Feast’. Earnest Hemmingway takes you back to how Paris’ life was like through sketches of his daily activities and portraits.
It is one of the most famous books about Paris that captures Paris in the 1920s through Hemingway’s eyes, documenting his own journey. It’s a journey of a young struggling writer to becoming the most famous writer in his generation.
This restored edition is a combination of the original manuscript together with unfinished and never-published before Paris sketches.
Historical Fiction Books on Paris
5. The Paris Wife By Paula Mclain
The Paris Wife is one of the best books set in Paris with excellent character development that will vividly bring the glitz and glamour of life in the 1920s through the eyes of Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, after moving to Paris.
It is a heartbreaking fictional story explaining how the roles of Hadley as a mother, wife, friend, and muse became challenging as Hemingway’s tried to make a name for himself.
The story charts their lives as a golden couple, how they adapted to the free-loving jazz age in Paris, and later a crisis in their marriage, betrayal, torn loyalty, heartbreak, and an ultimate end of their marriage.
6. Sarah’s Key By Tatiana De Rosnay
Sarah’s Key is a heartbreaking emotional story told in dual timeline format in a tragic incident that happened in 1942 and was later brought to light 60 years later.
It narrates a tale of a 10-year-old girl Sarah who locks her younger brother in the cupboard, thinking that she would return in a few hours as French police brutally arrest her and her family.
In May 2002, during the 60th anniversary of Vel d’Hiv’, a journalist named Julia, through her contemporary investigations, stumbles upon a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connects her to Sarah’s story and unveils the tragic events that happened on this day.
7. The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel By Pamela Binnings Ewen
This is one of Paris’s historical fiction novel sets that brings Paris to life during world war II with exacting and fascinating details.
It tells the story of a vividly imagined and highly entertaining tale of the secret life of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel who was born in poverty, and how she defends the fortune she built for herself when Paris sank under German rule.
Even though mysterious rumors shadow her, she will do anything to survive and stop her stormy past from haunting her future.
8. Letters from Paris By Juliet Blackwell
Claire survived a tragic accident that took the life of her mother. One day after visiting her ailing grandmother, she found a beautiful, mysterious mask sent by her grandfather from Paris after World War II.
She traveled to Paris to uncover the mystery behind the mask known as the “unknown woman.” With the help of a surly mask-maker, Clair discovers a series of letters telling the stories of a woman immortalized in the work of art.
As she learned the mysteries behind the masks, she unravels secrets buried in her own life. It is a touching story about finding oneself and picking up the pieces after the misfortune.
9. The Paris Secret By Natasha Lester
To what lengths would you go to protect your loved ones? This is a book on Paris that shows the lengths people go to save one another and a love that lives a lifetime.
This historical fiction novel tells the story of Kat Jordan, a fashion conservator who discovers a priceless collection of Dior gowns in her grandmother’s vacant cottage.
As she digs into the misery of their origin, she begins to doubt all she knew about her doting grandmother. It is a heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice that ties back to the first female pilots of world war II.
Best Books About Living in Paris
10. My Life in France By Julia Child
If you wonder what life would be like for a foreigner living in France, this novel by Julia Child tells it all. It is also a must-read for anyone who loves food!
Julia arrived in France in 1948 without any knowledge about the country nor the French language. And as she delved into the French culture, she developed a passion for learning and mastering French cooking and started taking classes at the Cordon Bleu.
She tells the story of her life in France on how she had struggled with the head of Cordon Bleu and her rejection from publishers on what later transpired to the most famous cookbook and movie – Julie & Julia.
It is a story of how she became Julia Child and her success as a chef and writer that teaches people to find their passion and true calling.
11. The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City By David Lebovitz
This is a story of David Lebovitz, a pastry chef and cookbook author who had dream’t of living in Paris, and after moving there, he was shocked that life was not what he expected.
I promise you will laugh out loud reading his hilariously described stories of the peculiarities of Parisians observed from their habits and social customs.
He also later realized that he had become a true Parisian himself and shares 50 original recipes that will leave you drooling.
His amusing description of the city, its beauty, and the delicious food he comes upon will make you fall in love with Paris and want to visit.
12. The Invisible Bridge (Vintage Contemporaries) By Julie Orringer
In 1937, a Hungarian architecture student arrived in Paris with his suitcases, his scholarship, and a letter he had been instructed to deliver.
He soon falls in love with the letter’s recipient, and his secret relationship alters the course of his life and that of his family’s history.
It is a love story, and a disturbing tale of war of a shattered family remade in history’s darkest hour.
Best Travel Books on Paris
13. Paris to the Moon By Adam Gopnik
Paris to the Moon is one of the best travel books on Paris. It was written by Adam Gopnik, a writer for the New Yorker who moved from New York to live in Paris in 1995 with his wife and infant son.
The book is a compilation of their adventures in Paris, which is written in humor, and it’s more like a love letter to the city. You will enjoy the storied life of an American in Paris that will leave you wanting to become an expat yourself.
14. Paris in Bloom By Georgianna Lane
Paris is the city of love, lights, and the city of flowers too. This book will take you through a stunning floral tour of the city.
Enjoy the lively flower markets, elegant floral boutiques, recommendations of the best floral markets, and a detailed guide to chasing Cherry Blossoms in Paris.
Best Books on Paris History
15. The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography by Graham Robb
If you love reading about the history and culture of different countries, then I recommend this book. It is one of the best books about Paris that explains in a quirky and witty engaging narrative style how the imperial influence of Paris gradually extended throughout the remote towns and villages and how the modern nation we have today came to be.
Learn the origin of France, its language, political geography, how it was explored, charted, and colonized.
16. Lilac Girls: A Novel (Woolsey-Ferriday) By Martha Hall Kelly
Read this story of 3 women whose lives are set on a collision course as they bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
This page-turning story will take you on a trip to New York City, Paris, Germany, and Poland. It is a compelling book inspired by actual history about the power of unsung women and their quest to change history.
Romantic Novels Set in Paris
17. Someday in Paris: The Magical New Love Story for Hopeless Romantics By Olivia Lara
Do you believe in true everlasting love and second chances? Then read the story of two hopeless romantics Zara and Leon, whom fate brought together, but life kept them apart.
The book talks about taking chances, dreams, missed opportunities, mistakes, loss, and sacrifice.
Their kind of love survives times, long-distance, and even death. The sweeping romance story is truly epic and will leave a print in your heart as it’s an unforgettable love story.
18. That Night in Paris: The Perfect Uplifting Romantic Comedy to Escape into This Year By Sandy Barker
Sandy Barker will have you feel like you have experienced a wonderful holiday romance through her book “That night in Paris“, and her cheeky sense of humor will make you laugh out loud while reading this romantic book.
It is a story of Cat Parsons, a person who does not do relationships, and after 10 years of being single, she was joined by new friends to discover the beauty of Europe’s most romantic cities. The first stop of the bus tour was in Paris, the city of love itself, and Cat found a new way of looking at love.
19. Paris for One and Other Stories By Jojo Moyes
Paris for One and Other Stories is a love story that captured millions of hearts, and it’s among the best travel books on Paris. If you fear solo adventures, you might change your mind after reading this book.
It is a romantic collection of 9 short stories filled with humor. The first story is about a 26-year-old Nell, who had never been to Paris, and when she planned her first mini-vacation to Paris, her boyfriend did not honor her invitation.
Nell, a shy English girl who was not known to be the adventurous type, decided to prove everyone, including herself, wrong. As she walked through the streets of Paris alone, she discovered a version of herself that she didn’t know existed.
She was confident, independent, and fearless as she made her way through the streets of this romantic city. She met a handsome Parisian along the way and had the most adventurous weekend of her life.
20. A French Affair: The Perfect Escapist Read By Bestseller Jeniffer Bohnet
A teenage girl Belinda lived in Brittany, France. Her parents dramatically separated and she went with her mother back to England. 35 years later, her employers requested her help rejuvenating a run-down campsite located in Brittany, France, the place she once called home.
The secrets from a lost life here, memories, and anxieties overwhelmed her when she realized her mum didn’t tell her the whole truth all those years. Can she reconcile her emotions and find happiness in France? Find out from here!
21. The Paris Hours: A Novel By Alex George
The Paris Hours is a story told in a single day in the lives of 4 characters who are strangers and whose lives cross at the end of the book.
Their stories are as unusual as the fabulous city of Paris they live in. The 4 characters are each looking for something they lost, and the story reveals their pasts and the events that transpired to get them here.
This captivating tale is beautifully written with a lot of surprises, emotions, tragedy, and hope. Will they find what they are looking for? Read to discover!
22. The Room on Rue Amelie By Kristin Harmel
This moving, heartfelt book set in Paris during world war II will have you turning pages until the last word. It is a touching story of an American woman, a charming pilot, and a young Jewish girl whose fate entangled.
It narrates the story of Ruby, who marries an adventurous Frenchman, and her marriage grows colder and bitter. Her husband Marcel is killed, and she discovers that he had been hiding from her that he was a member of the French Resistance.
Now she is determined to take his position and hide allied soldiers, including the pilot and the Jewish girl. The story is set against all the dangers and dramas of world war II, and as Germans continued invading Paris, no one was safe!
Must Read Books About Paris
23. The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon) By Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code is a controversial book and a mystery thriller that illustrates an alternative religious history with more than 80 million copies sold.
It tells a tale of symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu. They discovered a trail of clues hidden in various Da Vinci paintings as they examined the body of a curator murdered and whose body was covered with baffling symbols.
The duo discovered a closely guarded secret society that could upend the foundations of Christianity. Will they interpret the labyrinthine mystery? You have to read it to find out!
24. The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel By Nina George
This is one of the best books about Paris that tells the story of monsieur Perdu with his floating bookstore, who used to prescribe novels for the hardships of life.
There is a book for everyone, and Perdu using his intuitive feel would recommend the exact book a reader needs. He healed people through literature and mended broken hearts and souls apart from his.
He was haunted by heartbreak after his lover disappeared, leaving him with a letter that he never opened.
After he later opened the letter and read it, he embarked on a mission to the South of France to make peace with his loss.
25. The Nightingale: A Novel By Kristin Hannah
This is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale of two sisters who find themselves in different circumstances. They have different passions, ideas, and each embarks on their own dangerous journey towards survival, love, and freedom during the German-occupied war in France.
The novel shows how each played an integral part in the war in their own way, and you might cry towards the end of the novel.
The writer captures the epic scene of world war II vividly through the eyes of the 2 sisters. She also illustrates a side of history rarely seen, which is women in war and their durability.
Final Thoughts of the Best Books About Paris
There are so many books set in Paris that it’s hard to list all of them but these are some that will make you have a glimpse of Paris through the words of those who either experienced Paris first-hand or were influenced by the city and its unfoldings to write down some fictional and romantic books on Paris.
Have you read any book set in Paris? Which one was it and did it make you more curious about the city of love? Let me know in the comments below and if you’ve never read any book about Paris, I hope that I inspired you to read some through this post.
So go read some and don’t forget to come back and tell me which Paris book captivated you the most!
Need more Paris inspiration? Check out these posts below
- Tips to visiting Paris for the first time
- What to wear in Paris and look like a Parisian
- Best things to do in Paris
- Romantic things to do in Paris
- Weekend day trips from Paris by train
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