October 15, 2009

Love At First Sight...

Unlike many others Paris has never been my dream destination - Italy did have that place taken - but since laying eyes on Paris for the first time in our recent trip I might have to do some re-thinking. As soon as we entered the city I fell in love - the history, the architecture, the streets, the people, the clothes, the patisseries! I was totally enchanted by everything I saw and experienced - can't wait to go back.
I am now really keen to read more about the city - both fiction and non-fiction - so if people have any recommendations please, please let me know!


Unknown said...

I love Paris too!

I'm afraid that I haven't loved any books set in Paris/France, so don't have any recommendations for you. I look forward to seeing what others recommend.

My favourite film is French. Manon des Sources. It is the sequel to Jean de Florette (which isn't that great, but please persevere) It is also a book, which I haven't read, but hope to soon. I'd love to know your thoughts - if you can cope with the subtitles.

Eva said...

I'm another Paris lover! :)

I have Paris to the Moon on my TBR case-it's a travelogue about a New Yorker who moves to Paris w/ his wife and young son. I've heard good things about it! Almost French was a very fluffy travelogue about an Australian who moves to Paris after marrying a Frenchman-I enjoyed it, but I took it with a grain of salt. And I've been wanting to read Seven Ages of Paris, which is a history book about the city.

Let's see...novels: Mistress of the Revolution was a great historical novel that's set in large part in Paris. And of course Les Mis. :D I'm sure there are more, but those are what I can think of off the top of my head!

One of my favourite French movies is Paris, Je T'Aime. It's kind of like a short story collection, but with short films, each by a different director with different actors set in a different arrondissement. Another wonderful movie set completely in Paris, and told in real time, so the actors walk around Paris and you get to see it, is Before Sunset.

Sarah said...

I've loved both Cousin Bette by Balzac and The Ladies' Paradise by Zola for classic Parisian reads. I also really enjoyed Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda- a wonderfully light but satisfying book.

Nadia said...

Hmmm. Books with Paris as the setting. What about, Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys ( I love her work!).

Steph said...

Oh, Paris! I've been lucky enough to visit it twice, but my husband has never been so hopefully we will both get to visit it one of these days (and before we are old and grey!). It is such a lovely city to just walk around and *be* in, and all that wonderful food! Sigh.

I can't think of any French non-fic to help you out, and I haven't read this one, but maybe you would like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I know is French and I believe is set in Paris?

Also, I am with Eva - I adore the movie Paris, Je T'Aime. It's so full of life and I think very Parisian in spirit!

roxanestoner said...

If you like mysteries try Fred Vargas' "Have Mercy On Us All", it is a good one set in the Heart of Paris. Anna Gavalda is also one of my favorite author. Colette, Victor Hugo, Zola, Maupassant, Prevert (il you like poetry), Jeanne Bourin for her medieval novels. Gourmet Paris Authentik Guide by Rosa Jackson She has an excellent blog by the way. Movie wise: Avenue Montaigne, Before Sunset (You might want to start with the "Before Sunrise" one even though it is set in Vienna) and of course "Amelie". Thanks for the picture of Laduree, it brought me back.

Iliana said...

I have been wanting to go to Paris for so long. I even studied French in high school! Well, I still believe that one day I'll get there.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Oh and a book I read not too long ago with a Paris setting would be Hunting & Gathering by Anna Gavalda. It was good.

Anonymous said...

Eva beat me to the recommendations for Paris to the Moon and Almost French. In Almost French, I thought the comparisons between French and Anglo-Saxon temperaments was interesting.

Paperback Reader said...

Paris is certainly the city of love.

Colette without a doubt.

Anonymous said...

great photos! i've never been to paris...and it's never been on my list. i think i'd prefer nice or the some other areas in france.

i do love italy, though. the food, the people, the noise, the chaos. makes me feel right at home!

ps. i can't seem to leave a comment with my new information because you don't have an option for name/url like other bloggers on blogger.com. can you help? thanks!

claire said...

I don't remember if you've read The Elegance of the Hedgehog? You probably have

The most French books I can recommend are Proust's six volumes. Haha.

Karen said...

Hi Jackie - I usually don't mind subtitles so I will try and track down a copy of this film - thanks so much for suggesting it!

Hi Eva - I just bought the DVD of Paris Je T'Aime so I will let you know when I have watched it. Thanks for the great book suggestions too - I really enjoyed Almost French (probably because it has that Australian connection) and I wouldn't mind re-reading it actually so thanks for reminding me. I have tried to read Le Mis before and unfortunately failed but I think now that I have been to Paris I would like to give it another go.

Hi Sarah - I have read H&G and I really enjoyed it - have you seen the movie version??

Hi Nadia - thanks for your suggestion - I haven't read anything by this author before so I will have to keep an eye out.

Hi Steph - thanks so much for your suggestions - anything that makes me feel like I am back in beautiful Paris will delight me I'm sure!

Hi Roxane - thank you so much for all the fantastic suggestions!

Hi Iliana - I hope you make it to Paris one day soon - I am sure you would love it!

Hi softdrink - thanks for confirming these as good choices - I will have to look out for the Paris to the Moon.

Hi Claire - I do have one Colette book on my shelf so I will have to find it soon I think.

Hi booklineandsinker - Italy is a place I really want to visit too - hopefully soon! I'm not sure why you can't leave a comment with your new details - I will get my tech-savvy partner to try and find out for me!

Hi Claire - I knew you would suggest Proust! I haven't read the E of the H as yet - have you??

Danielle said...

Gorgeous photos--I'm so envious. It's gorgeous there. I ditto Eva--Paris to the Moon is a great book of essays on the city!

Thomas Hogglestock said...

Before I went to Paris the first time, I thought "Paris, Shmaris, why all the fuss?"

And then of course I went there and discovered what all the fuss was about. sigh.

Thomas Hogglestock said...


The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen and Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris (or Flowers for Mrs Harris) by Paul Gallico.

The latter is about a char women in England in the 1950s who saves her money to go to Dior in Paris and buy a gown. Very fun.

Paris Movies: Amelie.

Karen said...

Hi Danielle - thanks! I have to say that my partner took most of the photos (he's much better at it than me!).

Hi Thomas - Thanks for your suggestions - I have heard about Flowers for Mrs Harris before (can't remember where now) and I have been looking for it ever since.

Tamara said...

What can I say - je t'aime Paris aussi! I'm so glad you loved it. I hope this recommendation isn't too late - but our own Belinda Alexandra wrote Wild Lavender. An easy read for a rainy day, about the Grand music theatres of Paris.

Karen said...

Hi T - I definitely loved it! I have read that Belinda Alexander book and I quite enjoyed it. I hope she has a new one coming out soon??