The Roundup

43 Books That Will Transport You to Paris

by Team Fathom

A lovely day with a good book in Jardin du Luxembourg. Photo: Courtesy of waitscm/ Flickr

PARIS – From Molière and Voltaire to Fitzgerald and Stein to Gopnik and Gavalda, the City of Lights brings out the writer in everyone. If you can't have Paris under your feet, you can have it in your imagination. Inspired by our Literary Tour of Paris itinerary, we've assembled a highly subjective list of fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages.

Works of Fiction

Henry and June, Anaïs Nin

I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, Anna Gavalda

Le Divorce, Diane Johnson

Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

Nightwood, Djuna Barnes

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky

The Dud Avocado, Elaine Dundy

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

Cousin Bette, Honoré de Balzac

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo

The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain

The Last Nude, Ellis Avery
Read more on Fathom: An excerpt; Ellis Avery walks in history's footsteps.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

You Deserve Nothing, Alexander Maksik

The Lover, Marguerite Duras

The Mandarins, Simone de Beauvoir

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

The Story of Babar, Jean de Brunhoff

The Well of Loneliness, Radclyffe Hall

Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller

The Complete Guide to Asterix, René Goscinny


A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

Between Meals, A. Liebling

Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein

Chanel: A Woman of Her Own Means, Axel Madsen

My Life in France, Julia Child

Chéri, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Simon Schama

Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell

Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and theExtraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It, Jill Jonnes

French Women Don't Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano

La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, Elaine Sciolino

Les Grandes Horizontales: The Lives and Legends of Four Nineteenth-Century Courtesans, Virginia Rounding

Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, Judith Thurman

Tête-à-Tête: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Satre, Hazel Rowley

The Flâneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, Edmund White

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier, Thad Carhart

Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho, and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks, Diana Souhami

Wild Heart: Natalie Clifford Barney's Journey from Victorian America to the Literary Salons of Paris, Suzanne Rodriguez

Athénaïs: The Life of Louis XIV's Mistress, the Real Queen of France, Lisa Hilton

Explore Literary Paris

A Literary Tour of Paris

Your Turn

Did we forget your favorite Paris book? Add it to the comments below.

Special thanks to Fathom contributor and Paris freak Kimberly Burns for her help assembling this list. 

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.