Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Take Place in Paris

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


This week for Top Ten Tuesday, The Broke and The Bookish are giving us a little freebie. In honor of Paris in July, I thought it would be a perfect time to discuss my top ten favorite books that take place in Paris (or France, because there are a few outside of Paris I also love). Some are books I've already read and loved, while others are books I am eager to get my hands on.

Books I've read:

1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo -- Yes, I've been embroiled in this one for months and months, and it's not over yet. But it isn't because the book isn't amazing -- it is because it is demanding. And rewarding. I almost don't want to finish, because I am enjoying the experience so much.

2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo -- This one is right up there with Les Mis. I actually had the opportunity to read Hunchback while I was in Paris and it was an unbelievable experience. As I climbed the towers of Notre Dame there were inscriptions from the book every few flights of stairs. And the backstory of Hugo's novel saving the giant cathedral is both inspiring and romantic.

3. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- I love F. Scott madly. In fact, just a few days ago I had to give my husband a severe scolding when he told me that The Great Gatsby was boring and that he couldn't get through it. However, I think Tender is the Night is an even greater masterpiece, if not quite as universal. Taking place in the south of France, it is semi-autobiographical and about a psychiatrist, his troubled wife, and the other woman he meets there. It is wrenching and amazingly written, as per all of Mr. Fitzgerald's works.

4. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton -- Okay, if we are being honest here, hardly any of this book takes place in Paris. But the last scene, which does, brought me back to Paris more than any other book I have ever read. The descriptions were so evocative for me and brought back vivid memories. In addition, the end is the most wrenching, gut-punching ending ever (in a good way). So read it.

5. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene -- If I'm being honest, I have to tell you that I didn't particularly love this book. However, if we are being Paris-philes, this book has fabulous descriptions of Paris itself and also brought back very vivid memories.

6. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly -- You've all heard me fan-girl about this one. Going between Andi, a troubled teen forced to spend a few weeks in Paris with her father, and Alexandrine, a girl in the court of the doomed Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the story builds into a sweeping adventure that I just couldn't get out of my mind once I had finished.

7. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran -- This was another gripping book taking place during the French Revolution. It was fascinating in its exploration of a commonly known pop culture symbol (Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum), but the history behind it is much more sinister.

Books I haven't read yet:


8. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway -- I have no excuse for not having read A Moveable Feast yet. My grandma gave me a gorgeous leather-bound hardcover last year and it has been waiting patiently for me ever since. I am planning on getting to it this summer.

9. French Milk by Lucy Knisley -- I've heard that this graphic novel is entertaining and fantastic. While my experiences with graphic novels are limited at this point, this is one I am definitely hoping to try soon.

10. Paris, My Love by Eloisa James -- I've seen this one floating around the blogosphere lately and I am very intrigued. I hope to read it soon!


24 comments:

  1. After reading the Zelda Fitzgerald version of Tender is the Night; you know, called Save Me the Waltz, I didn't expect this book to be good. But it was fabulous. I love the idea for this list! I haven't read many of these books, but they all somehow sound very fascinating. Great list!

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    1. I have been wanting to read Save Me the Waltz even though I don't expect it to live up to Tender is the Night. This one is definitely fantastic, though!

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  2. what a fun choice for a topic and a great list of books. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

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  3. Great post, I'm taking part in Paris in July and you've convinced me to go ahead with Tender is the Night!

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    1. Good -- I am glad you are going to read it!

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  4. Great list! Les Miserables would be number one on mine as well. I'd also have to add Paris to the Moon.

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    1. I've been wanting to read Paris to the Moon for a long time. I'm hoping I get to it soon.

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  5. Thank you for all the insights! You're making me want to hop a plane over to Paris... ;)

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    1. Haha I am ALWAYS wanting to hop a plane over to Paris.

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  6. There's the piano shop on the left bank. That one's charming. Also parts of Suite Francaise right? That was a while ago but so so good. I like this topic!

    And I thought you would appreciate that on our own TTT my sister and I both independently referenced the Story Girl (top ten names we'd give our kids...)

    I'm commenting weirdly but it's http://mysistersbookshelf.com :)

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    1. I haven't read Suite Francaise yet but it is on my list. And I loved your post on the names from The Story Girl. :)

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  7. Oh, I love Revolution and Madame Tussaud and Les Miserables.

    I want to read Tender Is The Night and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    Actually, I also really want to re-read Les Miserables, because as you said it is a very rewarding experience!

    My TTT

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    1. I've loved rereading it. Make sure you read the Julie Rose translation, though -- it makes all the difference in the world.

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  8. Fun list! I own Revolution and haven't had a chance to read it yet. :)

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    1. Ooh you should make it a priority! It is amazing!

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  9. I love books set in Paris! I'm planning to read A Moveable Feast soon as I've heard amazing things about it for a long time now.

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    1. I hope you get to read it soon! (And me too. :) )

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  10. Terrific list. I hope I can travel to Paris someday. I would have to scoot over to Italy too :)

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    1. Italy is probably the next country I will visit. My husband lived there for two years and so he is pushing for a trip.

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  11. Love this list! I'm rereading #3 now - first time since high school, so it seems new again. #8 was a highlight of Paris in July last year and I really enjoyed French Milk, too. Hope my wait on the library hold list for #10 is over soon... and now you've got me wondering if I can fit The Age of Innocence in before the end of the month. Wharton is a favorite.

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    1. Good to hear you liked French Milk! I've only heard of one person who has read it but she praised it so highly I knew I wanted to read it. I hope you get to read The Age of Innocence -- it is a beautiful book (although, to be honest, most of it does not take place in Paris).

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  12. I LOVE books set in other countries. Paris is probably my favorite though :)
    my TTT: http://booknookgirl.blogspot.com/2012/07/top-ten-tuesday-endings.html

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    1. I love reading about Paris, too. Every time I read about it it takes me back. :)

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