Before even booking your ticket to go to Paris, Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon" is a great book to read. In this collection of essays, the "The New Yorker" staff writer explained how the 'City of Lights' is like to a foreigner. Yes, Paris is somewhat of an international city, in it that it's visited by countless people from around the world and in many ways, it's also become a multi-cultural metropolitan. But what Gopnik explains in his work is that Paris still has its own way of life. One that you're going to have to adjust to when you go there for a long time or if you decided to live there.
If Jane Austen wrote about Parisian life, she would have authored "The Suitors." Still, Cécile David-Weill did a fantastic job of spinning a comedic tale of romance, money, and tradition. The book centers on two Paris socialites on a mission to marry wealthy husbands in order to secure their summer estate before their parents decide to sell it off. What happens throughout is a pandemonium of witty remarks, hilarious incidents, and light and airy takes on Paris society. Not to mention a beautiful tale of both familial and romantic love.
Admit it, apart from the famous tourist spots, the real reason you want to go to Paris is to taste their food. Particularly their delectable pastries that often look too good to eat. Well, if you aren't in Paris, you can at least read about these treats with David Lebovitz's "The Sweet Life in Paris." Having become one of the city's premier pastry chefs, his book is somewhat of a combination of his memoirs and a recipe book of his best works. Here, you won't just get a mental teste of Paris's finest, you'll also get a glimpse of what it's like to become a true Parisian!
Paris may be the "City of Love," yes, but if you haven't mastered either the French language or the language of love, you really won't go anywhere. Take David Sedaris's word for it. His comedic memoirs, "Me Talk Pretty One Day," chronicles how not knowing the French language while in Paris led him to some funny situations. Of course, if you're just going there to be a tourist, this is a light fun read. But if you're actually planning to move to Paris, apart from a good laugh, use this book as a guide for what to expect when living in the French capital.
When Edmund White moved to Paris, he became what the French would call a 'flâneur.' Essentially, he was a wanderer. Someone who'd randomly stroll through the streets, looking for all sorts of adventures. And in his book. "The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris," he recounts his days discovering a new side of Paris that neither he nor anyone else outside of the French capital has ever seen before. In the book, he takes you to various bookstores, cafés, boutiques, monuments, museums, and more. some of which you probably never heard of before. If you're set to go to Paris, this is a great guide to use!
Paris may be a sparkling city now but in the 1920s, it was the toast of the literary and art world. At that optimistic and downright revolutionary post-war era, Paris hosted several of the great writers, artists, and designers who led the world into the modern era. One such, famously, was Ernst Hemingway. And in his book. "A Movable Feast," he offers readers a peek into what Paris was like at the time. How the 'City of Lights' produces the most enlightenment in terms of new philosophies, great stories, and exciting new art movements. Fortunately, since Paris barely changed from its past decades, a lot of the places Hemingway wrote about can still be seen and visited today!
Arguably the most famous foreigner to ever take on French Haute cuisine was Julia Child. Her cookbooks and TV programs helped ordinary people from different parts of the world get familiar with the French ate. One could say she gave everyone a "taste of Paris." But in her memoir, "My Life in France," she not only gives a taste of Paris but a whole feast of what life really was like in the French Capital. Particularly, what her life was like, as an American, pursuing her dream of becoming a culinary icon in a city with the finest foods in the world.
Fashion, food, art, monuments, museums, cafes—these are what Paris is mostly known for. Very rarely do people associate music with the 'City of Lights' but after reading That Carhart's "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier," more people might start. In the book, Carhart recounts seeing a piano shop over by the left bank of the River Seine. His curiosity eventually led him to the atelier’s master, Luc. And thus began Carhart's journey into knowing more about the instrument and its impact on both Paris and the music world at large.
With its reputation for romance and beauty, Paris is perhaps one of the most written-about cities in the world. If you're planning to visit or even live here, try to read up on it to see just how special the French capital really is.