Paris might the subject of more books than any other city, but with good reason! The city not only enlivens the imagination of authors and people the world over, there are also so many ways to visit the city that unique or topic-specific guides truly add to the visitor experience. Whether you’re planning a trip to Paris or dreaming of the City of Light, there is likely one or several books on this list that is right for you. When possibly I recommend picking up a copy from your local bookshop, but I know that’s always an option so I’ve included the links to Amazon for online purchases.
If you’re in Paris, I suggest popping into the Abbey Bookshop in the Latin Quarter where you’ll be able to find most of these (as well as my books). The Abbey also has two great events coming up: the launch party of Skulduggery in the Latin Quarter on June 14th (see below) and on June 21st, in celebration of la Fete de la Musique and the upcoming 30th anniversary of the bookshop, writer Stephen Clarke, of A Year In the Merde fame, will be performing at the bar across the street from the Abbey with festivities spilling over to the bookshop. Didn’t know Stephen was also a singer and comedian? Come out to see for yourself in person! Either way, happy reading everyone!
Ze French Do It Better, a Lifestyle Guide
Aristo-chic, vintage bourgeois, intellectual, eco-warrior… what sort of French archetype do you most relate to? This fun new book by Valérie de Saint-Pierre and Frédérique Veysset entertainingly presents the various genres of the French… and how you can follow in their lifestyle! Not exactly a book on Paris, however, the authors have cleverly listed the “must” essentials for each personality type, where you can acquire these in Paris (or online) and each types’ favorite haunts in Paris. Vive your inner français!
Fodor’s Inside Paris
Looking for a hip and cool guide to Paris? Then pick up a copy of this brand new format of Fodor’s guides… and I am of the authors! Focused on lesser known sites, insider hangouts, cool restaurants and local boutiques, the guide gets you off the beaten track and exploring the real Paris of today’s Parisians. It is divided up into neighborhoods, and don’t worry, some of the classics sites are also included so you’ll have info about those too. You can find my handiwork in the Les Halles, Saint Germain and Les Batignolles chapters.
The Little(r) Museums of Paris: An Illustrated Guide to the City’s Hidden Gems
On a similar vein, for those looking to discover less-trodden Paris, then pick up this wonderful book on the smaller museums of Paris. The French capital has a whopping 200 museums ranging from the history of medicine to magic. Emma Jacobs has carefully selected the top gems and illustrated them beautifully with lovely watercolors. The museums are cleverly organized by theme to make it easier for you to decide which ones to visit. It’s being released on June 4th.
We’ll Never Have Paris
“A Moveable Feast for the twenty-first century,” this is a unique collection of fiction short stories and essays inspired by Paris by more than 70 Anglophone writers and edited by Andrew Gallix, writer and Editor-in-Chief of 3:AM Magazine. Paris isn’t always la vie en rose and this book aims to represent real and modern Paris. Among the impressive list of contributors are Tom McCarthy, Will Self, Brian Dillon, Joanna Walsh, Eley Williams, Max Porter, Sophie Mackintosh and Lauren Elkin.
Literary Paris: A Photographic Tour
Perfect for this list, this wonderful book is a must for booklovers … and it includes the Abbey Bookshop! Some of you may have Paris in Color which is by the same author Nichole Robertson. The book’s stunning photos have vividly captured Paris’s literary institutions and complemented by quotes by legendary Paris writers like Balzac and Colette. The book will be coming out on June 11th.
Paris by Design: An Inspired Guide to the City’s Creative Side
Moving on from literary lovers to design fans, this is a fantastic new guide by author and designer Eva Jorgensen. The book presents interviews, profiles, essays and lists based on her knowledge and tips from local industry insiders. Going being just object design, Jorgensen covers fashion, food and the arts in her extremely comprehensive listing of over 450 places to visit, shop, stay, eat, and drink.
Dateline—Liberated Paris: The Hotel Scribe and the Invasion of the Press Kindle Edition
Perfectly timed with this year’s 75 anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of Paris, Ronald Weber traces Allied reporters in the recently liberated Paris on August 25th 1944, free after four years of Nazi occupation. The focal point is the Hôtel Scribe which became their hub, especially and not surprisingly its basement bar, where one could find the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Walter Cronkite, Martha Gellhorn, Lee Miller and Robert Capa. A great read for history buffs.
My Paris Market Cookbook
Perhaps you already have a copy of the first edition Emily Dilling’s excellent Paris Market Cookbook, if you don’t, you might like to pick up this updated version. The creator of the website and podcast Paris Paysanne, Emily has been living in France for over a decade, much of which she’s been researching local farmers and seasonal produce. The new book, in paperback format, has new content and updated information as well as 70 delicious recipes! It comes out on June 25th, but is available for preorder now.
Skulduggery in the Latin Quarter
Yes, that is indeed the Abbey Bookshop on the cover on this book, which is also “featured” in the book! Author David Benjamin weaves an fast-paced and extremely quirky tale of a mysterious manuscript that goes missing… and the most ragtag group of characters (including one modeled after the Abbey’s owner Brian Spence) who endeavor to retrieve the priceless work. You just never know what bizzare adventure will unfold on the next page! Get your copy of this oddball policier and meet the author at its launch party at the Abbey on June 14th!
Murder in Bel-Air
Speaking of police novels, Paris’ most famous fictional detective is back with the latest book by Cara Black. The talented Ms Black has been working her way around the city with each installment of her detective stories and this new one takes us the eastern neighborhood of Bel Air in the 12th arrondissement. The area seems so calm, yet detective Aimée Leduc uses her deft skills to yet again solve a complex murder. This 19th book will not disappoint fans and new readers can also start with this one and move back.
All the Beautiful Bodies
Award-winning author Juliette Sobanet is best known for her Paris-based romance and mystery novels, however, she goes over to the darker side of the city for her new book, written under the pen name Danielle Porter. Set between Paris and New York, this sexy thriller dives into the universe of high end prostitution and the suspicious disappearance of a glamorous young woman who’d just released a tell-all memoir on her experience in this somber world. Maybe not for all readers, but it’s definitely an exciting page turner!