Paris through the Eyes of Strong Women Writers

Women writers have come a long way, from having to write under pseudonyms just a hundred years ago to today’s position among the top seller international authors. Daring to take to the pen (then the typewriter and the laptop) has helped us gain equal rights and share our unique perspective of the world. In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’ve pulled together this list of some of my favorite books on Paris written by female writers, both French and foreign, some dating back hundreds of years, others sharing the wonders and woes of modern-day Paris with a dash of romance and sexiness thrown in. You can also find my complete list of top Paris/France book picks here. Happy Reading!

Female Writers

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Written when Anais Nin was in her twenties and living in Louveciennes, France, these stories contain many elements that will delight her readers: details remembered from childhood, of life in Paris, the cafes, theatres; characters including dancers, artists, writers, women who devote themselves to their work and visions as well as romance, strangers met in the night; themes such as the scruples of lovers, the search for brilliant, imaginative living; the writer's experimentation with (...)

by Anais Nin

Written when Anais Nin was in her twenties and living in Louveciennes, France, these stories contain many elements that will delight her readers: details remembered from childhood, of life in Paris, the cafes, theatres; characters including dancers, artists, writers, women who devote themselves to their work and visions as well as romance, strangers met in the night; themes such as the scruples of lovers, the search for brilliant, imaginative living; the writer's experimentation with (...)

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by Madame De Sevigne
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One of the world's greatest correspondents, Madame de Sevigne (1626-96) paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society and literary circles, whose close friends included Madame de La Fayette and La Rochefoucauld, she reflected on both significant historical events and personal issues, and in this selection of the most significant letters, spanning (...)

by Madame De Sevigne

One of the world's greatest correspondents, Madame de Sevigne (1626-96) paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV, in eloquent letters written throughout her life to family and friends. A significant figure in French society and literary circles, whose close friends included Madame de La Fayette and La Rochefoucauld, she reflected on both significant historical events and personal issues, and in this selection of the most significant letters, spanning (...)

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by George Sand
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Indiana, premier roman d'une jeune femme vivant courageusement sa solitude après un mariage raté et quelques aventures aussi passionnées que décevantes, a fait George Sand et c'est à travers l'écriture que celle-ci a conquis sa liberté, sa dignité de femme, son identité même. "La cause que je défendais, dira-t-elle plus tard, est celle de la moitié du genre humain, celle du genre humain tout entier : car le malheur de la femme entraîne celui du maître". Et : "J'ai écrit (...)

by George Sand

Indiana, premier roman d'une jeune femme vivant courageusement sa solitude après un mariage raté et quelques aventures aussi passionnées que décevantes, a fait George Sand et c'est à travers l'écriture que celle-ci a conquis sa liberté, sa dignité de femme, son identité même. "La cause que je défendais, dira-t-elle plus tard, est celle de la moitié du genre humain, celle du genre humain tout entier : car le malheur de la femme entraîne celui du maître". Et : "J'ai écrit (...)

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by Gertrude Stein
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Published the day Paris fell to the Germans, this is Gertrude Stein's look at food, fashion and France using her unique sense of humour.

by Gertrude Stein

Published the day Paris fell to the Germans, this is Gertrude Stein's look at food, fashion and France using her unique sense of humour.

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Acknowledged by many feminists as the single most important theoretical work of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (1949) nevertheless occupies an anomalous place in the feminist 'canon'. Yet it has had an undeniable impact, not only on the development of critiques of sexual politics but on twentieth-century western thinking about the concept of 'woman' in general. This collection of six new essays by scholars from the disciplines of French, English literature, (...)

Acknowledged by many feminists as the single most important theoretical work of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (1949) nevertheless occupies an anomalous place in the feminist 'canon'. Yet it has had an undeniable impact, not only on the development of critiques of sexual politics but on twentieth-century western thinking about the concept of 'woman' in general. This collection of six new essays by scholars from the disciplines of French, English literature, (...)

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by Colette
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Colette Gigi Petite-fille et nièce adorée de deux demi-mondaines, Gigi s'applique à manger délicatement du homard à l'américaine, à distinguer une topaze d'un diamant jonquille et surtout à ne pas fréquenter « les gens ordinaires ». On lui apprend son futur métier de grande cocotte. Mais Gigi et Gaston Lachaille, le riche héritier des sucres du même nom, en décident autrement. Gigi, un des rares romans d'amour heureux de Colette, donne son titre à ce recueil qui réunit (...)

by Colette

Colette Gigi Petite-fille et nièce adorée de deux demi-mondaines, Gigi s'applique à manger délicatement du homard à l'américaine, à distinguer une topaze d'un diamant jonquille et surtout à ne pas fréquenter « les gens ordinaires ». On lui apprend son futur métier de grande cocotte. Mais Gigi et Gaston Lachaille, le riche héritier des sucres du même nom, en décident autrement. Gigi, un des rares romans d'amour heureux de Colette, donne son titre à ce recueil qui réunit (...)

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by Agnes Catherine Poirier
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Why France and Britain are so different, and why they do things in opposite ways.A brilliant and vigorous observer of both French and British societies, which she knows intimately, 32-year-old Agnes Catherine Poirier has spent the last ten years explaining the peculiarities of France to the British and of Britain to the French. Not an easy job.Having studied both in Paris and London, writing in both languages for the French and British press, Agnes Catherine Poirier plays with national (...)

by Agnes Catherine Poirier

Why France and Britain are so different, and why they do things in opposite ways.A brilliant and vigorous observer of both French and British societies, which she knows intimately, 32-year-old Agnes Catherine Poirier has spent the last ten years explaining the peculiarities of France to the British and of Britain to the French. Not an easy job.Having studied both in Paris and London, writing in both languages for the French and British press, Agnes Catherine Poirier plays with national (...)

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by Elaine Sciolino
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France is a seductive country, seductive in its elegance, its beauty, its sensual pleasures, and its joie de vivre. But Elaine Sciolino reveals that seduction is much more than a game to the French: it is the key to understanding France.

by Elaine Sciolino

France is a seductive country, seductive in its elegance, its beauty, its sensual pleasures, and its joie de vivre. But Elaine Sciolino reveals that seduction is much more than a game to the French: it is the key to understanding France.

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Poignant, touching, and lively, this memoir of a woman who loses her mother and creates a new life for herself in Paris will speak to anyone who has lost a parent or reinvented themselves. Lisa Anselmo wrapped her entire life around her mother, a strong woman who was a defining force in her daughter's life-maybe too defining. When her mother dies from breast cancer, Lisa realizes she hadn't built a life of her own, and struggles to find her purpose. Who is she without her mother-and her (...)

by Lisa Anselmo

Poignant, touching, and lively, this memoir of a woman who loses her mother and creates a new life for herself in Paris will speak to anyone who has lost a parent or reinvented themselves. Lisa Anselmo wrapped her entire life around her mother, a strong woman who was a defining force in her daughter's life-maybe too defining. When her mother dies from breast cancer, Lisa realizes she hadn't built a life of her own, and struggles to find her purpose. Who is she without her mother-and her (...)

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by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin
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French women seem inherently more confident in their bodies, able to embrace the sensuality of life and love. What's their secret? Lingerie. Yet, despite an insatiable curiosity for all things French, most women still find lingerie an enigma, a tangled melange of silk and lace, and are confused about how, when, and where to wear it. (Hint: it's not just for special occasions.) Many aspire to having a drawer full of silky, lacy undergarments, but have no idea where to start: How should my (...)

by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin

French women seem inherently more confident in their bodies, able to embrace the sensuality of life and love. What's their secret? Lingerie. Yet, despite an insatiable curiosity for all things French, most women still find lingerie an enigma, a tangled melange of silk and lace, and are confused about how, when, and where to wear it. (Hint: it's not just for special occasions.) Many aspire to having a drawer full of silky, lacy undergarments, but have no idea where to start: How should my (...)

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by April Lily Heise
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Is Paris really the eternal City of Love? Dumped suddenly by her Parisian boyfriend, sultry expat Lily is left wondering if je t’aime still exists. Instead of crying into her glass of wine, she decides to heal her bruised ego and quash her romantic doubts with a carefree summer fling . . . or as the French call it: une aventure. Supported by her faithful friends and trusty Saint Amour wine, Lily embarks on her presumably easy quest. Little does she know what—or whom—this (...)

by April Lily Heise

Is Paris really the eternal City of Love? Dumped suddenly by her Parisian boyfriend, sultry expat Lily is left wondering if je t’aime still exists. Instead of crying into her glass of wine, she decides to heal her bruised ego and quash her romantic doubts with a carefree summer fling . . . or as the French call it: une aventure. Supported by her faithful friends and trusty Saint Amour wine, Lily embarks on her presumably easy quest. Little does she know what—or whom—this (...)

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