Good books to read about Paris and Parisians – in French!
Reading books written in French is a brilliant way to improve your vocabulary and your grammar.
While learning French, perhaps one of the goals you would like to achieve is to read a book in French. Logical, right? What is the point of learning French if we can’t read a book in French? As a polyglot myself, the most rewarding exercise while learning a new language is perhaps to be able to read a book in that language.
Maybe you are taking some private French classes in Paris or learning French with a group. After a moment of studying hard, you finally feel comfortable to read a book in French. By being comfortable, I mean you don’t need to check every single word in a dictionary. Congratulations! Admittedly, learning French as an adult is relatively challenging, and we know that you might have suffered from time to time during the course of your studies. Now, this is your moment to celebrate and to read a book in French!
The first challenge was to improve on your French. Now that you feel more comfortable to do that, the next step is to go in une librairie*. Once in the bookstore, you will see tons of shelves and tables with books written in French everywhere. You will almost feel dizzy and regret your decision to visit the librairie. Maybe you are not ready at the end of the day, or you have probably realized how challenging it can be to simply choose a book. And then you think, ‘Why do I do that to myself?’ Don’t panic; this won’t happen to you with this article, I promise!
Fascinating books about Paris and Parisians, in French
Here, I give you some interesting books about Paris and Parisians, which I am confident you will enjoy as much as I did. Yes, I read them all to ascertain whether they will be readable for my students. (no product placement in this blog). I have already recommended them to my students and they absolutely enjoyed them. Now, relax, have a seat wherever you want and be ready to read some fascinating books about Paris in French.
Dessine-moi un parisien – Olivier Magny
The joy is Parisians won’t have secrets for you anymore! In this book, Magny tells you how Parisians think, what they love and their habits. His writing is quite ‘chatié’. Don’t freak out if you don’t understand every single word as the vocabulary is a bit elaborated and challenging. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that some French native don’t even know them all. Level C1
Metronome – Loránt Deutsch
Lorant Deutsch is a former French actor. In 2009, he published his first book about France and its History through the name of the metro stations. The idea is brilliant! We quite often don’t know what the history behind the name of the metro stations and the streets is. Travel through the history of France while taking the metro. There is also a video available on Netflix. 😉 Level B1
Comment (ne pas devenir) un vrai parisien – Caroline Rochet
Follow Caroline Rochet through specific themes, such as ‘Being Single in Paris’, and be a typical Parisian. Her sarcasm and sense of humor will guide you. She also gives nice tips in terms of bars and restaurants. Level B1- French slang
Nora 10 ans de thérapie – Nora Hamzawi
In Chroniqueuse show which airs on the French television, Nora Hamzawi talks openly about what and how it feels like to be Parisian and 30. Her book is a funny diary without filter. You can also follow her on facebook and see her interventions on television and YouTube. Level B1 – French slang
Je parle Parisien – Jean-Laurent Cassely and Camille Saféris
This little dictionary is a must have to understand what Parisians do with words; that is, what Parisians want you to understand when they use words. If you encounter the phrase ‘Idéal couple’ when looking for an apartment, it means that it is too expensive for a single. This book is a real tool to understand the codes and the meaning of Parisian expressions. Talk like a native! Level B1
Paris Bizarre – Dominique Lesbros
With this book, you can improve your French and your vocabulary about strange things. Paris is not really as perfect as we think. There are also many bizarre things going on in the city such as streets that have no name. Paris Bizarre delivers unrevealed places and secrets about the city of lights. You will discover tips that you won’t find in any other guide of Paris. Level A2
For food and bistrot lovers, this guide is for you. It is published by the famous chef Alain Ducasse (18 stars in the Michelin Guide). Sometimes in Paris, it is difficult to know where to eat because there are so many options. With this book, you will find gems in the city where most of the chef did study with the Alain Ducasse himself. Good to know, isn’t it? I’ve tested a few restaurants and they all became my favorite restaurants in Paris. I highly recommend this selection. They are a bit pricy but the quality, the service and the atmosphere are worth the price. In addition, if you like cooking, each bistrot offers a recipe that you can easily make at home. Level B2
There you go, mon ami(e)! You are all set to enter into a bookstore, choose your next book and read it without suffering. Don’t hesitate to let me know which book you did choose and what your reading experience was like. Do you have any additional questions or would you like any recommendations about books in French? Feel free to drop me a note and I’ll make sure to give you a feedback as soon as possible.
Where to buy books in Paris
Attention: in French, a library is a bibliothèque while a bookstore is une librairie. It is a bit confusing.
Forum des Halles, 1er
Cours Saint Emilion
Gibert Jeune (new and secondhand books)
Place et Boulevard Saint Michel, 5ème
Book-Off (secondhand with very big selection)
90 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 12ème
11 rue Monsigny, 2ème
Matière à lire
20 Rue de Chaligny, 12ème
17 Rue Alexandre Parodi, 10ème
33 Boulevard du Temple, 3ème
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