Share I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

Yes, we love the good ol’ USA. But come on: bread, cheese and wine! Someone has to help fifty million Frenchmen eat all that! We’ve rounded up some wonderful memoirs and insightful books to breed your own joie de vivre. Come with us and discover how it feels to love Paris, southern France, and all things French.


A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway
First published posthumously in 1964, this remains one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. The book evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
A Moveable Feast
Ernest Hemingway

A MOVEABLE FEAST is a love letter to La Ville Lumière and a testament to Hemingway’s boundless artistic ambition. Permeating every page is the heartbreaking story of love gained and lost.

Read Peter Golden’s review here.

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Toujours Provence
by Peter Mayle

Taking up where his A Year in Provence leaves off, Mayle offers another funny, beautifully evocative book about life in Provence, an historic region of southeastern France. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—this is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have a very good time trying.

Toujours Provence
Peter Mayle

Taking up where his A Year in Provence leaves off, Mayle offers another funny, beautifully evocative book about life in Provence, an historic region of southeastern France. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—this is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have a very good time trying.

MENTIONED IN:

I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 23, 2014

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Lessons from Madame Chic
by Jennifer L. Scott
Ms. Scott spent time in Paris as a foreign exchange student, and "Madame Chic" took the casual California teenager under her wing, revealing the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living.
Lessons from Madame Chic
Jennifer L. Scott

When Jennifer Scott, a California girl, went to study abroad in Paris, she found a mentor in her host mother, Madame Chic. Madame Chic taught her the lessons of living a beautiful life, and lucky for us, Jennifer has published those lessons. Her experience reminded me of my own as a student in Paris, which makes me love this book even more.

You can read my full review of LESSONS FROM MADAME CHIC here.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Kaitlin Olson | August 25, 2014

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Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik

If you loved A MOVEABLE FEAST, you should try PARIS TO THE MOON. Adam Gopnik, a longtime writer for the New Yorker, spent several years based in Paris. This delightful collection of essays, some previously published in the New Yorker, are funny and contemplative at once. I always feel nostalgic for Paris when I read them.

Paris to the Moon
Adam Gopnik

If you loved A MOVEABLE FEAST, you should try PARIS TO THE MOON. Adam Gopnik, a longtime writer for the New Yorker, spent several years based in Paris. This delightful collection of essays, some previously published in the New Yorker, are funny and contemplative at once. I always feel nostalgic for Paris when I read them.

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My Life in France
by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme

From the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband savored en route to their new life in Paris, Julia Child had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken California girl was chatting with purveyors in local markets and enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. Filled with photographs and laced with the good spirit that made her such an extraordinary success, Julia’s memoir of falling in love with French food makes for the perfect winter escape.

My Life in France
Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme

From the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband savored en route to their new life in Paris, Julia Child had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken California girl was chatting with purveyors in local markets and enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. Filled with photographs and laced with the good spirit that made her such an extraordinary success, Julia’s memoir of falling in love with French food makes for the perfect winter escape.

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Paris in Love
by Eloisa James

In 2009, Eloisa James sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. This book chronicles her joyful year there. She revels in the ordinary pleasures of life and copes with her family's own adjustments and trials in a new country and foreign language.

Paris in Love
Eloisa James

In 2009, Eloisa James sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. This book chronicles her joyful year there. She revels in the ordinary pleasures of life and copes with her family's own adjustments and trials in a new country and foreign language.

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Stuff Parisians Like
by Olivier Magny

This blog-turned-book is hilariously suited for those who know Paris fairly well, but who really want to understand the quirks of living and acting like a local. "To be mistaken for a Parisian, readers must buy the newspaper Le Monde, fold it, and walk. Then sit at a café and make phone calls. ... Feel free to boldly cross the street whenever the impulse strikes-pedestrian crosswalks are too dangerous."

Stuff Parisians Like
Olivier Magny

This blog-turned-book is hilariously suited for those who know Paris fairly well, but who really want to understand the quirks of living and acting like a local. "To be mistaken for a Parisian, readers must buy the newspaper Le Monde, fold it, and walk. Then sit at a café and make phone calls. ... Feel free to boldly cross the street whenever the impulse strikes-pedestrian crosswalks are too dangerous."

MENTIONED IN:

I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 23, 2014

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Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
by David Downie

Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket. His curiosity propelled him daily from his unheated, seventh-floor walk-up apartment to explore both the glamorous and the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city.

Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
David Downie

Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket. His curiosity propelled him daily from his unheated, seventh-floor walk-up apartment to explore both the glamorous and the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city.

MENTIONED IN:

I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 23, 2014

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The Most Beautiful Walk in The World
by John Baxter

In this enchanting memoir, long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past.

The Most Beautiful Walk in The World
John Baxter

In this enchanting memoir, long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past.

MENTIONED IN:

7 Books for Unabashed Francophiles

By Glommable | May 25, 2017

I Want to Be French: 9 Books Full of Joie de Vivre

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 23, 2014

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