“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” – Jhumpa Lahiri
Now that we’re all stuck at home and we only can dream of traveling, a trip to Paris seems for some of you far away. Maybe you had plans to photograph the cherry blossoms in spring or you were looking forward to explore the city this summer, with its long summer nights, lots of wine and good company.
Because we all need Paris once in a while, I have made a list of books all set in the most beautiful city in the world. By reading them, I hope you can feel a little of that special Parisian atmosphere, even if it’s from the other side of the world. So buy a good bottle of red wine, make some of you favorite snacks, put on some French music and dream away with these wonderful stories.
Someday in Paris – Olivia Lara
1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. Both know their lives will never be the same.
1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. After dreaming about him for years, Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognize each other – yet the way they feel is so familiar…
Over the course of twenty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?
My (Part-time) Paris Life – 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 mother’s expectations?
The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingway’s are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
One night in Paris: A Novella – Juliette Sobanet
When Manhattan attorney Ella Carlyle gets a call that her beloved grandmother is dying, she rushes to Paris to be by her side, against the wishes of her overbearing boyfriend. Ella would do anything for her grandmother and jumps at the chance to fulfill her dying wish. But things take a mystical turn when Ella is transported to a swinging Parisian jazz club full of alluring strangers…in the year 1927! As the clock runs out on her one night in the City of Light, Ella will attempt to rewrite the past…and perhaps her own destiny as well.
Read also the other books from the City of Light series by Juliette Sobanet.