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The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

Books + travel = for a bibliophile with wanderlust like me, it's the perfect combination! Today, I'm super excited to hand my blog over to one of my favorite bloggers, Andi from Misadventures with Andi. She's going to be sharing a fantastic post about the 10 best books on Paris that are the perfect inspiration for your next trip to France.

I know you're in good hands, as I've been reading her blog practically since I discovered the online world of travel bloggers. Her experiences (including a year-long road trip around the U.S. last year) have been incredibly inspiring for my own travels. I hope you'll find a few new tomes to add to your must-read list!



Whenever I am visiting a new country or large city, I really love to read at least one book, fiction or non-fiction, to acclimate myself to the history that has taken place over the centuries. I believe it adds an extra layer of knowledge above and beyond what the tour books, travel blog posts, and brochures can detail.

 You might not be as dedicated to this endeavor as I am (I read James A. Michener’s 1000-page novel Hawaii ahead of my trips to the islands in 2004!) but given that you read Natalie’s blog, I’m guessing you are! Besides being a bibliophile, I am an unabashed Francophile and no matter how many times I visit Paris or France, I still like to read a book ahead of my trip to get me into the right frame of mind. Today I am sharing what I think are the 10 best books on Paris.

For the History Buff

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

My absolute favorite book about the history of Paris is Alistair Horne’s Seven Ages of Paris. The book covers a lot of ground. From the 12th century through post-World War II. He is so incredibly descriptive in detailing the sights, sounds, and smells of the city of light over time. Paris transforms in front of your eyes and you will be eager to experience how all this incredible history has shaped Paris today.

For the Power Walker

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

Author David Downie (along with his wife) is a walker who has been exploring Paris with his own two feet for decades. His collection of essays in Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light is the perfect vehicle to explore the city. You can recreate many of his routes on your own taking you to places off the beaten track. Just think, doing all that cardio is the perfect excuse for a second pastry!

For the Murder Mystery Lover

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

I personally LOVE to read mystery novels and what better than ones set in Paris! The Aimée Leduc series will not only entertain you but give you great insight into the city. The author Cara Black has a great website with interactive arrondissement maps and a Paris travel guide. There are 16 novels with her 17th coming out this June, so hurry and start reading!

For the Fans of Fashion

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

Coco Chanel was an extraordinary woman and I have read several books about her. I really enjoyed Coco Before Chanel (which is based on the movie Coco Avant Chanel with Audrey Tatou). I always loved getting hot chocolate at Angelina’s, but after reading this book I had to sit at her usual table, number 20!

 A good read from when you return from Paris is The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman which is my second favorite Coco book. It is full of history but also has lots of anecdotes for living a “French” life. After seeing all those beautiful Parisian women, you’ll want to know all their secrets!

For the Little Ones

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

If it’s a family trip to Paris, I highly recommend getting them excited and prepared with a few books of their own. You cannot go wrong with the classic, Madeline. This illustrated series of books is delightful featuring Madeline, a Parisian schoolgirl, and her adventures. There’s a new Tovi adventure that just published! If your children love this series, they’ll get a kick out of Tovi the Penguin goes on a treasure hunt in Paris ahead of their own trip. Maybe you can plan your own treasure hunt?

 I also highly recommend the Coco Chanel edition of the Little People, Big Dreams series from Isabel Sanchez Vegara. After reading this biography, your daughter will also have an appreciation for that hot chocolate while she sits at Table 20 in Angelina’s! Lily B. on the Brink of Paris from Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a lot of fun for slightly older girls. It chronicles Lily’s adventures on a school trip to Paris.

A Modern Point of View

The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

While Paris is steeped in centuries of history, it is also a city that is constantly evolving. New restaurants, styles of cooking, approaches to cuisine, plus markets and boutiques are revealed when you take a peek behind the curtain with long-time American expat Lindsey Tramuta in her latest book The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement.

If you’ve been to Paris before it will be a real treat to find new places to visit. If you are going for the first time, it’s an excellent way to mix the classics with the new.

Planning a trip to Paris soon? You'd better get started on this list of best books on Paris!

How many of the 10 best books on Paris have you read? Please share! 


About the Blogger:
Andi Fisher a lifestyle blogger at Misadventures with Andi where she is focused on travel and food. She loves to travel via her stomach, eating and seeking out local artisans and features to share with her audience. You can follow all of her [mis]adventures here:


The 10 Best Books on Paris to Read before Your Trip | CosmosMariners.com

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