Saturday, July 07, 2018

Paris in July - Books, Videos, Plans

In exactly three weeks, I will be a couple of days into the Paris portion of our family trip to France.

To prep for the trip, I have been reading, watching movies, listening to podcasts, and planning.

Reading thus far (links are to my blog posts on the book):

  1. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris, by John Baxter - loved this book so much, will probably throw it in the suitcase to reread while in Paris
  2. Madame de Pompadour, by Nancy Mitford - an okay bio of a royal mistress, good prep for visit to Versailles
  3. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway - flavor of Paris in the 1920s
  4. A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway - we're staying in his neighborhood so lots of places I want to walk to
  5. The Paradise, by Emile Zola - a terrific look at how Paris changed at the end of the 19th century
  6. A Paris Year: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World, by Janice Macleod - easy to read, lovely pictures, lightweight but fun
  7. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers, by Deborah Heiligman - an excellent YA bio of Vincent and his brother
  8. Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik - interesting essays about living in Paris as an ex-pat
  9. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (second time) - loved this book so much--planning on visiting St Malo the day we leave Paris for Brittany/Normandy
  10. Bruno, Chief of Police: A Novel of France, by Martin Walker - loved the first in a mystery series set in Dordorgne.

We're staying near this famous bookstore!

Currently reading:
  1. Impressionism:Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society, by Robert L. Herbert - really good, hoping to finish before we leave
  2. My Life in France, by Julia Child - a reread but so enjoyable; just booked a reservation in Rouen where Julia ate her first meal in France
  3. The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, by Adam Gopnik - Gopnik is so good, I couldn't resist diving into another of his books
  4. Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light, by David Downie - I've been working on this for 6 months, good but not compelling

  1. Versailles, seasons 1 and 2 - really enjoyed this, waiting for season 3 to arrive in the US
  2. The Impressionists, 3 episodes (rewatched) - Richard Armitage as Claude Monet, cannot wait to get to Giverny on second to last day in France
  3. Amelie - so charming
  4. Untouchable - wonderful movie
  5. The Chorus (Les Choristes) - another great movie, set just after WWII
  6. La Vie En Rose - all about Edith Piaf
  7. 10 Golden Days (10 Journs en or) - fun
  8. Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen's time-traveling movie
Phillippe and his brother Louis XIV - Versailles


Join Us in France - Facebook page and website with podcasts
Annie and guest Elise cover everything - from driving in France, to museums, to dress codes, to train strikes, to food to try, how to picnic, wear to shop, wear to stay, and the FB page lets you ask questions and fellow Francophiles share their experiences and advice.

My husband and I are birders, and so final planning stretch is learning what birds to look for and where in Paris and Brittany/Normandy.

I will try to post each week as my trip approaches and then I hope to do travelogue posts while I'm traveling.


  1. There's so much I love here. Many of those books I've read (or are on my list). My last week's Paris in July was on St. Malo (All the Light...). I felt the same about "Paris, Paris." I think I'm too old. But loved the Gopnik, My Life in France, the MacLeod. Loads of fun here!

  2. Thanks for visiting me at Delights of the Heart. Oh I wish I was going to Paris soon. The last book, mystery, sounds like something I would like as I have been to Dordogne. Cara Black is a fun mystery writer of Paris mysteries. Have you found Corey of French Frye in Paris on Facebook. You would love his walking tour videos.

  3. Lucky you, there are still 18 more books for you to read about Bruno Chief of Police! I'm a fan: I just read the 19th in the series and have read the rest as they've been published.

    I'm also vey fond of Julia Child's "My Life in France," as well as all her cookbooks. And I like Hemingway and Zola, whom you also mention. I hope your trip will be fabulous -- you seem extremely well prepared for it.

    best... mae at

  4. You are reading and planning to read an impressive list of books. My wife is a Julia Child and she loved My Life in France, I must give it a read some day.

    It is also very neat reading around one's travels. Have a great trip.

  5. A fabulous way to prepare for a Paris trip. I loved the neighborhood where Shakespeare & Co. is located l. It was so cute! So many good reads too.

  6. Lucky, lucky you to be planning a trip to Paris!
    We re-watched Midnight in Paris during the week - it is such charming good fun.

  7. I think if you read a book set in Paris every week, you would never run out of books to read. I'm a little bit addicted to books set in France and especially love Bruno Chief of Police - if I could pop to his for dinner, I would!

  8. Enjoy! I hope to return to Paris someday and see so much that I missed the first trip.

  9. Have so much fun on your trip! And be sure to try the crepes in Paris. You can buy them warm on the street and they're to die for, especially the lemon and sugar ones. :)

  10. What a post! And how wonderful to be planning a trip so soon (I'm only dreaming of next time....) I'm a part time birder too and I thought Paris would be so exciting for exotic birds- I was disappointed really- I can see you've already been there but I thought you might like one of my old posts:

    I've always travelled with non birders so have never been able to do any particularly birdwatchy things, so I've only seen birds on my normal trips out. I imagine you'll do some specific birding activities- I'd love to see some posts on that.

    And of course you have so many wonderful books and movies to enjoy. I've read a few of those you've listed. I do love John Baxter. And I have many others on my TBR.

  11. Hi Jane,
    Thank you so much for this compendium of media about Paris. I'm cutting and pasting into my files for future reference. Oh, how I long to go to Giverny to see the gardens there--the entire place, actually. I hope you are able to take photos there--I hope the weather is good there so you can take photos, and, of course, do post some!!

  12. Looking forward to following along virtually as we did on your walking tour last year!

  13. Lucky you to go to Paris and follow in the footsteps of books. A lot of French entertainment for you for the moment, which seems like a good preparation. Have a wonderful time!

  14. I have The Table Comes First and The Most Beautiful Walk in the World on hold at the library. I can't wait to read them.

  15. You're going to have such a wonderful trip!! I loved the audio version of My Life in France.

    1. Did the reader sound like Julia? She has such a distinctive voice.

  16. Great post, I like all your reading & watching lists & planning. We got back not long ago and it was a wonderful trip to northern France. We did not get to Saint Malo but we were east of there at Arromanches & the D-Day beaches etc. We did see the castle of Mont Saint Michel (about as far west as we got). It really was neat the whole trip. I hope yours is equally wonderful. Enjoy!

  17. I can't wait to see and hear all about your trip! What a wonderful way to prep for your trip!

  18. What an exciting trip to look forward to and what a great way to prepare for it!

  19. How excellent! Enjoy the prep and the pleasure ...

    1. Also Read "A Paris Year" for this year's ParisinJuly2018 and loved it's creativity.. great to find it on your list !

  20. I have done a lot of reading on the French Impressionists, but somehow the Impressionists DVD series escaped my notice. I plan to visit my local library this week to see if I request a copy!
    The Join Us in France podcast sounds like the perfect way to armchair travel to my favorite country! Thank you for the recommendation :)