Parisian Living

Best Books on Paris

by Emily Dilling

 Paris, it could be argued, is the one literary genre that will never go out of style. From cookbooks to personal memoirs, guidebooks to historical surveys, if it’s got Paris in the title, you can be sure it has an audience. But having a book about, or set in, Paris doesn’t mean it is destined for greatness. Of the many books published on the subject, only a few will stand the test of time.

Perfectly cooked steak and frites French style in author Mardi Michels cookbook (left). Butter croissants, homemade jams and freshly-pressed orange juice (right).Mardi Michels – Kyla Zanardi

The year 2018 was a banner année for Paris inspired texts, with first-time and seasoned authors releasing new books that we are sure you’ll want to return to over and over again. Here are our favorite picks for the 2018 class of books that are dedicated to Douce France and perfect for the Francophile on your Christmas list: 

One of our favorite books on living in Paris is 'L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home' by expat author David Lebovitz

L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz

Paris-based author David Lebovitz’s eighth book, L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home, is not a cookbook though it does contain a few recipes for disaster. Taking on the Sisyphean task of home renovations in Paris, the acclaimed chef and author shares his story of becoming a homeowner in Paris, with all its pitfalls and small victories. Combining humor with the maddening frustrations of trying to get something done in France, Lebovitz creates a world that we both want to live in and also hide under our sheets from. In one word: Paris.

How to make cocktails the French way in author Rebekah Peppler's 'Aperitif' BookRebekah Peppler

Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way by Rebekah Peppler

Paris-based food stylist Rebekah Peppler can now add author to her resumé following the publication of her first book, Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way. Combining cultural analysis with cocktail recipes, Peppler introduces readers to the art of the French aperitif, the pre-dinner time set aside for drinks and snacks.

A favorite Parisian bistro with an outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for drinks (left). French Suze cocktails from Rebekah Peppler's French 'Aperitif' book (right).Rebekah Peppler

With over 100 recipes for finger foods and adult beverages, Peppler’s book is both practical and ready to party. The accessible recipes are suitable for any level of home cook or bartender, and they will inspire you to dust off that bottle of Suze that you never knew what to do with! 

Get into French cooking with Mardi Michels' 'In the French Kitchen with Kids' book (left). Soft Pain au lait from Mardi Michels' French cookbook (right).Mardi Michels – Kyla Zanardi

In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy by Mardi Michels

Younger chefs and their parents will delight in the chance to take on French cooking as a family. Mardi Michels, who has been teaching French cooking to children for nearly a decade, is the perfect chef to convince the reader that seemingly complex recipes are as simple as ABC.

Sugar-dusted Financiers pastries (left) and mixed berry tarts (right) by Mardi Michels in her French cookbook 'In the French Kitchen with Kids'.Mardi Michels – Kyla Zanardi

Focusing on creating fun meals for kids using classic French techniques, In the French Kitchen with Kids inspires educational moments of exchange and collaboration in the kitchen. This book makes a perfect gift for the holiday season, when it always seems like a good time to make a batch of cookies.

100 French food recipes by Clotilde Dusoulier in her cookbook 'Tasting Paris' Book (left). Beautiful whole caramelized plum tart from the book (left).Clotilde Dusoulier – Nicole Franzen

Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local by Clotilde Dusoulier

Veteran cookbook author Clotilde Dusoulier takes on the flavors of Paris in her sixth book Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local. Combining French classics (croque madame, chausson aux pomme) with influences from abroad (Turkish lamb flatbreads, Armenian byoreks), Clotilde paints a picture of modern-day Paris, in all its gastronomic glory.

Some of the best French desserts like light and fluffy Kouign Amann pastry (right) and tangy citrus salad from Clotilde Dusoulier in her cookbook 'Tasting Paris' book.Clotilde Dusoulier – Nicole Franzen

The book also provides a brief history of Parisian cuisine as well as profiles on the people and places dictating local Parisian cuisine. The book, which was clearly written by a local who loves her city, is a perfect gift for those who want to blend in, and binge eat, while visiting the French capital.

One of our favorite French cookbooks includes 'Tasting Paris' by Clotilde Dusoulier and we love her Frisée Salad with eggs (left) and quiche Lorraine (right). Clotilde Dusoulier – Nicole Franzen

Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide by Jessie Kanelos Weiner and Sarah Moroz

One of the best guidebooks on Paris, 'Paris in Stride' illustrated by Jessie Kanelos Weiner's watercolor paintings.

Jessie Kanelos Weiner

Paris in Stride is just like a stroll in Paris: beautiful, poetic, and full of surprises. Author-illustrator Jessie Kanelos Weiner and co-author, Sarah Moroz, have put together the ultimate guide to getting off the beaten path, and hitting your stride, in Paris. From Central Paris to the outskirts of the city, this information-packed book illustrated with Jessie’s dreamy watercolors will take you from the rue de Rivoli to the winding streets of Belleville.

Jessie Kanelos Weiner's watercolor illustrations in the guidebook 'Paris in Stride' include the Eiffel Tower (left) and a map of things to do in Paris (right). Jessie Kanelos Weiner

First-time visitors will delight in discovering the city using this guide, and longtime Parisians will surely learn something new about their city while flipping through its pages. Insider knowledge combined with attention to what makes Paris iconic results in the perfect book for those who live in Paris, and those who wish they did.

Jessie Kanelos Weiner's watercolor illustrations in the guidebook 'Paris in Stride' include the famous Café des Deux Magots in Saint Germain (left) and Didier Ludot's chic second-hand Paris vintage apparel store in the Jardins du Palais Royal (right). Jessie Kanelos Weiner

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Written by Emily Dilling for HiP Paris. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, Tuscany, Umbria or Liguria? Check out Haven In. Mention the code: HiPParis18 for special deals and a bottle of champagne with every booking for all HiP Paris readers!

Written By

Emily Dilling

Emily Dilling is a France based writer and author of My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes. In 2005 Emily moved to Paris from her native California and began exploring the cities markets, restaurants, and cafés. In 2010 she founded the blog Paris Paysanne, where she writes about her favorite addresses and artisans in the city. Emily currently lives in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, where she writes and works in the grapevines. View Emily Dilling's Website

2 comments on “Best Books on Paris

Marianne Vallet-Sandre

I would second Yvonne’s comments that your list is very appealing and very colorful,as well as down right useful

Great post! I love books, and I love Paris. Perfect.

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