Whether treating yourself or looking for a gift for the Francophile in your life, you can never go wrong with a good book. Find inspiration in stunning photography, charming drawings, and get up to speed with the legendary French approach to beauty, style, and food with our list of top French-inspired books.
An American in Provence: Art, Life and Photography by Jamie Beck
Art book, memoir, cookbook, travelogue… this beautiful collection by Jaime Beck will seduce you, documenting Beck’s life as an “American in Provence”. What began as a brief stint in the South of France has turned into several years, documented through her atmospheric photography on Instagram. Also included are her tips for taking stunning pictures and recipes that will evoke the Provençal sunshine wherever you are.
The Façades of Paris: Windows, Doors and Balconies by Dominique Mathez (illustrator) and Joël Orgiazzi (contributor)
This charming book compels readers to look up on their walks through Paris and savor the iconic facades, made up of intricate windows, doors, and balconies. The fine detail and ornate ironwork are depicted in watercolors and ink drawings by Dominique Mathez. Celebrating the city’s architecture away from the celebrated landmarks, the renowned design expert Olivier Gabet’s illuminating text combines with the stunning artwork to make this a must-have for Francophiles and Paris lovers everywhere.
Paris Chic by Oliver Pilcher and Alexander Senes
Few cities photograph so beautifully as Paris. Its chicness and innate style are found in almost every corner. The city’s bistros, alleyways, artists’ studios, and more are picturesque in unrivaled ways. This book gives a glimpse into everyday life in the City of Light, as though watching from the vantage point of your own balcony within the city. This book is about moments, not monuments. Glimpse into the most sophisticated homes and daily lives of Parisians, as seen through Pilcher’s poetic lens.
Provence Glory by François Simon
This gorgeous coffee table book evokes the crystal waters off the coast of Marseille, lavender fields in Valensole, and more. Handsome white Camargue horses, freshly baked fougasse, are a few of the images depicted in this homage to the South of France. This holiday-in-a-book helps you experience Roman landmarks and the unique cultural mélange that is Provence. Discover the scenes and landscapes that have inspired luminaries including Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso.
Le Grand Hotel and Le Café de la Paix by Laure Verchère
This stunning book documents the history of the Belle Époque hotel and café, designed during Haussmann’s urban renewal. Set in one of the most stunning squares in Paris next to the Opera Garnier, the hotel and café was inaugurated in 1862 by the Empress Eugénie. Prominent figures like Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, Sonia Rykiel, Vivienne Westwood, John Travolta and Bill Clinton have visited the premises which lie at the intersection of art, fashion, and politics. Now fully renovated by Pierre-Yves Rochon, Le Grand Hôtel epitomizes elegance and art de vivre. This stunning book includes a booklet with Café de la Paix’s iconic recipes and contributions from Stéphane Bern, Ines de la Fressange, Francis Huster, Jean Todt and others.
Practising Parisienne: Lifestyle Secrets from the City of Lights by Marissa Cox
Nearly a decade ago, Marissa Cox found herself in Paris for love. She made a home for herself in the City of Light, and has found success online with Rue Rodier, sharing her take on fashion and design. In Practising Parisienne Cox shares places to discover, tips on fashion, wellbeing, interiors, and more.
Dress Like a Parisian by Aloïs Guinut
Aloïs Guinut takes the pretension out of personal style. Her inspiration is real Parisian women. The stylist and blogger guides you towards the colors, shapes, and styles that suit you best. She rejects rules and reveals her favorite brands, shops, and Parisian style secrets. Her ethos centers on using fashion to compliment your personality rather than the other way around.
Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors by Clémence von Mueffling
With both her mother and grandmother working as beauty editors at French Vogue, the best beauty practices are in Clemence von Mueffling’s DNA. This unparalleled guide to beauty and well-being, the French way, is for women of all walks of life, of all ages. Tips on double-cleansing your face, choosing the perfect perfume, and nightly facial massage will help your natural beauty shine.
A Table in Paris by John Donohue
From the former editor and cartoonist for The New Yorker, John Donohue’s brilliant book includes 100 ink drawings of some of Paris’s most celebrated and adored restaurants. Including beloved Paris institutions like Racines, Verjus, Chez L’Ami Louis, Angelina, Bofinger, Mokonuts, and more, the book also includes tips from prominent figures including Ruth Reichl, Lindsey Tramuta, Alec Lobrano, and HiP Paris founder Erica Berman.
A Parisian Bistro: La Fontaine de Mars in 50 Recipes by Delphine Constantini (photographer), Robert de Niro (foreword), Cécile Maslakian (contributor)
Since 1908, this Parisian institution has welcomed guests through its heavy red curtain and into the dining room adorned with classic checkered tablecloths, vintage décor, and generous cuisine. Classic recipes like Cassoulet, Pâté, and Strawberry-Pistachio Sabayon are on the menu here. Even if you can’t make it to the City of Light, you can evoke it at home through the classic recipes of one of its most beloved bistros.
Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Alexsandra Crapanzano
When people think of French cuisine, they often think of fancy food. The same goes for desserts. We imagine delicate, intricate confections. But having grown up in Paris, Alexsandra Crapanano knows first-hand how the French savoir-faire applies to baking. The French home cook does not try to compete with their boulangers or patîssiers. Rather, they might finish off their dinner with something simple, baked with minimal fuss and served casually. Gateau brings readers into the world of effortless home baking the French way – cakes with less sugar, apples baked unadorned with cinnamon, cakes are never heavily iced, and vanilla is not necessarily a staple. There are also savory items with ham, cheese, and herbs for picnics, dinner parties, school lunches and more.
Sweet Paris: Seasonal Recipes from An American Baker in France by Frank Adrian Barron
A decade ago, Frank Adrian Barron moved to Paris when his husband was transferred to Paris. Though he delighted in French delicacies, he longed for something familiar to eat. So he started baking himself, trying out recipes on friends, and soon gained the nickname “cakeboy”. Sweet Paris includes delectable recipes like Lavender Honey Madeleines for the warmer months and a White Chocolate and Cassis Bûche de Nöel for winter.
À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way by Rebekah Peppler
Paris-based food writer and New York Times contributor Rebekah Peppler has created a stylish and practical book. Guiding readers through the country, she shares 125 recipes that reflect modern French cooking. Multicultural and approachable, you’ll find classics like Ratatouille and Salade Niçoise, as well as Bánh Mì and Lamb Tagine.
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- You’ll love our series of gift guides for this season!
- More French-inspired book shopping here: The Best Books to Travel in France From Wherever You Are, Best New Books to Learn French Cooking at Home
- 25 Best Books About Paris That Will Inspire You To Visit
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