People complain that the only problem with France is the French, but on the contrary, I find their culture fascinating. Like every culture, it has its flaws, but I admire their respect for manners, the pursuit of pleasure and pragmatism. For my fellow Francophiles, here are my top five Frenchie reads.
1. La Seduction, Elaine Sciolino
American-in-Paris journalist Elaine Sciolino gets under the skin of French culture and dishes out insightful and engaging theories, peppered with amusing anecdotes.
2. Entre Nous, Debra Ollivier
While I’m not enamoured with American writers writing guides on how to become more “French”, Debra Ollivier writes beautifully and many of her insights are full of good common sense too easily forgotten in a world that is always in a rush.
3. French Women for all Seasons, Mireille Guillano
I downloaded all the free samples of Mireille’s books onto my iPad, and as I was less interested in a book about weightless and was in the mood for something a little more lighthearted than Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire, I settled for French Women for all Seasons. I looove the recipes throughout, and although the book is simply divided into singing the praises and warning of the pitfalls of all the seasons, it’s a really enjoyable read. She is a sharp, funny writer and captures the beauty of each season perfectly. And again, the recipes are fabulous.
4. Parisian Chic, Ines de la Fressange
I’m averse to the boring, cliched American “How to Dress like French People” lectures, but Ines de la Fressange did not become of France’s style icons by being boring or predictable. Her advice and musings are fresh and inspiring and the images are beautiful. A fun little read.
5. Seven Ages of Paris, Alistair Horne
One for the history buffs, Seven Ages of Paris chronicles the history of the City of Lights throughout the ages. Not a light read, but still very engaging and informative.
What are your favourites?