Michele’s Top 5 Favourite Paris Reads

For many who know me, they’ll know I’m obsessed with anything and everything to do with Paris. Originally started to commemorate my first (and only – so far!) trip to the City of Light in 2012, I’m now in my 3rd year of running Paris Month. I’ve been asked by many people–including the lovely team at The Savvy Reader–to share my top 5 favourite books set in Paris!

1. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

I fell completely in love with this historical novel about the girl who inspired Degas’ ballerina statue when I participated in the blog tour last year. In The Painted Girls, Buchanan brings to life the glamour and harsher realities that come with being a ballet dancer during Paris in 1678; it’s a beautifully woven tale of not only the young girl but also her sister and mother, who are all struggling to make ends meet.

2. Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth Ross approached me during last year’s prep for Paris Month with this book and I had no idea how much I would become consumed by it. This is a tale about a young woman who answers an ad to be part of a group of “ugly” women who get hired to make rich people look beautiful in comparison. I found this subject matter so unique from other books that I’ve read, where often the women are courtesans for men. The idea of this subtle line between true friendship and hired friendship is easily blurred was absolutely captivating.

3. Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore

While admittedly my initial thoughts on this book was in the mid-range, now in hindsight, I really did enjoy it. It’s typical Moore with its cast of outlandish (and familiar) characters. Lucien and his friend Toulouse-Lautrec are in search of the “Colorman”, who they think has something to do with Van Gogh’s death. It’s quite a romp through the eyes of some drug-addled Parisian artists and I very much still stand by my statement that reading this book made me feel as high as the characters in it, but in a ridiculously entertaining way.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This came extremely recommended from many friends and while I don’t necessarily often read the obviously romantic love stories, I couldn’t resist the pull of this one. Anna is not at all pleased to be headed to Paris for boarding school (okay, that crazy notion aside….) until she meets Etienne who is perfect… except for the fact he has a girlfriend. The basic story between the characters is pretty straight forward but it’s the beautiful tour of the city that makes this all the more magical.

5. The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

One of the books I am featuring this year in Paris Month, I’m actually only about 2/3 of the way through this book at the time of this post but already know I will love it. Right from the beginning, I had one of those feelings of a good read from the moment I turned to the first page – one reminiscent of picking up The Painted Girls. Claudette comes from a theatrical family and through some chance encounters, she finds herself tending to a noble at court where she knows all too well the masks that people wear. Having studied theatre, and of course with my love of Paris, this new release immediately called to me.

I find that Paris books often are in the historical fiction genre, so I am fond of ones that I have read that have a more contemporary take on the city. There is definitely a huge list of books that I still want to get to, and know that I’m missing out on. Which are your favourite books set in Paris that you’d recommend?


Follow Michele on Twitter @justalillost and visit her blog here!

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Digital Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Canada. Film, fiction and fashion blog enthusiast. Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader & @ktvncnt.

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