about france

A Year in Provence
Peter Mayle (Penguin, 2000)
Arguably the book that most drew the attention of Brits to the delights of living in France. If you read no other book about France, you must read this one.

Paris Revealed: The Secret Life of a City
Stephen Clerk (Bantam Press, 2011)
Another touch of Clark's perception and observation that will please anyone who loves Paris or just wants to armchair travel.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (Stanford Travel Classics)
Robert Louis Stevenson (John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., 2010)
Stevenson's walking trip was taken when he was still in his twenties and pining for a lost love. Accompanied by Modestine, the eponymous donkey he hired to carry his camping gear, the journey proved both challenging and charming.

A Traveller's History of France
Robert Cole (The Armchair Traveller at the bookHaus (2011)
For those who want to look deeper and discover more about the roots of France, its history and culture, in an enjoyable read, this is the book to choose.

Kate Mosse (Orion, 2006)
A work of fiction maybe, but a marvellous story founded very firmly on a bedrock of historical fact. The descriptions of Carcassonne in particular are spot on.

Paris to the Past: Traveling Through French History by Train
Ina Caro (W.W. Norton, 2011)
A splendid and original concept, taking visitors around the history of France, and using the French rail network to get to each destination. It may be a gimmicky idea, but it works, and anyone who loves travelling around on trains will be delighted. Odd-ball, lively, curious and witty; a perfect companion and, for that matter, a tour guide in book form.

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi: The Ideal Guide to Sounding, Acting and Shrugging Like the French
Charles Timoney (Penguin, 2009)
Only for France would anyone think of writing a book explaining how to cope with indifferent waiters, sardonic wit and the famed Gallic shrug. This is it!

A Brief History of France (Brief Histories)
Cecil Jenkins (Robinson (2011)
The idea of ‘Frenchness’ emerged from over 2000 years of history and it is a riveting story from Roman conquest to the present day. Cecil Jenkins tells the story of the formation of this nation through its people, great events and culture.

The House in France: A Memoir
Gully Wells, Bloomsbury Publishing (2011)
'The House in France mixes the hilarious and often poignant story of Wells' childhood with Freddie and Dee with her own life in Oxford, and later, New York.' (Harper's Bazaar, August 1, 2011).

The Secret Life of France
Lucy Wadham (Faber and Faber (2010)
This beautifully clever and intellectually challenging book decodes the French way of life, as opposed to the British way of doing things.

The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France
Carol Drinkwater (Orion, 2006)
A long way from All Creatures great and small, the author gives a spell-binding account of her love affairs...with a man and an olive farm.

C'est La Folie
Michael Wright (Bantam, 2007)
The true story of an urban man's search for a deeper, richer, simpler life (not to mention a dishy copine) in the heart of rural France.

Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France
Karen Wheeler (Summersdale, 2010)
After reaching the heights as a successful fashion editor, Karen said goodbye to all that and set about renovating a run-down house in rural Poitou-Charentes.

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