I’ve read quite a few books on France and Paris. Here’s a list, as I remember them.
- “The Last Time I Saw Paris” Elliot Paul. Elliot Paul was an American journalist/author who lived in rue de la Huchette, in Paris, off-and-on in the 1920s and 1930s. His evocation of rue de la Huchette in those times if by far my favorite Paris book, even though the Paris he evokes is long gone. The first half describes the life and people on that street in the 1920s, the second half is more about life and people on the street as they were affected by the declining fortunes of France in the ’30s, a result of poor governance and increasing world unrest, culminating in World War 2. If I could find a Paris neighborhood as Paul describes in the 1920s, I’d move there in a heartbeat.
- “Paris to the Past” Ina Caro. Ms. Caro’s book describes a series of day-trips, in or within an easy day of Paris, that take the reader back to historic times of France. The stories and locations will give you a good grasp of French history, whether you visit the places or not. I love to just open “Paris to the Past” and read whatever chapter I open to. (Ms. Caro’s book, “Road to the Past” has a similar approach, but covers places throughout France. It, too, is an excellent introduction to and guidebook for a visitor to France.)