Wednesday, May 19, 2010


To call myself a Francophile seems a little silly considering the fact that I have never actually been to France.  However, I am completely fascinated by the culture, lifestyle and language of that particular European country.  My visit to fabulous Paris may be a ways away {note to self: renew passport ... just in case}, but thanks to a suggestion by my friend Anna I can have l'expérience de Paris from my own home by going to the Hip Paris Blog.  What a great site for having a daily dose of France from art and design, to food and shopping. Today they are featuring the top five English-Language bookstores in Paris.  Mmmm ... I want to go to there!

I also enjoy French inspired books that give me my fix when I am feeling Frenchy.  Here are some of my favorites:

UN: Talk to the Snail by Stephen Clarke
Clarke is a British man with a very wry sense of humor.  He tells it like it is when it comes to the French and how they live, how much they smoke and drink, and what they think about English speakers.  I laughed out loud many times and appreciated reading about the not-so-glamorized aspects of life in France.

DEUX: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull
This is a fun read, a true account of an Australian woman who falls in love with a Frenchman and moves to Paris to be with him.  Her adjustments to the Parisian lifestyle are challenging and at times very funny.  For example the horror her husband expressed when she was going to go out onto the streets of Paris wearing {gasp} a track suit and trainers ... of all things!

TROIS: French Women Don't Get Fat by Mirielle Guiliano
This is not a diet book - many people thought that when it first came out.  Really, it is a lifestyle book and along with its sequel, French Women for All Seasons, it has recipes, anecdotes and tips for eating for pleasure and maintaining a healthy weight.  Of course the idea of eating croissants and chocolate and drinking wine to stay skinny is absurd (and appealing), she stresses the importance of drinking water and eating fresh foods that are in season.  I enjoyed Guiliano's descriptions of her childhood in France, and this book did change the way I thought about the act of dining.

QUATRE: Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor
It's hard not to love a book that describes everything in such a beautiful and inviting way.  Making toast and dunking it in cafe aulait sounds like the most pleasurable thing in the world, the way Arbor makes it sound.  This book makes me realize just how uptight we Americans are and can take notes on how to be more relaxed from the French.

I'm sure these titles can be found at your local

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