It’s August, and in August all good Parisiennes leave town. We could follow them and tell you all about the delights of A Woman’s Deauville, A Woman’s Saint-Tropez or A Woman’s Biarritz, but really, we’d rather put our feet up, pour ourselves a glass of chilled rosé, and crack open a good book.
There are plenty to choose from, but here are a few from our bookshelves that you might enjoy, whether you are reading on the beach, at a café, or in your favourite armchair. To share your favorite books, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Book: The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual ― And the Modern Home Began
By Joan DeJean. (Hardcover – 2009.)
DeJean, who favours long subtitles, is also the author of The Essence of Style: How The French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication and Glamour, another hugely enjoyable read. Here she tells you about the origins of things like sofas, hardwood floors, white-painted ceilings, boudoirs, and the art of interior decoration. All French, and all dating from roughly the time between the accession of the Sun King and the death of Madame de Pompadour. Who knew? 304 pages. Publisher Bloomsbury USA.
Book: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School
By Kathleen Flinn. (Hardcover – 2007.) (Paperback – 2008.)
In 2003, Flinn lost her job in corporate America, packed her bags, and flew to Paris to take the Cordon Bleu course – the same one that formed Julia Child’s approach to cooking. It’s a terrific intro to French food, complete with recipes. 304 pages. Penguin Publishers. (Reprint edition – 2008.)
Book: Eiffel’s Tower
By Jill Jonnes. (Hardcover – 2009.)
The title is a little misleading, because this book is really about the extraordinary outpouring of creativity and general insanity that was the Exposition Universelle of 1889. It is peopled with larger-than-life characters such as Annie Oakley (the crack shot who headlined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show), the artist Rosa Bonheur (one of the few women legally allowed to wear trousers in those days), and, of course, Gustave Eiffel himself, who braved criticism, labour problems, and the elements to build the tower that is now the symbol of the city. 368 pages. Viking publishers, a division of Penguin Group.
Alors, amusez-vous bien. On va à la pêche (Gone fishin’).
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