Our Top French-Inspired Books

Whether treating yourself or looking for a gift for the Francophile in your life, you can never go wrong with a good book. Find inspiration in stunning photography, charming drawings, and get up to speed with the legendary French approach to beauty, style and food with these French inspired books.

A collage of French inspired books recommended by HIP Paris.

Art and PhotographY Books

The Flowers of Provence by Jamie Beck

In a time of overconsumption and over-scheduling The Flowers of Provence is a much-needed interlude. Take a walk with Beck and explore the gardens of Provence, savoring her breathtaking photography and sumptuous story-telling.

Left: Jamie Beck's book cover for Flowers of Provence with a bouquet of colorful flowers, Right: Jamie Beck appears in her studio surrounded by flowers.
Jamie Beck

A Table in Paris by John Donohue

John Donohue’s brilliant book A Table in Paris includes 100 ink drawings of some of Paris’s most celebrated and adored restaurants. The former New Yorker editor turned artist started the project by documenting beloved eateries in the Big Apple in All the Restaurants in New York. This follow up features popular Paris institutions like Racines, Verjus, Chez L’Ami Louis, Angelina, Bofinger, Mokonuts and more. The book also includes tips from prominent figures including Ruth Reichl, Lindsey Tramuta, Alec Lobrano, and HiP Paris founder Erica Berman. A volume on London restaurants was published in 2023.

An American in Provence: Art, Life and Photography by Jamie Beck     

An American in Provence is part art book, memoir, cookbook, travelogue. This beautiful collection by Jaime Beck will seduce you, documenting Beck’s life as an “American in Provence”. What began as a brief stint in the South of France has turned into several years, documented through her atmospheric photography on Instagram. Included are also her tips for taking stunning pictures and recipes that will evoke the Provençal sunshine wherever you are.

Paris Moderne: 1914-1945 by Jean Louis Cohen and Buillemette Morel Journel

This scintillating book surveys modernism in Paris. Architecture, art, design, entertainment, fashion, film, literature and photography are explored in profiles of 88 influential figures. Picasso, Man Ray, Josephine Baker, Le Corbusier, and Gertrude Stein are just some of the few figures explored in Paris Moderne‘s stunning pages.

The Façades of Paris: Windows, Doors and Balconies, illustrated by Dominique Mathez, Text by Joël Orgiazzi

The Façades of Paris compels readers to look up on their walks through Paris and savor the iconic facades, made up of intricate windows, doors and balconies. The fine detail and ornate ironwork are depicted in watercolors and ink drawings by Dominque Mathez. Celebrating the city’s architecture away from the celebrated landmarks, the renowned design expert Olivier Gabet’s illuminating text combines with the stunning artwork to make this a must-have for Francophiles and Paris lovers everywhere.

Art Hiding in Paris by Lori Zimmer and Maria Krasinski

Art Hiding in Paris tells the story of art ‘hiding’ in plain sight throughout the City of Light rather than in its museums. The book is a scavenger hunt throughout the City with its story told through charming illustrations. 

Illustrations from the book Art Hiding in Paris.

Food

French Cooking Academy Cookbook by Stephane Nguyen and Kate Blenkiron

Stephane Nguyen is a YouTube phenomenon, having created a valuable online resource and cooking school for novices. With 100 mouthwatering recipes, Nguyen teaches the best of French cooking in an accessible way in the French Cooking Academy Cookbook. Focused on classic cuisine, the recipes include small bites, mains and sweet treats presented in a bistro-style menu.

VoilĂ  Vegan by Amanda Bankert

Cordon Bleu trained American chef Amanda Bankert brought the first artisanal version of donuts to Paris with her wildly popular shop Boneshaker. She secretly transitioned the shop to being vegan and the Parisians who devoured her treats did not even notice. VoilĂ  Vegan features 85 decadent plant-based recipes. Banana tarte tatin, pumpkin cake donuts, cherry clafoutis and raspberry-chocolate macarons are just a few of the sweet treats included in the book.

Left: The book cover of Voila Vegan with a chocolate cake topped with strawberries on it, served on a white plate; right: chef Amanda Bankert sat in front of a Paris cafe with a dark green exterior.
photos by Joann Pai

A Parisian Bistro: La Fontaine de Mars in 50 Recipes by Delphine Constantini (photographer), Robert de Niro (Forward) CĂ©cile Maslakian (Contributor)

Since 1908, this Parisian institution has welcomed guests through its heavy red curtain and into the dining room adorned with classic checkered tablecloths, vintage dĂ©cor and generous cuisine. La Fontaine de Mars cookbook features classic recipes like Cassoulet, PĂątĂ© and Strawberry-Pistachio Sabayon are on the menu here. Even if you can’t make it to the City of Light, you can evoke it at home through the classic recipes of one of its most beloved bistros.

French Pastry Made Simple: Foolproof Recipes for Éclairs, Tarts, Macarons and More by Molly Wilkinson

Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef Molly Wilkinson demystifies essential French baking techniques for home cooks. These simple recipes open up the world of French pastry in Molly’s signature friendly way, with detailed instructions and clever shortcuts.

Gateau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Alexsandra Crapanano

When people think of French cuisine, they often think of fancy food. The same goes for desserts. We imagine delicate, intricate confections. But having grown up in Paris, Alexasandra Crapanano knows first-hand how the French savoir-faire applies to baking. The French home cook does not try to compete with their boulangers or patissieres. Rather, they might finish off their dinner with something simple, baked with minimal fuss and served casually. Gateau brings readers into the world of effortless home baking the French way – cakes with less sugar, apples baked unadorned with cinnamon, cakes are never heavily iced, and vanilla is not necessarily a staple. There are also savory items with ham, cheese, and herbs for picnics, dinner parties, school lunches and more.

Sweet Paris : Seasonal Recipes from An American Baker in France by Frank Adrian Barron

A decade ago, Frank Adrian Barron moved to Paris when his husband was transferred to the Paris. Though he delighted in French delicacies, he longed for something familiar to eat. So he started baking himself, trying out recipes on friends and soon gained the nickname “cakeboy”. Sweet Paris includes delectable recipes like Lavender Honey Madeleines for the warmer months and a White Chocolate and Cassis BĂ»che de Nöel for winter.

À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way by Rebekah Peppler

Paris-based food writer and New York Times contributor Rebekah Peppler has created a stylish and practical book. Guiding readers through the country, she shares 125 recipes that reflect modern French cooking. À Table is multicultural and approachable. You’ll find classics like Ratatouille and Salade Niçoise as well as Bánh Mì and Lamb Tagine.

A collage of French inspired books recommended by HIP Paris.

Fashion

Dress Like a Parisian by AloĂŻs Guinut

AloĂŻs Guinut takes the pretension out of personal style. Her inspiration is real Parisian women. Dress Like a Parisian guides you towards the colors, shapes and styles that suit you best. She rejects rules and reveals her favorite brands, shops and Parisian style secrets. Her ethos centers on using fashion to compliment your personality rather than the other way around.

Zadig and Voltaire: Established 1997 in Paris by Thierry Gillier and Nicole Phelps

For the fashionistas in your life, Zadig and Voltaire is synonymous with edgy, effortless cool. The brand blurs gender boundaries and exudes a rebellious sensibility. This monography is published to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

La Vie de Claire Vie: Paris Chic/L.A. Cool by Clare Vivier

Celebrating 15 years of her eponymous brand, Clare Vivier has become synonymous with joy and bohemian chic. Her handbags marry craftsmanship, style and functionality.  La Vie de Clare V. takes readers on her journey from the US to Paris and back, starting a business in the age of social media and more.

A display table in Clare Vivier's Paris store including her new book and several colorful handbags.
photo by Maikka Rustia-Piquemal for HIP Paris

Lifestyle and Travel

Don’t be a Tourist in Paris by Vanessa Grall

If you like seeing things that are unusual or part of the underground, this is the book for you. Vanessa Grall’s (a.k.a. Messy Nessy) guide, Don’t be a Tourist in Paris includes investigative walks, people watching spots, food discoveries, flea-market tips, collector’s addresses, and more.

Joie by Ajiri Aki

Tastemaker Ajiri Aki celebrates the simple things in life in this ode to joie de vivre. As a young child, Aki tried to persuade her mother to use fine China more regularly. Her mother claimed to be waiting for a special occasion which she never saw as she passed away when Ajiri was 12. Ajiri vowed to use her treasured pieces without hesitation. She learned how this idea – celebrating the beauty in the everyday – is central to French life. Joie includes Ajiri’s tips on hosting the perfect apĂ©ro, the art of flĂąneur, shopping for vintage and antiques, exploring Parisian cafĂ©s and stores, and more.

Left: A blue book on a gray table. Right: A woman holds a bouquet of flowers in a flower shop.

The New Parisienne by Lindsey Tramuta

With social media overflowing with the (often unattainable) “French girl” aesthetic Tramuta’s book is a refreshing and important antidote. The New Parisienne demystifies the archetype and portrays Parisian women not only as white, lithe and fashionable but as complex and diverse.

Practising Parisienne: Lifestyle Secrets from the City of Light Parisienne by Marissa Cox

Nearly a decade ago Marissa Cox found herself in Paris for love. She made a home for herself in the City of Light, and has found success online with Rue Rodier, sharing her take on fashion and design. In Practising Parisienne Cox shares places to discover, tips on fashion, wellbeing, interiors and more.

Paris Chic by Oliver Pilcher and Alexander Senes

Few cities photograph so beautifully as Paris. It’s chicness and innate style are found in almost every corner. The city’s bistros, alleyways, artists’ studios and more are picturesque in unrivaled ways. Paris Chic, published by Assouline, gives a glimpse into everyday life in the City of Light, as though watching from the vantage point of your own balcony within the city. This book is about moments, not monuments. Glimpse into the most sophisticated homes and daily lives of Parisians, as seen through Pilcher’s poetic lens.

Provence Glory by François Simon

This gorgeous coffee table book evokes the crystal waters off the coast of Marseille, lavender fields in Valensole and more. Handsome white Camargue horses, freshly baked fougasse, are a few of the images depicted in this homage to the South of France. Assouline’s holiday-in-a-book helps you experience Roman landmarks and the unique cultural mĂ©lange that is Provence. Provence Glory helps you discover the scenes and landscapes that have inspired luminaries including CĂ©zanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso.

Le Grand Hotel and Le Café de la Paix by Laure VerchÚre

This stunning book documents the history of the Belle Époque hotel and cafĂ©, designed during Haussmann’s urban renewal. Set in one of the most stunning squares in Paris next to the Opera Garnier, the hotel and cafĂ© was inaugurated in 1862 by the Empress EugĂ©nie. Prominent figures like Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, Sonia Rykiel, Vivienne Westwood, John Travolta and Bill Clinton have visited the premises which lies at the intersection of art, fashion and politics. Now fully renovated by Pierre-Yves Rochon, Le Grand HĂŽtel epitomizes elegance and art de vivre. This stunning book includes a booklet with CafĂ© de la Paix’s iconic recipes and contributions from StĂ©phane Bern, Ines de la Fressange, Francis Huster, Jean Todt and others.

Memoir

Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Having written so many fabulous books such as My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French, it’s hard to narrow down which of David Lebovitz’s books to recommend – they are all great. But the Sweet Life in Paris holds a special place in our hearts. This memoir about Lebovitz’s life adjusting to French culture and Parisian life will have you laughing and cooking. Included are over 50 original recipes including lemon-glazed madeleines, braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with prunes and more.

Paris Blue by Julie Scolnik

As a 22 year old American student, Julie Scolnik had arrived in the City of Light when her path crossed with Luc – a striking (and married) French lawyer. This moving story transports readers Paris of the late 1970’s and spans 3 decades. It outlines profound romance, heartbreak and the quest for answers in order to shed immutable grief.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Merci!

Written by HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

WRITTEN BY

HiP Paris

HiP Paris is a lifestyle website about everything Paris and beyond. We enlighten and entertain our community, and share tips and recommendations. We believe in respect for French culture, timeless luxury, being comfortable in your skin, and the simple beauty of French life. Started in 2008, HIP Paris has evolved into a hub for expats and Francophiles.

We have been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Eater, Bon Appetit, Refinery29 and many other publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *