Top Ten Tuesday: Novels set in France

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is along the lines of Top Ten Books with [XXX] Setting


There’s a lot of scope with this topic, which probably accounts for the fact that for the first time in ages I’m actually sticking with the original TTT theme and not rewriting it to suit my own whims. I’ve chosen Top Ten Novels set in France because I’m reading one at the moment and there are several others on my mental TBR list.

Also, I love France.

1. A Very Long Engagement (1991) by Sebastien Japrisot. I’m so close to the end of this book and I’ll be sorry to finish it. I’ve enjoyed it hugely. Set in 1919, this is the story of Mathilde, her love for Manech and her quest to uncover the precise circumstances around his disappearance in the war.

2. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) by Alexandre Dumas. This was hands down one of the best books I read last year. Edmund Dantes is falsely imprisoned, escapes and then plots his revenge on those responsible. Brilliant. Full review here.

3. Chocolat (1999) by Joanne Harris. I read a whole swathe of Joanne Harris books about fifteen years ago and this was by far the best (and the only one I now remember in any detail). Vianne sets up a chocolaterie in a small town in the middle of Lent and causes a stir amongst her new neighbours.

4. A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens. Dickens’ only historical novel and one of my favourites. Dr Manette is released from the Bastille at the start of the novel but must return to revolutionary Paris years later when his daughter’s husband faces the guillotine. Full review here.

5. Suite Francaise (2004) by Irene Nemirovsky. Beautifully written but unfinished at the time of the author’s death in 1942 Suite Francaise was intended to be a sequence of novels about life in France immediately after the German invasion. 

6. Madame Bovary (1856) by Gustav Flaubert. The scandalous tale of a doctor’s wife who seeks escape from her provincial life in the arms of other men. Flaubert perfectly captures all of Emma’s contradictions so you don’t know whether to hate her or sympathise.

7. Tender is the Night (1934) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book is becoming something of a TTT regular. Tender is the Night is a powerful account of the disintegration of a marriage (based on Fitzgerald’s own experience) and told against the backdrop of the French Riviera.

8. The Three Musketeers (1844) by Alexandre Dumas. A ridiculously entertaining adventure story featuring D’Artagnan and his friends, this is much better than you might expect.

9. Charlotte Gray (1999) by Sebastien Faulks. Not one of my favourites but I loved the subject matter, if not the characterisation (or, in fact, the writing). I could write a whole book about how much I hate Charlotte – and why I don’t think Faulks does a good job of honouring the real female agents who parachuted into occupied France during the war – but there’s no denying the fact that I devoured this book whole in 24 hours. It can’t really have been that bad.

10. Les Miserables (1862) by Victor Hugo. It’s long, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but if you can get through all the filler there’s a lot of good stuff here about an orphan, a criminal, love and redemption. Just don’t go in expecting it to be like the film (it’s better).

On my TBR I also have: A Place of Greater Safety (Hilary Mantel), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo), The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Muriel Barbary) and about a hundred others….

Can you recommend any? Suggestions always welcome!

21 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Novels set in France

  1. You’ve got quite a few of my favourites there, but I’d also throw a Balzac (‘Old Goriot’) and a Zola (‘The Ladies’ Paradise’) in the ring for consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I reeeeally love France too!! (Says she who’s never been there hahah.) But I haven’t read any of these…or even heard of half of them. Shame on me! I would kind of like to try Les Mis, but also the idea of it is totally terrifying. XD I’d like to try The Hunchback of Notre Dame after loving the Disney movie though! Someday…I know that would be quite tough going reading too. *gulps* Here’s my TTT!


    • Well if I ever get round to Hunchback of Note Dame I’ll let you know whether it’s worth reading! I used to love the Disney movie too although I rewatched it a year ago and it wasn’t half as good as I remembered! (I still knew all the songs though….)


  3. Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is probably one of my favorite books set in France (and just a favorite all around) but that’s probably mostly just due to the fact I love food so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great setting! I’ve read a few romcoms set in France – and an apocalyptic book set in Paris with Zombies and chases through the catacombs! I love your list though – not read Les Mis although have seen the play and film and it’s on my classic reading list (just a bit daunting!) I loved the Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Christo, Chocolat and Charlotte Grey – really great choices.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Harris’ ‘An Officer and a Spy’ is set in the late 19th century, telling a fictionalised account of the true Dreyfus Affair – a great read. And Pascal Garnier’s novellas are very good, if you enjoy quite dark, thrillerish type things – though I do tend to think of them more as ‘fiction’ than thrillers overall.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ has been throwing looks at me from my TBR for quite a while (and overlooked a little due to it’s non-handbag friendly size), but your review has swung it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s