Books set in Paris

Books recommended by ACCORD school: Whether you’ve booked your French course at ACCORD language school and can’t wait to get a taste of what’s to come, or you’re already studying at ACCORD and looking for inspiration, books are a great way for you to soak up the city and unearth hidden gems.

Here are a few of our favourite classics and quirky tomes for you to get to grips with Paris before, during or after your French course with us.

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, 2003

Conspiracy theories and iffy history aside, The Da Vinci Code is jam-packed with Parisian landmarks and streets for you to go on your own adventure. The novel follows symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder at the Louvre and explore an alternative religious history. Given it sets the scene for the murder that brings the two main characters together and the pyramid where the novel ends, the Louvre is a must-visit. Don’t miss Saint-Sulpice Church where you’ll find the mysterious gnomon and “Rose Line” or a wander along the Seine to uncover more symbols. Can you find the “keystone”?

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, 2006

Take a look at life inside a Parisian apartment building as we join Renée Michel, the unsuspectingly intelligent and knowledgeable concierge. She works hard to maintain her uncultured persona among her successful but empty employers until she meets Paloma, a 12 year old resident who refuses to end up like the other tenants and decides to end her life on her 13th birthday. Until the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours changes both their lives forever… The apartment stands on Rue Grenelle in the plush 7th arrondissement, so soak up the atmosphere and get a feel of what Renée and Paloma live on a daily basis.

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
The Ladies’ Delight (Au Bonheur des Dames) by Emile Zola, 1883

Whether you want to read this classic in French or English, you simply have to read it on a bench with a view of Le Bon Marché which inspired the novel. Like Le Bon Marché, The Ladies’ Delight is a fabulous department store in Paris where our heroine, Denise, a naïve country girl comes to work as an assistant. We join her as she attempts to settle in the glamorous city, overcomes its challenges and bravely weathers all the humiliation her capitalist boss Octave Mouret throws her way. This is a tale about determination, capitalism and feminism that has withstood the test of time and is very relevant today…

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, 1933

Although this novel is split between both Paris and London (which you can visit from the capital on the Eurostar at Gare du Nord, if you fancy doing the full Orwell experience), this memoir documents the author’s “first contact with poverty” in Paris and is an eye-opening read. Experience life through the eyes of a struggling writer in his twenties as he sleeps in bug-infested hostels, survives on scraps, lives amongst tramps and gets a job as a dishwasher at a deeply unpleasant hotel in the City of Lights. Can you work out the identity of “Hotel X”?

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, 1964

Another memoir, another struggling writer in Paris… This time it’s Ernest Hemingway’s turn to introduce us to the Paris he lived in during the 1920s. Here’s a little background to it: Hemingway recovered two trunks he had stored at the Ritz in Paris nearly 30 years earlier, in March 1928. Inside the trunks were notebooks he had filled in the 1920s, which he had transcribed and worked on them to turn them into a memoir: A Moveable Feast. He shows what life was like for aspiring writers in Paris, working in Parisian cafes, meeting up with Scott Fitzgerald and living in the Latin Quarter. As you’d expect with the novelist, there are lots of references to wine so why not channel you’re inner Hemingway, pop into Prunier Victor Hugo and settle back with a good book and verre de vin? Please drink responsibly.

Books recommended by ACCORD school:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 2014

Let’s fast forward a few years to World War II where we’ll meet a blind Parisian girl and a German boy with an unlikely relationship. Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father Daniel, the locksmith at the Museum of Natural History, who makes her a model of her local neighbourhood so she can find her way home. The museum has a starring role in the plot of this novel as it sets the scene for a mystery where Marie-Laure and her father take its most valuable jewel when they flee Paris. Read this modern Pulitzer Prize-winning classic and hop onto the metro from ACCORD language school for a half hour ride to soak up the museum for yourself!

To purchase these books we recommend:
Shakespeare and Company 
-ICI Librairie, on the Grands Boulevards

Are there any books you’d like to see on this list that capture Paris through the ages? Let us know so we can add them to our future blogs and see your name on the website!

Ecole de langues ACCORD Paris: 3 bis rue Jean Pierre Bloch, 75015 Paris, France

ACCORD French School in Paris

The ACCORD French language school offers a wide choice of French language courses: 8 French intensive courses (from 20 to 29h/week), 2 French super-intensive courses (32h and 35h/week), 5 exam preparation courses (DELF, DALF, A/AS level, ILC , Abitur), 8 French intensive PLUS courses (intensive course with 5 to 20 individual lessons), Business French and French and Law lessons in mini groups, as well as 7 afternoon lessons and French private and individual lessons.

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The ACCORD Paris French language school is recommended by the editorial staff of PARIS MOVE

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