Summer reading – 5 great books to do with France

5 great summer reading choices with a French theme

I’ve shared some of my reading recommendations in previous posts – but summer is here and I’m sure many of my fellow Francophiles are looking for some French-themed summer reading! I’ve read these five books in the past few months and think you might enjoy them. If you’d like to see my previous recommendations, check out 4 French-themed books, 5 enjoyable novels about France, and 5 French book recommendations. I’m an avid reader and I’m always looking for something new to read – my library wish list has 1500 books on it at any given time. If you’ve got recommendations for French-themed books, I’d love to hear them!

I’ve linked the cover images to the Amazon site so you can find them, but I’ll be honest – I almost never buy books from them! Every one of these was checked out from my public library, so I would suggest checking there if you want to read them.

Summer reading - 5 great books to do with France

The Chateau – Jaclyn Goldis

If you’re OK with your summer reading requiring you to think a little bit, this is a great book. It takes place in France and French history certainly plays a role in the plot, but it doesn’t knock you over the head with Frenchisms like many other books do. It’s a bit on the longish side, but the chapters are a reasonable length so it’s a great book to read on the airplane or car when traveling to your summer getaway. You do need to think a bit as you read it – it’s a murder mystery told from the point of view from several people, so it’s not a simple mindless read.

The Memory of Lavender and Sage – Aimie K. Runyan

I really enjoyed this book! It’s got a little bit of everything – history, romance, drama, and a lot of southern France. There are plenty of twists and turns and big reveals, but it really isn’t one of those cliffhanger types of books. It was interesting without requiring a lot of mental bandwidth to follow the plot, so perfect for a summer read.

Summer reading - 5 great books to do with France
Summer reading - 5 great books to do with France

Flirting with French – William Alexander

A non-fiction story of the author’s quest to learn French is a great book for French teachers to read over the summer. It’s easy for us to forget just how difficult and quirky the language can be, and this is a wonderful reminder of that. We already KNOW the language, but our students struggle with it frequently. The author tries to learn French as an older adult and shares his struggles, but also the good things that he learns along the way. If you’re looking for some non-fiction summer reading, this is quite interesting.

A Waiter in Paris – Edward Chisholm

It seems a bit ironic to read about someone’s thankless and difficult job as a summer reading recommendation, but I really do like this book. The author speaks NO French, but somehow finds a way to get hired at a restaurant in Paris. The job is difficult, the hours are horrible, and the pay is awful. The story is riveting, though – and reading about the struggles of the author makes you appreciate the service you get when you go out to eat, from the workers you see and the ones who are hidden behind the scenes.

Summer reading - 5 great books to do with France
Summer reading - 5 great books to do with France

The Second-Worst Restaurant in France: Paul Stuart

This is an easy read that doesn’t require a lot of concentration to follow the plot. It starts out in Scotland but due to an issue with some cats, the story later moves to France. As promised in the title, the protagonist ends up at the second-worst restaurant in France. It’s not a very long book (250ish pages), making it perfect for a day at the beach or a bit of relaxation on the porch! If you end up liking the book, you can go back and read the first one in the series as well. The author has another series (the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series) that would make for good summer reading.

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