16 Sensational Books Set in France to Love
France is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I love the food, the sites, the culture, and did I mention the food? This list of books set in France contains some of our favorites.
While there are definitely a lot of historical fiction books set in France on this list, there are some wonderful other books that we encourage you to read! Grab a croissant and prepare to find the perfect book set in France on the list below.
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Contemporary Fiction Books Set in France
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
This is probably one of our favorite books on this list of books set in Paris and we recommend it all the time. The story features a floating book apothecary whose owner can meet you and give you a story meant for your soul.
When he needs to help his own soul, he sets his boat adrift on the Seine to see where it will take him. I loved every minute of this lovely contemporary fiction book and it is one of our favorites from the list of books set in France. As books for book clubs go, this one is at the top of our list.
The Lost Vintage by Anne Mah
This mystery book feels like a warm hug. A little bit of historical fiction, a little bit of mystery, and a little bit of romance. It was so lovely to read at sunset with a glass of wine.
The writing, the story, the whole thing made this book a no-brainer for our feel-good books list and our fiction books about wine.
Kate is working to become a certified wine expert and the only thing standing in her way are the Burgundy wines at her family’s estate (and her first love who lives nearby).
While dealing out the basement filled with generations of belongings, Kate starts to learn about her family during the WWII occupation. Of all the WWII books, this is the one we recommend the most and we have never had anyone not love it.
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
It is the story of a woman who receives a letter in the mail informing her that she has received an inheritance from a woman that she does not know.
The book follows the lives of the two woman in a wonderful way that moves seamlessly back and forth between two time periods before the stories come together.
Both women in this story find the inner strength to persevere. A book about perfume would have to be included on a list of books set in France or the list would not be complete!
Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst
I love a good renovation story plotline, particularly with a side of romance and finding yourself. In this story, Lucy has just agreed to move to, renovate, and open a hotel in the French countryside.
With a cast of permanent guests who help and cause trouble in equal measure, Lucy is able to find herself and her heart again. This book does deal with a few serious topics as well, but nothing that should be too intense if you are looking for a lighter read.
Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2023
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
Historical Fiction Books Set in France
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
This historical fiction novel is about real-life photographer and model, Lee Miller. I had never heard about Miller prior to this book, though I was familiar with her lover – Man Ray.
She made some life choices that I can’t say I agree with, but I found her to be a strong, feminist woman ahead of her time. This book from our list of best romance novels of all time will be on my best reads of the year list, but be warned – there are some erotic scenes in the novel. As books for book clubs go, this is one of the best and it’s one of our favorite novels about artists. It’s also on our list of the best books of 2019.
The Queen’s Fortune by Allison Pataki
The Queen’s Fortune had everything I love in a historical fiction novel – royalty, drama, a touch of romance, a strong female protagonist, and action. This book starts out all action and it doesn’t let up!
I devoured the story of Napoleon, his former lover, and the dynasty that he helped her create with her eventual husband, who happened to be his #1 frenemy. They didn’t know what frenemies we’re back then but Napoleon and Bernadotte were the OGs.
This is one of the books set in France that we could have put in so many categories and is a great place to start.
Mademoiselle Chanel by C. W. Gortner
I loved this story, but ended up hating the woman it was about. I grew up loving Chanel designs and idolizing the fashion icon.
However, when I learned more about her life in this historical fiction biography, I was scandalized and horrified….but I couldn’t put it down!
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
Books Set in Paris
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
WWII books felt a little been-there, done-that to me recently but this book has me back to loving the sub-genre. And even with so many books set in Paris, this book still felt fresh.
What makes this story different is the setting – The American Library in Paris. I loved hearing about the librarians and how they tried to help their Jewish subscribers.
The story sucked me and had me thinking about the war in a new light. I need to add it to our best books about WW2 list for sure.
Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
This is one of the books set in Paris that you will also find on our list of books set in France and it is unlike any other. It is written entirely in letter form between two friends during WWI.
You will fall in love with the characters as they fall for each other.
Evie is struggling to find a way to help out during WWI, while Thomas, her brother’s best friend, is struggling with the realities of battle. I just recently started reading WWI books and this one is high on the list.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Jess has arrived in Paris to stay with her half-brother, Ben while she gets back on her feet. While he reluctantly agrees to help, he doesn’t answer the door when she shows up to move in.
Soon she gains entry into his apartment and begins the hunt to find out what happened to her brother. With secrets lurking around every corridor and the other residents being shady and elusive, Jess begins to think something sinister happened to Ben.
The first half of this story was a little slow while the character groundwork was laid out, but once the big reveal comes halfway through, I was reading the rest of the chapters at lightning speed. This is the only thriller on our list of books set in France and it’s a doozy! Lucy Foley is always a great pick from summer reads 2023.
20 Brilliant Books Set in Paris to Read Now
Love the books set in France on this list? We think you’ll like this list of books set in Paris too!
WWII Books Set in France
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a beautiful book that takes place in occupied France during the Second World War. It is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross as they try to survive the war.
When their stories converge it becomes a story that you will not soon forget. This winner of the Pulitzer Prize is obviously well-written but it is also a beautiful and readable book.
It is one of the books set in France that I read years ago and it has stayed with me. It is a best book for book clubs, if yours has not read it yet!
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Based on the true story of New York socialite, Caroline Ferriday, this fictionalized account of the war is told from three perspectives.
The novel alternates between Caroline in New York, Kasia, a Polish prisoner, at Ravensbruck, and Herta, the only female doctor at that same camp.
Herta’s perspective, she was a real doctor at Ravensbruck, was particularly fascinating to read. Hearing her thoughts left a deep impact since authors rarely write from the perspective of the Nazi party members. That perspective makes this novel unique among these books about WWII.
For more WWII books, you can check out our post
Spy Books Set in France
Code Name Hélène: A Novel by Ariel Lawson
I LOVED this book so much. It is so beautifully written, amazingly researched and absolutely enthralling. This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake who is a nurse and journalist who becomes a Special Operations Executive during WWII.
She was an amazing woman and I had never heard of her before this book. It has wonderful characters, a fabulous story, romance, adventure, and the terrifying reality of life during WWII. I could not put this historical fiction book down and is one of the best books for book clubs to read.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
March 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
This is a remarkable story of two sisters who live in France. As historical fiction goes, this one set the standard for me. It is one of my all-time favorite books. It details how they survive the Second World War under Nazi Occupation. The sisters are separated by time and have completely different experiences in the war.
This book is one of the books that should be read in a lifetime. It is a total tear-jerker and one of those books about WWII and books set in France that are basically essential reading! If you are looking for the best book club books, this is one of them.
WWI Books Set in France
Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
This is an incredible novel about the women of Smith College who went to help French war victims on the war front. The band of 15 women in this novel is based on the 18 real-life heroes of Smith College.
These ladies started from scratch to help those ravaged by war only to have the war come back and destroy the lands around them again. But they never faltered in their quest to help the war-torn villages of women and children impacted by the war. The book gives a well-rounded feeling of what these women needed to do to save the lands and the people.
The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong
This dual-timeline story is about both a librarian during WWI and a female cadet in the first class of women at the U.S. Naval Academy. There are so many strong women in our list of books like the Alice Network.
Both women in this story are connected in multiple ways, including being females in a trailblazing role customarily reserved for men.
While I found Librarian, Emmaline’s story to be more engrossing, I found Kathleen Carre’s struggles in the male-dominated school fascinating too. I wouldn’t mind reading a book just about the first few classes of women in various military academies.
Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverini
I’ve been reading WWI books non-stop because I’m fascinated by the way modern warfare met traditional tactics in the Great War. I’m particularly interested in the role women played in helping the Allies.
Chiaverini brought the Switchboard soldiers (the women who operated the telephone lines) to life in the most interesting way. I loved their bonds of sisterhood, how they stayed cool under pressure, and learning just how crucial they were to the war effort.
If you are looking for book club books, this historical fiction is a perfect choice. It is also a perfect choice for our summer reads 2023.
For more WWI books, check out our post
Classic Books Set In France
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The first time I read this book was actually before I saw the movie Shawshank redemption. I read it a bunch of times and loved it. I did not realize, however, that it was an abridged version.
When I was in University, I embarked on a journey to read the unabridged version of this book. I was so amazed at the brilliance and detail that is has been a favorite ever since.
Edmund Dantès is thrown into the Chateau D’if for a crime that he did not commit. There, he meets a fellow prisoner who teaches him within the confines of their cells before telling him of a treasure. Dantès escapes and seeks his revenge. As the classics go, this boat book is epic and it is one of my all-time favorite books!