20 Brilliant Books Set in Paris to Read Now
Ahh, Paris. The City of Lights, romance, food, and so much more. This list of 20 brilliant books set in Paris are some of our favorites and we hope you love them as much as we do.
So until your next visit across the pond, enjoy these as a prelude. And if you are looking for more, you can check out our list of books set in France as well.
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Contemporary Fiction Books Set in Paris
The Last Dress from Paris by Jade Beer
This dual-timeline story was such a fun read. At her grandmother’s request, Lucille has been sent to Paris to retrieve a Dior dress. But what should have been an easy task becomes a scavenger hunt when the dress in question is missing.
Lucille begins tracking down the dress and uncovering the history of Alice Ainsley, wife of the British Ambassador to France in the early 50s. Lucille’s hunt for the dress soon turns into her seeking Alice’s connection to her beloved grandmother.
I loved the way the timelines unfolded and the secrets were unveiled. It was lovely to understand womanhood in the 1950s from the lens of Lucille, who uses the lessons of the past to resurrect her own floundering life. This historical fiction is perfect for our beach reads 2023 post.
The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen
Oh, how I loved this book.
Part historical fiction, part mystery, and part love story, this book was so well written and the story was delivered perfectly. This is one of the picks from the list of books set in Paris that is dual-timeline.
In 2017, Aurelia inherits an apartment in Paris when her grandmother dies. She is not prepared for what she finds inside the apartment that she never knew existed. Now she must get the help of an art restorer to discover the history and the mystery surrounding the apartment and its contents.
In 1942, Estelle is living in Paris under Nazi occupation. When the Germans come to take away her beloved friends, Estelle does everything she can to help them. This is a dual-timeline pick from books about WWII that should not be missed.
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 it. It is one of our favorites and you can find this on our list of books set in France as well.
Historical Fiction Books Set in Paris
The Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector
I loved this charming contemporary fiction tale about a famed emerald necklace found in the basement of a Parisian magazine. Soon, the writers from the magazine are trying to track down the origins of the gorgeous necklace.
As we learn about the necklace passing from one owner to the next, the mystery of the jewels unravels along with the lives of the writers looking for its secrets.
Compulsively readable, I adored all the various aspects of this debut jewelry novel. I look forward to finding out what else Amy Tector can do. It was an easy pick for books set in Paris.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
This historical fiction centered around Hemingway perfectly captures post-war Paris. We all know Hemingway through his brilliant writing but this story captures the side of him that caused Hadley heartbreak and pain through infidelity.
This is a book we recommend often and you will find it has a perfect place in books about Paris and books about art, but it is also a story of love and betrayal.
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.
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
WWII 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.
Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah
I had no idea that Jackie Kennedy spent a year abroad living in Paris in the year following the end of WWII. I was fascinated by Ann Mah’s take on what Jackie would have seen in post-war France.
This book covered it all! The rise of communism, the French people’s disdain for Americans, the struggle to make ends meet for many citizens, and the return to the glitz and glam of the gilded aristocracy.
As far as historical fiction books go, it was one of the most unique ones I’ve read in recent years. I immediately gave it to my francophile mother because I know she will adore it. This book was a must for our ultimate beach reads 2023 post.
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
I love Pam Jenoff’s previous book, The Orphan Train. So, It did not surprise me that I loved this book too. In 1946 Grace is passing through Grand Central station when she finds a suitcase.
Inside she finds a dozen pictures of women and is determined to find out who they are and who owns the suitcase. The story moves between Grace and Eleanor Trigg, the owner of the suitcase and leader of a ring of female spies throughout World War 2.
The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen
I had such mixed feelings reading this book, in a good way. I hated Chanel who is a ruthless, shrewd woman who will do whatever she needs to in order to succeed, even becoming a nazi spy. I felt no sympathy for her, only disgust… and yet
The writing drew me in. I don’t agree with Chanel’s choices, but I was intrigued by her life during the war and all she did to try to save her own skin. This pick from books about WWII is a must-read.
It was fascinating to read about regardless of my personal feelings about the heroine of the story. She’s not written to be liked, but rather to be examined and no list of books set in Paris would be complete without her.
I’d recommend this story if you are looking to uncover the more sinister side of the renowned icon.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Clocking in at over 500 pages, I wasn’t sure I could handle a book about WWII and the holocaust that was that long. However, I decided to read it and boy am I glad I did!
The story is part coming of age, part wartime survival. The characters come to life, flaws and all, as you experience the thrill of first love, the loss of innocence, and the grittiness of war.
Thrilling Novels about Paris
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
This incredible story about a trio of ballerinas in Paris is a thriller and a feminist commentary all in one. I could not put it down!!!
It’s all about the tolls dancing takes on the physical and mental well-being of Paris’s premiere ballerinas. With some #metoo moments in here as well, this is a great book for book clubs and was a no-brainer as a pick for a list of books set in Paris!
I loved it so much when I listened to it that I tried to steal Jackie’s copy in this funny Instagram reel.
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 Paris and it’s a doozy!
All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #16)
I listened to it in less than a day. I could not find a point to stop. Robert Bathurst is a brilliant narrator and is the voice of Gamache. So much so that I will not read this series, rather, I prefer to listen. This is my favorite book in the series so far.
I absolutely loved this book that takes place in Paris rather than in Three Pines. The story kept me on my toes every minute and had me guessing to the very end.
I love that we get to know Daniel, Gamache’s son, in a way that we have not in previous books. If you are not familiar with the series, I suggest you start at number one, read the Louise Penny books in order, and pace yourself. I tried to slow down but now I have to wait a year between books!
If you love Louise Penny as much as we do, check out our post: Louise Penny Books in Order: Complete Guide to Inspector Gamache.
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
Romance Books Set in Paris
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan delivers every time. Her books follow a formula that is tried and true. The girl goes to a new place, starts a chocolate shop/ cafe/ bakeshop/ bookshop, and meets a man, falls in love, etc.
I read her books because I need an escape and she delivers every time. This book was no exception so there was no question that it belongs on a list of books set in Paris.
And if you love Jenny Colgan like we do, check out our post The Best Jenny Colgan Books Ranked by Super Fans.
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Ahhh. This was just what I needed. A little bit of Paris, a little bit of ballet and a perfect romance to go with it. This book reminds me of one of my favorite movies- Center Stage- but set in beautiful Paris. It made me feel like I was there and I couldn’t put the book down.
This is a perfect YA romance and is a cute YA pick for books set in Paris!
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Fantasy Novels Set in Paris
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Louise Le Blanche is a witch, Reid Diggory is a witch hunter, but when they are forced to be married Lou has to keep her identity a secret and try not to fall for her handsome husband. Could you ask for anything more from enemies-to-lovers books?
Set in the pre-industrial age in Paris, France, this historical fantasy book is perfect for lovers of YA! It’s got funny, fierce heroines, a steamy love story, and a cast that is actually diverse! I devoured all three books in this series of books set in Paris.
All that Glitters (Enchanteé #1) by Gita Trelease
Camille is an orphan who must use magic to transform pieces of metal into money in order to buy food for her sister. But when the magic starts to fail, Camille must use dark magic to transform herself into a baroness in the court of Louis the 16th.
Soon, the dark magic takes its toll and Camille must make a choice between reality and magic. When revolution erupts, Camille must determine how to survive. This YA historical fiction is a great one.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
This YA historical fantasy takes place in Paris in 1889 where coercion, magic, betrayal, and murder are the norm. At the Exposition Universelle World Fair is an artifact that will give the owner magical Forging abilities.
Severin and his fiercely loyal friends come together to take the artifact in the hope of also obtaining Serverin’s inheritance. Severin finds himself torn between his loyalty to his friends and his desire for revenge.