If you know me a tiny, tiny bit, you are probably already aware that I’m a proper bookworm, somebody who, since the age of 5 -when my sister taught me how to write and read-  has gone through over 5000 books, has never lost her appetite for real and invented stories and got lost countless times in the various worlds hidden between the pagesof her local library books. When I was little, I got so deeply connected with one of the sisters in Little Women that my mum wanted to send me to see a psychologist suspecting I had developed a double personality…

As mentioned here, I’m a big believer in getting up close and personal with the culture and the story of the country you are going to visit / move to, by reading books (and watching movies) set in those places. Here’s the books you need to read before moving to France and stories and tips that helped me act like a real fille fran çaise while strolling around Le Marais or sailing la Cote D’Azur. Yeah, I guess my mum was right after all…

1. My Life in France (Julia Child, 1996)

Calling all foodies for the beautifully-written autobiography of the famous American chefwho fell in love with the French Cuisine, opened a cooking school in Paris and brought it to the American television. In this book, Julia Child shares her early days in Paris and the things she loved the most: her husband, France and food.

2. La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life (Elaine Sciolino, 2011)

The former chief of the French office of The New York Times, gives an insightful and hilarious explanation of how seduction is used every day by the Frenchie: not only to score in love affairs, but also – and especially in politics and business. A must-read to learn from them.

3. The Sweet Life in Paris (David Lebovitz, 2009)

A hilarious foodie memoir of an American chef in the French capital. This time, the famous pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz, moved there after two decades of dreaming about La France and where he realised that despite being crazy, hectic and weird, Paris is a city that gets into your veins and slowly transforms you from the inside. With 50 delicious recipes, it will also provide readers the perfect excuse to stop laughing and head to the kitchen.

4. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens, 1859)

A Dickens’ must-read in which the acclaimed British author shares the horrors and passions behind the French Revolution. Perfect choice for those who love the French history.

5. 50 Reasons to Hate the French (Jules Eden and Alex Clarke, 2006)

If you are about to move or visit France, you probably think you have an affinity with the French. But…. are you sure?  Just in case things don’t turn out to be as you expected, in this book you’ll find 50 hilarious reasons to dislike them, their food and weird habits.

6. French or Foe? Getting the Most Out of Visiting, Living and Working in France (Polly Platt, 2003)

Polly Platt decided to fight the stereotype of the “rude French” and wrote this book primarily to help foreigners living or working in France, but it also offers a great insight for people just passing through as visitors. By accepting and explaining the differences, the author manages to disclose and dissect some of the best-hidden or inexplicable secrets and mannerisms of the French culture. A book which will help you to embrace them with new eyes.

7. French Women Don’t Get Fat (Mireille Guilano, 2007)

Being an Italian abroad, and a proud lover (and self-appointed ambassador) of our Mediterrean cuisine, I cracked myself laughing with this simple explanation: “The reason most French women (and men) don’t get fat is because they don’t stuff their faces 24/7.” Yup, we (Southern Europeans) don’t do that. The main point Guilano explains is that food for French isn’t just a thing to satisfyan appetite or hunger, food is (the greatest) pleasure. French (and Italians, I would like to add) don’t just fill their stomachs for the sake of it: they stop and savour. Oh, and they sit down to do so.>

Any other books we should read before moving to France? What are your favourites about France and the French?

Comment below and stay tuned for a list of movies you should watch for those of you allergic to books!

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