100 books like Arthur Young's Travels in France

By Arthur Young,

Here are 100 books that Arthur Young's Travels in France fans have personally recommended if you like Arthur Young's Travels in France. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry

Stephen Clarke Author Of The Spy Who Inspired Me

From my list on why the French deny their own history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived almost all my adult life in France, and have spent that whole time wondering what makes the French so French. One of the answers is their attitude to their own history. The French have got a lot of upheaval to process: at least five revolutions since 1789, and two World Wars fought on their soil, including a Nazi occupation that they still haven’t digested. I didn’t start writing about the French until I’d been living in France for about 10 years – I didn’t want to write like a tourist, and it took me that long to unweave the first strands of their DNA. I’ve never stopped writing about them since, half a dozen Merde novels and as many non-fiction books later.

Stephen's book list on why the French deny their own history

Stephen Clarke Why did Stephen love this book?

For me, the Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most glorious works in the whole of Western art. Seventy metres of embroidery (not actual tapestry) describing the conquest of Britain by William and co. Every time I go to see it, it takes my breath away. But as I began to read around the subject for the opening chapter of my book 1000 Years of Annoying the French, I started to doubt the “official” version of the story told by the museum’s audio guide, which is basically a justification of the Norman duke’s claim to the throne of England. Andrew Bridgeford’s book examines both the story being told in the main narrative of the tapestry, as well as the hidden undercurrent of anti-William propaganda there. It turns out that, contrary to French legend, this was not just a visual record of the Conquest commissioned by William and executed by his…

By Andrew Bridgeford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1066 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant new reading of the Bayeux Tapestry that radically alters our understanding of the events of 1066 and reveals the astonishing story of the survival of early medieval Europe's greatest treasure.

The Bayeux Tapestry was embroidered (it's not really a tapestry) in the late eleventh century. As an artefact, it is priceless, incomparable - nothing of it's delicacy and texture, let alone wit, survives from the period. As a pictorial story it is delightful: the first feature-length cartoon. As history it is essential: it represents the moment of Britain's last conquest by a foreign army and celebrates the Norman…


Book cover of Les Misérables

Richard Goodman Author Of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France

From my list on 19th century French novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a Francophile for as long as I can remember. Something about France and French literature grabbed me by the heart when I was a young man and continues to do so. I’ve lived in France twice–a year each time–and have written about those experiences in books and essays. It’s 19th-century French literature that especially draws me and has deeply influenced my own writing.  

Richard's book list on 19th century French novels

Richard Goodman Why did Richard love this book?

We all know the title. It’s become a record-breaking musical phenomenon. The book is a phenomenon in itself. It was a voyage I took for a few spellbound weeks, and I read it in a stone house in a small village in the South of France. It is a book of great sympathy and grace. 

Victor Hugo’s heart is large—at least measured by this story of an escaped prisoner who tries to do good with his life but is pursued relentlessly by a police officer, Javert. I found with this book, as the great writers always show me, that character is all. Hugo drew me into the struggles and losses of his people so ably and memorably that I still think of them years later. 

By Victor Hugo, Lee Fahnestock (translator), Norman Macafee (translator)

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Les Misérables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A SIX-PART MINISERIES ON MASTERPIECE ON PBS

The only completely unabridged paperback edition of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—a sweeping tale of love, loss, valor, and passion.

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

Within his dramatic story are…


Book cover of The Belly of Paris

Crystal King Author Of Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome

From my list on novels about food.

Why am I passionate about this?

Crystal King is the author of The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and was a Must-Read for the MassBook Awards. She is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at GrubStreet, Harvard Extension School, and Boston University, among others. She resides in Boston.

Crystal's book list on novels about food

Crystal King Why did Crystal love this book?

In the third novel of Zola’s twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart, a man named Florent, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, escapes to Paris and becomes a fish inspector at the Les Halles market. Food and politics collide in the heart of the market, giving the reader some of the most vivid and delicious descriptions you’ll ever find on the page.

By Emile Zola, Brian Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Belly of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Respectable people... What bastards!'

Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'etat in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. The old Marche des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets. Disgusted by a bourgeois society whose devotion to food is inseparable from its devotion to the Government, Florent
attempts an insurrection. Les Halles, apocalyptic and destructive, play an active role in Zola's picture of a world in which food and the injustice…


Book cover of Second Harvest

Stephen Clarke Author Of The Spy Who Inspired Me

From my list on why the French deny their own history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived almost all my adult life in France, and have spent that whole time wondering what makes the French so French. One of the answers is their attitude to their own history. The French have got a lot of upheaval to process: at least five revolutions since 1789, and two World Wars fought on their soil, including a Nazi occupation that they still haven’t digested. I didn’t start writing about the French until I’d been living in France for about 10 years – I didn’t want to write like a tourist, and it took me that long to unweave the first strands of their DNA. I’ve never stopped writing about them since, half a dozen Merde novels and as many non-fiction books later.

Stephen's book list on why the French deny their own history

Stephen Clarke Why did Stephen love this book?

A bit of a cheat, this one. It’s probably my favourite French novel, precisely because it is timeless and seems to ignore everything about French history. I don’t think there’s one mention or symptom of the Revolution, no scar of the First World War, no French over-intellectualizing. It’s just nature and humankind going head-to-head in a brutally realistic, but starkly beautiful, Provençal landscape. By the way, I don’t like the English title – Regain means regrowth, the first signs of recovery. Personally, I’d prefer a title like Signs of Life. And this novel is all about a tiny hamlet in southern France that is on the verge of death. Only one man of working age remains amongst the ruined houses; the fields are fallow; there are no women. Then a tinker comes through, dragging his unwilling, abused femme with him. She catches the lone male peasant’s eye, cosmic chemistry occurs,…

By Geoffrey Myers, Jean Giono, Louis William Graux , Henri Fluchere

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Second Harvest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aubignane is a village in Provence; or, rather, it was, for it has long been dying. The only inhabitants remaining are the old blacksmith, the well-digger s widow and Panturle, the hunter. Now the blacksmith and the widow abandon the village, the latter promising she will find Panturle a wife. He is not made for solitude and gradually he becomes morose almost to the point of madness. Then a woman comes to the village as if by some supernatural path. She is all it takes for Panturle to start digging the land again and planting wheat, a second harvest. The…


Book cover of A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime

Wendy Webster Author Of Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain

From my list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian and writer and worked in universities all my life. I love writing and everything about it—pencils, pens, notebooks, keyboards, Word—not to mention words. I started writing the histories of migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain (and their entanglement with the history of the British Empire) in the 1980s and then kept going. When I studied history at university, migrants and refugees were never mentioned. They still weren’t on historians’ radar much when I started writing about them. Here I’ve picked stories that are not widely known and histories that show how paying attention to migrants and refugees changes ideas about what British history is and who made it. 

Wendy's book list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain

Wendy Webster Why did Wendy love this book?

I chose Mary Morris’s diary because her writing is so engaging. She wrote in June 1940, "We are not allowed to go out with patients, or even speak to them on matters other than their treatment, Pierre is charming. I shall go out with him." In 1944 when she was nursing in Normandy she wrote, "A badly wounded cockney says 'thanks mate' to Hans as he gives him his tea and fixes his pillow. Why are they all so tolerant of each other inside this canvas tent, and killing each other outside?" Through her entries we meet all kinds of people, just like she did. The diary is also part of the history of Irish people in Britain. In the twentieth century the majority of Irish migrants were women, most of them young and single like Mary who was 18 when she arrived to train as a nurse—and was told…

By Mary Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Very Private Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The newly discovered diary of a wartime nurse - a fascinating, dramatic and unique insight into the experiences of a young nurse in the Second World War. Mary Mulry was eighteen years old when she arrived in London from Ireland to begin training as a nurse. The year was 1939. She had hoped for an adventure and a new start; she could not have predicted what the next seven years would bring. In this extraordinary diary Mary recorded in intimate detail her experiences as a nurse on the Home Front and later working on the frontline in Europe. In London,…


Book cover of Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious

Mary Ryan Author Of Under the Wild Sky: A Saga of Love and War in Revolutionary Ireland

From my list on unusual history that fascinated me.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in Dublin, Ireland and am the author of eleven novels, many of them Irish bestsellers, all of them translated into foreign languages, most of them also published in the US by St Martin’s Press. A lawyer by profession, I gave up my law practice to concentrate on writing fiction, beginning with an historical novel Whispers in the Wind which was a No. 1 Irish bestseller. History is my passion.

Mary's book list on unusual history that fascinated me

Mary Ryan Why did Mary love this book?

First published in 1839 this is a fascinating history of Ireland from an outsider’s perspective. De Beaumont, a Frenchman, was a grandson of Lafayette and a lifelong friend of Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America. He visited Ireland in 1835 and two years later L’Irlande appeared in two volumes, with an English translation later that year. An intellectual tour de force, the book was an immediate bestseller and remained popular for decades. His contemptuous howl of outrage directed at the British administration in Ireland reverberated down the nineteenth century.

By Gustave de Beaumont, W. C. Taylor (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paralleling his friend Alexis de Tocqueville's visit to America, Gustave de Beaumont travelled through Ireland in the mid-1830s to observe its people and society. In "Ireland", he chronicles the history of the Irish and offers up a national portrait on the eve of the Great Famine. Published to acclaim in France, "Ireland" remained in print there until 1914. The English edition, translated by William Cooke Taylor and published in 1839, was not reprinted. This rediscovered masterpiece, in a single volume for the first time, reproduces the 19th century Taylor translation and includes an introduction on Beaumont and his world.


Book cover of The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

George J. Siedel Author Of Seven Essentials for Business Success

From my list on leadership that doesn’t have “leadership” in the title.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I headed the Executive Education Center at the University of Michigan I had the opportunity to meet with many great leaders and observe them in action. I also enjoy interacting with faculty colleagues who conduct state-of-the-art research on leadership. Because of this experience, I believe that leaders are made, not born, and that reading biographies, psychological studies, philosophical commentary, histories, and fiction like the books on my list is one of the best ways to gain insight into what you need to become a great leader. 

George's book list on leadership that doesn’t have “leadership” in the title

George J. Siedel Why did George love this book?

This is the heartwarming and inspiring story of the journey a great chef took from serving as a lowly apprentice to becoming a leader in establishing new food traditions in America. I especially enjoyed the many funny stories about Pepin and his family. Warning: the book includes many of his favorite recipes that will cause hunger pangs as you read the book. 

By Jacques Pépin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called “the best chef in America” tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Award–winning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation’s tastes in the bargain.

We see young Jacques as a homesick six-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, working on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his…


Book cover of The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution

Jeff Horn Author Of The Making of a Terrorist: Alexandre Rousselin and the French Revolution

From my list on the terror in the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been trying to understand revolutionary violence my whole life, in the classroom and through scholarship. I am fundamentally interested in questions of “how” and “so what” because even the best, most heavily evidenced historical reconstructions of collective decisions rely heavily on conjecture, especially when it comes to something as complex and controversial as revolutionary violence. My biography of Alexandre Rousselin, an eyewitness and participant in French politics across the Revolutionary era, brings to life the choices and pressures that influenced his actions without minimizing the price he paid for those choices. Rousselin’s extraordinary life story contextualizes and engages understandings of the Terror in the French Revolution like those reviewed below.

Jeff's book list on the terror in the French Revolution

Jeff Horn Why did Jeff love this book?

Tackett is the historian who has taught me the most about the French Revolution. 

This book is a magisterial evocation of the mentality and choices of the men and women who decided to deploy state-sponsored violence on behalf of the Revolutionary French government. 

It shows the era as a crucible that molded many people who had entered politics on behalf of liberty, equality, and fraternity to embrace the law on suspects and the guillotine. 

Tackett, as always, bases his analysis on personal reflections and caches of letters, digging deep to find new and different voices that conjure the emotional tenor of the shifts and upheavals of the Revolutionary crisis. 

It shows how the French Revolution of 1789 got to the Terror of 1793-94.

By Timothy Tackett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1793 and 1794, thousands of French citizens were imprisoned and hundreds sent to the guillotine by a powerful dictatorship that claimed to be acting in the public interest. Only a few years earlier, revolutionaries had proclaimed a new era of tolerance, equal justice, and human rights. How and why did the French Revolution's lofty ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity descend into violence and terror?

"By attending to the role of emotions in propelling the Terror, Tackett steers a more nuanced course than many previous historians have managed...Imagined terrors, as...Tackett very usefully reminds us, can have even more political…


Book cover of Rooftoppers

Natasha Lowe Author Of The Courage of Cat Campbell (Poppy Pendle)

From my list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books about feisty girls who follow their dreams and don’t let fear stand in their way. Growing up in London I was an extremely shy child with a full-blown fantasy life, but at eighteen decided it was time to channel my inner “feisty girl”, take charge of my destiny, and travel to America to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Now, many years later I am the proud author of five middle-grade novels, and the mother of four amazing children who are all off following their own dreams. When I’m not writing books about feisty girls, I’m reading other people's. Here are some of my favorites.

Natasha's book list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls

Natasha Lowe Why did Natasha love this book?

“On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the English Channel.” From the opening line this is a story you will fall in love with!  Sofie, the orphaned baby in the cello case, is rescued from a shipwreck by an elderly gentleman called Charles who decides to raise her himself. He does an excellent job and I adore Sofie’s bravery, her love of knowledge, and her passion for adventure. Certain that her mother is still alive, Sofie and Charles set off for Paris to look for her, believing that you “never ignore a possible.” This is a fabulous book about pursuing your dreams and the power of hope. Plus the writing is just gorgeous!  

By Katherine Rundell, Terry Fan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rooftoppers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Go on an adventure with Katherine Rundell... _______________ Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal From the winner of the Costa Children's Book Prize _______________ 'I enjoyed it tremendously ... The next time I go to Paris I will be looking up at the rooftops' - Jacqueline Wilson 'A writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination' - Philip Pullman 'Read everything she writes' - Daily Mail _______________ Everyone tells Sophie that she was orphaned in a shipwreck - found floating in a cello case on…


Book cover of Casino Royale

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

Every Bond book has a London connection. You could put almost any Bond book on this list, but I chose this one because it is the first.

I feel a sense of connection to the protagonist and the city because this is where the missions originate. Even as the story plays out in northern France, communication with London is key, and I feel it.

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Casino Royale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, Ireland, and Paris?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, Ireland, and Paris.

France Explore 884 books about France
Ireland Explore 281 books about Ireland
Paris Explore 353 books about Paris