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Reading ListExpat Books About France

  • Past Imperfect, by Tony Stowers: This is my true account of my experiences teaching English in France from 2006 to 2011. As a guide book with tips and advice, it's pretty honest, candid and accurate. As an author, well, I'm far from perfect, quite imperfect, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • Pas Possible: Falling in and out of Love with France [Kindle Edition], by Jessica Pasa:
  • As an American high school student, a homestay experience on a farm with a family in France changes Jessica's life forever: she falls desperately in love with the country, its language and culture. This story follows her as she returns to France time and again, visiting her host family in the North, exploring the South of France, and finally living for a year in Toulouse through a college study abroad program.

  • Freelance in France: 2015 [Kindle Edition], by Barth Hulley:
  • The essential guide to going it alone in La République. Practical advice and information concerning the myriad of ways of working for yourself in France. Includes details of how to get started as: auto-entrepreneur, CESU déclaratif, artiste-auteur, intermittent du spectacle, travailleur indépendant, cooperative/portage employee, AERL, EIRL, EURL, SASU and SEL.

  • They Eat Horses, Don't They?, by Piu Marie Eatwell:
  • The centuries-old, love-hate relationship with our closest neighbour has spawned a plethora of myths and stereotypes. In recent years our stock of received wisdom about the French - land of the sophisticated lover, the wine-fuelled lunch, the gitane-puffing philosopher, the hairy female armpit and the rebarbatively squalid toilet - has been replenished by a new generation of lifestyle myths: that French women don't get fat, that French children don't throw food, that their countryside has been colonized by Boden-clad, Volvo-driving Brits.

  • One Sixth of a Gill, by Jean Gill:
  • Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a scruffy black dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.

  • An Apartment in Paris, by Caroline Blane:
  • The secret goal was to buy a tiny apartment in Paris. The author, her husband and their 5 year old son spent 6 months over the winter of 1989-1990 in the city of lights. On sabbatical from their university, while conducting research projects, they managed to locate, buy and furnish a tiny pied-a-terre. Their dream came true, however, there were intermittent nightmares as they tangled with the French way of doing business, the legalities of purchasing an apartment in a foreign country, and the adventures locating furnishings and decorating their tiny hideaway. This true story has all the ups and downs that so often make real life more entertaining than fiction.

  • The Promise of Provence: A Novel by Patricia Sands
  • Life often changes when we least expect it. After a year of heartbreak, Katherine Price impulsively agrees to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

  • First French Essais: Venturing into Writing, Marriage, and France by Kristin Espinasse:
  • Kristin struggled--and eventually succeeded--in learning French in school, but the real lessons begin when she lands in France, to start her adult life with a Marseillais. From quitting her first stable job (as a glorified janitor) near St. Tropez, to dusting off her dream of writing, Kristin pursues 'la vie en rose' only to discover that reality is... muddy!

  • Home Away: A Year of Misapprehensions, Transformations, and Rosé at Lunch, by Launa Schweizer:
  • A tale of misapprehensions, transformations and rose at lunch as one American couple quits their perfectly good jobs, packs up their house in Brooklyn and moves their family to rural France for a year. In their fantasy, bons mots would drip from every quaintly churlish local character, and their two non-French speaking daughters would soon make adorable Gallic best friends at the village school. Their clunky little American family would be magically transformed into graceful, fluent French people the moment they all donned berets.

  • Life in a Postcard, by Rosemary Bailey (Kindle Edition):
  • In 1988, Rosemary Bailey and her husband were travelling in the French Pyrenees when they fell in love with and bought a ruined medieval monastery. For the next few years the couple visited Corbiac whenever they could, until 1997, they took the plunge and moved from central London to rural France with their six-year-old son. With vision and determination they have restored the monastery to its former glory, testing their relationship and resolve to the limit, and finding unexpected inspiration in the place.

  • Coping with Cowboys in Côte D'Azur, by Marina Mattiasson:
  • The path to fulfilling your biggest dreams is often a difficult one, as Marina and Roger Mattiasson discover in this hugely enjoyable read. Their dream of leaving behind the cold climate of their native Sweden and opening a bed and breakfast on the sun-kissed coast of the South of France leads Marina and Roger on a great adventure.

  • French Attitude 101 (Kindle Edition), by Brian C. Kelly:
  • In about 101 pages the auther provides the hundred and one bases of Frenchship. The next few pages present, capped as with an icing, the A to Z of adapting to an exceptional culture!

  • Tales From Across La Manche (Kindle Edition), by Peter Clayton: During the many years he has been visiting his beloved France, journalist, travel writer and self confessed "Channel-hopping cynic", Peter Clayton has chronicled some of his more outrageous, hilarious and downright unbelievable escapades - all of which he claims to be totally genuine! Just published, and in e-book format, "Tales from across La Manche" brings together all these refreshingly witty anecdotes for the first time, complete with a no-holds-barred account of his fascinating "Normandy Gem" house-buying adventure.

  • Joie de Vivre, by Harriet Welty Rochefort: An American who has lived in France for many years with her very French husband, it's clear that the French truly are singular in the way they live, act, and think-from the lightness of their pastries to the refinement of their Hermes scarves. They simply exude a certain je ne sais quoi that is a veritable art form. The French revel in the moment, appreciate the time spent in preparing a perfect feast, pay attention to the slightest detail--whether flowers on the table or a knockout accessory on a simple outfit--and work hard when not enjoying their (considerable) leisure time without an ounce of guilt. Their joie de vivre can come where you least expect it: for the French it's better to have a chagrin d'amour than no amour at all, and for the Frenchman a day without discord is a day without a kick. They have fun (yes, fun !) when they fuss and feud, squabble and shrug.

  • Parisian Postcards, by Dr. Loui Franke: Collection of short stories on living in Paris, places to visit, historical background, travel tips and photos.

  • Home Keeps Moving, by Heidi Sand-Hart: Tackles the struggles and challenges faced by cross-cultural individuals trying to grasp an understanding of who they are and how they fit into their current society.

  • My French Affair (Kindle Edition): Amanda Taylor-Ace lives her life by her philosophy of Joie de Vivre Unlimited -- unlimited joy. So when her 14-year-old son was falling in with a bad crowd and her life in Auckland needed a shake-up, she packed her bags and headed to France with her son for a year.Joie de Vivre Unliimited is the story of how and why she decided to stay, and how her new life has unfurled.

  • LIVING LIKE A LOCAL: Stories of Our Life in France, by Shelley Row - Many dream of living abroad but Shelley and her husband, Mike, did it. They left the security of their careers, the comfort of their home, an the familiarity of their neighborhood and moved to France . From their house on the hillside overlooking the village in Provence, they lived like a local and soaked up all that life had to offer.

  • from SoCal to Picardie, by Kristina Ledesma-Davies - The funny and not so funny day-to-day life of a Cali Latina living in a foreign country. By foreign, she means outside of Southern California.

  • Blossoming in Provence, by Kristin Espinasse - In Kristin Espinasse's new book "Blossoming in Provence," every encounter with the natives (including her own French family) is a chance to learn more than a country's etiquette-it is an opportunity to grow.

  • Strangers in Paradise: A Memoir of Provence, by Paul Christensen - Weaving a fascinating dialogue between the Old World as represented by Provence and the New World of the postmodern American university, this memoir describes in finely wrought detail a poet and critic of literary postmodernism moving his family to France and experiencing village life. Stories of amazing adjustments to a wildly different world are etched in beautiful prose, reading like a quest novel, a precise travelogue, an intense discourse on the visionary arts, and a rediscovery—if not reinvention—of the self as this contemporary American intellectual finds enlightenment in exile.
  • Read a review of Strangers in Paradise

  • Trail of Crumbs:, By Kim Sunée - Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home, by Kim Sunée – Quite a story! Abandoned by her mother in a South Korean market at age three, then adopted and raised in New Orleans, Kim hadn’t even celebrated her 22nd birthday when she found herself living in France, mistress over a French millionaire’s homes in Provence and Paris, and stepmother to his eight-year-old daughter. This is an intense and beautifully written memoir of a young woman’s coming of age, and a passionate tale about love, food, and travel.
    Full Review

  • Expatriate Games, by Judith Parzych - Moving is never an easy task, especially moving to a foreign country. Expatriate Games is a book that describes the challenges and unexpected joys of adapting to a life abroad as experienced by a culture-shocked young mother as she struggles to make a life for herself, her engineer husband and their four-year-old daughter in Orsay, France.

  • Almost French, by Sarah Turnbull - Very funny account of one woman's adventures in France, mostly takes place in Paris, yet is relevant for anyone that wants an individuals account of the French and their culture. Personal yet gives a very good insight into living in the French culture.

  • French Toast, by Harriet Welty Rochefort - What happens when an American girl from Iowa moves to France and gets married to a Frenchman? Find out in French Toast a book filled with humorous antidotes that will help the reader better understand French culture.


  • French or Foe, by Polly Platt - Written by an American who has been in the French (Parisien) corporate society for years and has given workshops to help non-French, mostly English-speaking, people understand and get along in the French culture. Many very very very funny, true stories about innocent, but sometimes serious, cultural misunderstandings. Not all of her understandings of French culture would be true in any part of France in any socio-economic group, but much of it will hit very close to home and be very helpful for any American in France.


  • Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik - A writer for the New Yorker. This is a very personal, very wonderful, book about Gopnik raising his first child, and doing other things, in Paris.


  • Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris - A comic writer, and his humor will not appeal to all ( I have not appreciated other things he's written) but any American who has lived in France will not be able to contain a hooting laughter when reading about his experiences. Neither tries to be a 'how-to' or guide book... neither gives advice or tries to. Sometimes it's good to know that you are not alone, and it's always good to have a good laugh.





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