I love to read. I especially enjoy other people’s travel experiences and accounts of their lives in my beloved France and Italy.
Today, I have decided to share some of my favorite memoirs that any francophile will love.
I should preface the list by saying that Peter Mayle was the original Provence memoir author and it goes without saying that his series is the best of the best about Provence. If you haven’t read any or all of his books, than they should top your list!
1. A true story of an English girl who sets up a life in Paris and ends up starting a blog of the same name, Petite Anglaise is a recent favorite. Catherine Sanderson has a way of making the City of Light come alive in her writing. She reveals all of herself in this honest look into cultural differences, her life, her relationships, her blog, and her daughter, adorably referred to as Tadpole in the book, and of the city that she loves so much.
2. Cookbook author and cooking school teacher, Susan Hermann Loomis writes candidly about her love of France in On Rue Tatin. The book covers many years of her life from attending Culinary School in Paris, working and living with a family in Normandy, meeting her husband in the States, and finally settling with family in her beloved quaint village of Louviers, where she restored a dilapidated convent into her dream home. Her words mingle with some of her classic French recipes from the Normandy region, which makes it even more delicious.
3. A stunning book series, of Carol Drinkwater’s delicious and inspiring life in the South of France, includes The Olive Harvest, The Olive Farm and The Olive Season. Movie actress by trade, famous for her role in the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small, she moves with her then French boyfriend, Michel, to their newly acquired property in the hills above the French Riviera. Together they restore an abandoned villa and its property, make friends with the locals, experience the woes of French home ownership, nurture their olive vineyard and entertain countless friends and family. It reads like a French-country dream come true.
4. Australian native meets the love of her life and moves to France. Almost French is fun read about an outsider’s struggles to fit in, in France. Stories about trying to get work as a journalist (her trade) in France, struggling with the language barrier, attempting to understand and fit in with her boyfriend’s life and friends, making her own friends, and making sense of the cultural differences while living in both the country and right in Paris, are told with wit and humor.
5. Georgeann Brennan, cookbook author who also runs a seasonal cooking school in California, writes about her experience of moving with her husband from California to Provence in the 1970s. A Pig in Provence focuses on food and food adventures in the South of France. Among the highlights are deciding to buy, raise and milk goats, attempting many times to make goat’s cheese and the joy of finally getting it right, selling said goat’s cheese at the local markets and cafes and joining the neighbors for a centuries old ritual of killing, gutting and preparing a pig. Many of her delicious recipes are woven throughout the pages.
I need a few more to add to my list. What are your favorite French Memoirs and why?