It’s nearly May so I’m getting on with planning this year’s summer holiday. Many of us will be heading for sunnier climes and looking for some holiday reading to help us escape to ‘relaxed mode’. In this post, Claire Chat shares with us some great summer reads.

Many great (and some not so great) books have been set in Paris; here is a selection of some of the best for your holiday reading.

Parisians by Graham Robb, 2010

Parisians tells the story of the places and the people of Paris from the middle of the eighteenth century though to our modern age.

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by T E Carhart, 2000

The book describes the atmosphere the author discovered in the city, and especially that which he found in a piano repair shop that he came across on the Left Bank of the Seine.

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs by Jeremy Mercer, 2005

In this book the author describes the Paris that centres around “Shakespeare and Company”, a famous bookshop  situated on the Left Bank and often frequented by such literary greats as Burroughs, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Ginsberg.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, 2008

This tells the story of Renée, a fifty-four years old concierge at a hotel located on the rue de Grenelle. It describes how life was behind the façades of that apartment building and the private life of the narrator and the building’s residents.

Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner, 2007

This is a murder mystery novel set in the nineteenth century when the Eiffel Tower had recently been built as the entrance to the Universal Exhibition of 1889. It includes some magnificent descriptions of that magnificent building.

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, 2010

This is set in the rue de Monceau where Edmund de Waal’s Grandfather Charles Ephrussi once lived.

Paris Peasant by Louis Aragon, 1926

This is set in the Buttes-Chaumont Park, a “murderous” working class district in the eastern end of Paris.

A Night at the Majestic by Richard Davenport-Hines, 2006

This fascinating book describes the glamour of the luxurious Rive Droite Paris on the Champs Elysées and of a fantasy supper party enjoyed by a number of special guests including Proust, Joyce, Stravinsky, Diaghilev and Picasso.

The Ladies’ Delight by Emile Zola, 1883

This book describes the glitter and glamour of a department store located on Le Bon Marché and designed by the same Eiffel as the one who designed the Eiffel tower. The department store is still there today, and remains as chic as it was in the time of Zola.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, 1831

Every visitor to Paris will take time to explore the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and if you have read the story of Quasimodo, then you might see it just a little differently.