The City of Love.
The City of Lights.
The City of Books.
What is it with books and Europeans? Perhaps, it’s the way Europeans love to discuss art, culture, and philosophy rather than the latest episode of Chicago Fire.
In Paris, the love of literature seems more like an obsession than an interest.
They are called bouquinistes. Walk along the Seine, particularly on the right bank from the Pont Marie to the Quai du Louvre and the left bank from the Qui de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire, and you will see the more than 200 outdoor vendors of used and antique books and magazines.
Stroll leisurely by the green metal booths, scan the titles (mostly French), pick up a book and flip through the pages as you feel its weight in your hands and it wafts the distinct smell of weathered pages and time past.
Books and the words they hold have the power to transform thoughts and actions and to transport restless souls to places they long to be. Here are six books every Eurocana should possess. And while they should definitely be perused, these books also make a wonderfully chic display on your coffee table.
#1 – A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
This memoir of the great American novelist’s time in Paris as a young expatriate paints a vivid picture of the inspiring city in the 1920s.
Read Hemingway’s adventures and mishaps with other great writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound and be sure to take notes – Hemingway specifically mentions hotels, apartments, cafes, and bars that can still be found in Paris today.
#2 – Paris versus New York by Vahram Muratyan
A sterling example of a Eurocana in his own right, graphic artist Muratyan bounces between two great cities: Paris and New York.
His book is a hilarious picture comparison between both. For example: Baguette vs. Bagel, Parisienne vs. Mad Men, and Debussy vs. Gershwin.
#3 – Everyone Loves Paris by Leslie Jonath
Fifty renowned artists from around the world paint Paris from its grand monuments such as the Eiffel Tower to its more petite pleasures such as croissants.
Let artists such as Matte Stephens, Sarah McMenemy, and Emma Block take you on vivid escapes to this beloved city.
#4 – Great Paintings: The World’s Masterpieces Explored and Explained by Karen Janes, Ian Chilvers, and Ian Zaczek.
If you can’t go to the Louvre to get up close and personal with Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or to the Vatican to gaze up in wonderment at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, this book is the next best thing.
With large full-color prints and additional pages of enlarged sections along with explanations on composition, technique, and history, even the most novice art-lover can attain a solid understanding of each great work. This means good conversation material during your next dinner party with fellow art aficionados.
#5 – Parisian Chic a Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange
Effortless. Timeless. Mysterious. Charming. How wonderful to be parisienne. With a celebrity model as its author, this book shares step-by-step tips on Paris panache and décor derived from decades of experience in the fashion industry.
Fressange even compiles a list of favorite places to buy stylish clothing and home accessories. Expect to also see plenty of photographs and Fressange’s own drawings.
#6 – Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott
While in Paris as a foreign exchange student, Scott fell under the tutelage of a woman she called “Madame Chic.” During this time Scott learned all aspects of how to achieve the French je ne sais quoi.
This book clearly and entertainingly highlights Scott’s experiences abroad and the basics on how to bring those experiences back home to America. That is so Eurocana!
Do you have any books to add to the list? Let me know and please share the post if you like, merci!
XO – Audrey