I have a long, complicated relationship with Paris.

Growing up I always assumed I would live there. I high school I studied French and worked at it with a passion, because I always imagined myself living there. By the time I actually made it to France I spoke the language beautifully, and continued to right up until I threw myself into learning Italian a few years ago. Now everything I want to say comes to me in Italian, and although I can still understand french really well when I want to speak the words come back to me far too slowly.

One of the ways that I was able to get proficient in Italian was watching lots of Italian films. I should probably do the same with the french films, but right now I’m just in the mood for watching endless movies set in Paris but happening in english. I get such a kick out of recognizing streets and cafes and interesting spots in Paris when I’m watching movies, and when I’m there I absolutely love turning a corner and recognizing a place from a film that I have loved.

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So (once again) for those who are going to Paris, those who have come home from Paris, and for the daydreamers, here are 8 Must See Movies That Are Set In Paris.

Midnight In Paris

This movie is just perfect. A Hollywood screenwriter goes to Paris with his god-awful fiance and her awful family, and each evening at midnight gets spirited back to 1920s Paris where he meets and hangs out with Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Picasso et. al.

Every character is fleshed out so beautifully, you get a wonderful sense of Paris as they move through the city – this is a really wonderful film.

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The Intouchables

Within the first 5 minutes you will get so absorbed in this film that you will forget you are reading subtitles. Based on a true and incredibly endearing story, you will laugh until you cry, and be moved to your core as you watch this story unfold. A welfare recipient has to go on 3 job interviews and get the interview papers signed in order to stay on welfare. He goes to a job interview at the home of a multimillionaire quadraplegic  and against his wishes manages to get himself hired as the personal nurse/caregiver. The film is all about the relationship that builds between the two, and how they completely change each other’s lives. It is just fantastic.


The Bourne Identity

This American spy-action-thriller centers around Jason Bourne, an american super spy who wakes up on a boat with amnesia.  He has to try and reconstruct his life and figure out who he is and why people are trying to kill him. The story, based on the Robert Ludlum series, is very fast paced and exciting, and is largely shot in Prague and in Paris.

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The DaVinci Code

Based on the Dan brown bestseller, an American symbologist and a French cryptologist race to solve a bizarre murder, which takes them from France to England, and leads them to make an incredible discovery about an ancient and mysterious society and a secret that dates back to Christ.

The is a great movie, and the views of the Louvre at night are sensational.

Read the Da Vinci Code here

Paris Je t’Aime

This movie gives you a wonderful look at 18 arrondissements of Paris in the form of 18 short stories, each shot by a different director, and each taking place in a different arrondissement. The stories are about love in the city of light, and each story starts with the last shot of the previous story and ends with the beginning plot of the next story. Heart warming, heart breaking – perfect for those who love romance.


This is a story about getting the most out of life. Set in artsy Montmartre at the Cafe des Deux Moulins, it follows the quirky do gooder antics of Amelie, culminating in her finding true love.

You will see a million reasons why you need to spend time in Montmartre.

Before Sunset

This is the second film in director Richard Linklater’s beautiful trilogy. The story picks up 9 years after the part of the story, Before Sunrise, where Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy) met one night on a train to Vienna. This rime their paths cross on afternoon in Paris. The views of the city are gorgeous, the dialogue is engaging, and you see that fate brought these two together again because they clearly are meant to be with each other!

Everyone Says I Love You

A madcap musical romance with an all star cast including drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Ed Norton and Alan Alda, Everyone Says I Love You takes place in new York, Venice and Paris. The views of Paris are sumptuous and obligingly take you past some of the city’s most famous attractions.



I travel all the time. Sometimes its for makeup work, (most recently 4 days in Belize), sometimes it’s for play, and two months of the year it’s with my Glam Italia tours.

I have a very simple rhythm when it comes to travel beauty. Focus on your skin, keep makeup super simple, keep hair drama to a minimum.

If you are traveling internationally you also need to factor in weight, so you want to take fewer products and take advantage of either travel sizes or decanting your existing products into travel sized containers. ( I buy mine at The Container Store)

Here are what I count as Vacation Beauty Essentials:

Skin Care


Think about the climate you are traveling to, and the humidity you may or may not be in. Often you will need to change up your cleanser to work with the new climate. At home in Phoenix where it is beyond dry, I always use an oil cleanser. But when I travel to somewhere humid, like Belize, I need something less juicy, so I use a foaming wash instead. This year I have been traveling with Verso Foaming Cleanser. 


The moisturizer equation can be complicated when you are on vacation. Skin desperately needs moisture and hydration, but when you are in humidity that can overwhelm your already slimy feeling skin. (can you tell I don’t like humidity??) If you are traveling to somewhere drier than home then your skin will feel parched and will lose it’s glow.

I like to have a booster that I can use under my moisturizer when my skin feels dry, or just use alone and maybe skip moisturizing when humidity has me feeling gooey.

Facial SPF

You absolutely need a free standing, broad spectrum, facial SPF. That means not the facial sun screen that is in your moisturizer or foundation, but a separate, just for the face sunscreen. Get the highest SPF you can find. I use Neutrogena Dry Touch with Helioplex SPF 85 or 100


Glam Italia Tour in Avola, Sicily. Less is more.

Less is more when you are on vacation. Nothing is more beautiful than glowing skin, so you want to create the illusion of glowing skin. Leave heavy foundations at home and opt for a BB Cream or light water weight foundation instead. I travel with BB Cream or with Makeup Forever Water Blend Face and Body Foundation

Glam Italia Tour, Siena

Glam Italia Tour in Siena, Italy

If you focus on glowing skin, then you can simplify the rest of your look. Make sure your brows are groomed and filled in, keep eye shadow simple, use lots of mascara, and give yourself a fresh pop of color on your lips.


Hair can go crazy when you change climates. Pack something to help your hair shine and to control frizz. Don’t buy a different shampoo and conditioner than you normally use because you’ve found travel sizes in a different brand – I decant mine into travel sized bottles, or buy my brand in travel size.

Morning in Paris, thrilled to be looking out over the rooftops of the Marais

You can extend your blow out and keep your hair looking fabulous for longer by packing a 100% Silk Pillowcase for Hair – I absolutely swear by them! I order mine on Amazon.com . I have them at home and I keep one in my travel bag so that I am never traveling without one.

Over-sized Sunglasses.

Il San Pietro di Positano

The Mediterranean terrace at the Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano

I swear by big sunglasses. They help protect the skin around your eyes, they are such a statement by themselves, and quite frankly, no end of crimes can be hidden behind over-sized glasses.

Glam Italia Tour Montalcino

On the Glam Italia Tour we found a field of sunflowers in Tuscany. We jumped out of the car and took about 100 photos

Lately I’ve been saving paper, hopefully saving trees, and reading books on my iPad.

But can I even tell you how much I miss wandering around bookstores finding my next great read?? While I was in Paris a few weeks ago I made the pilgrimage to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore and spent ages doing just that – wandering around, browsing, buying books.

I really miss the tactile experience of reading a book too. I miss the smell, and I miss the feeling, the sensation of turning a page. So I’ve just been clicking away on Amazon, buying books.

Paris books

The current situation on my desk…

Before I head overseas on a trip I like to read books set in the cities I’m traveling to. It gives you a familiarity with the place, gets you dreaming of the place you are going, lets you make lists of places to see that aren’t in the guide books, gives you things to recognize while you’re there, plus adds another texture to your travel experience.

When I get home I bury myself in books set in the places I’ve just been, trying to keep the experience alive for a little while longer. Right now I’m caught somewhere in the middle, not willing to let go of this most recent trip to Paris just a few weeks ago, and getting ready to go back again in the next few weeks.

If you’ve never been to Paris but want to daydream, if you are heading to Paris soon and want to get in the mood, or if you are holding on to the memories of a wonderful time spent in the City of Light, here is a list of 8 books set in Paris. I have either read or just ordered all of them, and have put affiliate links with each.


A Town Like Paris: Falling in Love in the City of Light, by Bryce Corbett


books set in paris

Bryce is a 28 year old Australian who after suffering a break up (and a horrendously boring job) decides to move to Paris. He rents an apartment in the Marais, in the heart of the city’s gay district, which could limit his opportunities to meet single french females, and begins a new life in the city of light. Along the way he meets a Parisian showgirl and falls in love.

This book is absolutely hilarious. It will have you in tears laughing all the while acquainting you with one of the most magnificent cities in the world. A MUST read! A Town Like Paris is available at Amazon.com

books set in paris


Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris, by Sarah Turnbull

I bought this book years ago because I knew a Sarah Turnbull when I was growing up in New Zealand, and was sure this Australian journalist had to be the same girl. Afterall how many Sarah Turnbull’s could there be in Australasia?? Apparently at least 2…

Anyway, this is another true story featuring an Aussie in Paris. Sarah meets a Frenchman who persuades her to move to Paris, the most romantic city in the world. Her clothes, her laughter, her conversation, her very non-french-ness make her an outsider from the beginning. As she navigates her way through this new culture she becomes seduced by Paris, sharing it’s magic with her along the way. At times you will cringe and at others you will laugh out loud as she shares her journey with you.

One time with a trip to Paris on the horizon I actually wrote down the places she talks about in the book, and then wandered around Paris visiting as many of them as I could. It was wonderful. Almost French is available on Amazon.com

books set in paris

Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik

In 1995 Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker, moved to Paris for 5 years with his wife and baby son. The plan was to enjoy the culture and the glamour of this exquisite city, living the dreamy life of an American in Paris. Enjoying the bistro life, partaking in philosophical discussions all the while raising his son playing in the Luxembourg Gardens and running around Paris. Perfect, non?

The readers of Gopnik’s award winning and very much loved “Paris Journals” already know the reality of it was at times exasperating and not always glamorous. Paris To the Moon is hilarious and endearing and completely brilliant. Just as with Sarah Turnbull’s book you will find yourself jotting down places and experiences to try out for yourself.

Paris to the Moon is available here on Amazon.com

books set in paris


The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris, by John Baxter

I haven’t read this one myself yet, but with a title like that, and the fact that it is about walks in the most fabulous walking city in the world, I just ordered it on Amazon. The synopsis below is from Amazon.com

From the author of Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas (P.S.) and We’ll Always Have Paris comes a guided tour of the most beautiful walks through the City of Light, including the favorite walking routes of the many of the acclaimed artists and writers who have called Paris their home. Baxter highlights hidden treasures along the Seine, treasured markets at Place d’Aligre, the favorite ambles of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Sylvia Beach, and more, in a series of intimate vignettes that evoke the best parts of Paris’s many charms. Baxter’s unforgettable chronicle reveals how walking is the bestway to experience romance, history, and pleasures off the beaten path . . . not only of La Ville-Lumière, but also, perhaps, of life itself. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is available here on Amazon.com

books set in paris

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, by Vicky Lesage

This Amazon #1 bestseller popped up on my recommended list, and I’m going to order it so therefore I figure I might as well share it with you!

When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to indulge in wine, stuff her face with croissants, and fall in love. It proved to be much more difficile than she’d imagined. In this laugh-out-loud memoir, this cheeky storyteller recounts the highs and lows of her life in the City of Light. Sassy and shamefully honest, Vicki makes you feel as if you’re right there in Paris stumbling along the cobblestones with her.

Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will French bureaucracy ever cut her a break?

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl is a delicious cocktail of the humor of Tina Fey, the candor of Amy Poehler, and the self-deprecating charm of Mindy Kaling. You’ll feel as if you’re chatting over a bottle of wine with your new best friend, one who drinks as much as Chelsea Handler and makes you laugh as much as Sophie Kinsella. Confessions of a Paris Party Girl is available here on Amazon.com

books set in paris


A Paris Apartment: A Novel, by Michelle Gable

April Vogt, a Sotheby’s continental furniture specialist gets sent to Paris to curate the hoarded belongings found in an apartment that has been shuttered up for 70 years. The furniture will fetch millions, but more interestingly April discovers the diaries of the woman who lived there, a Belle Epoque courtesan with an intriguing story.

Set both during the Bell Epoque and present day, A Paris Apartment became an international bestseller, and will fuel any dream you’ve ever had of owning an apartment in Paris or maybe just running away there for a while. Available online at Amazon.com

books set in paris

C’est La Vie: An American Woman Begins a New Life in Paris and–Voila!–Becomes Almost French, by Suzy Gershman

This one is on my to be read pile, so the synopsis is lifted from Amazon:

Bestselling writer Suzy Gershman (dubbed “Super Shopper Suzy” by Oprah) is our answer to Peter Mayle in this heartfelt, breezy, and funny story of starting over in Paris. Suzy had always fantasized about moving to Paris with her husband, but when he dies unexpectedly, she decides to fulfill their dream alone. Here she gives a deliciously conversational chronicle of her first year in Paris and of the dizzying delights and maddening frustrations of learning to be a Parisian. Filled with Gershman’s insider’s tips on everything from cooking the perfect clafoutis to—naturally—shopping, C’est la Vie is delightfully entertaining and captures the exhilarating experience of beginning a new adventure. C’est La Vie is available here on Amazon.com

books set in paris

I’ve written before about my favorite bookshop, perhaps anywhere in the world, Shakespeare and Company in Paris. I haven’t yet read Jeremy Mercer’s Book, Baguettes and Bedbugs, which is about Shakespeare and Co, but I read the review below and have now added it to my must read list.

 If you’re interested in Paris, whether or not you’ve traveled there and visited Shakespeare & Co., you will learn a lot about literary Paris and enjoy reading this book. If you have been to Paris, visited the bookshop, and have met George Whitman you’ll love this book. And if you have stumbled a bit in your life and are broke, you absolutely must read this book to know that life can be great while living without much money, and be encouraged for a better tomorrow.

Doesn’t it make you want to read it?? Available at Amazon.com

Related: Read about Shakespeare and Company here