Books for to put on your Christmas list, London and Paris edition

 In Documentary

When I start planning a trip, the first thing I do is head to the library and do my research. I read guidebooks, of course, and while guidebooks are useful if you’re planning a trip (which you don’t have to do) or if you want additional information about where you’re going (which I always do) then they’re the perfect pre-trip read.

But I find that the reading I do goes far beyond guidebooks. If I want to get to know a place before I go, I read about people who are living there in real life (like in memoirs) and in fictional stories that take place in my dream destination. If you’re like me, and you want to escape to England and France long before you board the airplane, here’s list of books to get you started, in lots of different categories:

Young Adult Novels
About England
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Georgia Nicholson novels by Louise Rennison
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Girl, 15, Charming but Insane by Sue Limb
Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libby Bray
The Lady Janies series by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency books by Jordan Stratford
About France
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Devil’s Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner (audiobook version read by Tom Hiddleston)
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Fiction
About England
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Sarum by Edward Rutherford
About France
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Paris, the Novel by Edward Rutherford
About France and England
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Memoir
About England
My Love Affair with England: A Traveler’s Memoir by Susan Allen Toth
The Anglo-files: A Field Guide to the British by Sarah Lyall
About France
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
My Life in France by Julia Child
The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino

Art
The Annotated Mona Lisa, A Crash Course in Art History by Carol Strickland

Picture Books
About London
This is London! By Mirsolav Sasik
Paddington by Michael Bond
About Paris
This is Paris! By Miroslav Sasik
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Guidebooks
I love the Eyewitness Guide Books for London and Paris. They are full of pictures and have good maps and include everything we will see (and many things you’ll have to visit next time).

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