10 French classics to read while at home

While we're at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, we cannot travel to Paris or any of the major French cities.

However, that doesn't mean we can't immerse ourselves in that culture and experience a little of what the country has to offer.

After all, we can always travel through the books and the great classics of literature. And great books is something France has plenty of!

So, while you're at home protecting yourself from the coronavirus, how about catching up on your reading with our list of the 10 great French classics you should read?

Read on to find out what our suggestions are!

1. Les Miserables

Les Miserables is one of the great works of French literature. The book follows the story of Jean Valjean in 3 moments of his life during roughly 1815 and 1832.

In the work we see how Valjean navigates French society in different positions, interacting with different characters, while drawing a parallel with post-Napoleon France.


2. The Little Prince

For those who want a lighter reading, how about one of France's great children's classics? The Little Prince, by Saint-Exupéry, is a semi-biographical story by the author.

The book talks about an aviator who wanted to be a painter as a child, but who, because he was discouraged by adults, ended up becoming a pilot. However, one day, he ended up meeting a boy who came from an asteroid and met several planets.

Despite being a children's book, the book is very interesting for adults because it criticizes our life after we grow up.

3. Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary is probably Gustavo Flaubert's most important work. After all, it was the book that got him persecuted by the French government!

Furthermore, the story (which follows the life of Madame Bovary and her marriage to the doctor Charles) created "bovarismo", a literary style of its own. Is there anything more impressive than this?

4. The Stranger

Albert Camus is one of the most important French philosophers, but also a gifted novelist. In The Stranger, his most important work of fiction, he discusses the absurdity of the human condition through his character Meursault, who commits a murder. During the process of being tried and imprisoned, he finds himself dragged by the power of history and life.

5. The Lady of Camellias

Written by Alexandre Dumas Filho (we'll talk about his father now), A Dama das Camélias portrays a semi-biographical story. In the novel, a young law student in Paris in the XNUMXth century he fell in love with Marguerite Gauiter, the most coveted lady in Parisian salons and theaters.


6. Beauty and the Beast

You've probably watched the Disney movie, but have you read the Madame de Beaumont classic? Her book is an adaptation of the story published by Madame de Villeneuve years before, but adapted for children and teenagers.

The story is the classic you already know: a merchant promises his daughter a rose and ends up finding one in the garden of the Beast's castle. However, the dangerous monarch does not like this and forces him to spend his life in the castle. The merchant's daughter, however, volunteers to replace her father in prison, and from there, the fairy tale takes place.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo

Revenge, betrayal and adventure. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of Alexandre Dumas' main works and has everything you can expect.

For those who like a story of struggle and overcoming, with twists and a ruthless plot of revenge, this is a first-rate French classic.

8. The Three Musketeers

If you want a slightly lighter adventure story, you can enjoy another Alexandre Dumas classic: The Three Musketeers.

In it, the young d'Artagnan lives without riches in Paris, but ends up getting close to the elite guard of King Louis XIII. Together with the three musketeers, they live great adventures in the service of the king and queen, facing the Cardinal de Richeliu, Milady and the Duke of Buckingham.

9. Memories of a Well-Behaved Girl

Despite being one of the great classics of French literature, Memoirs of a Well-Behaved Girl is not fiction, but the story of Simone de Beauvoir. The book tells the entire life of the philosopher who changed the world, from her childhood to the early years of her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre.


10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Another great classic by Victor Hugo, the book has also been adapted for film by Disney. In it, we follow the story of the gypsy Esmeralda, who dances in front of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, where the bell ringer Quasimodo lives.

After reading, how about getting to know the Village du Livre?

After the coronavirus pandemic is over, you will probably want to travel. So how about joining your biggest desires and getting to know the Book Village, how is the city of Montolieu known, near Paris?

The city is rich in history and one of the main cities on the planet in terms of book preservation. Thousands of tourists travel there to see the community that lives around the books, producing covers, special editions and sharing a love of reading.

Village du Livre also offers several workshops for residents so you can learn more about typography, printmaking, bookbinding and much more. However, it is necessary to know Speak French to enjoy the content.

So, did you like our tips today? So how about sharing this content with friends on social media?


See also other features