14 Must-Read Modern French Books (In Translation) | Books and Bao (2023)

French literature is widely regarded as some of the best ever written. Classic French authors like Proust, Camus, Victor Hugo, and Simone de Beauvoir represent the height of literature, politics, and philosophy.

Classic French books are almost inexhaustible. Jules Verne, Voltaire, Colette, Sartre, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. There is almost no end to the list of great authors when looking at classic French literature.

14 Must-Read Modern French Books (In Translation) | Books and Bao (1)

But what about modern French books? Often overlooked, the French authors of today are experimental, daring, fierce, and feminist. They write surrealism, fantasy, and nonfiction like no other writer might dare to do.

Essential Modern French Books

Here are some of the finest French books in translation from the past few decades, right up to today. Some are literary fiction, others are genre fiction.

Some are memoir, others essays. There is a fine selection of French books in translation here for you to enjoy.

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

Translated by Anna Moschovakis

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Winner of the International Booker Prize 2021, At Night All Blood is Black is a heartrending novella by Senegalese-French author David Diop.

At Night All Blood is Black tells the story of Alfa, a Senegalese man in the French trenches of the Great War. When the novella opens, Alfa is cradling the dying body of his friend Mademba, whose body has been torn open.

From here, At Night All Blood is Black uses the backdrop of trench warfare to explore the relevant themes of racism, humanity, and masculinity.

It’s a story of binaries: the in-group and out-group; us vs. them; Black and white; hero and coward.

At Night All Blood is Black is not an easy read. It’s a visceral story that takes its toll on the reader. It explores the toxic side of male camaraderie and how racism continues to live and thrive even while staring death in the face.

While you do need a steeled mind and a strong stomach to read it, At Night All Blood is Black is undeniably one of the greatest modern French books in translation.

The Collection by Nina Leger

Translated by Laura Francis

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Jeanne collects and mentally catalogues the images of men’s penises. She gives no rhyme or reason for her habit. Or is it a hobby? A job? An obsession? Even that much is unclear. It is merely a collection.

For 160 pages of The Collection we the readers follow Jeanne’s routine, all of which is centred around sex, sexual organs, and the sexualising of everything around her. But why? To what end?

As you begin your journey with The Collection (one of the most powerful modern French books), you’ll be struck by the vivid yet surreal strangeness of it all.

So much of the book’s opening pages are dedicated to the sensational details of male genitals: sight, smell, taste, texture.

We are involved intimately with the fascination which Jeanne has with the penis, and her obsession with creating what she calls a ‘palace’ in her mind of phallic images.

As the story builds, we begin to see Jeanne as more than just a person with a fetish or a desire. Jeanne represents much more than that.

She represents the source of all of our guilt and shame; she can be found in those moments where we are too afraid to admit our kinks to our partners.

The book taunts and teases us, and it’s at this point that its powerful feminist theme is placed boldly on display: there must be something wrong with Jeanne, mustn’t there?

She must be the butt of a joke, the victim of abuse or trauma, a woman with a vendetta. She can’t just be her, can she?

The Collection is as much a protest as it is a story. As a protest, it shines a light on the weak and tired tropes of heroines in literature.

It demands an apology from the writers who have normalised hysteria in women, wounded and victimised women, strange and slutty women, and women who must be ashamed and apologetic for their lives and their choices.

The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas

Translated by Frank Wynne

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Set in 1885 Paris, The Mad Women’s Ball is one of the most hypes French books of recent years. It is a short piece of feminist historical fiction inspired by the treatment of women by the European patriarchy for centuries.

Our first protagonist is a nurse named Geneviève who works at the Salpêtrière asylum in Paris. Geneviève is a devout believer in the science practised by Dr Charcot, who runs the asylum and is progressing psychology and psychotherapy with the hopes of healing the troubled minds of the women who enter his asylum.

Our second protagonist is Eugénie, the young daughter of a bourgeoise and conservative Parisian man. Eugénie is a bold, brash feminist who has no interest in marriage and traditional gender roles.

She wants to live her own life by her own rules. Her father does not like this; nor does he like the fact that she can see and hear ghosts.

Eugénie is taken to the Salpêtrière asylum by her father and brother after she convinces her grandmother that she can see the ghost of her grandfather. She proves it, too, but her father cares not whether it is true or false. Either way, she belongs in an asylum.

The Mad Women’s Ball follows a few weeks of difficult life for both Geneviève and Eugénie, leading gradually to the titular Mad Women’s Ball, in which the patients of the Salpêtrière asylum will dance and perform for the delight of Paris’ foul gentry.

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

Translated by Hildegarde Serle

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Set on a floating island (arc) named Anima, A Winter’s Promise (the first in the Mirror Visitor series) is a French fantasy novel which follows the journey of a young woman named Ophelia.

Ophelia, like everyone on Anima, has a power related to objects in the world. Her power allows her to “read” the history of an object, and so she curates a museum owned by her grandfather.

However, Ophelia’s hand has been promised to Thorn, a superintendent and a bastard from another arc; Thorn and his Dragon clan have powers far more physical and dangerous than those of the people on Anima.

Thorn and Ophelia are bound by the want of a man who seeks to understand a powerful book, for which he requires Ophelia’s power.

Amongst modern French books, A Winter’s Promise stands out as an exciting work of fantasy fiction with wonderful world-building, clever politics and plotting, and deep lore.

The politics of Versailles meets Pride and Prejudice in an enemies-to-lovers tale. Layered storytelling and an aesthetic reminiscent of Studio Ghibli, A Winter’s Promise is a delicious French novel.

The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain

Translated by Jane Aitken

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The Readers’ Room is a delightful French murder mystery novel in the vein of Agatha Christie. No gritty police drama here; rather, a bright yet twisted mystery that grows and tangles as it goes.

If you’ve read Agatha Christie or seen her adaptations, you’ll be familiar with that tone of hers: the tone that warms you in the sun or by the fireside. Laurain, however, still manages to set himself apart from Christie here with one of the most unique modern French books on this list.

The Readers’ Room is set in a Paris publishing house. The head of the publishing house has been sent a manuscript which she is bowled over by. It’s fresh, daring, and exciting, and she has big plans for it.

Meanwhile, the novel also remarks on the mechanics of publishing houses in a very intimate and satisfying way.

The novel is published, but the identity of the author remains a mystery. When it is nominated for a prize, the prize can only be given if the identity of the author is revealed.

They have been conversing via email, and eventually the author of the manuscript reveals that there are eerie connections between the events of their novel and real-world deaths that begin to occur.

Because she said yes to publishing this mysterious, prophetic manuscript, our publishing director is now caught up in the investigation of real-world murders tied to the contents of this strange new book.

The cozy, warming note of this (and many other murder-mystery novels) is so at odds with its content, and that’s the paradox of murder mysteries!

A Nail, A Rose by Madeleine Bourdouxhe

Translated by Faith Evans

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Madeleine Bourdouxhe is at last getting the attention she deserves. Where better to start appreciating her than with A Nail, A Rose, a collection of surreal feminist stories of post-World War II women in Western Europe.

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There are women who survive, fight, fantasise, compromise, and empathise with the dark, twisted, comical, and frightening world around them.

Madeleine Bourdouxhe was born in Belgium in 1906 and lived through both World Wars, during which time she was already a published novelist.

Her most famous novel, Marie, was actually published in 1943, as the Second World War was still being waged across Europe.

A Nail, A Rose is one of the great feminist French books; a collection of musings on the lives, thoughts, and experiences of women of every kind in post-World War II Europe.

Many of them have a surrealist bent to them, blending bleak and visceral gore, obsessions with the flesh and bone of human bodies, with the ordinary and the mundane truths of our everyday lives.

Each of the stories in this wondrous collection is concerned – in some way or form – with putting a spotlight on the abusive, suppressive, pathetic, and radical behaviour of the patriarchy.

This is all done with absolute success through inventive, succinct, perfectly-paced, eerily surreal, and painfully vivid storytelling talent.

The Office of Gardens and Ponds by Didier Decoin

Translated by Euan Cameron

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It purportedly took legendary French author Didier Decoin fourteen years to complete this most wonderful of French novels.

That info paints an image in my mind of a man locked away in a lakeside cabin in Switzerland, stacks of books on Japanese history and culture surrounding him. He pores over them for years.

He takes the odd trip to Kyoto and Niigata for his research before returning to the cabin. He does this for more than a decade before emerging with a 300-page book that gently glows golden, and he smiles, his eyes glistening.

I doubt that much of what I’ve guessed here is true, but the way this story reads – the delicacy of its language, the focus of its plot and its characterisation – it could all very well be true. This is one of those French books which words like ‘masterwork’ were made for.

Set during the Heian Period of 12th Century Japan, at a time when Kyoto – the former capital – was known as Heian Kyo, Miyuki is a fisherman’s wife. Her husband, Katsuro, is twice her age and the greatest carp-catcher in their hometown of Shimae.

After catching a batch of fine koi, he drowns. Beyond being their town’s fisherman, Katsuro was also given the job of carrying twenty koi to the capital, where they would be used by the emperor as sacred decoration in the Imperial Palace’s ponds.

Now that Katsuro is dead, his grief-stricken widow, Miyuki, must take up the task and make the month-long journey to the capital.

And if you want to know what a modern take on a Japanese folk tale, mixed with European fairy tales and a dash of Shakespeare could possibly look like, this book is, indeed, that.

In short, there is nothing this perfect book cannot do or be. I will hold it close to my heart for years to come.

Happening by Annie Ernaux

Translated by Tanya Leslie

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Ernaux begins Happening — a narratively-presented autobiographical account of her seeking out an illegal abortion during her university years in the early ‘60s — with a visit to the hospital for an HIV test.

Whilst there, she is reminded of the struggle she went through in 1963 to get an abortion in Paris when, at the time, abortions were classified as illegal, immoral, and scandalous.

This short framing device of a quick glance into the HIV test of the future helps to immediately encourage the reader to remember context – how our world views are malleable and shift with time and with law.

Last generation’s abortion scandal is this generation’s AIDS scare.

The narrative of this, one of the most striking French books, follows only a few short months of Ernaux’s life as a twenty-year-old student who has found herself pregnant and with no wish to keep the child.

Thus, we have 77 pages of a tragic adventure, as she attempts to rid herself of the foetus – at one point manually – and in the end through an illegal abortionist.

In order to successfully broaden and maintain our perspectives on gender, class, and the impact of change, we must read more French books (and nonfiction books in general) like this one.

The Revolt by Clara Dupont-Monod

Translated by Ruth Diver

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Not only is The Revolt a successful medieval historical epic; it is a gargantuan triumph of one. And the book’s humble length is certainly one of the ingredients for its success.

Some of the others include: richly vivid and poetic language that echoes the writing of Oscar Wilde, playful manipulation of history to tell an engaging fictional narrative, a quietly sustained pace, and an electrifying feminist tale told from a surprising and satisfying perspective.

The Revolt retells the story of the 12th Century queen of France and England, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It covers the majority of her life, and injects the narrative with themes and an atmosphere reminiscent of Wolf Hall and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

But what makes The Revolt so smart in its telling is the novel’s narrative perspective. The Revolt is told to us by Richard Lionheart, son of Eleanor.

This choice of perspective – making Eleanor’s son the book’s narrator and second protagonist – is evocative of John Watson telling the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

This short medieval epic begins with Richard painting a vivid picture of his mother: her savvy, her venom, her opportunistic mind. He places us in the stalls and builds a stage around his mother.

The Revolt is one of those perfect French novels, and one of my favourite French books, full stop. It succeeds at everything that makes a novel great.

A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery

Translated by Alison Anderson

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A Single Rose begins with a Chinese myth about a prince and a field of flowers. Each chapter begins in the same way: with an East Asian tale about flora, poetry, and beauty. The main story concerns the titular Rose; a French woman in Kyoto.

Rose is forty, and she’s in Kyoto for the reading of her father’s will. He was a man she never knew, a wealthy art dealer who lived amongst Kyoto’s eccentric painters and potters.

His assistant — a Belgian man named Paul — takes Rose on a tour of Kyoto.

A Single Rose is very much a love letter to Kyoto, to Japanese art, poetry, history, and aesthetics. It spends time painting a vivid image of the city, its natural elements, and the green hills beyond.

Rose is angry, conflicted, and confused. She is told that her father observed her from afar, yet never reached out to her.

Paul insists that Rose’s father loved her, but how can she believe that, and what difference does it make?

A Single Rose is a short novel, primarily concerned with beauty, inside and outside. Muriel Barbery depicts the world and characters of this — one of the sweetest French books — with care and concern.

Self Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye

Translated by Jordan Stump

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Self Portrait in Green is, reportedly, what happened when Marie NDiaye was asked to write a memoir. It is, in a word, anti-memoir. Set across the years of 2000 – 2003, indiscriminately jumping back and forth, this is one of the most dreamlike and experimental French books.

While it is supposed to be a personal memoir, Self Portrait in Green reads far more like a piece of surrealist French fiction.

It begins with the French river of La Garonne, which passes through a small town in which NDiaye lives.

The river is rising and about to burst its banks, threatening to flood the town. The way that NDiaye depicts it, it feels as though this flooding is fated; that the river was destined to do this. Her painting of the event is mystical.

This approach to fate and destiny carries us, the reader, all the way through the book. NDiaye is constantly comparing herself to everyone else around her, even La Garonne.

Early in the book, Marie is driving with her children and she sees a woman in the garden of a local cottage; the woman is dressed all in green and staring back at her.

When Marie asks her children what they see, they do not see the woman in green.

This eerie surrealism continues to build throughout the book. It is surreal but it speaks to you. It encourages interpretation and emotional connection.

We get to know the women in Marie’s life; all the while we are haunted by the colour green. Whenever Marie meets a woman who is in green, that woman represents something that Marie dislikes about herself and her own life.

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It is a deeply personal exploration of vulnerability, personal failings and fears, and how our sense of self impacts our relationships with the people in our lives.

An Apartment on Uranus by Paul B. Preciado

Translated by Charlotte Mandell

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Paul B. Preciado is a gargantuan figure in so many ways. A Spanish, French, and English-speaking transgender — and rather nomadic — philosopher, essayist, and writer with an enormous scope of expertise in the realms of sexual politics and identity.

An Apartment on Uranus is a collection of chronological essays which begin in March 2013 in Paris, one of Paul’s three great geographical loves, and ends in January 2018 in Arles (captured by Van Gogh’s alluring painting Café Terrace at Night).

Blending personal observations — both inward and outward — with musings on borders, laws, pornography, sex, patriarchy, capitalism, Marxism, and issues surrounding trans rights and the lives of trans people, An Apartment on Uranus is enormous in terms of the ground that it covers and the concepts which it discusses.

And thanks to the intricately beautiful translation work by Charlotte Mandell, this French book is entirely and poetically captivating at every turn.

From exploring in heart-breaking detail his relationship with his dog in the early essays, to buying dildos with Annie Sprinkle in San Francisco, there is as much joy and laughter to be found in this collection as there is anger and a sense of awakening.

We travel with Paul from Paris to Athens to Kiev to New York, London, San Francisco, Barcelona in one of the boldest French books in translation you’ll ever read.

All the while Paul’s body is changing, and his experiences shape the topics he discusses with us next. In that sense there is a clear and captivating narrative unfolding from beginning to end.

Exposed by Jean-Philippe Blondel

Translated by Alison Anderson

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Exposed is a French novel which leans into French stereotyping in a fun and delightful way.

We have provincial towns and dreams of Paris lights; a painter struggling to reconcile his past obsessions with his present wants and needs; a newly old man careening obliviously towards, well, exposure – and, beyond that, maybe a second beginning.

Louis Claret is a disenfranchised English teacher in a small French town. He has gone through a divorce but attempts to maintain a close relationship with his two daughters as well as, at times, his ex-wife.

Alexandre Laudin was once a pupil of Claret’s, one of many who came and went as pupils do. Now, years later, he’s an almost-famous painter, and after reconnecting with his former teacher at one of his art openings, he asks Claret his permission to paint him.

From here, the short novel stitches together a wonderful relationship between the two men.

There are stoically hidden emotions being forced down by both at times, but never enough to stall the growing connection between them as they become more intimate and more dependent on one another.

Exposed is a French book that excels at the more honest side of things. Love and intimacy, romance and sexuality – they’re all portrayed with a real deft hand by Blondel.

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec

Translated by Marc Lowenthal

14 Must-Read Modern French Books (In Translation) | Books and Bao (15)

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (which is a fabulous title) begins with Georges Perec remarking on how Paris’ Place Saint-Sulpice has had its various buildings and features described and recorded in some way by other people before him.

What Perec is doing here is spending a single long weekend describing what happens within this place, not merely what statically exists in its elements.

He records movements and happenings and conversations, as a way to paint a vivid picture of life.

The first chapter of Day 1 is used to describe the elements of the place as he sees it: signs, buildings, vehicles, even colours. The second chapter records movement and direction: what goes where and how.

By the third chapter, the first person enters the picture, as Perec records his own movements and position, followed by what he observes and overhears.

It is like watching a painting go from canvas to sketch to colour, and it is so satisfying.

The great purpose of this French book is up to you to decide, but the mere voyeuristic satisfaction that comes with enjoying An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris is reason enough to read and enjoy such a strange and unique French book.

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FAQs

What is the best French book to read? ›

Five French books to read (even if you're not stuck at home)
  • Saga - Tonino Benaquista. ...
  • L a Vie devant soi (The Life Before Us) - Romain Gary. ...
  • Chanson Douce (Lullaby) - Leïla Slimani. ...
  • Huis clos (No Exit) - Jean-Paul Sartre. ...
  • Le petit Nicolas (Young Nicolas) - René Gosciny.

Which living French writer is currently the most read? ›

1. Guillaume Musso. One of the most popular authors in France, Guillaume Musso has sold over 11 million copies of his novels worldwide, and his works have been translated into 34 languages.

What are books called in French? ›

book → bouquin, livre, ouvrage.

How can I read French books online for free? ›

Mobile Devices:
  1. Project Gutenberg - Digital Library. Project Gutenberg provides a huge selection of e-books in French. ...
  2. LogosLibrary.eu - Large Selection of French E-Books. ...
  3. Archive.org - Free French E-Books. ...
  4. OpenLibrary - French E-Books for Free.

What is the best French book for beginners? ›

The 8 Best Books To Learn French
  1. Le Petit Prince. What better way to start our list of books to learn French than with Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). ...
  2. Le Petit Nicolas. ...
  3. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman cambrioleur. ...
  4. Astérix et Obélix. ...
  5. Tintin. ...
  6. L'élégance du hérisson. ...
  7. Le chat du rabbin. ...
  8. Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran.
10 Dec 2018

What is an easy book to read in French? ›

Le Petit Nicolas by René Goscinny

Easy-to-read stories with simple sentences and vocabulary, the books are an entertaining recommendation for beginner French learners.

Who is the best French writer? ›

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870). Arguably the best French writer of all time.

Who is the most famous writer in France? ›

1. Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) What is this? Victor Hugo is one of the most famous writers of France, with a career spanning over six decades.

Can you learn French by reading French books? ›

French books are a great way for you, students, to improve your French, because they help work on all the different aspects of the language: grammar through writing , phonics through reading out loud , vocabulary which is good for the cultural aspect with the discovery of different authors.

WHAT IS A in French? ›

Generally speaking, à means "to," "at," or "in," while de means "of" or "from." Both prepositions have numerous uses and to understand each better, it is best to compare them. Learn more about the preposition de. Learn more about the preposition à.

What is called Boy in French? ›

Wiktionary: boy → garçon, gars, boy, jeune homme.

Where can I download free FR books? ›

List of Top Free Book Download Websites
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • Manybooks.
  • Open Library.
  • FreeComputerBooks.
  • Google eBookstore.
  • LibriVox.
  • Internet Archive.
  • Bookboon.
24 Sept 2022

Where can I read French books? ›

12 Native Sites for Your Easy French Reading Fix Online
  • 1 jour 1 actu.
  • Le journal des enfants.
  • La Redoute.
  • Leboncoin.fr.
  • eBay.fr.
  • Voyages-sncf.com.
  • Promovacances.
  • VoyagerMoinsCher.com.
25 Aug 2022

Can I learn French on my own? ›

Yes, you can learn French by yourself.

Try out some of these ideas for how to learn French at home, and discover how solo studying can successfully take you to fluency!

How can I improve my French reading skills? ›

1 Hour to Improve Your French Reading Skills - YouTube

Is it difficult to learn French? ›

French is relatively easy to learn but it does take some time and effort. As French is closely related to English, I have to agree with the Foreign Language Institute that says that French belongs to the easiest group of languages to learn for English speakers. Having so much common vocabulary helps a lot!

How do you say I like to read books in French? ›

How to say, "I liked the book" in French. Phrase of the Day! - YouTube

Does reading French books help? ›

It's easy and fun to learn French by reading French books. Not only do you sharpen your French reading skill, but you also learn a lot more vocabulary without the help of Google Translate. It also allows you to see how grammar works in the real context instead of seeing the hypothetical examples.

What is French literature known for? ›

French literature is the body of written works in the French language produced by authors from France. The French people are proud of their language and of their long tradition of poetry, prose, and drama. Pure language and perfect form have been traditionally prized in French literature.

Who is the most famous French poet? ›

One of France's most famous poets and writers has to be Victor Hugo.

Who is famous English writer? ›

From William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens, and from Jane Austen to George Orwell, the list of the greatest British authors of all time is a long one.

Why should I learn French? ›

French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs.

Where do I start with French literature? ›

12 French Classics Every Book Lover Should Read
  • Beauty and the Beast, Madame de Villeneuve (1740)
  • The Book of the City of Ladies, Christine de Pizan (1405)
  • The Tales of Mother Goose, Charles Perrault (1696)
  • Dangerous Liaisons, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (1782)
  • The Flowers of Evil, Charles Baudelaire (1857)

What are French people reading? ›

In average, the genres the most read are novels (and especially crime fiction), non-fiction books and comics or mangas. 96% of these readers read during their free time and not for work. 49% read every day, at home (95%) or outside, especially while traveling (61%), while commuting (26%) or in other public places.

Who is the most famous French singer? ›

Édith gained fame across France by performing on the streets until a club owner made her a regular singer but she gained international fame only after WWII. Being a cabaret singer, Édith's genres were love ballads, torch songs, and chansons, and today, she is probably the most famous French singer of all time.

Who is the first French novelist? ›

While in France Victor Hugo is more famous as one of the greatest French poets, outside France he is best known as the author of the novels Notre-Dame de Paris (1831) and Les Misérables (1862).
...
Famous Novels:-
NOVELYEAR
Les Misérables1862
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame1831
The Man Who Laughs1869
26 Apr 2021

Who is the famous writer in Paris? ›

For centuries Paris has been the home and frequently the subject matter of the most important novelists, poets, and playwrights in French literature, including Moliere, Voltaire, Balzac, Victor Hugo and Zola and Proust.

How can I learn French in 6 months? ›

5 Efficient Steps to Learn French by Yourself in 6 Months
  1. Learn the Most Common French Vocabulary and Phrases. a. Decide how many words you'll learn. ...
  2. Mine Videos for Fun French Lessons. a. ...
  3. Listen to Authentic French Content as Often as Possible. a. ...
  4. Use French to Learn French. a. ...
  5. Establish a Consistent Study Schedule.
24 Jun 2022

How do you start reading French books? ›

Books to begin learning French
  1. 1 – Charlie et la Chocolaterie (Charly and the Chocolate Factory) de Roald Dahl. ...
  2. 2 – James et la Grosse Pêche (James and the Giant Peach) de Roald Dahl. ...
  3. 3 – Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) d'Antoine de St Exupéry. ...
  4. 4 – Les Aventures de Tintin (The adventures of Tintin) d'Hergé

Can you learn another language by reading? ›

When you can read, you can learn anything. By learning to read in the language you're studying, you get so much more out of the learning experience. When you come across words in several different contexts through reading, you start to understand and comprehend vocabulary in a more meaningful way.

What does S mean in French? ›

S' is the contracted form of se, which is a reflexive pronoun. French uses reflexive pronouns with a fair number of verbs, more often than in English, where "verb oneself" is pretty rare. For example, French sometimes uses reflexive verbs to render explicit what is implied in English.

How do you say B in French? ›

How to Pronounce B in French? | Alphabet & Letters Pronunciation ...

What's C in French? ›

1) C. In French, the letter c (= which is pronounced “cé” = [“say”]) has two main pronunciations in a word or a sentence. C = [“sss”] in front of e, i, y. “C” sounds like “sss” in front of the vowels e, i, y.

Is garçon rude? ›

Calling The Waiter “Garçon”

It means boy which sounds quite derogatory in English, but it's not quite as bad as it sounds in French since it originated as a means of calling a waiter “garçon de café".

How do you greet a girl in French? ›

Learn French - How to Greet People in French - YouTube

What do you call a girl in French? ›

girl → jeune fille, fille, copine.

Does reading French books help? ›

It's easy and fun to learn French by reading French books. Not only do you sharpen your French reading skill, but you also learn a lot more vocabulary without the help of Google Translate. It also allows you to see how grammar works in the real context instead of seeing the hypothetical examples.

What is Harry Potter called in French? ›

Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (Harry Potter French): 1 : Rowling, J K: Amazon.co.uk: Books.

What are French people reading? ›

In average, the genres the most read are novels (and especially crime fiction), non-fiction books and comics or mangas. 96% of these readers read during their free time and not for work. 49% read every day, at home (95%) or outside, especially while traveling (61%), while commuting (26%) or in other public places.

Why is French so hard to read? ›

The sequence of tenses is more complex due to the sheer number present in the French language. There are around 200 common irregular verbs in English, and regular verbs always conjugate in the same way. French has many more irregular verbs, and conjugation can be very difficult to memorize.

Is reading in French hard? ›

French is relatively easy to learn but it does take some time and effort. As French is closely related to English, I have to agree with the Foreign Language Institute that says that French belongs to the easiest group of languages to learn for English speakers. Having so much common vocabulary helps a lot!

Can I learn French by reading? ›

It might seem daunting, but reading is one of the best ways to improve your French. It's a great way to pick up new vocabulary, especially for your written French. You might not understand everything 100%, but the process of looking up words and digesting sentence structures will push your French to the next level.

Who is the best French writer of all time? ›

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870). Arguably the best French writer of all time. Dumas was of mixed race—his grandmother had once been a slave in Haiti, and his father was one of Napoleon's generals. Since the early 20th century, his novels have been adapted into nearly 200 movies.

Who is the most famous French writer? ›

1. Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) What is this? Victor Hugo is one of the most famous writers of France, with a career spanning over six decades.

Why should I learn French? ›

French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs.

What does Draco mean in French? ›

“Draco” comes from the latin word for dragon; shortening “le dragon,” the word for dragon in French, makes “Drago.” “Malfoy” comes from the old French “mal foy,” meaning “mauvaise foi,” or “bad faith.” In French, it's “Malefoy.”

What does Snape mean in French? ›

Translating Harry Potter
OriginalFrench
HufflepuffPoufsouffle (which suggests 'à bout de souffle', or 'out of puff')
SlytherinSerpentard (which contains the word serpent)
Neville LongbottomNeville Londubat ('long-du-bas', or 'long-in-the-bottom')
Severus SnapeSeverus Rogue ('haughty')
15 more rows
7 Dec 2017

What is Voldemort called in French? ›

In France, Voldemort's real name is “Tom Elvis Jedusor”. That's the only way the person working on the translation could get to “Je suis Voldemort”. So not only does Harry's arch nemesis share a name with the king of rock and roll in France, but he's also lost his lordship, which has to sting.

How can I improve my French reading? ›

Here are a few pre-reading strategies that are helpful.
  1. Look at the pictures.
  2. Look at the title.
  3. Scan text for familiar words.
  4. Brainstorm words that relate to the topic. These don't need to be in the text. This can be done individually or as a class.
23 Jul 2019

How can I be better at reading in French? ›

7 Magical Tips to Get the Most out of Reading in French
  1. Keep your options open. ...
  2. Don't look up every word you don't know. ...
  3. Try to understand the gist, not grammar details. ...
  4. Highlight areas of confusion with Post-it notes. ...
  5. Stay relaxed and avoid frustration. ...
  6. Regularly review what you've read and learned.
26 Jan 2021

How do you start reading French books? ›

Books to begin learning French
  1. 1 – Charlie et la Chocolaterie (Charly and the Chocolate Factory) de Roald Dahl. ...
  2. 2 – James et la Grosse Pêche (James and the Giant Peach) de Roald Dahl. ...
  3. 3 – Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) d'Antoine de St Exupéry. ...
  4. 4 – Les Aventures de Tintin (The adventures of Tintin) d'Hergé

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