Paris in July – 2011 or French Books, Movies, Art and Music

Paris in July is an event hosted by Book Bath and Thyme for Tea. I think it should appeal to many as you can contribute almost anything as long as it is about something French (not Paris only).

All you have to do is either read a French book, watch a movie, share a recipe, post something on French art or architecture, write a travel piece or share your favourite French music. It is up to you.

I am, as usual, tempted to contribute many things but July is my busiest month work wise, therefore I’ll try to not put the bar too high. But let me share a few plans.


The July’s book for my Literature and War Readalong is Marguerite Duras’ Hiroshima mon amour. I will review the book and the movie.

I’m tempted to read and even re-read some Colette. I have never read her novel La Chatte, it would be a great choice for me. But I might also re-watch Chéri starring Michelle Pfeiffer and finally read the eponymous book as well. Zola’s Le ventre de Paris is also an option especially since there is a certain actuality to the topic as Les Halles, as I knew them all my life, are being torn down at the moment. Now these are just a few choices but my French reading pile is huge, I will certainly find something.

I could also imagine a post on French writers and their black cats.


I also have quite a little pile of DVDs here. I recently bought a Jean Gabin collection. I already watched Le Quai des Brumes and La Grande Illusion but there are some others that are very good. Another option is watching Les Misérables starring Gérard Depardieu. And I wanted to re watch the movie Paris, je t’aime. Despite it’s title it isn’t very clichéd.


I wanted to go to Paris in July but my workload will not allow it. Instead of that I might share a few extremely nice books on Paris that I found last year. There are a lot of themed guides around that are really interesting.

Paris: Made by Hand: 50 Shops Where Decorators and Stylists Source the Chic & Unique


My favourite French painter is Gustave Caillebotte. He painted Paris like not many others. I might write in more detail about his work and background.


When I think of French music, the first that comes to my mind is Air. I have all of their CD’s but I’m sure that’s not what people usually have in mind when thinking of French music. I’m also a huge fan of Edith Piaf. And there are many others that I could write about.

I hope this gives you an idea and tempts you as well. If you would like to sign up too here is the link.

41 thoughts on “Paris in July – 2011 or French Books, Movies, Art and Music

  1. So many tempting books and films!
    Would love to read your views of Hiroshima … – both the book and the movie.
    Agnès Varda is a favorite director of mine, so I guess I would choose her to be my French companion in July.

    • I could have added many more and I really hope to read more than just one. I know I will review Hiroshima mon amour for sure as it is part of my readalong. It would be great if you would join the discussion. It’s due end of July. I watched it a long time ago and loved it. I like Agnès Varda as well. You could join and review one of her movies? I remember Sans Toit ni Loi and Jane B.

  2. As far as I’m concerned, being French, participating would be cheating.
    Unlike you, work will lead me to Paris a lot in July and I’ll think of you when I go to the Musée Jacquemart André to see the Caillebotte exhibition . (I already have my ticket, I love this museum)

    • I don’t really know why it would be cheating? I saw a Caillebotte exhibition in the Grand Palais once and I loved it. The Musée Jacquemart Andre is nice, I agree. Maybe you should do the Caillebotte post?

      • Cheating because by essence I do French things all the time.

        I can’t write posts about paintings, I don’t know enough in that field to write anything interesting. I love watching paintings though. I don’t have much interest in the “how it’s made”, the technique. I’m interested in the context, what is represented or what the artist wanted to express and in the pleasure one can have when staring at beauty.

        • I see, but you don’t only read French books, so if you do in July, you could join. In theory. Occasionally it is interesting to read about techniques but it isn’t my main interest.

  3. Hmm, I might join this. You have so many great ideas! I LOVE that picture of Perec – I often perch my little cat Bree on my shoulder in the hope that she’ll warm to the spot, but she usually dashes down my back and away as soon as I let go. Oh well. I don’t have the right hair for the pose anyway. 🙂

    • It’s a tempting event, isnt it? I’m so glad to hear you do not have the right hair for this! My cats, although both black are not suitable either. One is by far too tall and the other one too wild. And, lucky for me, I don’t have the right hair either. If you look at Colette’s photo one would think there isn’t only a cat but a hair theme going on as well…

  4. Caroline, I just ordered the Elsa Morante thinking that was the read for July and not August. Eeek! Another book soon to be gathering dust on the TBR already, oh no. Will try to join you for the Duras, which is 450 pages shorter but in French so about the same effort for me timewise as the Morante will prob. be. Lots of good ideas in your post (and on my bookshelves) for a French theme in July, though. Cheers!

    • I’m sorry about the early ordering but imaybe it is a good thing? I’m a bit terrified by the length and will start very soon. The Duras is quite short. I think you are being modest about your French. Vocabulary wise Duras isn’t very difficult anyway. My French book shelves (read and unread) are by far the best equipped, I should find plenty of ideas.

      • Caroline and Bookaroundthecorner, thanks for the reassurance about the Duras! I need to work on my French anyway, so it should be good practice either way.

  5. I had no idea there’d been a film made of Cheri! I would like to see that. I’d forgotten that Duras was going to be up next for you. I’ve read it so many times (I wrote about it as part of my PhD) I might not read it again, but I’ll definitely be up for joining in the discussion. I love the idea of July in Paris, but, like you, things are a bit busy here and I have a couple of articles to write, which takes up more of my time than seems possible. But I don’t mind watching from the sidelines, anyway.

    • The movie is very beautiful and Michelle Pfeiffer is fantastic in it. It’s very moving and the decor is sumptuous. You should watch it. I don’t know how true it is to the book but as a movie I loved it.
      I’ll be glad if you join the Duras discussion. I’m curious to see what I think of Hiroshima mon amour now. I read and watched it at school. I was more impressed by the movie at the time.
      I can imagine that article writing does take up a lot of time, yes. All the books that I might read for July in Paris are quite short, so it is pretty pressure free.
      I think one could also read books set in France if I understood correctly. I’ll be interested to see what people will choose.

  6. this reminds me of my hello Japan challenge. It’s fun reading your list for the challenge.

    Looking forward to read your review on this challenge. I know nothing about France.

  7. It sounds as though you have a nice variety of things–all French lined up for July. I was thinking the Duras was not in English? Is seems to be just the script that I can find, so I might not read but try and watch the movie. Is the French version a novel? I am hoping to do some catching up in July (so not start too many new books…), but I am sure I will pick one or two novels by a French author or a French setting.

    • I started to really warm up, when I did the post and had to stop at one point to not overdo it. The Duras is a script, that’s why you could also watch the movie, you would have the same basis for the discussion. I hope this will not disappoint too many, I didn’t emphasize it was a script.

  8. What a great idea, Caroline. I love all your suggestions and wish I had time to participate. I really must get back to reading Colette–she’s one of my favorites. Dura’s “L’Amant” left me so sad.

    Have you seen the latest Catherine Deneuve film, “Potiche”? She’s wonderful in it.

    • Colette is one of my favourites as well but I haven’t read anything for quite a while. It’s agood opportunity. I didn’t like L’amant so much when I read it but I start to suspect I was too young. I really loved Moderato Cantabile and Dix heures et demie du soir en été/Ten-thirty on a Summer Night.
      I need to watch Potiche, I haven’t seen it yet, thanks for reminding me.

  9. We’re reading The Second Sex in July for A Year of Feminist Classics. Would that count, or would it be cheating? I really really want to participate in this, but I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to fit in.

    • I would say it does count but I’m not the host. Their message was anything French, so I would assume it is in line. It is such an appelaing event, isn’t it? Do join, yes. I’m finally ready to post on Dutch books next week. Monday and hopefully Thursday. Better late than never.

  10. Thanks for all the great ideas. I listed many books that I have on my list to read this month. I like that you listed some movies and music. I love French art. I am not sure which one would be my favorite. I look forward to everyone sharing their ideas for this month. I am going to be busy looking for some great French recipes! Ooh La La!

    • You are welcome, Brenda and thanks for the nice comment.
      There are so many wonderful French painters, I agree, it is hard to choose. I’ll be interested too, to see what recipes are going to be shared and am curious to read your list. I can’t travel at the moment but I can at least let my mind wander.

    • Oh, great. But just in case, we (Danielle, Emma and myself are doing a Balzac readalong. We will read La Vendetta and post on it on July 19. It has only 80 pages. If you haven’t read it yet…) I’ll be interested to see the movies you will pick. I’m constantly changing my list. I watched Klapisch’s Paris by now, so that’s a worthy candidate and will certainly do one with one of my all-time favourite actresses – Romy Schneider (I got two movies by Claude Sautet, both with Romy Schneider and Michel Piccoli and La Piscine which I totally love). Henry of Navarre is maybe a bit too gruesome for this event. Btw Louise will send the DVD this week!

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