Suggested Reading List
A Traveller's History of France
Author: Robert Cole
Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.
A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age
Author: William Manchester
Description: Organized into sections on the Renaissance, Reformation and Discovery, Manchester's popular history evokes in vivid detail the great figures and daily life of the 16th century, including Henry VIII, Magellan, Borgia, da Vinci and Martin Luther.
Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer's Tour of France
Author: Kermit Lynch
Description: A delightful and warmly anecdotal book, highly recommended for anyone touring the wine regions of France. Lynch brings the domains and appellations of French wine to full-blown life, and his portraits of the grand personalities who make the wine are priceless.
Art and Architecture in France, 1500-1700
Author: Richard Beresford, Anthony Blunt
Description: A depiction of artistic endeavors which were born in 16th- and 17-century France.
Birds of Europe
Author: Lars Svensson
Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second revised edition of this exquisite guide has been brought up to date with revised text and maps.
Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages
Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg
Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.
Author: Joanne Harris
Description: This charming novel set in the Loire Valley pits provincial morals against pleasure. Adapted into a popular movie.
Eleanor of Aquitaine, A Life
Author: Alison Weir
Description: Weir's enjoyable biography of the woman who was both queen of France (married to Louis VII) and queen of England (married to Henry II) shows Eleanor as an ambitious political and artistic powerbroker in an age when most women were seen but not heard.
Eyewitness Guide Loire Valley
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: Visually rich, comprehensive, and practical, this guidebook is an excellent introduction to the history, culture and attractions of the Loire Valley. Highly recommended.
France Centre Map 518
Author: Michelin Travel Publications
Description: A colorful map of central France, including the Loire valley, Tours, Orleans and Bourges, at a scale of 1:200,000.
In a Dark Wood Wandering, A Novel of the Middle Ages
Author: Hella Haasse
Description: With a cast of thousands including Joan of Arc and the Dukes of Burgundy, this 1949 historical novel renders the political intrigue, people and texture of 15th-century Europe and of medieval court life during the Hundred Years War.
Joan of Arc
Author: Mary Gordon
Description: In elegant, insightful prose, novelist Gordon meditates on the courageous and complex young girl and the iconic status she has acquired.
Joan of Arc, Personal Recollections
Author: Mark Twain
Description: Mark Twain's historical novel of Joan of Arc, drawing on his research and travels in France.
Leonardo da Vinci, The Mind of the Renaissance
Author: Alessandro Vezzosi
Description: With chapters on the Florence of the Medici, Milan in the time of Sforza and Milan, Rome, Amboise, this colorful pocket encyclopedia illustrates and documents the life and work of Leonardo and of Renaissance Italy.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook
Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet
Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
The Age of the Cathedrals, Art and Society 980-1420
Author: Georges Duby
Description: The definitive historical study of the building of the great cathedrals. French scholar Duby, writing very accessibly, describes the cathedrals themselves, and the philosophical, religious, and political climate that enabled them to be built.
The Autumn of the Middle Ages
Author: Johan Huizinga
Description: A pioneering work of social and cultural history, this well-translated classic is a richly detailed portrait of life, thought and art in 14th- and 15th-century France and the Netherlands.
The Food of France
Author: Waverly Root
Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).
The Most Beautiful Villages of the Loire
Author: James Bentley, Hugh Palmer (Photographer)
Description: An illustrated portrait of the region, its landscape, architecture, and people, featuring 275 color photographs and accompanying lively essays by Francophile James Bentley.
The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France
Author: Ina Caro
Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.