Suggested Reading List
A Moveable Feast
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.
A Tall Man in a Low Land
Author: Harry Pearson
Description: Pearson, a British travel writer, journalist and comic is an entertaining guide to Belgium and its traditions, culture, beer and chocolate.
A Worldly Art
Author: Mariet Westermann
Description: This appreciative analysis of Dutch art in its Golden Age (1585-1718) features 100 exemplary illustrations by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals and other Old Masters.
Amsterdam, A History of the World's Most Liberal City
Author: Russell Shorto
Description: Russell Shorto opens this delightful ode to an adopted city with his daily journey, by bike of course, through his neighborhood to drop off his toddler son. He spins a tale of a diverse city (178 nationalities, more than New York), wrestled collectively from the sea, its coffee shops, canals, personalities and politics with panache.
Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Manfred Wolf (Editor)
Description: Organized by district, these 17 contemporary short stories by modern Dutch writers, including Cees Nooteboom and Geert Mak, are set amid the canals, cafes and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.
Author: Michelin Travel Publications
Description: Covering the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg at a scale of 1:400,000.
Eyewitness Guide Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp
Author: Rebecca Miles
Description: This superbly illustrated guide features color photos and maps of city neighborhoods, with information on history, culture and sightseeing.
Fodor's Amsterdam's 25 Best
Description: This slim guide to essential highlights includes an excellent map of the city center and can easily be slipped in your pocket.
Frommer's Paris Day by Day
Description: This compact yet remarkably thorough guide, ideal for a short visit, includes recommendations for everything from food to shopping. With a separate fold-out map of the city center and suggested itineraries for visits of one to three days.
Girl With a Pearl Earring
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Description: Chevalier's richly drawn novel imagines the story behind Vermeer's mysterious portrait of a turbaned girl with a pearl earring.
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.
Author: Borch Maps
Description: A sturdy laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:12,000 and all of Paris at a scale of 1:15,000.
Paris in Mind
Author: Jennifer Lee (Editor)
Description: With selections spanning 300 years, this wonderful anthology reflects America's long connection to Paris and the French. The 30 American writers tapped include Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway and David Sedaris.
Paris to the Moon
Author: Adam Gopnik
Description: Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.
Parisians, An Adventure History of Paris
Author: Graham Robb
Description: Beginning at the dawn of the French Revolution and continuing, in its own charming, haphazard way to the present, Robb's paean to the City of Light (he's clearly in love) takes in the history of Paris through the stories of Marie Antoinette, Sartre and Simon Beauvoir, Napoleon, Zola, Proust and others, renowned and heretofore unknown.
The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition
Author: Anne Frank
Description: The classic story of an adolescent Jewish girl's life and thoughts while in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Holland. A new edition with added material.
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 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.
The Secret Life of the Seine
Author: Mort Rosenblum
Description: After losing his Paris apartment, Rosenblum, a born storyteller, takes to a houseboat moored on the Seine. The result is this entertaining tour of the places and people he encounters during his explorations along the river.
Author: Colin White
Description: A laugh-out-loud, irreverent guide to Dutch character and habits, including how to drink coffee and why you shouldn't even think about haggling over prices.
Author: Mike Dash
Description: The story of the world's most coveted flower and the extraordinary passion it aroused, this vivid history traces the story of the tulip from its origins on the Turkish steppes to status as an absurdly desired object in Europe and its key role in the financial follies of 17th-century Holland.