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.
Aquitaine Map 524
Description: A regional map of the Aquitaine region from Arcachon south to Pamplona, including Bordeaux and Biarritz, at a scale of 1:200,000.
At Home in France
Author: Ann Barry
Description: Subtitled "Tales of an American and Her House Abroad," this account of life in a small village in southwestern France is shot through with Barry's irony and New York outlook on life.
Bordeaux Wine Region Map
Description: A regional map of Bordeaux, shown at a scale of 1:250,000.
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.
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings
Author: Amy Kelly
Description: A spirited, meticulously researched chronicle that recreates the life and world of Eleanor of Aquitaine in 12th-century Europe. A Harvard University Press Classic, first published in 1950.
Insight Guide Southwest France
Author: Insight Guides
Description: An illustrated guide to Southwest France from Bordeaux to the Pyrenees, Dordogne and Mediterranean coast.
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.
Midi Pyrenees Map 525
Author: Michelin Travel Publications
Description: A nicely detailed (1:200,000), frequently updated regional map of the central Pyrenees, centered on Toulouse.
Paris to the Pyrenees, A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
Author: David Downie
Description: As much a meditation on history and on what it means to be French as a traveler's account (though it has that too), David Downie's spirited book is haunted by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix (say that 10 times fast!) and the Gallo-Roman forbears of modern France. On ancient trails through the forests of the rugged Morvan, they continue across the celebrated wine country of Burgundy and the centuries-old Via Podiensis on the Way of Saint James.
The Basque History of the World
Author: Mark Kurlansky
Description: Popular author Mark Kurlansky offers an engaging portrait of the seven provinces of Basque Land, discussing everything from language to culinary heritage and seafaring traditions.
The Cave Painters
Author: Gregory Curtis
Description: In this tale of art, paleontology and discovery, Curtis introduces the masterworks of cave art in France and Spain, visiting Altamira, Lascaux, Les Trois-Freres, Cosquer, Chauvet and others.
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.
Author: Michael Crichton
Description: Crichton's blockbuster fantasy combines time travel and adventures in Medieval France. A fast-paced, remarkably well-researched introduction to 14th-century Dordogne and Perigord.
Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
Author: Donald Kladstrup
Description: This thrilling account of how the vinters of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached shows that to be French is not just to fight for your country but also for your wine. Kladtsrub, who writes for Wine Spectator, and his wife Peatie, the authors focus on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.