61 Of The Best French Riviera Books you Have to Read

Are you looking for the best books that are set on the French Riviera?

At the end of the 18th and during the 19th century, the aristocracy, especially the British started going to the French Riviera during the winter to enjoy the mild climate here, and to escape from the cold and darkness at home.

It was during this time that the French Riviera started getting the glamorous and luxurious reputation that it still carries today.

As a result of the French Riviera being a vacation place for the wealthy aristocracy at the beginning of its birth as a luxury resort, the south of France welcomed many of the rich and famous in its early years of being a tourist resort. Furthermore, several world-famous writers became so inspired by the French Riviera that they have written books about the French Riviera or written books set in the French Riviera, where the story takes place.

That the French Riviera is the set location for a number of books written throughout the years may not come as a surprise, considering that the incredible views and marvelous climate inspire and impress essentially everyone who come here, including famous writers who have come to the French Riviera throughout the years.

French Riviera’s special setting and climate has also been home to many writers, both permanently and partly, and thus influenced greatly many writer’s books about the French Riviera.

In this article, we’ll share the top books about the French Riviera.

This doesn’t only include the books that are focused on Cote d’Azur as a location, but also the books set in the French Riviera, and which the writers have been inspired by its stunning scenery and views.

When it comes to the books about the French Riviera books, there is something for everyone, no matter what type of books you enjoy.

From iconic classics written by world-famous writers such as F.Scott. Fitzgerald, to books that are more focused on the location instead of a story that takes place and is set here. Furthermore, these books will also allow you to learn more about the history of the south of France, and how it has shaped this stunning location into what it is today.

If you’ve been to the French Riviera, you’ll be able to recognize yourself in many of the books, and if you haven’t visited, these books will allow you to dream away about the stunning views and scenery that the French Riviera has to offer – until you visit, that is.

If you already have planned to visit the French Riviera and are super excited to visit, these books about the French Riviera will help reduce your abstinence, and even better, once you are going to travel, don’t forget to pack one of these top books about the French Riviera and bring them with you on your trip.

If you’re curious about any of the books listed here and want to pick one up, simply click on the image of the respective book. Happy reading!

61 Of The Best French Riviera Books you Have to Read

Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

French Riviera books

This may very well be the most iconic and iconic book set on the French Riviera.

Partly because the story is interesting and captivating, but also because F Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most iconic and famous writers. What makes this book an especially interesting book about the French Riviera is that Fitzgerald himself lived on the French Riviera for some time and was impressed by its natural beauty.

Fitzgerald lived in Paris at the same time as Ernest Hemmingway, and accordingly, they became good friends, and Fitzgerald and his wife regularly visited the French Riviera.

Fitzgerald is seen as one of the best American writers of the 20th century as he was born in the 1890s. The last book that he completed was Tender is the Night, and this may be seen as a follow-up to the Gatsby, a book that Fitzgerald also wrote.

The book is set on the French Riviera as a couple, Dick and Nicole Diver, arrive on the French Riviera and surround themselves with a glitz and glamour lifestyle. The book uses the iconic Hotel du Cap as the inspiration of the Hotel des Etrangers in the book. At its release, it wasn’t very highly regarded upon, however, in recent years, it has gotten more appreciation and acknowledgment.  Today it is considered the 28th best novel of the 20th century by the Modern Library.

The Riviera Set: From Queen Victoria to Princess Grace by Lita-Rose Betcherman

French Riviera books

”Betcherman’s rich account will delight tourists and armchair travelers alike.” As the title reveals, it is focused on riviera, and in particular people who lived there.

Courts of Love, Castles of Hate: Troubadours & Trobairitz in Southern France 1071-1321  Aubrey Burl 

This is a French Riviera book about a troubadour that combines the ideals of knighthood with the inspiration of the poet and musician. At the time it was released, it caused a cultural explosion that had a big influence on Western art and civilization and its course.

The history stretches far back to the year when the first troubadour was born, in 1071. It takes place in the south of France and its distinctive French culture.

The Roman Remains of Southern France: A Guide Book by James Bromwich 

This is the only specialist guidebook to the Riviera which is available, and this makes this book a must-read.

The book presents the most up-to-date research and comprehensively covers and provides great insight and depth into what is revealed in the title of the book.

You can easily navigate this French Riviera book as it has a large number of maps, photographs, site plans, and much more enabling travels of the French Riviera to explore the enormous cultural contribution which was made by the Romans to this part of France.

This French Riviera book is thus more practical, as it allows you to not only learn more about these iconic buildings, but also explore the French Riviera and the Romain remains which can be found throughout the Riviera.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

This legendary book was published in the 1840s and was a huge success upon its release. The book is based on a real-life case, and thus may be contributing to making the story more interesting. The book tells the story of a young Frenchman by the name of Edmond Dantès who is going to marry the love of his life, but there is very little that end up the way you have planned.

Instead, Dantès is betrayed by two other men and then imprisoned on the grisly fortress, off the coast of Marseilles. He is held captivated for 14 years, until he eventually escapes, finding a treasure he has heard about. Following, he decides to take revenge on the two men who did it, and the book is a story that emphasizes how life can change for the worse in the blink of an eye.

The book is still well-worth reading today and is still being read as it continues to stay relevant. The book covers the old and common themes of betrayal, love, and revenge. It furthermore also shows how the plans of revenge can have negative effects on innocent people and not just enemies.

Today, the Chateau d’If, the place where he was held captivated is situated in the Mediterranean sea, 1.5 km off the Marseille coast. Today, it is no longer a prison, however, you can still visit it via a short boat ride from Marseille’s Vieux Port if you want to experience the setting in real life. Whether you want to visit the venue before or after you have read the book, visiting the places you read about is always very special.

The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway needs no further introduction, and you may or may not be surprised that Hemmingway spent time on the French Riviera, impressed by its charm.

in 1946, Hemmingway died, and he still hadn’t finished The Garden of Eden. This is one of the most iconic French Riviera books as it is set on the French Riviera, in the year 1946.

The Garden of Eden tells the story of David and Catherine Bourne, a couple who meet a woman on their honeymoon in the south of France. This is a woman with whom they both fall in love with. David begins an affair with the women, which eventually leads to the separation of his existing relationship. In the book, you get to read that they are living in a ”long low rose-colored Provençal house where they had stayed before… in the pines on the Estérel side of la Napoule”.

This is certainly one of the most iconic French Riviera books, and a classic that you have got to read.

Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

This is another iconic French Riviera book. It was written by Françoise Sagan, whose real name is Françoise Quoirez when she was 18 years old. It was the first novel she had written, and the title translates to Hello Sadness.

She wrote the novel living at her parents’ home on the French Riviera in the 1950s, and upon its completion, it was instantly accepted by a publisher, and when released a literary hit.

The book is about a 17-year-old girl, Cécile, who goes to live with her father for the summer on the Riviera. The book talks about her father’s relationship with two women and how one of the women tries to act in a parental way to Cécile with the goal of gaining more freedom. As a result, Cécile sets out to hurt the woman, but it leads to tragic results.

Her father has no intellectual interests, giving her more freedom,

Today, the book is featured on Le Monde‘s list of the 100 best books of the century, making it a real classic that you just have to read.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin 

This is a novel written by James Baldwin in 1956. It is about the events in the life of an American man who is living in Paris.  In the book, you get to follow the man, his feelings, and frustrations with his relationships with other men in his life. In particular, an Italian bartender named Giovanni.

He met the man in a gay bar and as such, the book is especially famous for bringing complex representations of homosexuality and bisexuality to the public, and it does this with empathy and artistry, allowing a public discourse of issues regarding same-sex desire.

The story is about David, a young American whose girlfriend went to Spain to think about marriage. David is left alone in Paris and then begins an affair with an Italian by the name of Giovanni.

When the Riviera Was Ours by Patrick Howarth 

This book is one of the first modern books on the phenomenon of British travel to the South of France in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is thus an early aristocracy book which is rather interesting as it allows you to understand the time and thought back then, when the French Riviera hadn’t yet become what it is today.

Secret Agent Number One by Max Brand 

If you love reading books about the French Riviera and imagining that you are there, and reading about all the stunning locations, this French Riviera book is for you.

The book is about Anthony Hamilton of the American Secret Service who arrives in Monte Carlo with the goal of discovering the nationality and name of the man who is the Number One Secret Service man from Japan. This is done together with his present purpose in Europe.

Throughout the book, you get to follow him visiting iconic places, such as the casino of Monaco. In doing so, he is being observed by several people.

He asks himself if any of these individuals could be the Japanese agent, and by the end of the evening, one of them is killed.

A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford

The book is set in the late 20s and revolves around the action of a young woman by the name of Costanza. The actions happen as a result of losing a ring

Because of this, the story jumps back to her childhood, and also tells the story also of her mother Anna, who is an American heiress who married an Italian count.

The story jumps around, and the narrative is much like Costanza herself: impetuous, lively, outgoing, jumpy.

The story has no real chronology, and the story draws you to want to find out more about Anna and Costanza who are two women who are very different and yet so similar to each other. The mother, Anna leaves her husband, who, throughout the story remains unnamed, after he cheats on her,

Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler

This interesting book is, among many other places, set in the French Riviera and the Mediterranean sea, as you can guess from the title.

The book is written by the New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Adler, and in the book, you are taken on a cruise where nothing is what it seems, where no one is telling the truth, and murder is the main topic of the events going on in the story.

The story beings with the English tycoon Sir Robert Waldo Hardwick dying mysteriously in a car accident, leaving behind a note where he names six people which he suspects might have wanted him dead.

Daisy Kean, and P.I. Harry Montana team up to seek revenge. They do so on a luxurious and lovely Mediterranean cruise, where all expenses are paid for by the late Sir Robert.

Throughout the journey, they visit and go past many of the iconic cities on the French Riviera, including Monte Carlo and Saint- Tropez, and as the story continues, the mystery of who was the murderer of Sir Robert Waldo depends. In the book, you get to experience many unexpected twists.

Lastly, they finally arrive at the Villa Belkiss on Capri. This is where Sir Robert’s will is to be read, and this the murderer to be unmasked. A very exciting and captivating story, set in the beautiful French Riviera and the Mediterranean coastline which stretches along Italy and France.

Maigret on the Riviera by Georges Simenon

As the name reveals, this is a French Riviera book where the story is set in the south of France.

The story is about Inspector Maigret who is a fictional police detective based in Paris. The story has been serialized several times over the years, both by the French and the English.

In the book, Maigret arrives on the French Riviera to investigate a case. He feels quite conspicuous in his bowler hat and suit as he walks among the tourists and holidaymakers in the south of France.

Flavors of the Riviera by Colman Andrews 

This book is all about encompassing the finest in Mediterranean cuisine. It is a book with a collection of nearly 150 recipes that captures the rich cookery of the region between Tuscany and Provence. This includes iconic dishes such as focaccia, ratatouille, mesclun, ravioli, pesto, and more.

If you are passionate about food, or just want to learn more about the food culture in this region, including the French Riviera, this French Riviera book is the ultimate companion.

It is written by the executive editor of Saveur magazine and author of Catalan Cuisine leads.

The book is an informative and lively tour of the French and Italian coastline, making it a perfect book for the cook as well as the armchair traveler, or anyone who wants to learn more about this traditional cuisine.

The book presents nearly 150 recipes and gives an extensive picture of the cuisine of this region. The author means that the cuisine of the region is often misunderstood, and in the book, you’ll be able to learn more about this thought.

Some of the recipes in the book will be well-known, such as Ratatouille, as well as much more recipes you’ll find interesting.

Also, what’s more iconic for the south of France and Italy than wine? And therefore, the book also includes a detailed chapter on wines.

Murder on the Riviera by Mary-Jane Deeb

An action-packed and engaging book that is exactly about what the title reveals.

Marie-Christine “Chrissy” Medici recently inherited ten million dollars from her French Grand-mère (grandmother), and as such, she enjoys the sun-drenched beaches and amazing food on the French Riviera.

Her Grand-mère prompted her to take the plunge into her dreamed-of literary career, and as a first step, she decides to purchase Le Loup Garou, a small newspaper in Grasse.

But her life and journalistic career become threatened when the former editor of the newspaper is found in his sitting room, shot dead.

In the book, you get to follow a serious of captivating and engaging events taking place on the French Riviera as Chrilly sets out to unravel the chain of events that led up to the crime.

In the story, you get to follow everything from human emotions —envy, greed, suspicion, and everything in between. In the end, will they be able to find the dangerous killer lurking among them?

Get the book to find out and get captivated by the Riviera and the series of events taking place there.

Lartigue’s Riviera by Jacques-Henri Lartigue

Jacques-Henri Lartigue is a celebrated photographer. He discovered the Riviera with his first camera when staying with his wealthy family, just eleven years old.

Lartigue regularly visited the French Riviera for the rest of his life, and then taking many incredible pictures in Nice, Cannes, Cap d’Ail, Antibes, Menton, and Monaco.

This book brings together a large selection of the stunning photographs of the French Riviera which he has taken throughout the years, all accompanied by a lively, informative text.

Lartigue documented a lot of the elegant resort life, the stunning villas, hotels, beach clubs, and casinos, but he also documented much more.

His images are black-and-white, as you’d expect, and he is especially celebrated for his ground-breaking panoramic photographs of the coastline-Lartigue’s Riviera.

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) by Rhys Bower

This French Riviera book is about Lady Georgiana Rannoch who discovers that being a minor royal has its privileges as she visits the glamorous, iconic, but also dangerous French Riviera.

Her Majesty the Queen sends Georgiana off to Nice in the south of France with a secret assignment in 1933. The mission is to recover her priceless, stolen snuff box from Sir Toby Groper.  Of course, her Majesty trusting Georgiana to retrieve the item is an honorable task,  but it is an even greater honor when Georgie in Nice gets asked by Coco Chanel to model the latest fashions.

Throughout the book, however, things go wrong, and on the catwalk, before Georgie can get the snuff-box, someone is murdered. What will happen next?

The Avignon Quintet: Monsieur, Livia, Constance, Sebastian and Quinx by Lawrence Durrell 

The Avignon Quintet is, as the name suggests, a five-volume series of novels written by the British writer Lawrence Durrell. These were all published between 1974 and 1985.

All of the novels in the quintet are metafictional, and the action in the novels takes place before and during World War II, mainly in France, Egypt, and Switzerland, obviously on the French Riviera.

The writer referred to the work as a “quincunx.” and described the different books as “roped together like climbers on a rock face, but all independent… a series of books through which the same characters move for all the world as if to illustrate the notion of reincarnation.”

They were published together as The Avignon Quintet in 1992 which was two years after Durrell’s death in 1990.

Imogen by Jilly Cooper

In this book, you get to read about librarian Imogen, who goes on holiday with two couples on the beautiful Riviera. The story is packed with light-hearted observations about the stereotypes she finds on the French Riviera.

Shaped by the reputation of the Riviera is a place of glitz and glamour. Here, she sees everything from playboys, the models, and other stereotypes.

It’s a very interesting and lighthearted book about the French Riviera, perfect if you plan to visit, or have visited on the past, as you may recognize a lot of the things brought up in the book, but in a joking way.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton released her book and scandalized society through her tale.

The book is a tale of romance, intrigue, and betrayal in New York in the 1890s. She had been a longtime resident of the South of France where she set some of The House of Mirth‘s major scenes on the Riviera. In that way, you might be able to recognize some of the places in the book if you’ve been to the French Riviera.

The book is about Lily Bart, who is in need of finding a husband to help her live life the way she had been accustomed to when living in New York’s high society.

The Razor’s Edge by M. Somerset Maugham

The author of this book lived on the French Riviera for more than four decades, and as such, you can expect that the books have been shaped immensely by this. In fact, Somerset Maugham used Antibes and its characters as the backdrop for her bookThe Razor’s Edge, which was published in 1944.

In her book, she uses a painting and descriptive language which allows you to imagine the beautiful sights and scenery of the French Riviera, and dream about the stunning south of France right from your armchair.

In the book, you’ll be able to read sentences like:

“The shores of the Mediterranean were littered with royalties lured by the climate, or in exile, or escaping a scandalous past or unsuitable marriage.”

It is described as “a sunny place for shady people”.

The book tells the story of Larry Darrell, a woman who had been traumatized during World War I. As such, he sets out to meaning in his life.

The title of the French Riviera book refers to a saying in Eastern philosophy. This saying means ”The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard”. A very suitable title for this book in other words.

J’accuse by Graham Greene

Written by the celebrated and praised author, the man wrote many of the books from the French Riviera.

His book J’accuse is well worth a read, taking place in Nice, and is a captivating and interesting read which will make it difficult to put the book aside.

The story is about the sunny and iconic Nice, but presents a different picture of Nice than the tourists laying on the sun-drenched beaches experience. This book presents Nice in a light of being a place full of organized crime and official corruption. It’s a short book from 1982 whose main purpose is to denounce Nice’s corruption. The book has a second title which is less frequently used, and this title is  Nice Côté Ombre which translates to ”The Dark Side of Nice”, and this is a title which some people mean is more suitable for this French Riviera book.

Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo

The first book in a trilogy that has experienced immense success in France. It has given rise to a new wave of “Mediterranean thrillers”, and is one of the more iconic French Riviera books. This specific book uses Marseilles as its setting.

The story is about a policeman, by the name of Fabio Montale who takes on the tough task of fighting the mafia and local corruption.

The author of the book died in the year of 2000, and in that leaving behind his Marseille trilogy. Apart from this book, the trilogy consists of Chourmo and Solea.

Adventure, romance and war in the Far East: The Iris Hay-Edie Diary: A historical memoir by Iris Hay-Edie 

The title of the book reveals a lot about what the story is about. The book is actually based on the diary and memoir of Iris Hay-Edie who was an attractive Scottish girl who grew up in the aristocratic French Riviera during the 1920s.

The woman suffered from her strict mother, and as a result, she ran away from home and never turned back.

The story takes us on a journey around the world, but most importantly, to the French Riviera. In the story, you get to follow the woman to all types of different places, from Hong Kong to China, to India, and beyond. The character has a positive and outgoing personality, and this helps captivate the reader, making it difficult to put away the book.

What further makes this story so interesting, apart from the fact that it is based on a true story, is that in the book, you can see her old photos and postcards which add an extra dimension of interest to the story and extraordinary life she lived.

Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle

In this French Riviera book, you get to read about a man named Simon Shaw, an English advertising executive who has decided to leave everything behind him and head to the glamorous South of France to transform an abandoned police station into a small yet luxurious and world-class hotel.

To help him, Simon has his loyal majordomo and a French business partner.

The book is funny and overflowing with sensuous descriptions of the good life. Reviews of the book have considered it to be ”the literary equivalent of a four-star restaurant.”

The Hotel Riviera by Elizabeth Adler

Another book set in the French Riviera. This book is about an American woman by the name of Lola Laforet who was swept away in a whirlwind wedding and found herself as the chef and owner of the iconic hotel Riviera – thus the name of the book.

Everything is amazing, and it is like a dream come true, but unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and one day, her husband disappears with nothing more than a wave of goodbye. After half a year, a man named Jack Ferrar who is an American ex-pat living on his boat drops anchor in the harbor where Lola’s hotel is situated, and the man teaches her the true meaning of attraction. Numerous shady people then claim ownership of the Hotel Riviera, and police appear to the place. Lola and Jack then have to track down the mysterious man.

This becomes the journey of their lives, and along the way, they fall in love. They experience amazing food, stunning scenery, and the author succeeds to mediate the beautiful sights the Riviera has to offer.

This book truly is a French Riviera book that perfectly describes and presents the beauty and charm of the Riviera. A must-read for everyone who has ever been to the French Riviera or consider to visit, as it takes the reader through a journey of French Riviera beauty, and describes the Riviera in an engaging and insightful way.

Travels Through France and Italy by Tobias Smollett

This book is travel literature written by Tobias Smollett and published in 1766. As the name suggests, the book is not only focused on the French Riviera but also Italy and France as a whole. But throughout the book, the story of the book is set on the French Riviera. The author Smollett suffered the loss of his only child, 15-year-old Elizabeth, in April 1763, and as a result, he left England in June the same year together with his wife and traveled to the beautiful Nice.

Following, he visited a number of places in the southern areas of France and Italy, mainly the cities of Genoa, Rome, Florence and other towns of Italy. He stayed in Nice for the winter and returned to London in June 1765. As you can understand, his book travels through France and Italy is the account of his journey.

In the book, Smollett describes the history, social life, economics, diet and morals of the places he visited in great detail. The author had a great curiosity, and in his book, you can see that he had a very quick eye, foreseeing the merits of Cannes which was at the time a small village, as a health-resort.

Americans and the Making of the Riviera by Michael Nelson

If you know the history of the French Riviera, you know that eventually, many Americans started going to the French Riviera, including icons and legends such as Ernest Hemmingway.

This book shows that the best season to visit the French Riviera wasn’t the winter, as that was when most aristocrats had been going to the French Riviera in order to escape the cold of mainly Russia, Paris, and England, but instead, the best time to visit was in the summer.

With the shift of the wealthy Americans going to the French Riviera in the summer rather than the winter, the Americans started to shape the modern tourism on the Riviera in the 20th century.

The history details presented in the book show the American influence on the Riviera and how several individuals have contributed to the Riviera.

The book focuses not only on the Americans’ effect and contributions to the south of France as a whole but it also focuses on influential and iconic American individuals, with writers and artists in particular, such as artists as Edith Wharton, Gerald Murphy, Henry Clews, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. These were individuals who had been living on the French Riviera and been inspired by its natural beauty and charm.

The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West

The main character, Isabelle, is a beautiful and immensely rich widow at the age of 26.

In the year of 1928, she leaves America for Cannes and Paris in search of high society, and love, of course.

This French Riviera book highlights a woman who has everything a woman can dream of, yet still, she craves a lasting marriage.

In search of this, she must make a difficult decision and choose between three men: her violent, fascinating lover, the aristocrat Andre de Verviers who is a plantation owner from the Deep South, or Laurence Vernon, an eccentric millionaire.

The book was first published in 1936, and still, today, this is a must-read for Riviera lovers and passionate travelers aspiring to visit the south of France.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy 

This book is a novel written by the British Deborah Levy. It was published on 10 September 2012. It is a short novel which, on the 25th of July 2012 was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Furthermore, on the 11th of September, it was shortlisted. The book was also shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize in 2013.

The story is about a man by the name of Joe Jacobs in the summer of 1994 who is a poet on vacation in a summer home in the beautiful south of France together with his wife Isabel, his daughter Nina, and their friends, as well as the couple Mitchell and Laura.

The calmness and tranquility of the French Riviera come to a roadblock for the group of people when a fan of Joe, Kitty Finch turns up.

She is fascinated by Joe and has an obvious sexual attraction to him, however, Joe’s wife Isabel invites her to stay anyway.

The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers by Ted Jones 

As the name suggests, this French Riviera book is a French Riviera guide for travelers, and not a novel like most of the books about the French Riviera listed here are.

In this book, you’ll be taken on a journey along the stunning coast in the south of France which has been the source of inspiration for some of the most iconic and recognized works in the world.

It will take you all the way from Hyères and St. Tropez in the west to the Italian border in the east

The writer of this book, Ted Jones, introduces the lives, as well as the work of the famous writers who have lived here

The book covers all of the iconic writers of the south of France, including individuals like Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham, and legends like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Guy de Maupassant. Then, of course, he talks about the people who have stayed here less frequently and for shorter periods of times, which includes individuals like Louisa M. Alcott, Albert Camus, Bruce Chatwin, T. S. Eliot, Ian Fleming, and many, many more.

August Is a Wicked Month: A Novel by Edna O’Brien 

Published in 1965, this is the fourth novel written by the author Edna O’Brien.

According to The New York Times, the book featured “one of the best author photographs of the 20th century.” The cover of the book was reprinted in her 2012 memoir Country Girl.

Just like most of her early books, this book was banned in several jurisdictions.

High Season in Nice: How One French Riviera Town Has Seduced Travellers for Two Thousand Years by Robert Kanigel

This book is a traveler’s history of Nice and its history which traces far back to its foundation by seafaring Greeks. The book brings up everything which has helped shape and forms his iconic city into what it is today, from the colonization by Romans, and maybe most importantly in more recent years, the transformation by English aristocrats which contributes to making the French Riviera and Nice into a tourist hot spot and a place for the world’s high society and aristocracy, to now being a huge tourist resort.

The Rock Pool by Cyril Connolly

This novel is written by the author Cyril Connolly and was first published in 1936.

It is the only novel written by Connolly’s, and the story of the book is set on the French Riviera, at the end of the season in a small resort.

The main character Naylor, starts with a study of the decadent inhabitants of the resort, but then, ends up becoming one of them.

Cyril Connolly married in 1930, and it was thanks to the financial support of his wife that he had been able to enjoy a life of travel, particularly in the areas around the Mediettaean, with a special focus on the charm of the south of France.

The story of the novel is set in the city of the fictitious Trou-sur-Mer which translates to ”Hole on the Sea”, and this fiction city is said to have been based on the city of Cagnes-sur-Mer which can be found between Cannes and Nice.

The Bay of Angels by Anita Brookner 

The main character of the book Zoë Cunningham grew up with a widowed and reclusive mother, but she retains a faith in storybook happy endings.

Her mother eventually decides to remarry, and Zoë is thrilled with her prospective stepfather, Simon Gould. Simon is wealthy, but also kind and generous.

He has a great affection for his new family, containing Zoë and her mother, and she continues to pursue her dream of living an independent life, with her own apartment in the luxurious part of London, an education from a university, and relaxing holidays at Simon’s villa in Nice.

But then, a series of unexpected problems intervene in her life, and Zoë soon gets to learn that the freedom that she has been enjoying has come at a steep price.

She now faces a challenge, as she, in order to preserve both her mother’s and her own sense of wellbeing, she now has to discern the true motives of the strangers that she depends on.

An interesting book, set on the French Riviera and the beauty there.

Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera by Michael Nelson

Queen Victoria fell in love with the Riviera when she discovered it on her first visit to Menton in 1882 and her enchantment with this ‘paradise of nature’ endured for almost twenty years. Victoria’s visits helped to transform the French Riviera by paving the way for other European royalty, the aristocracy and the very rich, who were to turn it into their pleasure garden. Michael Nelson paints a fascinating portrait of Victoria and her dealings with local people of all classes, statesmen and the constant stream of visiting crown heads.

In the process, we see an unexpected side to Victoria: not the imperious, petulant, mourning widow but rather an exuberant girlish old lady thrilled by her surroundings. Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera is an absorbing and revealing account that makes an important contribution to both our understanding of Victoria’s character and personality and our view of the late Victorian period.

The Casebook of Monsieur Jonquelle, Prefect of Police of Paris by Melville Davisson Post 

Super-Cannes by J.G. Ballard 

Super-Cannes is a novel which has been written by the British author J. G. Ballard. The novel was published in 2000 and picks up on the themes previously treaded in his earlier novel Cocaine Nights. It has also been called a companion piece to it as well.

The book takes place in the iconic city of Cannes on the Riviera, more specifically on the hills above Cannes where the luxurious aristocratic villas are situated.

Here, a European elite has gathered in what is a so-called business-park by the name of Eden-Olympia.

At this location in the book, a closed society enjoys all of the privileges that the high society life offers, such as luxury homes, private doctors, private security forces, their own psychiatrists, and much more.

The protagonist of the book by the name of Paul quits his job as an editor and moves to Eden-Olympia with his wife Jane. There, she is offered a job there as a pediatrician.

At the beginning of the book, the place seems like the ultimate dream paradise for a worker, however, below the surface and glamorous facade lies problems and dangers. If things are running smoothly, why are all the people living there suffering heavily from stress and insomnia?

Riviera Stories: Just Below the Surface by Debra Moffitt

Written by the award-winning author Debra Moffitt, the book Riviera Stories portrays a number of residents of the French Riviera, all of which are in search of something beyond wealth and glamour, two things that may first that come to mind when thinking about the French Riviera.

In this French Riviera book, all of these individuals are striving towards something different than wealth and glamour, but despite this, they have big differences. In the book, many mysteries appear, as all of the individuals are in the hunt for something that far beyond the materialistic world they live in

The book highlights Monaco, which is truly the symbol and luxury of wealth, Antibes, its beach life, and restaurants, as well as the lush mountains and villages along and around the coast.

The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell

This French Riviera book tells the story of the people who lived at the Château de l’Horizon near Cannes. These people lived there over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel was iconically associated with the French Riviera, to about the 1960s.

The main character of this story is Maxine Elliott who is the daughter of a fisherman from Connecticut. This man built the stunning art deco Château and brought together many icons.

The Château changed hands after the war and Prince Aly Khan then used the castle to entertain the Hollywood set.

In the book, Lovell tells the story about the high society behavior and lifestyle.

Edith Wharton on the French Riviera by Philippe Collas 

Think about iconic cities on the French Riviera, Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes. These cities have mostly become associated with the French Riviera, closely associated with luxury and glamour. The book is an evocative portrait of this vanished world and the golden age of the French Riviera, talking about icons like Coco Chanel, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Ali Khan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Matisse, Czar Nicolas II, and many more of the high society which spent their time on the Riviera and contributes giving it the reputation that it has today.

The Prince and Betty by P.G. Wodehouse 

This French Riviera book is a novel written by P. G. Wodehouse, originally published in the United States in January 1912.

It was initially published as a serial in Strand Magazine in the United Kingdom, but in book format Mills & Boon on 1 May 1912. A substantially different version, incorporating the story o

Psmith, Journalist was published in the US in 1912.

This book tells the story of how the millionaire Benjamin Scobell chooses to build a casino on the Mediterranean island of Mervo and drags the unwitting heir to the throne to help.

However, his step-daughter Betty has a history with the young man John Maude and as a result, it leads to a rift between the reunited pair.

Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery by Debra Moffitt

This book is set on the French Riviera, and at the beginning of the book, it begins on the Riviera with a woman who, despite staying on the glamorous Riviera and living the exclusive and glamorous European lifestyle feels empty inside.

In the book, she comes to the realization that financial success doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness,. Therefore, she looks inside herself and makes the decision of making changes about herself.

Her journey comes to the conclusion that bliss is a destination that exists within all of us. The secret garden works as a metaphor and encourages the readers to connect with the divine feminine through nature

Janna McMahan describes this book as ”Like Eat, Pray, Love without the whine!”

Rabbi Rami Shapiro describes the book as ”Everyone has a secret garden, but few of us are aware of it. That’s why it’s secret. By inviting you into her garden Debra Moffitt uncovers and unlocks the gate to your own. This is a book for the spiritual gardener eager to till the soil of self and harvest the wisdom of Self.”

There’s Something About St. Tropez by Elizabeth Adler 

As the title suggests, a book about one of the most iconic cities on the French Riviera. It’s a story about romance, adventure, mystery, and luxury written by a New York Times bestseller.

The story is about five international vacationers, all strangers to each other, and all of them misfits running from their daily lives are brought to a villa in Saint-Tropez by a rental scam, passion,  and international art heist, murder, and a haunting.

The Private investigator Mac Reilly may have thought that Saint-Tropez was the perfect getaway with his girlfriend and partner Sunny Alvarez, together with his three-legged, one-eyed rescue dog, however, suddenly and unexpectedly, they find themselves having to sort out the misfits’ lives, as well as two lonely children who were on the trail of a mystery, to solve a crime and a murder. All of this taking place in the iconic Saint-Tropez, and its stunning backdrop.

The two children are about to find the killer, but the question is, who will do it first?

A captivating story with the beauty of the French Riviera as an attribute. A must-read!

Romans on the Riviera and the Rhone by Wade H. Hall 

The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie 

The Mysterious Mr. Quin is a collection of short stories written by the author Agatha Christie. The collection was first published in the UK by William Collins & Sons in 1930.

Every chapter of the short stories includes an individual, separate mystery which is solved through the interaction between the two main characters, Mr. Satterthwaite who is a socialite, and Mr. Quin.

Mr. Quin’s partner is small and observant, able to solve each mystery, and together with Quin, they make a tremendous team.

The Prisoner of the Riviera by Janice Law

In this book, you get to read about post-war France where a gambler finds that surviving his vacation may be a long shot.

Finally, peace has come to England, and one night, the young painter Francis Bacon leaves a gambling club accompanied by his lover. In doing so, he sees a man being gunned down in the street.  They do everything they can to help stop the blood flow, but the shot man later dies.

Bacon later receives an offer from the owner of the club that he will erase all of Bacon’s debts if he delivers a package to the dead man’s widow by the name of Madame Renard who lives on the Riviera. And frankly, what gambler would say no to a trip to the iconic Riviera, especially Monaco and its casino?

Bacon eventually finds out that the woman is an imposter, and  Madame Renard is in fact dead.

The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler 

This story is about Lamour Harrington whose husband died two years ago.

She has lost two men to a tragedy, and when she finds out about her husband’s death, she makes the decision of returning to the house on the Amalfi coast, the place where she had been living with her father during the happiest years of her childhood. There, she gets to face unforeseen truths and realities about past events in her life, and she must face the things she fears the most and must do this to find the courage to live life to the fullest.

Nurse on the Riviera by Jane Converse 

This French Riviera book tells the story about a woman who took the European assignment to be near Dr. Bill Lindley. The assignment seemed ideal at first, private duty nurse to a millionaire and guest of her patient on the luxurious Riviera, but once she gets to the French Riviera, Terry Crane realizes she has made a mistake. The handsome  Dr. Lindley was enjoying himself with the jet-set crowd and living a luxury lifestyle, and as such, Terry found herself alone in a climate perfect for love.

What happened next, she couldn’t foresee.

Along the Infinite Sea (Schuyler Sisters #3) by Beatriz Williams

This is a story about lovers in pre-war Europe which meets a woman on the run in the ’60s.

In 1966, in the autumn, Pepper Schuyler’s has a number of problems. In order to be able to take care of herself and the baby she carries which is the result of an affair with a married famous politician, she fixes up a rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction.

The new car’s owner Annabelle Dommerich, however, has her own set of secrets, including a Nazi husband, and a Jewish lover.

Riviera Nature Notes by G. E. Comerford Casey 

Another iconic book about the French Riviera, as the title suggests, and even a century later, the book still remains as fresh and relevant as when it was first published.

The book talks about the beauty of the French Riviera, and common elements, such as olives and pines, myrtles and figs. This book is perfect for nature lovers, gardeners, and travelers, and definitely worth a read, if you fit into any of those categories, especially if you’re a fan of the Riviera.

What Katy Did Next (Carr Family, #3) by Susan Coolidge 

The author of this book, Susan Coolidge was a Civil War nurse who never had a family. Despite this, she was able to capture the heart of children.

The book is about Katy Carr who aspires to be beautiful. The problem is that she is a tomboy, always getting into mischief.

In an accident, she is injured, but her recovery gives her well-needed time to learn to be kind and good.

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

The book Everybody was so young is a biography of a couple living at the center of the top-class most artistic social circle of 1920s Paris.

This couple consisting of Gerald and Sara who are two icons were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s.

In the book, the author portrays the times in which the Murphys lived as well as the friends who flocked around them.

The book brings talks about them spending their vacation on the iconic and luxurious French Riviera with Picasso, or watching bullfights with Hemingway in Pamplona.

A truly unique and special story that is definitely well worth reading.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim 

This novel was written by the British writer Elizabeth von Arnim in 1922.

In writing it, he spent two months on the Italian Riviera. It is the most widely read as it was an English and American bestseller in 1923, as well as the lightest of all her novels.

In this novel, the reader gets to follow four dissimilar women in 1920s England. These individuals leave the rainy, grey environments of England to go on holiday to Italy.

In the novel, you get to follow these women, as they meet and interact.

The Riviera Puzzle by Vincent McConnor 

A book about Chief Inspector Damio who arrives on the sunny French Riviera, and is greeted by a lovely breeze.

He is a Chief Inspector, and as he arrives on the iconic cote daze, so does trouble.

He has a secret mission to assist the local prefecture in recovering a stolen Cezanne, and his very own plan is to sip his favorite whiskey hunt for the perfect bouillabaisse, but the reality has different plans in store for him.

Secret French Riviera by Jean-Pierre Cassely 

A French Riviera book which shows that the Cote d’Azur isn’t limited to the clichés of its beaches, private yachts, and luxury hotels.

In fact, for the people who know how to orient themselves on the French Riviera, and leave behind the beaten paths, the book proves that the French Riviera is full of surprising details and amazing sights. As a matter of fact, if you look beyond the tourist attractions, even the local inhabitants who think they know the French Riviera will be surprised by what it has to offer.

The Day of the Panzer: A Story of American Heroism and Sacrifice in Southern France by Jeff Danby 

A detailed book that puts you at the account of World War II combat, describing a brief yet bloody tank/ action in August 1944.

It is based on six years of research, everything from interviews, primary documents, as well as visits to the battlefield.

On August 15, 1944, the allied hit the beaches in southern France and this books tell all about it.

The French Riviera: A Cultural History by Julian Hale 

As the name reveals, this is a book about the French Riviera. Yachts on an azure blue sea, dark green pines and swaying palms, stunning sportscars, and everything in between.

Julian Hale reveals in this fascinating volume there is another side of the French Riviera than all of that, and the Cannes film festival, the luxurious Monaco casino, and everything that Cote d’Azur is associated with.

Above Monaco, there are towers that work as a reminder of Roman power, the Emperor Augustus’ Trophy of the Alps.

There are Monuments to  Napoleon and Maginot Line forts. Statues and gravestones recall and remind about the Belle Epoque, and the many churches and chapels which can be found along the coast and in the inland villages remind about a time of the Renaissance to Picasso and Matisse in the twentieth century.

In her book, Julian Hale reveals how a piece of rugged inaccessible coastline has, throughout history transformed into a hideout for luxury and hedonism, or what the author Somerset Maugham famously called it “a sunny place for shady people”. At the same time, having a very special beauty of its own.

Matisse: A Way of Life in the South of France by Jean-Bernard Naudin 

This is a book that celebrates Matisse’s style of living, and as you know, he lived in Nice, on the French Riviera, and therefore, the Riviera is an important location in this book.

The book features everything from the airy interiors that inspired Matisse, the  Oriental vignettes, figs and flowers, and much more of the things that appear in his paintings of the period of living in the south of France and being inspired by all the elements there

His lifelong collections of objects and textiles appear time and again in his work, and if you’re as inspired by the French Riviera as you are by Matisse, you’ll love this book.

Azur Like It by Wendy Holden 

In this book, you get to go on a winning escapade through the south of France that captivates and engages and brings up clear views of the beauty of the south of France.

The story is about an intrepid reporter in her hometown hamlet by the name of Kate Clegg who has dreams of parlaying her job at the Mercury and make it into an award-winning career with the most celebrated papers in London. However, she has come to a roadblock and struggles, having been investigating a drainage disaster at the local high school. One day, however, the shady billionaire Peter Hardstone pulls up outside the Mercury’s storefront office in his gold Ferrari and starts firing the staff.

Kate made the decision of leaving the place behind and she is presented with an offer she cannot refuse, which is a chance to cover the Cannes Film Festival on the luxurious Côte d’Azur. What happens next, you’ll have to read and find out.

Riviera Towns by Herbert Samuel Sidney 

This interesting French Riviera book has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. In other words, if you haven’t read it yet, now is the time.

It was reproduced from the original artifact, and it has focused on remaining as true to the original work as possible. This is why, in the book, you will see the original copyright references, as well as library stamps, and other notations in the work, contributing to making the book more exotic and interesting.

Since it is in the public domain in the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work inside the US since no entity, whether individual or corporate has a copyright on the body of the work.

If you haven’t read it, now is the time. Especially if you’re interested in the French Riviera, which the book is related to, as the title of the book reveals.

Southern France: An Oxford Archaeological Guide by Henry Cleere 

This book is a new addition to the Oxford Archaeological Guides series. In the book, you get to explore the south of France, and you get to read a text by world expert Henry Cleere who concentrates on the rich archaeological heritage of the French Riviera, and in terms of archeological findings and objects yet to be found, the French Riviera has absolutely no lack of it.

Today, many incredible findings such as cave art of the Paleolithic period, and other things can be found throughout the Riviera, revealing its long and rich history.

The book is complete with information about these historic places and is packed with things like maps, listings of museums, suggestions for further reading, and most importantly,  an extensive coverage of sites. No matter what your interests are, this book is perfect if you want to learn more about the history of the French Riviera.

A Walking Tour in Southern France: Ezra Pound Among the Troubadours  by Ezra Pound 

The author Ezra Pound came across a cache of notebooks dating back to the summer of 1912 when rummaging through his papers in 195.

As a young man, Pound used to walk the stunning landscape of southern France, having been fascinated by the impeccable beauty of the landscape, but most importantly the poetry of medieval Provence since his college days.

In his earliest books of poems, he includes Arnaut Daniel, Bertran de Born, and others in his scholarly.

Certainly an interesting book worth reading!


As you can see, the French Riviera has been a big inspiration for many writers throughout the history. Of course, this is not very surprising considering its stunning scenery, gorgeous views, azure blue water, and amazing climate.

Which of these books have you already read? Which of these books are you going to pick up?

Let us know in the comment section below!

1 Comment

  • Any chance you might know of a novel set in Nice after WW2 about a brother and sister, the sister goes to America to be a governess to a family and the brother stays in France and falls in love with a German girl, who he marries, but who secretly steals away to Marseille to gamble and thus make money. She is found out at the end. I think it may be called “The Kindliest Heart”?, I am trying to get a copy as I read it a while ago and would like to reread it. It was written right after the war. Thank you!

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