Passed on by fellow UTracks traveller Mark on a previous cycling holiday, Elisabeth in our London office thoroughly enjoyed reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. It is an inspiring book that transports readers along some of France’s most famous and scenic waterways to Provence and the rural south.
Jean Perdu, the main character in the novel, is a ‘literary apothecary’ who runs a bookshop on a barge on the Seine in Paris and has a knack for being able to prescribe the perfect book to people to heal them. Despite his gift, he is unable to restore his faith in love and mend his heart after having it broken years ago. Joined by young writer Max Jordan, who’s struggling with writer’s block, and the lovelorn Italian chef Cuneo, one day he decides to set out for Avignon and further south to Aix-en-Provence and Toulon on his floating bookshop. On this boat journey, Perdu hopes to find answers from his long-lost love and Jordan hopes to find inspiration for his new book.
The story takes the reader past quite a few familiar places to us here at UTracks as we visit them on a selection of cycling holidays and bike & barge trips. For example, one of the first stops on the trio’s journey is the Loing canal, which we visit on the Seine Valley Bike & Barge. This canal is also where the painter Sisley found inspiration for his beautiful impressionist paintings. A part of the book that stood out for me is when the trio save a woman from drowning in the Saone River, exactly on a section of the river that we explore on the Taste of Burgundy cycling holiday.
A big chunk of the book is set in the Provence and Luberon regions of southern France. Scenes of the Luberon Mountains, hilltop villages, chirping cicadas and countryside dotted with vineyards, lavender fields and fruit trees made me want to hop on the next plane out of London!
Another reason I loved this book is because it contains tips for eating in the south of France. It mentions for example charming bistros and some mouth-watering Provençal recipes. Especially the pistou soup that helped recover the woman who almost drowned, and lei tretze dessèrts (the 13 desserts) stood out for me.
Engaging… [George’s] sumptuous descriptions of both food and literature will leave readers unsure whether to run to the nearest library or the nearest bistro. — Publishers Weekly
This review was written by Elisabeth, who works at the UTracks UK office in London. Are you an avid reader? If you’d like to write a book review of a European travel book for us, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!
Explore Provence with UTracks
- Best of Provence | 8 day self guided walking holiday
- Highlights of Provence by Bike | 8 day self guided cycling holiday
- Rambling in the Luberon | 7 day self guided walking holiday
- Provence Bike & Boat | 8 day guided bike & boat holiday
- Taste of Burgundy | 8 day guided cycling holiday
- Cycle the Loire – Nevers to Orleans | 7 day self guided cycling holiday
- Seine Valley Bike & Barge | 8 day guided bike & boat holiday