Weekly Lists #152: Favorite French Classics

While I don’t talk about it that much on here, once upon a time: I studied French literature and linguistics. Fun times, I tell ya. The best thing about that, though? It gave me an opportunity to read quite some French classics that, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have ever read. And here’s 5 of my favorites!

1. Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I wrote my master’s dissertation on this book. I mean, the moment you’re willing to read a book in six (6!) languages. I loved it in every language, but French is definitely the version that speaks to me the most. You know, the original language etc? There are so many amazing elements to this story, there are such great lessons to be learned from it, … And of course: the movie adaptation’s not too shabby either 🙂

2. Merlin, Robert de Boron

So everybody knows (of) Merlin, right? Great big wizard, taught King Arthur, very very British? Yeah, turns out he’s actually – originally – French. Or at least, this origin story is. And because I really like everything to do with English royals and I really like the King Arthur-saga? You can bet I was so glad to read this! (Goodreads)

3. L’étranger, Albert Camus

Fun fact: just before I started my bachelors’ degree of French L&L, I had planned to read as many French books as possible. You know, so things would be easier when I actually started my bachelor. Cuz I was also doing my masters’ of English and Dutch at the same time and there was just so much to do. Well, as is often the case with good resolutions? They were nice and all, but not too much came of them. L’étranger (The Stranger), however, was the one book I did finish and I found myself enjoying it way more than I ever anticipated. Just the fact that this was a French book and I liked it this much? Basically guaranteed it a place in my heart. (Goodreads)

4. Perceval ou le Roman du Graal, Chrétien de Troyes

This one is similar to Merlin in that it is, again, part of the stories around king Arthur. Fun fact: these texts are supposedly part of the British “heritage”. You know what is the one course I never had to read these texts in? English. Dutch has these texts, French has them – English, according to my professors. Either way, these myths and stories are genius and I do feel that people should read this. (Goodreads)

5. Le Diable Amoureux, Jacques Cazotte

There’s a certain kind of humor that, to me, reads as just typically French. This book is it. There’s a devil that falls in love with a noble man and then pretends to be a girl to get his affections and there’s so many misunderstandings and, just… It’s kind of amazing 🙂 (Goodreads)

Are there any other French classics you think should be on this list? Be sure to let me know below!

-Saar