Is it any wonder that Paris is the backdrop to countless novels? Being Paris-born I am biased but you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful, romantic city where the past intermingles seamlessly with the present. I read a lot of books set in Paris, and my own award-winning novel L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece opens and closes in the City of Lights – at the Orsay Museum, to be exact.
My motivation for writing L’Origine was to write an entertaining and enlightening novel about a titillating chapter in art history that the majority of English-speaking readers may not have been exposed to. L’Origine is a historical fiction that traces the remarkable odyssey of L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), a 19th century painting so scandalous it was kept hidden for a century and a half, passing clandestinely from hand to hand across centuries and continents. It is a story of survival, replete with Turkish pashas, French revolutionaries, and nefarious Nazi captains. Today, Gustave Courbet’s notorious painting hangs in the world-renowned Orsay Museum in Paris.
As the first artist authorized by the Orsay Museum to re-create Courbet’s L’Origine du monde, I was thrust into the painting’s intimate orbit. The experience inspired me to share my story and the painting’s riveting adventures with readers beyond the confines of the art world. If you’re looking for more titles to scratch that Paris itch, I’d like to recommend five titles that go beyond the rom-com format. Scattering the words arrondissement, quartier, croissant and chéri throughout a manuscript is not enough to hold my interest. There has to be more to it–something intriguing and original. Each of the following titles offers a unique insight into my favorite city and France’s long and colorful history. Bonne lecture! Happy reading!