Film review: Girlhood, Céline Sciamma

Girlhood Director: Céline Sciamma Starring: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla Cert: 15 Running time: 113 mins If I was to ask you to sit with me and watch a two-hour film about a gang of 16-year-old girls (the film’s French title is

The Hundred Foot Journey

Film review: The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey Director: Lasse Hallström Cert: PG Running time: 124 mins Two cinematic legends share the screen in this heart-warming culture-clash comedy which has cuisine at its core. Helen Mirren plays a snooty restaurateur whose Michelin-starred establishment caters for the

Film review: Life of Riley

Life of Riley Director: Alain Resnais Cert: 12 Running time: 108 mins This was the late director Alain Resnais’s final film and his third adaptation of a work by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. Featuring a plot about an amateur dramatics group rehearsing for

Film review: Suite Française

Suite Française Director: Saul Dibb Cert: TBC Running time: 107 mins Set in 1940s France and based on the posthumous best-selling work of Irène Némirovsky (who died in a Nazi concentration camp), this film gives the story a deserved ‘big

Book review: Dear Reader

The Resistance Man Paul Fournel, Pushkin Press, £10 An elegy to print publishing in decline, told through the eyes of an ageing book editor and written by a former publisher. The ‘reader’ is an e-reader, publishing’s divider between the familiar and

Book review: The man in a hurry, Paul Morand

The man in a hurry Paul Morand, Pushkin Press, £15 This re-released masterpiece by one of the modern maîtres of French prose is a fable which criticises life lived in a hurry. The author – a controversial, cult figure renowned for

Book review: Robert Doisneau

If photography books about France keep you riveted for hours, then this career-spanning collection of works by Robert Doisneau, who’s perhaps the most celebrated Gallic lensman – toss a coin twixt him and Henri Cartier- Bresson – will have you positively salivating.

Book review: Taschen’s Paris

Taschen’s paris Angelika Taschen, with photos by Vincent Knapp, Taschen, £27.99 The publishers Taschen are always on-trend when it comes to chic places to stay, eat and shop, and few cities better deserve the chunky style bible treatment than Paris. The

Film review: Breathe

Director: Mélanie Laurent Starring: Joséphine Japy, Lou De Laâge Cert: TBC Running time: 91 mins This emerging directrice’s second feature film is rooted in the familiar coming-of-age trope, yet a clichéd tale of teenage angst this is not. Best-known for her acting role in Quentin Tarantino’s

Review: Renoir

Directors: Gilles Bourdos Cert: TBC Running time: 111 mins An atmospheric insight into the motivations of two great artistic minds or simply the story of how a naked woman lounging about the house waiting to be painted – in between grand dinners and dreamy rustic picnics –

Review: Excuse My French

Excuse My French R Best and JC Van Waes, £9.99 Kyle Books Not the first book on speaking French without faux pas, but entertaining nonetheless. Rachel (a rosbif) and her partner Jean-Christophe (a frog) share with us the benefit of their experience gained from what

Book review: The Hairy Hikers

The Hairy Hikers David Le Vay £8.99 Summersdale David and Rob, two friends in their forties, set about walking the mighty GR10 – a French footpath the length of the Pyrénées. From start (Hendaye) to finish (Banyuls-sur-Mer) the 530 mile journey took them nearly two months

Book review: Quiet Paris

Quiet Paris Siobhan Wall £12.99 Frances Lincoln It might be the most visited city in the world, but the author of this new guide has searched out an impressive 120 places in Paris where peace and quiet reign supreme. Inside are listings for calm

Film review: Thérèse Desqueyroux

Directors: Claude Miller Cert: 12A Running time: 110 mins Young, rich and bored by provincial life, Thérèse (Audrey Tautou) is a compelling, complex character who believes that marriage to the rather boring Bernard (Gilles Lellouche) is what’s expected of her. Their marriage seems doomed from the outset as

Film review: Hôtel Normandy

Director: Charles Nemes Cert: TBC Running time: 97 mins Alice (Helena Noguerra) is about to celebrate her 40th birthday, her friends club together to send her on a luxury break at the dreamy seafront Hôtel Normandy in Deauville. Having lost her husband in a motorcycle accident a few

Film review: Populaire

Director: Régis Roinsard Starring: Romain Duris, Deborah François, Bérénice Bejo Cert: 12A Running time: 111 mins If you are looking for a light-hearted piece of film fluff then look no further than this charming romantic comedy from Régis Roinsard. Although you shouldn’t be

Film review: Mea Culpa

Director: Fred Cavayé Cert: 15 Running time: 90 mins A gritty tale of good and bad cops battling against criminals and the law, tragic circumstances and family threats, this certainly isn’t a ‘feel-good’ film. Shot in the grimy suburbs of Paris, the plot revolves around the drink-driving homicide committed

Film review: Les Misérables

Director: Raymond Bernard Cert: PG Running time: 280 mins Eureka Entertainment does splendid work in releasing classic, often overlooked French films for the DVD generation and this high-res ‘4K’ restoration of Bernard’s epic, almost five-hour adaptation of Hugo’s novel is a welcome addition to the canon. Harry Baur plays

Book review: The Resistance Man

The Resistance Man Martin Walker, £16.99 Quercus They say that war casts the longest shadow, and so it proves for the chef de police, Bruno, in Martin Walker’s latest thriller. An infamous 1944 train robbery at Neuvic in the Périgord, carried out by the French Resistance, rears its head.

Book review: Paris Chien

The story of Hudson, a Norwich Terrier who moves to Paris. He loves the new sights and smells, but has to learn French if he wants to make friends.

Book review: À la Mod

Book review: a young family’s relocation from a suburban house to the tranquil consign of the beautiful and serene (or so you’d think) Loire Valley in France.

Book review: Paris Sketchbook

Paris Sketchbook Jason Brooks, L King Publishing, £17.95 Jason Brooks discovered Paris through his work as a fashion illustrator and here he shares with us the sketches he snatched of the city around him in between couture shows. Every one is worthy of a place

Film review: Paper Soul

Director: Vincent Lanoo Starring: Stéphane Guillon, Julie Gayet Cert: TBC Running time: 100 mins This festive charmer opens with hangdog eulogy writer Paul (played by Stéphane Guillon) picking up his cheque after another funeral where his specially crafted – and perhaps over-frank and

Book review: Memoirs of the First Impressionist Art Dealer

Memoirs of the First Impressionist Art Dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, Flamarrion, £32 These are the intriguing if fairly dense memoirs of a key figure from the era of the Impressionists, about whom Claude Monet said, “Without him, we would all have died of hunger”. Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) was an art

Book review: Nothing like a dream

Nothing Like A Dream Jane Jennings,, £8.99 For anyone seeking a new life in France, this engaging and very readable novel works on a couple of levels. In telling the story of one extended British family’s move to Normandy – replete with all of the attendant

Book review: Virgile’s Vineyard, Patrick Moon

Virgile’s Vineyard Patrick Moon, Matador, £9.99 This is an expanded version of Virgile’s Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country, which was first published in 2003, and has been produced to sate popular demand. It’s an autobiographical tale of upping sticks, abandoning a career as a solicitor and

Book review: Paris Magnum Eric Hazan

Paris Magnum Eric Hazan, Flammarion, £40 When envisioning Paris, the mind’s eye will most likely conjure visions of bustling café terrasses, smoky jazz clubs and, of course, photographer Robert Doisneau’s 1950 shot, Le Baiser de l’hôtel de Ville (Kiss by the Town Hall). At the time

Film review: In the House

In the House Directors: François Ozon Cert: 15 Running time: 105 mins Claude, (Ernst Umhauer) is a 16 year-old school boy who has taken to spying on one of his classmates and their family in their home, using them as inspiration for his English homework –

Film review: Stroller Strategy

Stroller Strategy Director: Clément Michel Cert: TBC Running time: 88 mins In a bid to reconquer the girl of his dreams, Thomas Platz (Raphaël Personnaz), will have to come up with a truly ingenious plan, convincing Marie (Charlotte Le Bon) that he’s genuinely changed and that

Film review: Looking for Hortense

Director: Pascal Bonitzer Starring: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Kristin Scott Thomas, Isabelle Carré Cert: 12A Running time: 100 mins Damien (Bacri) lives in Paris with his partner Iva (Scott Thomas) and their young son Noé (Marin Orcand Torrès) in a beautiful bourgeois apartment. But when

Book review: Breaking Away, Anna Gavalda

Breaking away Anna Gavalda, £6.99 Gallic Books It might be a French book translated into English, but the story here is universal – one we can all relate to (if you get on with your siblings, at least). Breaking Away sees a grownup Garance reunited with

Book review: The Perfect Meal, John Baxter

The Perfect Meal John Baxter, £9.99 Harper Perennial In addition to his work as a film critic and biographer, Australian-born Paris resident John Baxter has written acclaimed memoirs about his life in France, including Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas. This time, he uses a culinary excavation for great

Book review: Paris Gourmet, Trish Deseine

The Paris Gourmet Trish Deseine, Flammarion, £22.50 There are so many restaurants and pâtisserie windows in Paris that someone like Trish – a top food writer who has lived in the French capital for the past 30 years – had to come along to help

Film review: Grand Départ

Grand Départ Directors: Nicolas Mercier Cert: 15 Running time: 83 mins Luc (Jérémie Elkaïm, Polisse) may be an adult, but he doesn’t miss a chance to show up his brother Romain (Pio Marmaï, Delicacy), whether in front of a beautiful woman or their ageing father, Georges (Eddy

Film review: Van Gogh

Van Gogh Director: Maurice Pialat Cert: 15 Running time: 158 mins French singer Jacques Dutronc won – perhaps suprisingly – the casting call to play the legendary brushman Vincent Van Gogh in Maurice Pialat’s definitive biopic, which now gets a DVD and Blu-Ray release, thanks to

Film review: Le Week-End

Le Week-End Director: Roger Michell Cert: 15 Running time: 93 mins When Meg (Duncan) and Nick (Broadbent) Burrows return to Paris to celebrate their 30th anniversary, you can be sure that some things will have changed since they honeymooned in this most romantic

Book review: La Tartine Gourmande

La Tartine Gourmande Béatrice Peltre, Roost Books, $35 In the unforgiving world of social media for foodies, you don’t get 27,000 Instragram followers unless you cook brilliantly and take lovely photos. Béatrice Peltre, whose website we featured last issue, is very much in the vanguard of food writer/photographers,

Book review: Bon courage!

Bon courage! Richard Wiles, Summersdale Books, £8.99 Richard Wiles is famed for a succession of DIY books, and was the Senior Editor of Ideal Home Magazine. After his marriage failed and he lost said job, Richard felt compelled to embark upon the ultimate DIY adventure, along

Book review: Summertime all the cats are bored

Summertime all the cats are bored Philippe Georget, World Noir, £10.99 This classy, sun-soaked Perpignan-based police procedural slipped somewhat under the radar this summer, but deserves a much wider audience with this English translation. The author is a former newsreader who possesses a real flair for both the

Film review: Le Jour Se Lève

Le Jour Se Lève Director: Marcel Carné Cert: PG Running time: 91 mins To mark 75 years since it was released, Marcel Carné’s outright classic comes to DVD and Blu-Ray in all of its restored, uncut cinematic glory. This gorgeous

Film review: Attila Marcel

Director: Sylvain Chomet Starring: Guillaume Gouix, Anne Le Ny, Bernadette Lafont Cert: 12A Running time: 106 mins This first live-action feature from the director of French animated classics Belleville Rendezvous and The Illusionist is an interesting transition into the ‘real world’.

Book cover

Book Extract: A French Romance

Can the English be as romantic as the French? Author Julia Stagg shares a delicious tale of French romance in the mountain village of Fogas, where the characters already feel like family.

Review: An Englishman Aboard, Charles Timoney

An Englishman Aboard Charles Timoney, Penguin Books, £9.99 We all know how it goes: it’s New Year’s Eve, the champagne is flowing and, inevitably, someone recklessly agrees to take on some madcap resolution. Timoney’s proved to be more challenging than most

Film review: A Perfect Plan

A Perfect Plan Director: Pascal Chaumeil Cert: 15 Running time: 104 mins Despite its strong cast led by Diane Kruger and Dany Boon this romantic comedy is let down by an implausible plot, flitting between forgivably silly and downright ludicrous.

Film review: Camille Claudel, 1915

Camille Claudel 1915 Director: Bruno Dumont Starring: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent Cert: PG Running time: 91 minutes Camille Claudel (Binoche) was a sculptor of immense talent whose career was cut tragically short. Following the tumultuous end to her passionate relationship with Auguste