Parisian Charm School – A Book Review


Parisian Charm School

It’s the height of summer here in Melbourne. The weather has been hot (and oddly steamy) and the days are luxuriously long. It is the perfect time of the year for a little rest and relaxation. And what are lazy days without a good book – or two – to dip into?

Jamie Cat Callan’s latest book, Parisian Charm School was released at the very start of January and went straight onto my must read list. The timing could not have been more perfect from my perspective, and I purchased the electronic version almost immediately. I really enjoyed Jamie’s previous books Bonjour Happiness and Ooh La La! and I was quite confident that I would find Parisian Charm School equally as entertaining.

And it turns out I was right. Parisian Charm School is absolutely charming (pun completely intended). And I’m not the only one who thought so. No less an authority than The New York Times agrees with my assessment.

As with her earlier books, the chapters revolve around a theme. In this instance, Jamie concentrates on revealing a great many French secrets to both cultivating joy and captivating a man’s heart. But that’s not to say that the happily partnered amongst us won’t take something from this book. There really is something for everyone here.

Title: Parisian Charm School

Author: Jamie Cat Callan

Published: 2018 by Penguin Random House. E-book, 224 pages.

What I Liked:

  • The fact that readers are introduced to numerous French resources. These resources primarily take the form of experts like authors and guides (some of whom I was aware of, others were new to me). This engagement with others adds a conversational touch to the book, and takes it away from being a pure opinion piece.
  • All of the stories. There is no doubt about it, Jamie is a story teller at heart. And I love the way she peppers her lessons with anecdotes – most of which revolve around her many visits to France.
  • The ‘lesson recap’ at the end of each chapter and the associated practice exercise. Not absolutely necessary I guess, but these two elements definitely support the school/lessons concept of the book.
  • The glossary at the end of the book. I really liked the glossary, perhaps due to the fact that I’m enjoying learning French again. Or maybe because it is just cute. Regardless of the reason, I appreciated the glossary on the book’s final pages.
  • The recipes and food tips that sneak into Chapter Nine. An unexpected, but lovely, touch!

What I Wasn’t So Sure About:

  • There is just so much to love about this book, I really had to dig to come up with something to fit under this heading. If I was really pushed, I’d have to admit that not every chapter was relevant to me and my life situation. But, with that said, Jamie writes so well that this did not impact on my enjoyment of the book at all.

Have you read Parisian Charm School? What did you enjoy most about it? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

P.S. If you are keen to check out some more of my reading recommendations, make sure you click through to the Distant Francophile Book Shelf.

Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been received from Jamie Cat Callan, Penguin Random House, associated publishers or distributors.


About Janelle

I believe that every woman can bring French style and joie de vivre to her life, no matter where she happens to live in the world. She only needs to know a secret or two to be on her way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll learn the style and grooming secrets that will help you to dress with the confidence so many French women seem to have.


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2 thoughts on “Parisian Charm School – A Book Review

  • Alisa

    Janelle, I have to say that I cringed a little bit when I saw that this book review was for yet *another* book about how fabulous French women are and how to be just like them in ten easy steps.
    But I trust your judgment so I went and found it and read the first part…and I am charmed! (wink)
    It is hardly an academic treatise but so enjoyable to read – I think that my French friends would chuckle a bit at the American obsession with French women but would also find much to agree with in this book. So glad you brought it to our attention! A wonderful beginning of the year suggestion for a fresh start.

    • Janelle Post author

      Yes yes, I know. The books about fabulous French women are absolutely everywhere. And so many of them are complete rubbish. But I’m glad you are enjoying this one so far Alisa. I agree, there is a touch of charm about it. I think February is going to turn into a bit of a review month on DF…I hope you’ll find more interesting bits and pieces!!