There are some classic novels that you either read at school because your teachers made you or because you actually enjoy reading and you read these books at home. Whatever kind of person you are, you should take the time to find at least one or two classic novels to read. There are books for every kind of person: action, drama, love, intrigue, etc. It’s impossible not to find something you’ll enjoy. In order to make this article readable and not 1,000 pages long, we only included 13 french classic novels. If ever you think we forgot a major classic, let us know in the comments below!

1Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert)

This book was written in 1856 and was Flaubert’s debut novel. It was attacked and criticised when it first came out and there was even a trial which gave it, even more, publicity and notoriety. It became a bestseller in 1857 and since then, it’s has become part of the classic French books on every best of list. The story takes place in northern France where a second-rate doctor, Charles Bovary, marries an unpleasant woman named Héloïse Dubuc. Charles falls in love with a girl named Emma and marries her after his wife dies. The story tilts towards Emma. She loves luxurious things, high society, and lives beyond her means. She has two affairs behind her husband’s back without his knowledge.

2Les Misérables (Victor Hugo)

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Well, my friends, May has come to an end, and so has #readLesMis / #LesMAYsérables. What an intense and rewarding experience. As I said to a few people yesterday after mentioning in my stories that I had finished, my emotions upon reading the final page were simultaneously something like this: 😢❤️💁🏻‍♀️😔💪🏼💔🏆💕 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This novel is so expansive, and the reading of it such an undertaking, that I don’t know how I could rate it any less than five stars. Sure, my rating is totally influenced by the triumphant feeling of accomplishment that comes from successfully tackling 1300-plus (sometimes quite dense) pages, but I stand by it nonetheless. – Victor Hugo’s beautiful, slowly-unfolding tale of Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, and all the rest is nothing short of masterful—the way the characters’ lives intertwine; the constant low-grade (and sometimes high-grade) suspense and fear; the love between parents and children, friends, strangers, revolutionaries; the budding romance; the sacrifice; the glory of it all. Wow. – And yes, there are dull sections. Please don’t misunderstand me. Your eyes might glaze over in response to the seemingly endless descriptions of the Battle of Waterloo, or the history of convents, or the sewer system beneath Paris. But ultimately, even these superficially boring moments serve a purpose: they take you out of the story for a while, building anticipation for the continuation of narrative action, and they add a richness and atmosphere to the world of these beloved characters. I occasionally wanted to roll my eyes and tell Hugo to pleeease wrap it up, but in the end I can’t fault him for his ramblings. I certainly learned a lot about France in the 1800s. – I’m proud to have finished this epic work of classic fiction and I honestly think I’m a better person because of it. Christine Donougher’s translation is excellent—not too formal, not too conversational, and very easily readable. Highly recommended. – – Others who participated in the May group read, or friends who have previously read Les Mis—what were your thoughts? Hit me up if you want to talk about it! – – #embritchesreads #embritchesreviews

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You’ve probably heard of Les Misérables because of the 2012 movie with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. The book was published in 1862 and is known as one of the best novels of the 19th century. There have been numerous adaptations: a film in 1935, 1952, 1958, 1995 and a few radio and television adaptations. The store chronicles the lives of several characters that in all related in some way. The most central character is Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who turns his life around and becomes a wealthy factory owner but who is still pursued by a policeman named Javert. There are other intertwining stories that allow you to see different sides of each and every character.

3Les Fleurs du mal (Charles Baudelaire)

Les Fleurs du mal was published in 1857 and even though it is not a novel but a series of poems, it is still a must-read. This is another novel that was highly criticised. Baudelaire was fined 300 francs for publishing his collection of poems and some of his poems were stilled banned until 1949. There are six sections: Spleen et Idéal (Spleen and Ideal), Tableaux parisiens (Parisian Scenes), le Vin (Wine), Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil), Révolte (Revolt), and la Mort (Death). The main themes of these poems is decadence and eroticism. Baudelaire criticises the 19th century modern France and how it creates a sense of anonymity, alienation and estrangement.