Top Classic French Books To Explore French Literature

Here are the top French classics that are a must-read for those who enjoy literature! France has enjoyed a strong reputation in European intellectual culture for many centuries, and this reputation extends to French literature. French writers have created works that are well-known around the world, originated and reimagined genres, and investigated everything from marriage to revolution. France has given the world many outstanding writers, like Albert Camus, Victor Hugo, and Jules Verne. 

Whatever kind of book you're looking for, it may be found in the realm of classical French literature. These great French works will introduce you to French culture, take you on a journey through French history, and deepen your passion for the language. Here are some classic French books that I think you should read, whether you're seeking a list of the greatest French books ever written or you just want to learn more about French literature.

Fables, Jean de la Fontaine (1668)

Fables, Jean de la Fontaine (1668)

Fables by La Fontaine are regarded as some of the best works of French literature. Over a span of more than 25 years, The Fables were written. Fables were initially published in six volumes in 1668, then five additional volumes between 1673 and 1679, and finally the final volume in 1694. The purpose of almost all fables is to teach the reader a moral lesson. Typically written for young readers, they impart life lessons via the use of animals that serve as symbols of the good and bad qualities of humans.

Le Malade Imaginaire, Molière (1673)

Le Malade Imaginaire, Molière (1673)

Molière's final play, The Imaginary Invalid, was presented for the first time in February 1673 in Paris. In the narrative, the hypochondriac Argan wants his daughter to wed a doctor so he won't have to pay as much for medical care. But she has another man in her heart. Soon, the entire family supports her outrageous plan to save genuine love and deliver a dose of self-care to Argan's physicians. The play was designed to entertain King Louis XIV and is a comedy-ballet, or a comedy mixed with song and dance. It is also a parody of the medical profession.

Candide, Voltaire (1759)

Candide, Voltaire (1759)

The story begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. In this book Candide, Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers. Immediately after its secretive publication, the book was widely banned to the public because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition, and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté.

Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Alexandre Dumas (1844)

Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Alexandre Dumas (1844)

At The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantès, a Frenchman of nineteen, is wrongly accused of treason, detained, and held without charge in the Château d'If, a gloomy island castle off the coast of Marseille. Abbé Faria, a fellow prisoner, accurately surmises that he was handed in by double-dealing Magistrate De Villefort, envious crewmate Danglars, and bitter competitor Fernand Mondego. His flight is motivated by Faria, who also leads him to a huge amount of riches.

A CONCLUSION

We believe that you have the best selection of books from France that you should not miss.

In addition, finding them can sometimes be difficult, so we have special recommendations for you. Therefore, we will definitely save you a lot of time in searching for attractive French books.