Learning French with books


The French Riviera: muse and cradle of great writers

Nothing beats a nice book when it comes to unwinding. Reading French books in their original version can be an excellent way to learn French. The International Centre of Antibes (CIA) is located in one of the most beautiful regions of France: the French Riviera. Today, we are taking a closer look at a few writers who were inspired by this unique scenery. Crime intrigues, autobiographical accounts or historical novels, there is something for everyone.

Cosmopolite love on the French Riviera

The successful author Guillaume Musso — he has sold 5 million books — is from Antibes, precisely where the ICA is located. While he was writing Et après…, the novel that made him a best-selling author, Musso was also teaching at the International Center of Valbonne, a french school welcoming children and teenagers of all nationalities. This is in part due to the highly cosmopolite character of Nice. This cultural melting-pot has inspired many novels including Raoul Mille’s trilogy Le Paradis des tempêtes. In this series, we discover the impossible love uniting an English boy and a French girl at the end of the 18th century.

Writers’ childhoods in the Baie des Anges

Many French-speaking authors have spent time on the French Riviera and a few of them actually spent their childhood there. Romain Gary, the only author to have ever won the Goncourt Prize twice — the second time under the pseudonym of Emile Ajar — is one of them. He arrived in Nice from Vilnius with his mother, and join the benches of the Lycée Masséna where he then spent his teenage years. He recalls his experience of those years in his autobiography La Promesse de l’Aube. Max Gallo, born in Nice from Italian migrants, also spent a few years at the Lycée Masséna, this time as a teacher. Member of the French Academy, Gallo wrote numerous historical novels including the series La Baie des Anges whose title is inspired by the eponymous beach which stretches from Nice to Saint-Laurent du Var.

Intrigues, travels and initiations under the sun

The infatuation for the Baie des Anges is far from new! Guy de Maupassant himself wrote Sur l’Eau during a sailing trip he was taking on board of his personal boat, the Bel Ami. In his writings, he describes — among other sights — the famous promenade de la Croisette in Cannes. More of a crime-novel person? Well, you will be pleased to know that in Liberty Bar, Georges Simenon’s famous detective Commissaire Maigret, sets camp in Antibes to solve the enigmatic murder of a rich Australian man. Last but not least, let us mention two outstanding female French authors whose novels take place under the sun of the Riviera: Françoise Sagan with her Bildungsroman Bonjour Tristesse and the legendary Colette with L’entrave. Learn French through books and literature is an excellent way to improve your language skills while having a good time. Dive into one of those novels and follow the tracks of your favourite heroes between Nice and Antibes. Complete your readings with French courses in France thanks to our tailored programs for all levels and all ages.

About the Centre International d'Antibes

Recevez notre newsletter mensuelle sur les voyages, les langues et la culture

Share :



Interview with Loïc Gastou, our "dad to the over 50's"


The Thirteen Desserts of Christmas