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Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris

(Mrs. 'Arris #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,851 ratings  ·  254 reviews
Mrs Harris is a salt-of-the-earth London charlady who cheerfully cleans the houses of the rich. One day, when tidying Lady Dant's wardrobe, she comes across the most beautiful thing she has ever seen in her life - a Dior dress. In all the years of her drab and humble existence, she's never seen anything as magical as the dress before her and she's never wanted anything as ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by International Polygonics (first published 1958)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  1,851 ratings  ·  254 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris = Flowers for Mrs. Harris, Paul Gallico
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris is the title of a Paul Gallico novel originally published in 1958. In the United Kingdom, it was published as Flowers for Mrs Harris. It was the first in a series of four books about the adventures of a London charwoman. The plot revolves around Ada Harris, who is so enchanted by her employer's couture wardrobe that she becomes determined to go to the House of Dior in Paris to purchase an evening gown of
Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay, I know. It seems ridiculous. I adore this book. I first read this book as a young girl in the Reader's Digest version and fell in love with the story of the charwoman who ends up with a Dior gown. It's a great story and Paul Gallico is a wonderful storyteller. I am so fond of this good-hearted and amusing tale that I recently found a new copy and purchased it to place on the "beloved books" shelf. If you need a lift this is an excellent story to while away a few hours and cheer you right u ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Delightful. This is the kind of book to read when you need a break from reality…when you want the planets to be aligned and the world to be full of friendly strangers. It's perfectly brief because too much at once would be too sweet. Instead this is a wonderful little after dinner mint. (and I love my first edition copy with the beautiful dust jacket. And the fact that it says 'Arris is really ace.)
Description: Mrs Harris is a salt-of-the-earth London charlady who cheerfully cleans the houses of the rich. One day, when tidying Lady Dant's wardrobe, she comes across the most beautiful thing she has ever seen in her life - a Dior dress. In all the years of her drab and humble existence, she's never seen anything as magical as the dress before her and she's never wanted anything as much before. Determined to make her dream come true, Mrs Harris scrimps, saves and slaves away until one day, af ...more
They don't write books like this any more. No, they really don't, and that's a pity. Mrs. Ada Harris is a London charwoman who has saved her pennies for years to fulfill her one secret desire - to own a Dior designer gown. The story opens with our aging, sweet heroine on her first airplane flight - to Paris. As Mrs. 'Arris (as she says it) moves about Paris she charms almost everyone with her kindness and naivete.

In this book there isn't any violence, sex, profanity, or other elements so many w
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
A hard to rate book. Dated and silly but if you are wanting an afternoon spent in the most unrealistic Paris and London to ever exist then you'd probably enjoy this book.
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The small, slender woman with apple-red cheeks, greying hair, and shrewd, almost naughty little eyes sat with her face pressed against the cabin window of the BEA Viscount on the morning flight from London to Paris. As, with a rush and a roar, it lifted itself from the runway, her spirits soared aloft with it. She was nervous, but not at all frightened, for she was convinced that nothing could happen to her now. Hers was the bliss of one who knew that at last she was off upon the adventure at t ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-teen, brain-candy
Part of my review of this book is simply for nostalgia's sake. I read this in a Reader's Digest version when I was about 11 and thought Mrs. Harris was so gutsy to take her char woman's savings and go to Pars to buy a Dior gown. She insited on fulfilling her dream and charmed everyone she met. Me too. I even enjoyed the Angela Landsbury tv movie version of the book. Just a sweet read about an adorable plucky older lady who is young at heart.
A charming, old-fashioned tale, surprisingly touching. Simply lovely.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A sweet, delightful concoction like a French Cinderella story or the most delicate, airiest trifle.

The widowed London char woman Mrs. Harris is overwhelmed by desire to possess a beautiful Dior dress and decides to save the money for one despite being a poor cleaning woman. She's simple but pure of heart, just like in olden fairy tales.

The short story is heart-warming and enjoyable. Mrs. Harris encounters all of the usual human traits through her journey, selfishness, anger, righteousness, hono
Michelle Meeks
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I made a New Year's Resoultion to not buy any books (expect for teaching) and to read what I already owned. Okay, I admit it, I have bought 2 books for reading, 3 for teaching, and 2 for "fun". Regardless, this was a book on my shelf. I purchased it because I love old books, Dior, and anything to do with fashion. This was such a sweet story (c. 1957) about a sweet charwoman from London. Very light and uplifting. My favorite part...
"She had ventured into a foreign country and a foregin people she
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gville
Sweet Mrs 'Arris. This story was a delight, even down to the unexpected ending that was drastically different from the movie but still lovely.
My only slight annoyance was the author's multiple references to the desire for a beautiful object being a "purely feminine" instinct-- I think it's simply a human instinct- but I understood why he used that terminology.
Predictable but nice.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eva by: Tabitha
Shelves: adult-recs
This was indeed a very sweet book (albeit one clearly written by a man). Thank you Tabitha for the rec!
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was sweet and light for the most part, an enjoyable short book.
Mrs. Harris is a London cleaning lady who leads a fairly unexceptional life. Until one day, when she sees a Dior dress in a client's closet, and she is gobsmacked. She. Must. Have. A. Dior. Dress. Even if she never wears it, merely to possess such a piece of perfection will, she feels sure, enhance her life immeasurably.
When she finds out how much it will cost, she sets about scrimping, saving, and gambling a little, trying to g
Lisa Brantly
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It was very sweet...
Yvann S
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"To the gallant and indispensable daily ladies who, year in, year out, tidy up the British Isles, this book is lovingly dedicated"

I'm not much of a novella reader (although maybe I should change that, because I have very much enjoyed my few experiences thus far), but Flowers for Mrs Harris posed a perfect lunchtime read for the first day of my holiday.

Mrs Harris (or 'Arris, as she would pronounce it) is a London charwoman who, upon spying two Dior gowns in the wardrobe of one of her clients, fin
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of an older, widowed charwoman who becomes enamored of a Dior dress and determines to own one. She sees signs that this is what God wants for her when she wins the football lottery but it isn't enough and she must save and scrimp to get the money. Then the adventure starts. Ms Harris must travel to Paris to the dressmaker, she must get the right currency and she must get around among the notorious and not to be trusted French. Mrs Harris flies to Paris, manages to actually get a front ...more
Proud Anangosolporn
First book of the year (2018) what a good start. The book is beautifully written describing the beauty of Paris, Dior dresses, flowers and one’s mind. I love the way the book teach us to enjoy and cherish a journey rather than a destination. three words to sum up this book : PASSION. PATIENCE. KINDNESS.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a charming book! It is impossible not to love dear Mrs. 'Arris and all the Parisians who help her attain her heart's desire.
Alysa H.
Not so much "dated" as just belonging to a lost era, this slim book is nonetheless utterly charming!
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is such a sweet book. i think it should become required reading. good lessons to learn and honestly, we should all try to be more like Mrs Ada ‘Arris when dealing with life and any difficulties or obstacles we might face.

Mrs ‘Arris for president 🌸
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Feel Good Brit Lit
Recommended to Jason by: Movie
Shelves: 2018
Favorite new book read in 2018

This was delightful. My first exposure to the story was the made-for-TV move starring Angela Lansbury from the early 1990's. I haven't seen it since then and remember almost nothing about it other than I liked it, and I think the ending was different. I don't remember the stuff happening at the end of the book at all, and I remember some scenes in the movie that definitely weren't in the book. And while I saw Angela Lansbury in my head as I read...

...what I heard w
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: light-reading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Could have (should have?) been a 5-star rating, but is not. I'll try to explain.

Mrs. Harris is an endearing, earthy character, with an unusual "problem" to solve. She inexplicably and overwhelmingly desires to own an authentic Christian Dior dress...she, an unassuming London charwoman. The ensuing story is well-written and flows smoothly. However, the rub for me was the (very) occasional insertion of something off-color at various points in the narrative. The effect is similar to watching a high
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the one I should have read first before reading "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York". In this book we are introduced to Mrs. 'Arris, a char woman/house cleaner who is hit with a dream of owning a Dior dress. (The author really captures how a person can feel so strongly about wanting a piece of fashion!) Through perseverance and sheer will she attains the dress. And her kind personality causes positive things to happen to the people who meet her in Paris. As a reader, you find yourself rooting ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: romance readers, or if you need a lift from heavy books

The bestsellers of 1959 are either extremely long or incredibly short. At #9, Mrs 'Arris is one of the short ones. It is a romantic piece of fluff.

Mrs 'Arris is a London char woman who is not that unhappy with her lot but conceives of a desire to own a Dior gown. By means of luck, planning and sacrifice, she gets her wish. Then, as in any fairytale, she learns to watch what she wishes for.

You can read it in an hour and while it is not Breakfast at Tiffany's, it is wickedly fun. Especially if you
Lauren RM
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is really cute. I promised myself to read every book I own, and if I don't read it and love it, away it goes. I loved this book. It's incredibly cute, and after reading more books about class distinctions in Europe I really appreciate how nonchalantly he approaches it. I think it's because he's an American...anyway, if you're losing hope for the world, read this book. It's silly and wonderful.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this charming tale and the way Mrs. Harris went about in her normal way but began to change other people's lives. The story is an easy read but hard to put down. The plot has several twists and turns right up until the last page. I hope to read more by this author. It is a story that will speak to you for sure!
I suspect I read this in a Reader's Digest Condensed Book version, though I may have reread the full version later. Although my parents didn't censor my reading, I'm sure there was nothing in this book that any parent of an 11-year-old would object to. It was charming, fun, and a bit inspirational -- highly recommended.
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Reading 1001: Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico 3 12 Apr 18, 2019 04:02AM  

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Paul William Gallico was born in New York City, on 26th July, 1897. His father was an Italian, and his mother came from Austria; they emigrated to New York in 1895.

He went to school in the public schools of New York, and in 1916 went to Columbia University. He graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree, having lost a year and a half due to World War I. He then worked for the National Boar

Other books in the series

Mrs. 'Arris (4 books)
  • Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York
  • Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Parliament
  • Mrs. Harris Goes To Moscow
“They were worlds apart in everything but the simplicity of their humanity, and so they were really not apart at all.” 2 likes
“Drab and colorless as her existence would seem to have been, Mrs. Harris had always felt a craving for beauty and color and which up to this moment had manifested itself in a love for flowers....

Outside the windows of her basement flat were two window boxes of geraniums, her favorite flower, and inside, wherever there was room, there was a little pot containing a geranium struggling desperately to conquer its environment, or a single hyacinth or tulip, bought from a barrow for a hard-earned shilling.

Then too, the people for whom she worked would sometimes present her with the leavings of their cut flowers which in their wilted state she would take home and try to nurse back to health, and once in a while, particularly in the spring, she would buy herself a little box of pansies, primroses or anemones. As long as she had flowers Mrs. Harris had no serious complaints concerning the life she led. They were her escape from the somber stone desert in which she lived. These bright flashes of color satisfied her. They were something to return to in the evening, something to wake up to in the morning.”
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