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Mrs Harris Goes to Paris & Mrs Harris Goes to New York
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Mrs Harris Goes to Paris & Mrs Harris Goes to New York (Mrs. 'Arris #1-2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  198 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Mrs Harris is a salt-of-the-earth London chatlady 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 – a Dior dress. She's never seen anything as magical and she's never wanted anything as much. Determined to make her dream come true, Mrs Harris scrimps, saves and slaves away ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published July 5th 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 1963)
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Mar 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 20th-century
I must be the only person in the world who didn't like this. It's a fairy tale about a London char who goes to Paris to buy a Dior dress. Now there's nothing wrong with fairy stories - I love them, whether they are traditional versions, or modern updates that use them as the basis for a new story. But I thought this particular tale was twee. Gallico's view of an archetypal London char is patronising in the extreme, and the characters are merely stereotypes who never came to life. I struggled to ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating series by Paul Gallico. The books read like young adult books. They are written in simple prose that should appeal to younger readers.

Yet, the heroine of the series is not a young person. She is a 60 year old charwoman in London, Mrs. Ada Harris. She is a wrinkled old woman with the spirit of a 16 year old. She is forever ready to go off on a new adventure. She gets into frightful muddles, yet survives them to come out on top. This is the London of mid to late 1950s.

What b
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Too sweet and goody goody, but hey.. Once in a while its good to read such fantasy tales. Liked "mrs harris goes to paris". "Mrs harris goes to new york" was very ok.
Austen to Zafón
It's hard not to like earthy Mrs Harris. For me, this is Dick King-Smith for grown-ups. His books often focus on older, quirky, warm-hearted folk who manage to get into scrapes but handle them with all the aplomb of Gallico's Mrs Harris, making friends in unexpected places and ultimately landing on their feet. Shades of Paddington here too, but like King-Smith, Gallico is unafraid to address the darker side humanity. I will be checking out the further adventures of Mrs Harris soon.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mrs Harris is a wonderful character.
We follow her to Paris as she goes to buy a Dior dress which she has saved up for.
Then to New York where she tries to reunite Henry with his GI Dad.
All ends well.
They are lovely reads.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slight, but entirely charming. Mrs Harris wants nothing more in the world than to own a dress by Dior. She scrimps and saves the money, then is off to Paris for her dress and adventures.
Claudine Cable
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful easy read with lessons to teach us.
I bought this used because the 1958 cover by Gioia Fiammenghi was so charming. Eventually I got round to reading it, and it was just as delightful. Quirky and heartwarming. I've just read here that there is a series, i may have to look for the next few, as well!
Gabi Coatsworth
A refreshingly uncynical read from Paul Gallico. Mrs Harris, a London charlady (housecleaner) decides she wants a Dior dress and sets about getting her heart's desire. The details of life in London and Paris in the early sixties and the depictions of various 'types' are all kindly done. Perfect read if you need to restore your faith in humanity.

IN Mrs Harris Goes to New York, she takes up arms in defense of a boy who's being abused by a neighboring family and decides to go to New York to find hi
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, 2011
I've got this one from the library, it was recommended by a nice librarian who advised this would be a fun light read :) And she was most right! I've only read the Paris part at this stage, maybe some day later will read the New York adventure ;)

Mrs Harris is an enchanting person - she is a cleaning lady that faces life with a very positive attitude. The day she sees a Dior dress at one of her clients, she decides that no matter what one day she'll also have to possess one of those. Therefore, s
Another book spa book, in this case recommended because I mentioned enjoying Persephone Books volumes like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. And this absolutely had the same sort of feeling to it. Mrs Harris is a London charlady who "does" for several clients. One day she discovers a Dior dress hanging in one of her clients' wardrobes, and is smitten. She must have one, and saves up for 3 years until she can finally afford to make the trip. Once there, she changes the lives of everyone she meets. ...more
Patrick Robitaille


Mrs Harris is a London charwoman who had one day an epiphany about owning a Dior dress. Through perseverance and many lucky events, she amassed the required money for the pilgrimage to the House of Dior in Paris. Once there, she has to overcome a few more hurdles in order to get coveted dress, but her return to England and the fate of the dress leaves her with something more precious than what she expected. A slightly moral tale about not judging a book by its cover and about the importance o

Fay Hallam
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a very short and "light" book. Some might call is sentimental and frothy but I loved it for it's message of breaking down class barriers, not judging people and it's life affirming humanity. In that way it's very similar to Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. If you liked that, then you'll love this. The best thing about my copy though, was the inscription from my friend, Steph who bought it for me as a present, which said "for Fay, who loves travel and adventures and designer dresses" Isn't ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm aware that Mrs. Harris is a stereotype. I know that the characters here are cut-outs of the poor-but-salt-of-the-earth, the unhappy-even-though-born-with-a-silver-spoon and so on, but I loved this book. It's a charmingly told fable of a London char of the 1950's and her quest to realise her dream of owning a Dior gown. Mrs. Harris has many adventures, and in some ways her tale does not end happily ever after. But she learns a great deal on the way, as do others, and both she and we can feel ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was indeed a sweet little story. While it does seem very dated, and it is certainly not exactly politicallly correct, it is just a lovely interlude between more serious reading, and that is exactly what I was seeking while I plucked this one from my bookshelf.

Paul Gallico really is one of those authors who I wish I had met. Sadly, of course, that cannot happen, although as I believe I will be working in the cat section of heaven, I'm sure I will meet up with him there.
Shelley Des Forges
The big surpise for me was that Paul Gallico also wrote 'The Poseidon Adventure'. A very different book from Mrs Harris.. Book club discussion was mainly focussed on the tough life of being a cleaner in those days and how beautifully descriptive the language was, especially around the Dior shopping experience.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
El libro contiene dos historias: Mrs Harris goes to Paris & Mrs Harris goes to New York.
La primera me ha gustado bastante, es divertida, tiene un toque que es una mezcla de lo ridículo y surrealista y me agradó mucho el final tan agridulce.
La segunda no fui capaz de terminarla.
Por lo tanto, tomad esta nota como una valoración de la primera historia exclusivamente :)
Margaret Konecsni
So much better than I had expected. I had seen the TV movie of "Paris" with Angela Lansbury, and this had more detail than I had expected, and a few more complications than was in the movie. As for "New York", it was a better slice of "stranger in a strange land" than I had anticipated. The solution was telegraphed, but it was a great ride in the meantime. HIGHLY recommended.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book when I went into hospital to have a stem cell transplant earlier this month. There are two stories in the book, both about the London Char Lady, Ada 'Arris. Both stories are beautifully written, amusing and gentle. I was totally absorbed by both adventures and found them difficult to put down. The stories made me smile and I found them both a soothing and lovely read.
May 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ah, Paul Gallico. I really admire your passion for your characters; the way you write about dresses and fashion with such utter conviction. But I'm sorry to say, with its cheesy ending and overstated morals, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is far too twee for my tastes.

You can find my full review over on my blog, Book to the Future.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want Mrs Harris to be real, and to count myself as one of her many and varied friends!
New York was even better than Paris, as we knew the character of the little char, and she lived up to expectations.
Bring on Moscow as her next adventure
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, e-book, read-2011
Mrs Harris adventure in Paris is a quick and enjoyable read, but the second part (Mrs Harris goes to new York) was way too far fetched for my liking.
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some of the thoughts the author puts into the characters heads seemed quite fanciful - but once you let that go it was a delightful light read.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant - couldn't put it down and a very moving beautiful story.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Really enjoyed Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, but Mrs Harris Goes to New York was pretty poor, unfortunately. Shame because after reading the first book, I was really looking forward to it.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the first story but the second was a little tedious and lacked the sweetness of the first .
This was a delightful, enjoyable, feel-good book. I'm so glad I stumbled upon it in a very unlikely place--Shakespeare and Co bookshop in Paris, France.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sure enjoyed reading this one...bought it at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris--perfect "adventure" to read onboard the Avalon Creativity--our 2016 adventure along the Seine!
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
When the world is a grey place - this the book to read. Pure escapism.
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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
More about Paul Gallico...

Other Books in the Series

Mrs. 'Arris (4 books)
  • Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris
  • Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York
  • Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Parliament
  • Mrs. Harris Goes To Moscow