Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “French Lessons” as Want to Read:
French Lessons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

French Lessons

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,447 ratings  ·  681 reviews
A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a sp
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about French Lessons, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about French Lessons

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,447 ratings  ·  681 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of French Lessons
Rebekah O'Dell
Jun 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was super-excited to receive French Lessons in the mail. “Ah,” thought I, “a book about Paris. The perfect, bookish way to release post-school year stress.” Sadly, I was disappointed. Disappointed to the point of barely forcing myself to finish it.

Sussman’s novel is framed around three French tutors working for an agency. Involved in their own little love triangle, the French tutors meet clients during the day, teach them a little (very little) French, and then rendez-vous for drinks. On this
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Here’s my tip: read French Lessons by Ellen Sussman while sitting in a cafe having a chocolate croissant and good coffee. That’s the easiest and fastest way to transport yourself to Paris this summer.

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman delivers Paris in her myriad facets, conjuring freshly baked pain au chocolat, strolling by the Seine, and the thrill of a romantic dalliance. This is Paris through the eyes of three Americans at a crossroads in their lives, who, in discovering Paris, rediscover thems
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
Rating: 3.5

Wasn't she the siren a few years ago, the women Vic boasted about? "My wife loves sex," he once told a friend of theirs. "You lucky fuck," the friend said. Whenever they finished making love, Riley would whisper in Vic's ear: "You lucky fuck." And he would fall asleep with a smile on his face.

She hasn't seen that smile in a long time.

That quote made me laugh and smile :)

As you can see, the UK paperback is just stunning.

Also, I love how there are sections to the book dedicated to a pa
Jane Stewart
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: womens-fiction
I would not have bought this if I had known it was four short stories. I prefer to avoid short stories.

None of the stories are complete. At the end of the three American stories, my feelings were: 1. empty. 2. I’m left hanging. 3. I feel like what’s the point. There was a nice end for the tutors, but it was missing the middle – no character or relationship development.

The subject matter in the three American stories: 1. A woman grieves over the death of a lover. 2. A woman who is miserable and u
This is a 1.5 star book, I didn't actually HATE it, so I had to go with two. What the hell? As with many of the reviewers I read, I had high hopes for this novel about three tutors individually taking their students out for a day in Paris. How could that possibly be boring?! But these are not characters, they are caricatures (perhaps that is the point?):the over-sexed young Frenchman, the sensitive young Frenchman and the nubile yet ill-treated (ill-cheated:)) Frenchwoman as tutors paired with t ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Too much talk of penises and affairs. Not my style.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
This delightful book is my kind of beach read: fabulous urban location (Paris!), seemingly uncomplicated characters who actually have great depth, lovely language, and heady discussions of love and loss written in an accessible and deft way.

Initially, I thought I wasn't going to dig this book since infidelity was clearly going to be a theme of the novel but I found Sussman's writing and characters had depth and complicated back stories (presented in a clear, light, moving way). Even if my purita
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was ok

Well...I don't really know where to begin with this one. There's three different stories in one. The beginning starts off with three french tutors in Paris who are about to embark on a day of work. These three tutors are involved in a love triangle. After this is established there are three separate stories, one involving each, which explains their day.

Each story is filled with sex. Basically the book is kind of raunchy. But it was also depressing. Each person learns somet
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
It begins by introducing three young, sexy Parisians who work at the same language school and provide private tutoring for emotionally unstable Americans. Or Americans who become emotionally unstable after spending a couple hours with their young, sexy French tutors. Anyway, it then breaks up into three stories as each tutor meets with his/her student for the day. The first section is actually pretty compelling. I was disappointed that it veered off that story. The second part is not really beli ...more
Katherine Tomlinson
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
C’est l’amour
A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a different French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Ellen Sussman’s novel French Lessons is a book for those who love movies like Love Actually and Valentine’s Day.
The three Americans traveling through their day are a diverse lot—there’s French teacher Josie with her secret sorrow, Riley, a
Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page)
I absolutely love France, especially the beautiful city of Paris, and so when I was asked to participate in a blog tour for French Lessons, I jumped at the chance! Whilst the majority of books I read are aimed towards young adults, I certainly am not opposed to reading adult fiction and this made a nice change for me.

On initial inspection of this book, I thought that it'd be a quick, fun piece of chick-lit - but how wrong was I! This book will fit into the chick-lit genre, but it felt like so mu
The story of three Americans and their French tutors during one day in Paris.
Two of my favorite lines from the book are:
Are we in love or with the idea of being in love?
A crush is about desire, not love, and will never live up to our expectations.
This story gives us a glimpse into the unfulfilled desires and unspoken passions inside each of us, what is love, and how it can be realized in the light and glow of Paris.

Very easy read and loved the sensuality of the writing. It brought back memori
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the city of love and romance anything is possible. For three French tutors their world’s are each turned on end by three very different American students. With nothing to lose after the death of her lover, Josie sets off for Paris on the trip that may change everything. For Riley, Paris is not a city of love but perhaps the place where she lost her love and passion for life until she meets Phillippe. Jeremy is lost for words when he meets his tutor Chantal. Each experiences something complete ...more
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
French Lessons is simply wonderful, a real delight! Paris is known as the city of love and I'll admit I have a bit of a soppy soft spot for all things Paris myself! This novel for me was an escape, one that I so desperately needed, I was transported to Paris alongside the characters and what a fabulous time I had. French Lessons had me daydreaming about spending some time in the city and I was sighing in longing at the delights that the characters experienced. I think this is written brilliantl ...more
Melissa T
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I just picked up this book today and read it in about two hours. It's a quick read, and enjoyable.

The scene of Paris is set very well, I felt like I could be walking through the streets myself. I don't know if I will ever go to Paris. I'd like to hope so, but if not, then this book did a good job of giving me a brief, inviting glimpse.

There's a lot of sex in this book, but it's written about tastefully. It's a nice mix of rough and raw, and emotional.

I did have a hard time feeling for Josie,
Virginia Campbell
During the course of one eventful, enlightening day in Paris, three French tutors and their students each reach a turning point in their lives. The tutors are Nico, Chantal, and Philippe. Nico loves Chantal, and she loves Philippe, who loves whomever he is in bed with at the moment. Chantal and Philippe have been together, though not exclusively on his part, for a year. When Chantal can no longer tolerate Philippe's sexual wanderings, she spends one night with the smitten Nico. The one day in wh ...more
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Ellen Sussman’s French Lessons was . . . eh, fine. Though her writing is lyrical, I got to know her characters in such a limited, superficial way that no one person has stuck with me. Weeks after finishing, I had to physically open the book to remember anyone’s name. That doesn’t bode well. I never thought a book about sex -- and make no mistake: this one oozes with trysts, sensuality and attraction -- could be so dull.

Nico was probably my favorite character, but only because he was the one pers
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: romantic-reading
I received French Lessons in the mail and finished it the same day. I became enamored with Sussman's description of Paris life and quickly transported myself into the city of love. The novel is separated into four separate stories: the tutors and the stories between the tutors and the Americans they are tutoring. The tutors kick off the novel and I became intrigued because I wanted to know how these three radically different people tutored. I think the first story between Nico and Josie is by fa ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon's Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman

From the back of the book: " A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning not just about language but also about love and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways."

What I liked about this book: Not much. I really wanted to like the book. It got off to a good start
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: found-at-library
Paris. Three people are taking French lessons with three different tutors. Each of these six people have something in common. A language school and a movie being filmed in Paris provide intersections for these six to interact and learn from one another.

They are unsatisfied. Life is a loud, chaotic rush. They are in or are avoiding being in long-term relationships. The time spent in these lessons is a bit dreamy as most vacations are surreal compared to mundane everyday life. Each of the six is
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Jeanine by: I won it.
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this story. It had a little sex but nothing over the top. The story is written in sections or chapters starting with the tutors and ending with the tutors. The three middle sections are devoted to each student and their tutor and what happens in one day in Paris.

Product Description

From the Trade Paperback edition.

A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: firstreads
This book was a pretty good read. I'd certainly recommend it. I received it as part of a First Reads giveaway.

It follows three story lines, those of three different Americans in Paris, and their day with their French tutors.

The first is about Josie, a recently-quit high-school teacher of French. Josie's reasons for being in France aren't exactly admirable, but Sussman wrote her in a way that makes her surprisingly sympathetic. Her tutor in Nico, who somewhat nonsensically professes to have falle
Girls Gone Reading
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
French Lessons was a welcome surprise.

Encompassing the lives of six people (three French, three American), French Lessons focuses on the impact of strangers and the impact of one very important day.

Ellen Sussman got the idea for French Lessons from her husband. Working in Paris on their anniversary, Sussman bought her husband lessons with a French tutor to keep him occupied and interested. The tutor turned out to be beautiful. The idea for her story was born.

But French Lessons doesn’t focus on l
This was trashy, but decently enjoyable as a breezy afternoon read. I blew through it in about two hours. I will admit I skimmed some of the parts I was less interested in. Riley and Phillippe interested me very little, so I didn't spend a lot of time on them (I didn't really need or care about the babies angle, but I can see how for mothers it would be different). I found Josie's story the most compelling, and spent the most time with her- I wish that part had been longer. Also, what was the po ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Like a bottle of good red wine, open up this book and let it breathe awhile. By the end of the book, you will be savoring the 3 Americans' storylines and how they are connected by the additional storyline of the the three French tutors.

If you are a fan of bibliotravel (reading fiction before, during, after a trip with the setting where you travel....or wish you could travel) then this book is for you. You will feel like you had a mini holiday in Paris with all the flavors, sights, smells, and s
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"French Lessons" is the story of three French tutors and their very different students. Nico's student, Josie, is an American French teacher in mourning. Philippe's student, Riley, is an expatriate housewife who wants more out of life. Chantal's student, Jeremy, is a woodworker whose wife happens to be a film star.

The book follows a single day with each pair, with both teachers and students learning something about themselves as the students not only practice their French but open up about their
Aug 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Don't you hate it when a "guilty pleasure" book isn't a pleasure at all? I bought this to read on a plane ride figuring it would be nice armchair traveling, even if I was only headed to Pennsylvania and not Paris. Sadly, the book didn't really live up to my expectations. To be clear, I generally don't have high expectations for my "guilty pleasure" reading, but I think this book tried too hard to be more than just a guilty pleasure. (Hey, nothing wrong with reading nor writing guilty pleasure bo ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story. It was an advance reader's edition provided by The Bookreporter. It's story of 3 different Americans in Paris and their 3 French tutors and what happens to them in the course of one day. The French tutors know each other and have interesting relationships that change as they interact with the Americans in that 1 day. I could really relate to how the Americans in the story felt about being in another country and feel obviously an American and slightly looked down upon ...more
Jo Anne
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Just as the 2-star rating was just OK. Three ultra-goodlooking (we are led to believe) French tutors accompany three Americans for a week of French lessons and, in one instance, sex. For the other two students, they may not have consummated the act itself, but they sure were thinking and fantasizing a lot about it! Josie has just lost her married, older lover to a plane crash. Riley is burdoned by her marriage and motherhood. Jeremy is married to an actress and just wants to be lef ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mages and Pages: Hard to find 1 7 Jun 02, 2012 06:33PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Letters from Paris
  • The Christmas Lights
  • In Paris With You
  • Ewig Dein
  • The Dead of the House
  • Before You Go
  • My Losing Season: A Memoir
  • Lost & Found (Rocky Pelligrino, #1)
  • Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
  • Murder Cuts the Mustard (Beryl and Edwina Mystery, #3)
  • Du domaine des murmures
  • Meg and Jo
  • The Shooting at Chateau Rock (Bruno, Chief of Police #13)
  • A High Wind in Jamaica
  • Here They Come
  • Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2)
  • London Match (Bernard Samson, #3)
  • Embraced by the Light
See similar books…
Ellen Sussman is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies, Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave and Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes. ...more

News & Interviews

Are you spending this season bundling up against the chill or enjoying summery southern hemisphere vibes (in which case we are...
101 likes · 32 comments
“Sometimes we have to run away from ourselves in order to find ourselves.” 9 likes
“Our parents don't know us... They can't know us. We hide ourselves from them. Once they knew everything about us and in order to escape them we keep out secrets, our private selves.” 9 likes
More quotes…