I've been learning French for a while. Le Petit Prince is at just the right reading difficulty, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Are there other books similar to this? I'm looking for a novel:

  • Originally French
  • Not simplified on purpose (like many simplifications of famous works)
  • At a reading difficulty level approximately that of Le Petit Prince

I did read this similar question, which mentions Volkswagen Blues, but I can't seem to get hold of that book.

  • I'm glad you found the question I think this one is a duplicate of, and sadly, it's essentially unanswered, it's better answers being hidden in comments. There are more suggestions here. I hope this one gets better answers :·) – Nikana Reklawyks Dec 7 '12 at 18:32
  • 1
    It may be a bit more difficult than Le petit prince, but I read L'Etranger (A. Camus) when I was younger, and found it really easy to read and quite interesting. – TonioElGringo Jan 2 '13 at 12:27

If poetry is inside your search span, I'd suggest reading Jacques Prévert's poems. No need to be an excellent french reader to read most of them. But it definitely needed a true genius to write them in the first place.

Now two examples to match Nikana's expectations (I'm kidding but you were right of course).

First, this one moment of sheer perfection and simplicity :

Premier jour

Des draps blancs dans une armoire
Des draps rouges dans un lit
Un enfant dans sa mère
Sa mère dans les douleurs
Le père dans le couloir
Le couloir dans la maison
La maison dans la ville
La ville dans la nuit
La mort dans un cri
Et l'enfant dans la vie.

Or else, this one, that I find amazing too :


Entre les rangées d'arbres de l'avenue des Gobelins
Une statue de marbre me conduit par la main
Aujourd'hui c'est dimanche les cinémas sont pleins
Les oiseaux dans les branches regardent les humains
Et la statue m'embrasse mais personne ne nous voit
Sauf un enfant aveugle qui nous montre du doigt.

The wiki page and this website may help you to discover the man and his writings further.

| improve this answer | |
  • Examples, links, excerpts ? :·) – Nikana Reklawyks Dec 7 '12 at 18:33
  • Yes, good idea. Some people may have access to this site but no access to wikipedia/google. Makes sense. ;-) – RomainValeri Dec 7 '12 at 19:45
  • 1
    Roh, si je dis morceaux choisis, ça sonne plus comme si c'était toi qui avais la compétence pour nous le présenter, et moins comme si c'était moi qui avais la flemme ? ^^' – Nikana Reklawyks Dec 7 '12 at 20:10
  • @Nikana Toi tu sais parler aux hommes de lettres ;-) – RomainValeri Dec 7 '12 at 21:42
  • Dans les poètes, le québécois Hector de Saint Denys Garneau présente lui aussi des textes très simples, bien que ça poésie soit moins "enfantine" que celle de Prévert. Mais, comme je suis dans un commentaire, je ne peux pas vous mettre d'extrait :-) – Istao Dec 21 '12 at 7:06

Interesting question.

I would say that lot of children books are well written, simple to read yet enjoyable for adults. From illustrated books for the youngest to short novels. Comic books, if you are into it, might be interesting too.

Out of the blue, I would say you might enjoy « Les contes du chat perché » from Marcel Aymé. Of course, other « fairy tales » are good too, although Grimm's one are not natively French (but have classical translations). You still have the Charles Perrault tales... And works like « La Belle et la Bête ».

On a more contemporary side, I enjoyed « Verte » by Marie Desplechin, a modern sorceress story.

| improve this answer | |

In the "children's books that can also be enjoyed by adults" department, I would cite the stories of Le Petit Nicolas by Sempé and Goscinny, and also the books of Pierre Gripari (Contes de la rue Broca and similar stories).

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 for Le petit Nicolas, I didn't think of it, but it seems to fit perfectly with asked material. And very fun to read, also. When Le petit Prince sometimes borders on melancholia and philosophy, Le petit Nicolas is much more light and upbeat, but is still intelligent and well written. – RomainValeri Mar 10 '14 at 12:26

I would recommend “Les Contes du chat perché”, by Marcel Aymé.

| improve this answer | |

You should also have a look at the books which are actually used to teach French children. "Le petite prince" is listed in there among many other books.

I would also suggest the Fables From Jean de la Fontaine: see here and here.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Jean de La Fontaine's fable contains a lot of words quite aging or sophisticated one's. – Fractaliste Mar 12 '14 at 13:17
  • Unfortunately, the Eduscol list is no longer available. – Tsundoku Jan 16 at 11:27
  • @IkWeetHetOokNiet It is available. I have updated the link. – Erwan Legrand Jan 17 at 14:36
  • Thanks for updating the link! – Tsundoku Jan 17 at 14:55
  • @IkWeetHetOokNiet You are welcome. "Le petit prince" is listed within the "Cycle 3" document. Thus, assuming you are looking for books of a similar level of difficulty, you should check this document rather than the other ones which are meant for younger children. – Erwan Legrand Jan 17 at 15:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.