Sprinkled with prose as purple as Périgord and as flowery as Giverny in May, this reverential homage to all that’s grand, gourmet, eye-catching and, above all, iconic about French life reads like one man’s doe-eyed love letter to his motherland. Not that we’re complaining… the considerable wit and wisdom imparted by this prolific author reads like a soft-focus Gallic dream – it’s that perfect combination of erudition, passion and bons mots.

So here Tillinac is going all gooey over subjects as diverse and specific as the Brasserie Lipp, TGVs, Proust’s Combray, Édith Piaf, Champagne and Millet’s The Angelus and, conversely, as imprecise and vague notions of great French ‘things’, such as ‘the train station’, ‘the family home’, ‘meal times’ and ‘the sea’.

Sumptuously illustrated, it’s the kind of book which will have you immediately rapt and often swooning, yet also wondering how on earth someone could love France more than you do!

France: An Illustrated Miscellany by Denis Tillinac. €29.90. Published by Plon/Flammarion

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