Skip to content

Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico

DSC00051 imp

This charming book was written in 1958 by Paul Gallico, and American writer better known for The Snow Goose and The Poseidon Adventure.  It spurned a further 3 books about the ebullient English charlady, Mrs Harris.

In this first book of the series, Mrs Harris travels to Paris to buy the Dior dress that she has long dreamed of.  The Paris of the 1950s doesn’t seem so different to that of the 21st century; gallic charm seeps through the pages, and it is hard not to be excited by Mrs Harris’s enjoyment and wonder.  For me, one of the most memorable sections, apart from the Dior viewing,  is her visit to the flower market on Quai de la Corse in  Ile de la Cité: “Here were streets that were nothing but a mass of azaleas in pots, plants in pink, white, red, purple, mingling with huge branches of cream, crimson and yellow carnations. …on the soft breeze that blew from the Seine came as well the intoxication of scent to transport the true lover of flowers to his or her particular heaven”.  The market is still there for any flower lovers that want to visit (RER Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Metro Cité)

I fell in love with Mrs Harris with her “wonderfully jagged and impish grin” within moments. And Mrs Harris isn’t the only character that leaps off the page; Gallico deftly brings his characters to life, from the star Dior model, Natasha, to the brusque but kind Mme Colbert.

Read this book for a simple, romantic and memorable trip to Paris; read it if you like haute couture; read it for a glimpse of life in London and Paris in the 1950s.  It is a joyous little book, part travelogue, part romance, but with  a serious message about the dangers of succumbing to the lure of pride and vanity.

I shall certainly be reading more Mrs Harris adventures.

Flowers for Mrs Harris / Paul Gallico. – Michael Joseph, 1958.
This version is no longer in print in the UK, but is available through resellers such as Abe Books. The American version, under the title Mrs ‘Arris goes to Paris  is still in print.
All four Mrs Harris adventures are available on Kindle.

Related post:
Mrs Harris goes to Moscow

2 replies »

  1. The wholesome, down-to-earth way this books comes across reminds of both the At Home in Mitford series and the Anne of Greene Gables series. If you haven’t read them, you might want to check them out 🙂


Come join the conversation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,817 other subscribers

Popular Posts

Six N Five on Oxford Street
Broadstairs to Margate: an easy coastal walk
Porch of maidens
Art meets food waste in Hong Kong
%d bloggers like this: