Harriet Welty Rochefort

Harriet Welty Rochefort grew up and was educated in the Midwest (B.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and M.S.J. Northwestern Medill School of Journalism).  A French-American dual citizen, she has lived in France since 1973 with her French husband Philippe. They have 3 sons, Nicolas, a neurologist in Marseilles, Benjamin, a computer specialist in Montreal, David, an editor and novelist (chez Gallimard NRF) in Paris, and 6 grandchildren.

An author, Harriet has written three humorous but informative nonfiction books about her life in France and the cultural differences she has perceived there as an « embedded » American, and an historical novel, Final Transgression, published in June 2020.

Her bestselling account of her first impressions of France, French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French (1999), remained in hardcover for 11 years before appearing in paperback in 2010. Diane Johnson, the renowned author of Le Divorce, called French Toast « a classic » and « the gold standard of books about the French ».

French Toast was followed by French Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris (2001), a personal account of French wining and dining viewed from her mother-in-law’s kitchen and interviews with leading French food and wine experts.

Joie de Vivre, Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French (2012) delves into the French penchant for enjoying life with style and panache. Publisher’s Weekly wrote that « Rochefort…is a foreign observer of what it means to be French and, with wit and a unique insight, offers advice on loving life the way her adopted country does. »

Published by St. Martin’s Press, all of Harriet’s books about French manners and mores have been translated into Chinese.  A French version of French Toast was published by Editions Ramsay in 2005.

Harriet’s fourth book, Final Transgression: One Woman’s Tragic Destiny in War-torn France, is an historical novel inspired by true events that took place in the seething cauldron of the southwest of France three months before the D-Day victory and the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane. Published in June 2020, the novel has earned plaudits from, among others, eminent historian Robert O. Paxton, author of Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, who called it “historically well-grounded” and a “vigorous and compelling tale.”

Harriet is a member of several professional writers’ organizations. They include PEN, The Authors Guild, and the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris where she has served on the board for many years.

A freelance journalist, Harriet has written scores of articles on French business, culture, travel and lifestyle for leading magazines and newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times), The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Huffington Post, and Time magazine where she worked as a reporter in the Paris bureau for more than ten years.  Articles included the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyons, the arrival of Disneyland near Paris and the controversy over the building of the Pei Pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre. Her writing on France and the French has appeared in various publications including France Today, European Travel & Life, the San Francisco Chronicle,  Paris Metro, France Discovery Guide, and UPI News.

A teacher and speaker, Harriet taught a reporting course in the international program of the Ecole de Journalisme at the renowned Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) from 2007 to 2011. She has given lively lectures on France and French-American cultural differences to associations, travel groups, and university programs, such as the Sweet Briar Year Abroad, Smith/ParisTech Telecom and the International Media Seminar at the American University in Paris where for many years she has been the keynote speaker. She has spoken about her books at many venues in the U.S. and in France, including the American Library in Paris Evenings with an Author.

A true Francophile, Harriet loves French cooking which she learned from her French mother-in-law who hailed from the Périgord, and has a particular affinity for cheese and wine and the pairing of them. (For many years she and her husband hosted popular wine and cheese tastings in their home in Paris).  Harriet’s favorite French attire and accessories: les foulards et la petite robe noire; favorite wine: champagne; favorite French region: Brittany and the Atlantic islands, Ile d’Yeu, Belle Isle, Ile d’Aix.  Thanks in part to ten years of covering different regions of France for France Discovery Guide, Harriet knows the country well; she even claims to be one of the only Americans to have visited every one of France’s 13 regions!    

All of Harriet’s books can be found on

and in Paris, France at the following independent bookstores:

 Galignani, 224 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1; The Red Wheelbarrow, 9 Rue de Médicis, Paris 6; WH Smith, 248 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1.  

(If a book is not in stock, do not hesitate to order it. Most bookstores, wherever they are in the world, are more than happy to do that).

Final Transgression can also be found at The American Library in Paris, 10, Rue du Général Camou, Paris 7.