Berets, Baguettes, and Beyond


If you love France and are curious about all things French, this book is for you. In it you will find stories exploring the curious histories behind everyday French symbols: From berets to baguettes, and beyond.

You’ll discover:

  • How the baguette got its distinctive shape
  • Why the French are represented by a rooster
  • Who created the beret-wearing French stereotype
  • Why the guillotine was invented
  • Why there are gargoyles on Gothic churches
  • And much more…


I love France and history, and nothing thrills me more than finding some little-known, or quirky bit of French history. I call these stories curious histories and I share them on my blog and in my books.

Berets, Baguettes, and Beyond is a collection of these curious histories which are all related in some way to items symbolic of France. This book is not meant to be a comprehensive tome on all things French. It’s simply a selection of stories and histories that I found interesting. I hope they will be interesting to you too.

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On route on the train, I read Margo Lestz’s new book, Berets, Baguettes and Beyond: Curious Histories of France and giggled through her sweet sense of humor and marveled at the information I would never have discovered without her.

— Adrian Leeds of House Hunters International.  
See more from Adrian here.


Delightful! I enjoyed the book from start to finish. Whatever the history-revealing, curiosity-satisfying story — and there are many — the author has a playful way with words that is simply “Magnifique!” Highly recommended.     

— William, US


The author has worked SO hard to dig up dozens of interesting French facts and fables. From nuggets on French inventions like the hair-dryer to an in-depth profile of Marianne – a powerful French symbol, every page is filled with new and fascinating information. A great gift for any francophile.

— Daisy, UK


This book takes the reader on a fun journey of discovery with facts about fashion, food, culture and more…. I love the quirky details Margo uncovers, as well as her fun delivery of the stories, meanings and history of all things French. If you’ve ever wondered why France is represented by a Rooster, or why French people never place their bread upside down on the table, or where the Marseillaise came from, this book is for you…  This book is a perfect read for every Francophile who wants to know more about France and her ways; delivering the facts with humour and lots of fun.

— Jacquie at The French Village Diary, France


Margo Lestz with Berets, Baguettes, and Beyond book.

I’m American by birth, but feel at home in Europe after years of living in the UK and France and traveling in other European countries. Life is never dull here with so much history to discover. There’s a story hiding around every corner and I’m always trying to find it.

I’m a curious person by nature and I’m forever wanting to know who, what, why, when, where, and how… When I find answers to these questions, I share them on my blog, the Curious Rambler, or in my Curious Histories books. (Are you beginning to notice a curious theme?)

I share my adventures (and my questions) with Jeff, my husband of many years. I enjoy travel, history, observing cultures and traditions – and then writing about them, of course.

You can find Margo here:

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