I read this classic tome just before I ventured out of
North America on my first trip to France as an exchange student after high
school, and I still think of it often.
I loved the mood of epic romance that I still equate so
much with France and especially Paris. I also loved it's descriptions of Paris
during the revolution, particularly the other city of catacombs and sewers
beneath the actual city of Paris.
It also gives a sense of the history that pervades life in
France - hard to believe that all this was going on the same year La Maison des
Deux Clochers was built. I found that reading Les Miserables really coloured my
perceptions and experiences in France, and still does to this day.