These stories were written by French authors. I believe all the selections were originally written in french and later translated.
Short Stories from France
A Passion in the Desert | Honore De Balzac
A captured French soldier escapes but gets stranded in the desert, and encounters a panther.
The Mysterious Mansion | Honore De Balzac
A man’s landlady tells him part of the story of an old dilapidated house involving a Spanish prisoner of war. It’s unclear what became of him so the man tries to get the rest of the details from the housekeeper.
The Atheist’s Mass | Honore de Balzac
Desplein was a lauded physician, brilliant and a staunch atheist. Despite this, his protégé, Bianchon, saw Desplein attending mass. Bianchon relates Desplein’s story to explain this discrepancy.
The Guest | Albert Camus
An Arab prisoner is brought to the home of a teacher, Daru, who’s supposed to deliver the man to police headquarters. He doesn’t want to do it, but the Arab’s soldier escort leaves him there anyway.
The Other Wife | Colette
A husband and wife go to a restaurant for supper. The man sees his ex-wife seated at a nearby table. The man and his new wife talk about his ex.
The Hidden Woman | Colette
A husband and wife talk about the possibility of going to a costume ball where licentious behavior is common. The man says he has to make an out-of-town call on a patient; the woman demurs because of all the strangers there who could touch her.
The Substitute | Francois Coppee
Jean Leturc has been in trouble with the law since he was ten. After many years he finds legitimate work and tries to go straight.
The Last Lesson | Alphonse Daudet
Near the end of the Franco-Prussian War, a schoolboy gets his last lesson in French because the Prussian authorities have outlawed teaching French in schools.
Our Lady’s Juggler | Anatole France
A poor but adept juggler travels and puts on performances. Eventually, he joins a monastery, and sees the monks using their abilities to praise God, making him wonder what he has to offer.
The Procurator of Judea | Anatole France
Aelius Lamia has a chance encounter with his old friend Pontius Pilate. Pilate retired early from public service. They discuss the things that he had to deal with from the Roman authorities and the Jews.
The Mummy’s Foot | Theophile Gautier
A man goes to a curiosity shop looking for a paperweight. He buys a mummified foot that is supposedly the four-thousand-year-old foot of Egyptian princess Hermonthis. Later that night he has a strange episode.
The Torture of Hope | Villiers de L’isle Adam
Rabbi Abarbanel has been held in a dungeon and tortured for a year for usury and scorn for the poor. One day the Rabbi sees a sliver of light between the door and wall; he tries the door and finds it unlocked.
Coco | Guy de Maupassant
A young farmhand beats and starves a nag in his care.
Boule de Suif | Guy de Maupassant
The Prussian army advances while the French army retreats. Ten passengers are given clearance to board a carriage and leave the city, with the possibility of crossing into England. Among the passengers is Boule de Suif, a prostitute who has to make a moral decision that will affect the whole group.
A Dead Woman’s Secret | Guy de Maupassant
A dead woman’s adult children, a judge and a nun, sit vigil and read her old letters which reveal a secret from her past.
The Dowry | Guy de Maupassant
Simon and Jeanne are newly married. Simon plans to use Jeanne’s large dowry to buy a legal practice. They take a trip to Paris to enjoy each others company and to make the purchase.
The Necklace | Guy de Maupassant
Mathilde borrows a necklace from a rich friend to wear to a party, but she loses it.
Two Little Soldiers | Guy de Maupassant
Two soldiers take a weekly Sunday rest and meal at a little spot in the country. They become acquainted with a milk maid who passes by.
Regret | Guy de Maupassant
A sixty-two year old bachelor thinks about his lonely life, and of a woman that he has always loved.
The Kiss | Guy de Maupassant
A woman is upset when her husband leaves. Her aunt thinks she kissed her husband too much, so she explains the power of and proper use of the kiss.
The Jewels (The False Gems) | Guy de Maupassant
Monsieur Lantin is a government clerk. He and his wife are very happy. He is amazed by his wife’s ability to handle their finances. Madame Lantin has two vices: she loves going to the theatre and she loves jewelry – she comes home nearly every night with a new piece of costume jewelry.
A Piece of String | Guy de Maupassant
A man is walking to the market one day when he stops to pick up a piece of string. Soon after, it is reported that a wallet with 500 francs was lost. His act of picking up something makes him a suspect. He vehemently denies any guilt.
The Christening | Guy de Maupassant
A doctor recounts the christening custom of his god-son’s people, where the baby is left exposed to the cold.
The Vendetta | Guy de Maupassant
A widow’s son is murdered by a man who then flees to Sardinia. The boy’s mother vows to take revenge against her son’s killer.
Mother Sauvage | Guy de Maupassant
The narrator’s old acquaintance tells him the story of Mother Sauvage. Her son went to war fighting the Prussians. Meanwhile, Prussian forces occupy her home territory, and she has four soldiers assigned to live in her home. Both sides understand the situation, and she treats them well. When she gets news of her son’s death her attitude toward them changes.
The Confession | Guy De Maupassant
A woman makes a death-bed confession to her older sister about something that happened over 40 years ago.
Bellflower | Guy de Maupassant
A narrator gives us a recollection of the life of Mother Bellflower, an old seamstress with a bad leg and a mysterious past.
Two Friends | Guy de Maupassant
Two men, now members of the Paris National Guard because of an attack by Prussian soldiers, meet up with each other in the street. They reminisce about the fishing they did before the war, and decide to try and go back to their fishing spot, even though it’s in no man’s land.
The Taking of the Redoubt | Prosper Merimee
A young soldier has to capture a Russian held fort. The company is discouraged after suffering heavy casualties and seeing a bad sign in the sky.
Mateo Falcone | Prosper Merimee
It is seventeenth century Corsica in a dangerous region. Fortunato, a ten-year-old boy, is outside alone when he hears gunshots and a wounded man appears. He knows Fortunato’s father and asks for help to hide from pursuing soldiers.
The Wall | Jean-Paul Sartre
Pablo is accused of being a war criminal. He is held in a cell with two other men. They are all informed they will be executed. They each deal with the news differently.
Jeannot and Colin | Voltaire
Jeannot and Colin are close friends in childhood. One day Jeannot receives a fancy coat and is taken away to a prosperous life – his father has had a business success. Colin is downcast. Jeannot is thrown into the education of a wealthy boy, which, suspiciously, doesn’t involve learning much.
Memnon the Philosopher, Or Human Wisdom | Voltaire
Memnon decides to become a great philosopher by rejecting all passions including love, intemperance, and quarreling.