It is a country that has spawned literary greats, from Victor Hugo to Albert Camus.
But today’s French readers are going wild for a new titan of the publishing world: a 22-year-old influencer named Léna Mahfouf.
Léna, who writes under the pen name Léna Situations, has released a self-help book that’s currently outselling any other title.
Toujours Plus, which translates as Always More, has sold 62,000 copies since its release three weeks ago and publisher Robert Laffont is printing a further 150,000.
The staggering figures make Toujour Plus, which offers advice on how to navigate life’s problems including toxic friends and body image, the best performing book in France this autumn.
However not everyone is thrilled with the country’s newest best-selling author, according to The Times.
Marie-Rose Guarniéri, owner of the renowned Abbesses bookshop in Paris, said that YouTube stars were ‘false prophets offering false wellbeing’.
Best-seller: French social media star Léna Mahfouf, 22, who writes under the pen name Léna Situations, released a self-help book that is outselling any other title
Taking the country by storm: Toujours Plus, which translates as Always More, has sold 62,000 copies since its release three weeks ago and publisher Robert Laffont is printing a further 150,000. Pictured, the influencer on recent trips to Greece (left) and Corsica (right)
Ms Guarniéri, who said she had not read Toujours Plus, added: ‘We have got rid of religion but created idols that are worse than anything that went before. It’s a symptom of our times that such people are being carried to the pinnacle.’
Another Parisian bookshop owner, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It’s complete rubbish. It’s just a marketing gimmick. There’s nothing in it at all.’
The popularity of the book is largely down to Léna’s towering social media presence. She boasts 2.3million followers on Instagram, 800,000 on TikTok and a further 1.6million subscribers on YouTube.
Videos shared on Léna’s Instagram page show how crowds of fans have turned up for book signings despite the city’s Covid-19 restrictions.
Overnight success! Sharing this snap of a Metro poster, Léna wrote: ‘On September 24 I released my book Always Plus, by the evening of the 25 it was completely sold out’
Toujours Plus, pictured, offers advice on how to navigate life’s problems including toxic friends and body image
Companies including Dior and Miu Miu have capitalised on the influencer’s online popularity with the coveted 16-24 age bracket – and now Léna is cashing in on her success at the bookshop till.
Sharing a photo of her posing next to a Toujours Plus Metro poster, Léna wrote: ‘On September 24th I released my book Always Plus, by the evening of the 25th it was completely sold out.
‘I am delighted to announce that today we are doing a [restock] and that the shelves of bookstores are full again !!! You can even find me on the Paris metro line 9, the one I took to go to school every morning and Chaussée d’Antin is the stop of my very first little job.’
Followers were quick to share their congratulations and well wishes in response, saying how much Léna deserved her good fortune.
Born in Paris to Algerian parents, Léna was bullied at school and now uses her experiences to help guide her followers. After graduating with a literary baccalaureate, Léna went on to study marketing and fashion at university and spent six months in New York as part of her degree.
Social media starlet: Videos shared on Léna’s Instagram page show how crowds of fans have turned up for book signings despite the city’s covid-19 restrictions (pictured)
On her return to Paris, Léna launched her YouTube channel, where she shares short videos and informative how-to guides in a signature chatty, energetic style.
After building a following, Léna was noticed by big name brands including Balmain, who asked Léna to film behind-the-scenes at its fashion shows.
The social media influencer has not revealed how much she earns but said simply she can enjoy herself but not afford a flat in Paris.
Taking a stand: Born in Paris to Algerian parents, Léna was bullied at school and now uses her experiences to help guide her followers. Pictured, on holiday in Greece
Style maven: Léna delights followers with snaps of her on trend looks (pictured)