I've found that one of the best ways to pass time on an international flight is to listen to an audio book. I began this trend with Percy Jackson and the Olympians on a flight to Spain a few years ago and was hooked - not only the the story (even though it's YA, or especially because it was YA) but on audio books. For the trip to France, I randomly selected The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, partly because it was supposed to be a bit steampunk in nature.
The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where plagues and blights have killed off the natural food supply, all plants for consumption are genetically engineered and people have exhausted the planet of its oil. The story is set in Thailand where the unstable government, foreign agriculturalists and displaced Japanese and Chinese people clash together. It is written from different viewpoints and hearing this through an audio version made the different stories more impactful. One of the criticisms of the book is that, because of the Thai setting, that the names and some of the words are indecipherable, but, again, I didn't find that to be the case with the audio version. The narrator rattled off Thai, Japanese and Chinese names with ease.
If you haven't been initiated in the world of audio books, I recommend this story as one to start your journey. The price (around $25) is more steep than a book but you also realize that it is almost 19 hours of storytelling. There's something relaxing too about having someone do something as simple as tell you a story.