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Paris to the Moon

by Adam Gopnik

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,646304,530 (3.72)92
Paris. The name alone conjures images of chestnut-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafes, breathtaking facades around every corner-in short, an exquisite romanticism that has captured the American imagination for as long as there have been Americans. In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light. For Gopnik this was above all a personal pilgrimage to the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. So, in the grand tradition of the American abroad, Gopnik walked the paths of the Tuileries, enjoyed philosophical discussions at his local bistro, and wrote as violet twilight fell on the arrondissements. Yet, at the end of the day, there was still the matter of raising a child and carrying on with the day-to-day, not-so-fabled life. As Gopnik describes, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys-both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived. Weaving the magical with the mundane, he offers a wholly delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century.… (more)
  1. 20
    Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light by David Downie (rakerman)
    rakerman: Paris to the Moon is a much more wistful, intimate look at Paris, but both books are from the perspective of someone who has spent years living in Paris. In the book Paris, Paris the approach is to give a sense of the city through the people, places and phenomena that have shaped it, as filtered through the experiences of the author. In Paris to the Moon it's much more about getting a sense of what it is like to live in the city as an outsider.… (more)
  2. 20
    The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz (rakerman)
    rakerman: The Sweet Life and Paris to the Moon are similar perspectives on living in Paris. Sweet Life is a light, humourous take on the challenges of moving a new city, as seen mostly through food and food-related activities. It has a bit more of a travel-guide tone. Paris to the Moon tries to explore more in detail the peculiarities of Paris from an outsider's viewpoint, with wry commentary. It also has a bit of a wistful tone as many of the tales are of the author's son exploring the city. Both are very good starting points to understanding the French, giving the positives but also the many difficulties of adapting from American to Parisian culture.… (more)
  3. 10
    A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (carlym)
  4. 00
    1000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    Into a Paris Quartier by Diane Johnson (carlym)
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» See also 92 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
A funny collection of essays by a New Yorker writer who moves to Paris with his family in the late 90's. Lots of pre-internet anecdotes about the difficulties of adjusting to life in a foreign country and foreign language. Very enjoyable. ( )
  queenielareine | Aug 24, 2020 |
Good recent Paris memoir. ( )
1 vote HarperWill | Aug 14, 2020 |
Made me want to go back to Paris, of course... I'd like to think that I had similarly smart insights as an American abroad (but just couldn't articulate them), but I suspect Gopnik has me beat. Especially loved the chapters about the taxidermist, Euro Cup, and Alice Waters' visit. ( )
  szbuhayar | May 24, 2020 |
A book with many layers

Deceiving in the way that apparent mundane subjects contain deeper truths

Having lived abroad most of my life the experience of the expatriate resonated with me

Some passages were poetic and beautiful. ( )
1 vote Acia | Jun 5, 2019 |
Adam Gopnik has a way with language, but most of this book failed to work for me. The most successful passages deal with the mundane and the private aspects of their lives changed by their new environment. The author's son's experiences stand out in this respect, reflecting the burden of childhood as well as that of the expatriate.

The author often will use french words and vocabulary without explanation for the English reader - given that it's written for an American audience it's an odd choice. Sometime's it can be puzzled out from context, but often I was left just unable to imagine what his family is experiencing. (example: "gigot d'agneau avec flageolets" - something you eat, that's as far as I can get). ( )
  sarcher | Feb 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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"I dare say, moreover," she pursued with an interested gravity, "that I do, that we all do here, run too much to mere eye.  But how can it be helped? We're all looking at each other - and in the light of Paris one sees what things resemble. That's what the light of Paris seems always to show. It's the fault of the light of Paris - dear old light!" 
"Dear Old Paris!" little Bilham echoed. 
"Everything, everyone shows," Miss Barrace went on. 
"But for what they really are?" Strether asked. 
"Oh, I like your Boston 'reallys'! But sometimes - yes." 
-- The Ambassadors
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Not long after we moved to Paris, in the fall of 1995, my wife, Martha, and I saw, in the window of a shop on the rue Saint-Sulpice a nineteenth-century engraving, done in the manner, though I'm now inclined to think not from the hand, of Daumier.
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Paris. The name alone conjures images of chestnut-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafes, breathtaking facades around every corner-in short, an exquisite romanticism that has captured the American imagination for as long as there have been Americans. In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light. For Gopnik this was above all a personal pilgrimage to the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. So, in the grand tradition of the American abroad, Gopnik walked the paths of the Tuileries, enjoyed philosophical discussions at his local bistro, and wrote as violet twilight fell on the arrondissements. Yet, at the end of the day, there was still the matter of raising a child and carrying on with the day-to-day, not-so-fabled life. As Gopnik describes, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys-both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived. Weaving the magical with the mundane, he offers a wholly delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

 

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