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The Sweet Life in Paris

by David Lebovitz

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1,0314819,870 (3.78)35
Travel. Nonfiction. Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood.But he soon discovered it's a different world en France.From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with-and even understand-this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything.The more than fifty original recipes, for dishes both savory and sweet, such as Pork Loin with Brown Sugar-Bourbon Glaze, Braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with Prunes, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake, Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows, Chocolate Spice Bread, Lemon-Glazed Madeleines, and Mocha-Creme Fraiche Cake, will have listeners running to the kitchen once they stop laughing.The Sweet Life in Paris is a deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights, cheese, chocolate, and other confections.… (more)
  1. 21
    Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (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)
  2. 01
    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (cransell)
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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Enjoyable, quick read about an American pastry chef who moved to Paris.

Filled with delicous sounding recipes and funny stories about the cultural differences between him and the people of Paris.

I've never been to Paris and this book does not make me want to go! In fact, it makes me want to avoid it forever! ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
I enjoyed most of the book, though Lebovitz's humor can be a bit catty at times. The last, say, third or so of the book felt a bit more aggressively critical than the rest. I'm chalking it up to the fact that the book was written at the very beginning of Lebovitz's time in Paris, so I think a lot of the commentary is still coming from a place of culture shock as opposed to genuine negativity. I was just surprised at just how grouchy some of the chapters can come across considering this is all coming from a man who just up and decided to move his entire life to Paris. I thought he would be a little more enamored than curmudgeonly about the differences between San Francisco and Paris because of that courageous drive the decision seemed to reflect.

This is my first Lebovitz book, including his cookbooks, but I'm not turned off enough to not try checking out his other work. I will admit that, though I was a little disappointed with his tone in places, he still provided some valuable information for anyone planning on visiting or moving to Paris. I also can't speak for Lebovitz's recipes since I haven't tried any of them yet, but the Chouquettes aux Pepites de Chocolat recipe looks divine and is very high on my baking list.

Oh, and the back section where he provides resources and addresses is wonderful, and he should definitely be commended for thinking of including it. There are only a couple defunct websites, but the rest have great stuff that can't really be found outside of big cities with gourmet shops. ( )
  BonBonVivant | Jan 18, 2023 |
Parts were appealing, cute. overall didn't catch me and felt a little too parody of the American in Paris for my taste. ( )
  maitrigita | Oct 1, 2022 |
Ma foi! Quel plaignant! I might have given it more stars except for the unrelenting complaints about the surly French. We’ve traveled to France quite often and I haven’t really met as many as he seems to have. Couple that with the incessant commentary on the delicious dentist, cute fishermen, beautiful bakers...why? It’s as off putting as a hetero always commenting on women’s looks. Beauty is skin deep. Appealing certainly, but there’s more to a person than their looks. My own complaints aside, I mostly enjoyed the book, enjoyed reading about Paris and the French quirkiness (when they weren’t being nasty) and the recipes were scrumptious! ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
This is a light, breezy book about the joy of food, French culture, and all matters of whimsy that David Lebovitz has observed in his life in Paris and elsewhere. I laughed out loud more than once and smiled all the way through. There's a cozy feel to the book, and David's voice comes through like he's chatting with a friend. Each short chapter is followed by at least one recipe, too. I have a feeling I'd like more of his books. ( )
  ladycato | Dec 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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I distinctly remember the exact moment when I became Parisian.
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Travel. Nonfiction. Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood.But he soon discovered it's a different world en France.From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with-and even understand-this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything.The more than fifty original recipes, for dishes both savory and sweet, such as Pork Loin with Brown Sugar-Bourbon Glaze, Braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with Prunes, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake, Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows, Chocolate Spice Bread, Lemon-Glazed Madeleines, and Mocha-Creme Fraiche Cake, will have listeners running to the kitchen once they stop laughing.The Sweet Life in Paris is a deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights, cheese, chocolate, and other confections.

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