February 17, 2013

The Sweet Life in Paris - David Lebovitz

It's been a quiet weekend, we both woke up sick on Friday so I've spent more time reading on the couch lately than cooking in the kitchen.  My favorite book that I read this weekend was The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.  I knew nothing about him prior to reading the book except that he was a food blogger, and I found his story fascinating.

As he talked about acclimating to life in Paris it reminded me of our week-long stay in a Paris apartment back in July 2008 and after finishing the book, I started browsing through our photos from that trip.  It was our second time in Paris after a brief visit in 2007, and it was our final trip before moving back to the States from England later that same month.

Part of life in Europe means dealing with smaller spaces, and David talks quite a bit about learning to adjust to his tiny Paris kitchen.  I found photos of his kitchen in 2008 on The Kitchn and it looks remarkably like the kitchen in the apartment we rented that same year (ours is pictured on the left below, his on the right).

David talks about learning to drive in Paris, which reminded me of how entertaining it was to stand atop the Arc de Triomphe and watch cars narrowly miss crashing into each other.  What you don't get a feel for in the photo below, is the speed at which these cars were moving!  Chris drove in France during a trip through Brittany and Normandy but neither of us ever braved the streets of Paris behind the wheel.

Quite a bit is written in this book about how crowded it can be in Paris.  While that was certainly our experience as well, I don't recall people walking into me or line jumping as David talks about.
If I remember correctly, I took the photo below in the 6th arrondissement where our apartment was.  It was a lovely neighborhood and a great place to have as our home base for a week. 
The popularity of McDonalds is a topic in this book, or McDo (pronounced mac-dough) as the French like to say.  Did you know the French operation of McDonald’s is the second most profitable after the one in the United States?
According to The NY Times, the success of McDonald’s does not mean that the pleasures of simple French food have vanished completely. A McDonald’s spokeswoman, said that the jambon beurre, a sandwich of butter and slices of ham on a crusty baguette, still outsells burgers 10 to 1.

Paris is a wonderful city to visit and while I have no desire to live there, it was very interesting reading about David's experiences as an American living in Paris.  I admire those that uproot their lives, try hard to learn a new language and do their best to adapt to life in their new home.

Even though David is a food blogger, this memoir does not touch on blogging at all.  Actually that might be one of the reasons I enjoyed his book so much because I don't care for his blog.  Similarly, I loved the book A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, also a food blogger, but am not a fan of her blog Orangette.

I've now read several books written by Americans who have lived in France.  My favorites include Almost French, Lunch in Paris and My Life in France.   I'm always looking for book recommendations, so if anyone has a favorite blogger memoir or book about an American living in Europe please leave a comment.


  1. Paris is definitely on our must see list. How fantastic you lived there, now I know who to talk to if/when we plan a trip there!

  2. I don't typically read David's blog (though I have used his recipes...they are always amazing) and I haven't read the book either...though now I must! I loved Molly's book but similarly don't read her blog regularly. Wonder why that is...

    1. I definitely agree about his recipes, I have The Perfect Scoop and it's a great ice cream book!

  3. Chris looks huge in that apartment! I don't read David's blog either. With some things, I resist what's popular just for the fact that so many other people like it, and I feel it's overrated.

  4. I will have to check out this book. I am trying to catch the French news on cable (Scola) as often as possible in attempt to revive my college French.

  5. I assure this would be beneficial best portable ice maker for most of the people. I am so excited I found your site,

  6. Wow, My dream be live in Paris. I will make a plan for trip soon.
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