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Travel Book Review: The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz Book Cover.

If you love food (especially pastries) and Paris, chances are you’ve heard of David Lebovitz. If you haven’t, here’s your chance to meet him through his first memoir-style book, The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City.

David Lebovitz’s engaging prose and solid advice on how to behave and order coffee in Paris is reason enough to read The Sweet Life in Paris. His book also has dozens of recipes to give your kitchen and dining table some lovely Paris vibes. I bookmarked recipes like Warm Goat Cheese Salad, Plum and Raspberry Clafoutis, Caramelized Apple Tart, Breton Buckwheat Cake with Fleur de Sel, Lemon-Glazed Madeleines, and so many more. I can’t wait to have my new kitchen set up and ready to work in so I can give them a whirl.   

The Sweet Life in Paris is filled with tales of David’s adjustment to life in Paris. He moved there from San Francisco back in 2004. Through his self-deprecating stories, you can learn very important lessons on how to be in Paris, like remembering your bonjour madames and bonjour monsieurs when entering restaurants, stores, and any place of business. “In Paris, the most unbelievably rude thing you can do–and believe me, I seem to have done them all–is to not acknowledge a salesperson…it helps to think of shops in Paris as someone’s home.”

You can learn other essentials, like the use of a knife and fork while dining, how to keep budgers from queuing in front of you, and fashion faux-pas preventions. “So sneakers are okay, shorts are sometimes okay, but never wear both in combination with a fanny pack. And, mon Dieu, don’t even think of adding an oversized water bottle. Because I’d rather have you dying of thirst than dying of embarrassment.” If you’re about to travel to Paris for the first time, this is an essential read. 

Places We've Visited Thanks to The Sweet Life in Paris:

  • Poilâne’s, a famous boulangerie. Chris fell head over heels for their apple pastries. The bakery does not have seating, but there is a lovely park nearby in front of the Saint-Suplice church, Église Saint-Sulpice
  • The Ladurée located just off the place de la Madeleine. I love their macaroons (macarons). There are several locations, but this one has historical significance. It “was the first public drinking spot in Paris where women could mingle with their friends without male companions and not be considered ‘loose’ or ‘for sale.’”
  • Angelina’s. We went for the hot chocolate and fell in love with the café’s charm. 

The Sweet Life in Paris
by David Lebovitz
Published by Crown
Mar 01, 2011
304 pp

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