Paris In July

I've never been to France but I have a strange fascination with all things French. I have tons of books in my to-read stacks about Paris and France. So I was really excited to find the Thyme for Tea blog and discover she's hosting a blog hop called Paris in July. 

Last week I looked through my to-read stacks and found all the books I own on this subject and started reading. Here are the first three books I read: 



Paris, My Sweet is a memoir about the authors love of Paris and baked goods. If you substitute Disney World for Paris, I could have written this book. When we have a family vacation planned, I research the restaurants and bakeries ahead of time. I consult menus and travel blogs. I cross reference. I draw up a food and baked goods schedule for the entire vacation. I read menus to my relatives until their eyes start to glaze over and each one of them starts to get that look that makes me think something in their soul has died. So, of course, I enjoyed this book. For those of you who don't spend your vacations eating baked goods like you're on your way to the electric chair, you might not like this book as much as I did. (You also probably don't have to switch to fat pants mid-way through your vacations like I do. And hey, good for you!)

Warning: Do not read this book unless you have baked goods nearby. It will make you REALLY want to eat a pastry item of some kind.



I spent most of the time that I was reading Paris, Baby trying to figure out if I liked it or not. I really wanted to like this memoir of a woman's journey through single motherhood in Paris, and there were parts of it that were fun and enjoyable. But there were quite a few other parts where it felt like the author was dancing on my last nerve. The author spent 2/3 of the book judging nearly everyone she come in contact with and the last 1/3 complaining about how wrong it was that other people were judging her. I'm not even going to pretend like I don't judge people who show up in public wearing pajama pants as if they count as actual clothes. But since I'm judging their faux clothes, I don't mind if someone wants to judge the fact that I accidentally pulled my ponytail/topknot too high this morning and ended up looking like a Jane Austen character all day. Fair is fair.

My other problem with the book is that about midway through the author decided to insert lists into every chapter. There was a list of all the ways motherhood has changed her life. A list of all the ways she was doing things differently from how she thought she would. And on and on. By the end, every chapter was ending with a list and one entire chapter was a list. I love making lists, but I don't find reading other people's interesting. The only list I'm interested in reading is the one my four-year-old niece came up with (and dictated as if she's an executive in an old movie):

Does that kid know how to make a list or what?



I read Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl for the first time a few years ago and I loved it. I decided to re-read it for this blog hop and I loved it even more the second time and not just because this passage, detailing how French women shop differently than American women, helped me feel good about how picky I am:
if she can't afford it, she won't buy it. If it doesn't fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she's got) she won't wear it. If she can't find it, she won't compromise.

I bought a hamper a few months ago and the process was so arduous and traumatic I'm probably going to have to keep that hamper for the rest of my life just to compensate. I couldn't find what I wanted and I refused to compromise, so the whole hideous process dragged on for months. There are people who have bought houses with less deliberation than went into that stupid hamper. And don't even get me started on the great towel search of 2017. It's too soon to even talk about. I once spent 6 months trying to find a throw pillow and then ended up begging my Aunt to make me one because I couldn't continue the search and remain sane. Picky? That's what I used to think. But it turns out that I'm just French. I refuse to compromise when shopping (except for when it comes to books and then I buy them like I'm on an episode of Supermarket Sweep.)

I love it when a book helps me to delude myself into thinking a really annoying personality trait is charming!

P.S. - Apologies to all my family, friends and co-workers who had to hear me talk about that hamper for 3 months. I hope it helps to know that I couldn't have made it through the hamper buying process without you. You were the wing beneath my wings.

Have you read any good books about Paris or France lately? I would love to hear about it!

Comments

  1. Love reading your thoughts on these books. You always make me laugh. Maybe my husband is a bit French because compromising and he do NOT get a long.

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    1. Haha.
      Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. Your book selection is interesting. I'm looking for books that were by actual French people about their life in Paris or other parts of France, rather than by tourists, and it's harder to find them. The number of books by Americans who dream of Paris or move there is amazing!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. I've noticed that it's hard to find those kind of books. Paris, Baby, featured a woman who lived in France for 9 years and that's about as close as I could get.

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  3. Years ago I started reading a book titled “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I couldn’t get through it because the author kept switching from English to French in the book and I found it annoying. The basis was they only eat great tasting food and they don’t eat the whole serving. The first bite is always the best so that’s what they eat. I love baked goods!

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    1. The author of Paris, Baby kept randomly inserting French words too and I found it kind of irritating as well.

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  4. Thank you for an entertaining post. There are obstacles when one does not comprise, but that is life. Interesting set of books.

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    1. So true. Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. I read Paris, My Sweet in preparation for my trip to Paris in 2013. And I made myself a Paris, My Sweet Challenge- where I made a plan to eat her Paris Top 10 List that was in the back of the book. I managed 9/10! It was fun.

    http://astrongbeliefinwicker.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-paris-my-sweet-challenge.html

    I haven't heard of your other two books.

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    1. That sounds like so much fun. Thanks for the link. I will check it out!

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  6. I don't own a copy of Paris My Sweet, but I've fondled it many times in Barnes & Noble. I should have bought a copy when I had my employee discount! It sounds wonderful. Your way of planning a trip sounds like me. We're taking a road trip in our new RV in September and it's taking me about as long as the trip (6-8 weeks) as it is to plan it! Researching all the websites for camping with RVs, watching all the vlogs, mapping it out over and over again. It's a little crazy. ;) I've never been to Paris, but I'm sure I'd spend a year planning it!

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    1. I think planning the trip is half the fun!

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  7. Your entire post made me smile, from needing baked goods while reading Paris My Sweet, to your "judge not; fair is fair" to shopping with specific purpose in mind. I love your voice, honesty and openness. And to think you've already read three for the challenge! I'm getting ready to crack one open.

    A novel which you might really enjoy is Paris To The Moon. It is a delightful account of Paris, my favorite part being about the opening of a new health club/ swimming pool to which everyone went and drank champagne while sitting on the edge of the pool. It still makes me laugh.

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    1. Thanks for the book recommendation! My sister read Paris to the Moon and said it was a good book.

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  8. I'm not familiar with any of these, Angela, so thanks for bringing them to my attention. I think I'm with you on Paris Baby but the other two sound wonderful! Thanks for the recommendations and also for coming by my blog!

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    1. It was a pleasure to visit your blog!

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  9. I've had Paris, My Sweet on my potential list of reads for Paris in July for the past couple of years. Really need to track down a copy... it sounds wonderful!

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  10. A timely post about France! My cousin and his wife are visiting there now and posting the most delicious pictures. I'll have to check out the books you mentioned to visit Paris vicariously. :-)

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  11. I love sweets & parisienne cakes, but I am also gluten intolerant. Luckily for me there are more & more pattiseries sans gluten au Paris. Your post also made me laugh cos when I read French women dont get fat, all I heard is Champaign... they drink with every meal! So defying all logic, I tried it one summer... didnt work.

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    1. Hahaha. I'm so glad you were able to find some gluten-free options. Traveling with food restrictions is always such a challenge.

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  12. The pastry book sounds marvelous--I plan on sampling lots of French pastry when I visit--I love the visuals as well as the smells and tastes! The baby book is definitely not for me--sounds too self-indulgent and navel-gazing for me. Thanks for visiting my blog--Paris in July is such fun!

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  13. Two out of three ain't bad!

    Please show us a photo of your hamper! I want to see it. And kudos to you to knowing what you want and getting it.

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    1. You're probably going to be disappointed when you see the hamper. It's nothing fancy. The problem with finding the hamper was that I didn't want it to be wood or wicker and I didn't want it in white or a really dark color. Which was really hard to find. I ended up with this hamper:
      https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/lamont-home-trade-carly-hamper/3255554?Keyword=hamper
      But at the time I bought mine, it came in taupe, which was the color I bought.

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  14. Oh I love book about Paris or that are set in Paris. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  15. We'll always have Paris. In fact my husband is going there in a couple weeks for business. I have been twice. Books set there I have read: Le Divorce and the biography of Julia Child. Then there are some wild and crazy ones that might not be what you like to read: Zazie on the Metro, A Black Girl in Paris, and Apocalypse Baby.

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  16. Haven’t heard of those books, but always game for something new. Love lists, they make me happy especially when I get to tick things off them xx

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  17. Dear Angela, a couple of weeks ago you stopped by my blog and left a comment, so I am finally returning the favor. Hello! I enjoyed reading about these three books on France/Paris . I don't specially look for books on either, but I do read a mystery writer whose locale is in southern France where the Neanderthal caves have been discovered. The author is Martin Walker and his first book in a series that now stretches to about nine is "Bruno, Chief of Police." Peace.

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    1. That sounds like a great book series. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  18. The Paris Sweets book sounds wonderful. It took me a year to plan my trip to Paris and it was worth all the time and effort. I also don't 'compromise' much on things I have my heart set on. If it doesn't exist well it should and then I would be able to buy it. I will get this book and some pastries!

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  19. I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility
    issues? A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

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    1. I'm really terrible at technology. Whenever I have a problem with any blog issue, I look on youtube for a video that will help me figure the problem out.

      Delete
  20. I also love France! You would never know that from my blog but it is true. I have never been to France either...but I truly hope to set foot on French soil one day. If not, I still love it, love thinking of it, love the language, love all parts of France really.
    Now this book is not ABOUT Paris but I dearly loved the way that Paris welcomed the Wright Brothers to France, you can read about that in the book, "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough. I sent this book to my father-in-law in England, and guess what, he said it was the BEST book he thinks he has ever read! Isn't that wonderful?

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    1. That sounds like a great book. My Uncle and Sister both like to read books by David McCullough. Thanks for the suggestion!

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