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Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,171 Ratings  ·  305 Reviews
A self-described Francophile since the age of nine, Rosecrans Baldwin had always dreamed of living in France. So when an offer presented itself to work at a Parisian ad agency, he couldn't turn it down—even though he had no experience in advertising, and even though he hardly spoke French.

But the Paris that Rosecrans and his wife, Rachel, arrived in wasn't the romantic cit
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Picador (first published January 1st 2012)
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Ryan Narikawa Yeah. It's of the Sound of Silver album by LCD Soundsystem. I want to say he mentions listening to it quite a bit as a go to jogging soundtrack while…moreYeah. It's of the Sound of Silver album by LCD Soundsystem. I want to say he mentions listening to it quite a bit as a go to jogging soundtrack while living in Paris. Hence the title.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 16, 2013 Colleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Paris, I Love You was good for a chuckle now and again but most of the time, I found myself scratching my head...for many reasons. The most off-putting thing about it was the flow. When my son was two years old, I observed him, fascinated and puzzled, running back and forth across the room--zipping this way and that, bouncing off the walls into other directions. (I grew up with sisters--the inability of most boys to sit still, even for a moment, still confounds me.) Just for fun, I even drew a r ...more
Jan 02, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
PILYBYBMD, hereafter known as 'the book', is a pretty solid contribution to at least three or four heavily saturated and eternally popular genres: the travelogue, in which a stranger finds fulfillment and revelation in giving themselves over to a foreign situation; the office expose, in which the quirks and aspirations of one's coworkers are documented and arcane work practices and dynamics of power are brought into the open; and the city fetish novel, of which the Parisian love song is a highly ...more
From my Cannonball Read V review ...

I want to live abroad someday. I’ve done it before, spending a year in London in 2009-2010. It was interesting, although I had a different perspective than Mr. Baldwin when he wrote Paris, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down. I was in school, wasn’t worried about my visa, and had housing booked before I arrived.

Mr. Baldwin, on the other hand, had to navigate a lot of the new world of being an ex-pat on his own, with minimal assistance from his entertaining
Dec 04, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently visited our local branch of the Boston Public Library system - first time in many years - and came across this book. It was an interesting read for me as I am both very fond of Paris, having visited this greatest of cities many times for both business and pleasure, and also given that I was once an expatriate (French speaking side of Switzerland), myself.

Baldwin gives a great perspective on the day-to-day life of a working expatriate during recent times; the times of Sarkozy. He has a
Jun 17, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little bit "Mad Men," a little bit "Midnight in Paris," a lot like "2 Days in Paris"--this is one of my favorite I-moved-to-Paris tales. It's funny and reflective, without being overwritten.

You'll relate to this if you've ever moved overseas. Not just gone to a foreign country for work for a week or two, but paid utilities, navigated workplace politics, and felt helpless in the face of authorities/emergencies/your own phone. Baldwin's mandatory day-long French civics class is hilarious, as ar
Sabra Embury
Oct 02, 2012 Sabra Embury rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Champagne's good; especially when waiting for a table at a restaurant or anytime before noon on a first class business trip, but if you don't have a bottle of it on hand while reading this memoir of an American living in Paris, it will seem like an inconvenience. It's like Madmen and cigarettes and scotch. It would be easy to digress here, but I won't.

This is a young American ad exec/novelist's take on what it's like to work and live in Paris for a year and a half with an affable live-in girlfr
May 26, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, read-in-2013
OK. The fourth star here may simply be a reflection of my guilt at only giving a single star to Rosecrans Baldwin's other book "You Lost Me There". Perhaps this account of Baldwin's 18 months in Paris, working at a French advertising agency while writing that other book, had particular resonance because I have spent 12 of the last 24 months in Paris, wrestling with many of the same French idiosyncrasies he describes.

But I certainly couldn't write about them as accurately and hilariously as he d
Jul 02, 2012 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am deeply bugged by people who get to live the dream of a lifetime and then complain about it in book form. Rosecrans Baldwin lives my dream life and then decides he would rather be a hillybilly in North Carolina. The end.

Boo to throwing away opportunities, boo to whining about how inconvenient life can be, boo to not making the absolute most of a once in a lifetime chance. And boo to this book.
Aug 20, 2012 RandomAnthony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I lasted ten pages.

A) Didn't David Sedaris already write this book?

B) I am done with these wacky non-fiction memoirs. Done, I tell you!

Utter shite. At least for the first ten pages. Maybe it got better. But this book repulsed me, so I stopped reading.
Kenneth Iltz
A self-described Francophile since the age of nine, Rosecrans Baldwin had always dreamed of living in France. So when an offer presented itself to work at a Parisian ad agency, he couldn't turn it down--even though his French was less than adequate. The book is a hilarious and refreshingly honest look at life in Paris.
If you are looking for a travel book, this isn’t it. The main theme of the book seems to be how to adjust to French customs and mannerisms – especially in the workplace. France wo
Jul 07, 2013 Carey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in or love Paris, this is worth a read. There's some more honesty here on what 'real' French life in the capital really is like than in your standard ex-pat Paris fiction, meaning that life is a bit harder, not as glamorous as it's usually made out to be, and the workplace is still a bit of a boy's club in many ways. That being said, the job that the author has is also still a bit of a fantasy position as someone back in NYC points out, saying that essentially, "jobs like th ...more
Aug 03, 2012 Emmanuel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
baldwin inadvertantly diagnoses the problem with his own book:

"john le carre said the only way to write about a place was after visiting for a day, or after a long life once you'd moved there. but time between these two lengths didn't lend more certainty, just detail."

and that's exactly what this was, a play-by-play descriptathon with very little narrative or spark.
Karen Germain
Mar 16, 2016 Karen Germain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever in Pasadena, I always visit Vromans Bookstore and head straight to the travel section. Rosecrans Baldwin's Paris, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down was a find on my recent visit. Last summer, I visited two towns in southern France, but I'm still dreaming of going to Paris! (hint, hint to my husband)

PLOT- In his memoir, Paris, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down, Rosecrans Baldwin recounts his eighteen months living in Paris. Baldwin and his wife, Rachel, are in their late-twen
Ann Mah
Jun 23, 2013 Ann Mah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is one of the most clear-eyed and honest accounts of Paris expat life I've read. I laughed many times and cried a few -- and the ending broke my heart even as it helped me define my own emotions about leaving France.
Jun 24, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unabashed Francophile, the author distills the essence of his (temporary) life in Paris. At times, all the conversation about comparing Paris with life in the US seems a bit precious, but his self-effacing humor often made me laugh out loud. I am not as enamored of French culture as he, but I could certainly appreciate many of the benefits found in Paris. I probably wouldn't be as tolerant of some of the negatives. An amusing memoir that gives some insight into being a bumbling foreigner in s ...more
May 28, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Loved this. It was a perfect vacation (Michigan) read: light and funny, but also with some depth. Perceptive. The author really does a great job of describing the love/hate relationship most of us have with Paris, including native Parisians, apparently. So beautiful! So bureaucratic! So lively and lovely, yet contrary and cranky. So, so French.

I really related to what it is like to struggle through learning their language. The feeling of being so tired of working so incredibly hard all the time
Hannah Notess
Oct 19, 2015 Hannah Notess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: armchair-travel
Paris change! mais rien dans ma mélancolie n'a bougé!

Maybe I just really like books set in advertising agencies. I really enjoyed Then We Came to the End, and Murder Must Advertise is one of my favorites of Dorothy Sayers' mysteries. The coworkers in the ad agency become such entertaining characters (I wonder what they think of the book, though).

This is a humorous and well-written exploration of living in a place that exists simultaneously in your imagination and in reality and what happens in
Josh Mlot
I didn't pick up "Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" because I had some prior interest in Paris or French culture. I had simply read good things about it and was looking for something nonfiction to read.

In the end, the book didn't blow me away, but I did enjoy it. I think I expected it be funnier than it was. It had subtle moments of humor, and some chuckle-worthy things, but it's definitely not a laugh-a-minute read.

What it is is an ode to place and how find ourselves within that. T
Jul 22, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this memoir of Baldwin's time working at an advertising firm on the Champs Elysees in Paris, since I visited last year and vowed to go back. Reading Baldwin's book was better than a couple of weeks touring the arrondissements (well, almost). _Paris, I love you_ is filled with humor and poignancy and reveals the challenges of staying excited about living your dream when it becomes a part of your day to day grind.

Baldwin shares the foibles of the French--both friends and strangers--b
Jun 10, 2012 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel, france
Painfully funny travelogue about living in Paris that wrecked both my daydreams about visiting there and my fantasy that I would feel more at home in a European city. Rosecrans gets a job at a Paris advertising agency and he and his wife move to Paris. He has exaggerated his language skills, leading to some of the book's funniest scenes, where he thinks he follows a conversation in French but entirely misses it - at a party, he believes he hears a story about a grandmother buying cheese and thro ...more
Kevin Fanning
May 21, 2012 Kevin Fanning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Crans and his wife move to Paris, they love it but it's also kind of difficult. But not TOO difficult because, you know, Paris. Really fun read. Crans's writing is loose and breezy but also deft, targeted. Full of memorably gorgeous scenes and moments. He manages to make delight swing on the page, which is pretty rare. The anecdotes just end when they're over, which makes some of them clunky and awkward, but that's as is should be--he doesn't over-philosophize or try to tie things up for the rea ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, france
Just so you know, this book really will bring you down. You'll get your prescribed dose of insight into Paris, Parisians and what it's like to live and work in Paris. You'll laugh some and learn how to avoid some French faux pas, but along with it all, you will walk away feeling kind of depressed. You've been warned.
Jeremy Ely
Jul 23, 2013 Jeremy Ely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know that there are so many aspiring writers in the world, and so many talented ones, who make you laugh, feel or cry. You hope from the bottom of your heart that they get somewhere to support their dreams, since they exert so much passion into it and do seem like they deserve it.

Then you read a book like this, where somebody has got paid (some figure at least greater than $100) to write, and it's just like, WTF?
This is one of the blandest, uninteresting, contrived works I've ever come acros
Jun 30, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2013, paris
2.5 stars. Mostly charming memoir about a lifelong Francophile who decides to take an advertising job in Paris. Ultimately this book should be titled "Paris, I Love You but Sometimes Not as Much" or "Paris, I Love You but the Novelty Wears Off." As many reviewers point out, it never really "brings him down." Also, this is lacking in narrative arc. It starts out strong but for the rest of the book it's much of the same and reads as though you're going through some guy's (albeit well-written) blog ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Kirin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: expats
I've been missing France a lot lately. This book was the perfect remedy.

And the lengthy time it took for Rosecrans and Rachel to receive their health card (view spoiler). Accurate.
Kari Macknight Dearborn
I read this because I couldn't resist a book combining two things I love and love reading about: Paris and advertising (among other things). Many surprises inside - these are neither the Paris nor the world of advertising I know. Now, I've never worked on Louis Vuitton...
Paris shines through Baldwin's eyes, even with all its rough and rusty spots. I think I like it even more knowing the pins and tape holding the place together are there for me to find. I liked meeting the kooky cast of friends a
Chocolate & Croissants
This book hits Paris on the mark. We all love Paris, but yes I am not the one to burst your bubble, however every city in the world has aspects that are not glamorous. We just have to learn that for ourselves.

Author, Baldwin, gets the job opportunity that we all probably dream of. Working in Paris on the Champs D'Elyse. Ok, that is not my dream but close enough. He gets to live in Paris.

The story he writes is hysterical. Having visited Paris probably more than 20 times I can say that he has a r
Joe Cummings
Apr 27, 2015 Joe Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a graduate of what nowadays is called the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Earlier today, I sent a note to one of the two professors under whom I studied and who is still there. Let me share part of the letter with you.

I read a book recently that you might enjoy and might want to recommend to you students. It's entitled "Paris I Love you But You're Bring Me Down" by Rosecrans Baldwin. Written in 2012, it's an expat's account about the time he spent working for an ad agency in Paris.
Jul 01, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help but compare this to The Sweet Life in Paris by Lebovitz, which I read several years ago. I love Lebovitz, but I enjoyed this (Baldwin's) US-expat-in-Paris story more. I finished Lebovitz's book feeling relieved I'd never lived there and dealt with caustic French for a length of time. Despite some similar challenges faced by the author, this book restored some infatuation and wonder I've always held for the French capital. It made me want to revisit this Fall, especially.
stephanie borris
I can't tell you how much I truly enjoyed this book. As someone who's always wanted to pack up & move to Paris, I found Rosecrans Baldwin's journey to be heartwarming & hilarious. I rationed the book out--trying not to read too much in one sitting--so I'd have it for the full week's commute. Of course, that did not happen. I zoomed through "Paris, I Love You..." and expect that I'll probably read it again too.
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Gwinnett County P...: Americans in Paris 1 5 Dec 07, 2012 08:16AM  
  • Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
  • Paris Was Ours
  • Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis
  • Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train
  • The Flaneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris
  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
  • The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
  • Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
  • An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris
  • Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)
  • C'est la Vie: An American Woman Begins a New Life in Paris and--Voila!--Becomes Almost French
  • Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
  • How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
  • Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi
  • A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful
  • Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the City of Light
  • Paris in Love
  • Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of the City's Most Illustrious Figures
Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down and You Lost Me There, which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2010, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and a Time and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of Summer 2010. He is a cofounder of the online magazine The Morning News.
More about Rosecrans Baldwin...

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“Actually, this is an interesting question,' the instructor said. 'What is the difference between culture and law? In France, we say we are French before we are anything else.” 3 likes
“It reminded me how, at work that week, there'd been a meeting when a client visited, a woman, and after she'd left the conference room, the first task had been to evaluate her aesthetically, to weigh in on her breasts and legs, the make and quality of her handbag.” 1 likes
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