The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City
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The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  6,955 ratings  ·  849 reviews
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 neighbo...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jeanette

If you love Paris, you'll enjoy this book.
If you hate Paris, you'll enjoy this book.
If you've never been to Paris (c'est moi) and you're weary of hearing your Francophile friends gush about how absolutely everything French is better simply because it's French, you'll enjoy this book.

Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The Sweet Life in Paris is the moving-and-starting-over story of Lebovitz’s venture into Parisian life. It’s a story we have heard many times before, of the trials of dealing with French bureaucracy, of figuring out how to get service in French stores, and of trying to fit into a world that secretly scorns everything that is not French. Yes, we have heard this story many times before, but it is a story we will never tire of, a story we want to read again and again, until maybe, one day, we tell...more
Bryan
Annoying, a bit.

Not my kind of book to begin with, but it was interesting enough for me to finish. Lebovitz has such an interesting way of describing his view of the Parisians. Very funny most of the time.

I didn't read his recipes--they're not why I read the book in the first place--which made the book that much faster to read. He likes things like creme and milk and butter and sugar. I willing to bet his food is delicious and dangerous.

But let's get down to the real point here: he needs to grow...more
Toni
Très délicieux !

After 12 years of working as a pastry chef at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, David Lebovitz moved to Paris, where he has now lived for several years. His book is an amusing and entertaining chronicle of becoming a Parisian — from getting along with other Parisians to finding the most delicious food, especially baked goodies, in the city. It means living in cramped quarters, being pushed and shoved in lines, dealing with grumpy sales clerks, learning how to dress, and what to do when...more
Emily
I love David Lebovitz's blog and not a single of his recipes has failed me yet. His blog is www.davidlebovitz.com and I highly recommend it! I was kind of dreading his book because often times bloggers turn out to be terrible authors (shocking, I know!) and I didn't want enjoy his blog less for a lousy book. Happily, he was an author before he was a blogger and is a pro the whole way through.

This book is part Jeffrey Steingarten, part Peter Mayle. He has a wry sense of humor about Parisians, a p...more
Chris
Instead of April in Paris, I spent it in Vermont, savoring David Lebovitz's wonderful romp through the city. Following the death of his partner, Leibovitz makes the decision to move to Paris. Note, he was NOT running away, despite what many of his friends thought; instead it was an opportunity to “flip over the Etch A Sketch” of his life (I love that) and start over. A pastry chef at the lauded Chez Panisse for ten years and a well-known cookbook writer for several after that, he moved to the Ci...more
Lisa
I really enjoyed this, but the author is a pastry chef, not a writer, so he got docked for some seriously so-so writing. The whole thing reads like the annotations in a good cookbook. Now, I personally like to read cookbooks cover to cover. That said, most other people don't. The book is an earnest and funny account of a pastry chef's life abroad and if it is a bit repetitive, the story is told with quite a bit of humor and some recipes that I'll be making this week (before the book goes back to...more
Thomas
This book hit me wrong when I first bought it. I had started in the the assumption that it was going to be something else. But, after having it sit for about a year I picked it up again as a bedside read as going to sleep filler. The short chapters with vignettes about David Lebovitz life in Paris as an ice cream maker and baker were fantastic reads. David's view of Paris is not fully in-line with the one I have had on my much sorter ventures there, but he uncovers a lot of gems and provides und...more
Jaclyn
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: this book will make you hungry. It will make you hungry for hot, crunchy baguettes... frisee salad with melting rounds of goat cheese... and, of course, for chocolate. This book will make you especially hungry for chocolate. Case in point: I hardly ever drink hot cocoa. I generally find it to be too sweet and not my cup of tea. (See what I did there?) But after reading David Lebovitz's rhapsodizing about Parisian hot cocoa, I had two cups at...more
Abby Stewart
This was not my favorite food / Paris memoir. The writing style was pretentious and a bit passive-aggressive at times. I found the judgments passed by the author to be ubiquitous and stereotypical. How can he claim to love and idealize the French, and France itself, when the entire book is a (sometimes humorous) rant, peppered with recipes -- whose title misleadingly alludes to a discussion of Paris' grandeur and gastronomical deliciousness, He also complained several times about the shabbily dr...more
Fabienne
In the book description the question posed was "When did he (the author) realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien?" The answer came to me after reading the first few chapters - when he started to COMPLAIN about everything. Just like Parisian, the author complains non-stop. Complaints about the service, the pedestrians, the coffee, the water, the small apartments... On and on he goes. I was so disappointed in this book. I was expecting to be transported into the "Sweet Life in Paris" but inst...more
Benjamin
This was a light, funny, and quick account of a pastry chef who decided to move to Paris, without knowing the language or culture, after having lived in San Francisco for twenty years. It's often quite amusing and is ordered in chapters that focus on simple anecdotes. Each chapter is followed by at least one, but usually two or three, recipes, which all look VERY good. The book would have been much more interesting to me had it not consisted mainly of incessant complaining about Parisians. The w...more
Alison G.
I was fully prepared to hear how fabulous life for a pastry chef could be in Paris. I was surprised, however, to learn that even for him, living in one of the world's most revered destinations can be...challenging. I loved his humorous anecdotes that I could picture vividly. Many of the customs and faux pas he describes could easily be applied to Brazil, and living overseas made his tales not only funny, but totally relateable. And where he describes his visits back to the States, and comes to t...more
Andie
David Lebowitz is a pastry chef (trained at Chez Panisse in California) who cooks, writes and blogs in Paris. He's one of my husband's favorite food bloggers and has been reading his web postings for about ten years. This book about his life in Paris is a delight. is essays on the bureaucratic nightmare of the French national and Paris municipal governments made me laugh out loud and his descriptions of the wonderful food markets, boulangeries and fromageries made me want to hope onto a plane an...more
Darcy
This was a light, enjoyable read. Despite my love of baking and chocolate, I had never heard of David Lebovitz until I picked up this book at Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago. The introduction, where Lebovitz wryly states that he knew he was a Parisian when one Sunday when he was lounging around he “shaved, changed into a pair of real pants, tucked in a clean wrinkle-free shirt, and slipped on a pair of shoes and socks” just to take out the trash, caught my attention and made me laugh. I saw...more
Erin
This book made me hungry!! I probably gained a few pounds just dreaming about the food he talks about - the pastries, the cheese, crepes, chocolates. I loved the the everyday anecdotes of the author's life in Paris, becoming assimilated into the culture and nuances of life there. I also learned how to properly slice different kinds of cheeses, which is always good to know.

I loved his chapters on chocolate and coffee- two of my favorite things. It seems that while Paris has amazing chocolate, and...more
Lorin Kleinman
David Lebovitz is rightly renowned for his dessert cookbooks--just ask anyone who's tried the chocolate/guinness ice cream I make following his instructions. And as his blog makes clear, he's an engaging, affable narrator. But until I read The Sweet Life in Paris, I hadn't realized quite how laugh-out-loud funny he is.

Ten years ago or so, Lebovitz was leading a happy existence in San Francisco, following a long stint as a Chez Panisse pastry chef with a series of acclaimed cookbooks. Then his bo...more
Sue
I'm going to be in Paris for 48 hours in a few weeks, and I decided to cram by reading memoirs. It's a way to procrastinate cracking the French textbook to brush up, I guess. David Lebovitz's story of moving to Paris and navigating the culture is perfect for my situation-- I need to practice not smiling, prepare for way more intrusions on my personal space than normal, and order café creme, not café au lait. Got it. Although he is in places critical of the Parisian attitude, he respects their cu...more
Chris
Chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz moved from San Francisco to Paris years ago. Often baffled, sometimes frustrated and sometimes indulging in the quirkiness of Les Parisiens, he managed surprisingly well turning the city into his home.

The book is a collection of entertaining slice of life anecdotes, that actually happened, followed by several recipes. An excellent storyteller, David is also a gifted cook and his recipes sound fabulous. I will admit that I can't wait to try some of them.

H...more
Gwen
Jan 23, 2013 Gwen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gwen by: David Lebovitz's blog
Shelves: biography-memoir
In the past week, I've read two "fish out of water" memoirs: Lebovitz's and Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away, and "The Sweet Life in Paris" is by far the more entertaining, more earnest, and more introspective. (And significantly less curmudgeonly.) As a pastry chef, Lebovitz is not a professional writer, but his writing completely engrossed me, keeping me up far later than I should, and his tales of living in Paris amused this former (a...more
Megankellie
I worked a job with women who were all at least 30 years older than me. I heard this joke all the time: "I'm looking for a guy with a bulge in his pants. BUT IN THE BACK HAHAHA!!@!!!!" meaning his wallet. They were, by and large, nice ladies who dealt pretty gently with a frustrated dread-bag who cried at her desk and ate all the candy (me). Something about that joke made me want to desperately walk around, put my hand on someone's arm and softly say "am I alone?" That kind of joke is dumb. No b...more
Megan
he Sweet Life in Paris – David Lebovitz

There is a theme of late with books I am selecting: food. Not all have yet been posted but I am finding a strange attraction to audiobooks about food being read to me. Who would have thought listening to recipes and gory food details would be so fun and conducive to the audiobook world.

This is a must read for anyone bound for Paris. I have only visited once thus far and found David’s observations true and some of the items would have been good to know a lit...more
Namratha Kumar
Certain books demand an accompanying snack. This book called out for unlimited bowls of Salted Salli (those twee matchstick-shaped potato chips) followed by a just-adequately-melted chunk of Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk : Fruit & Nut.

Ergo, any blame for the consequent kilos that settled on my hips can be placed squarely on the shoulders of David Lebovitz.

The Sweet Life in Paris describes aforementioned chef (and master of wry observations), David Lebovitz' topsy-turvy stay in the enchanting and...more
Sarah
One has to wonder why Lebowitz is so enthralled with Paris given that a good 85% of his book is complaining about the city and it's inhabitants. As an American expat to Europe myself, I certainly can identify with his frustration, but sometimes this book feels more like a rant than a memoir. With recipes. It definately feels like it was culled from a blog, which doesn't help the book. Lebowitz attributes a lot of things (rudeness, inability to walk properly, terrible grocery stores) as if they'r...more
Keri
Reading this book was like having a coffee and warm, flaky croissant in Paris, satisfying but not heavy. Lebovitz's descriptions were vivid without being overdone. His story was interesting and I loved the little bit of naughtiness he added (I'll let you read to figure that out). Perhaps I was able to get more out of this because I've been to Paris, but even still there were many things he discussed that I had not experienced. It did make me wonder if I had annoyed any Parisians because I didn't...more
Lori
I have read David Lebovitz's blog and various articles by him, but this is the first full book of his that I've ever read and it probably won't be my last. I purchased this as "research" for a recent trip to Paris. I thoroughly enjoyed his musings on the cultural differences an American living in Paris encounters and I can't wait to try some of the recipes which sound divine. At the end he even lists all of his favorite places/resources throughout the city from chocolate shops to bakeries. If yo...more
Monika
Travel and food memoirs are my guilty pleasure. Enjoyed reading about Lebovitz's adventures in Paris. I love that he includes the names of the places he loves (restaurants, shops, etc) and even a listing of websites where you can get French products on-line if you live in the US (although nowadays, everything is available on-line and easy to find). I'm not sure I completely understand his choices of recipes to include in the book...you kind of expect French recipes, but he includes one for Mexic...more
Catherine
This is a lovely book to read in the heart of winter -- full of interesting takes on a life in Paris from a famous but unassuming pastry chef. Full of wry wit and chocolate-cake recipes -- there's also one for chocolate-coconut-flake marshmallows, which are considered healthful in France (Lebovitz expresses doubts, but says he eats them weekly anyhow).

It's a great companion book to Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon -- both are written by sophisticated, interested Americans living in Paris, and bo...more
mwbham
I'm clearly swimming upstream on this one. I checked what other Goodreads members thought of this book and I am definitely in the minority. One reader even compared it to Julia Child's memoir. While the book did have a few moments that were almost charming and numerous interesting asides about life in Paris, overall it was a disjointed, poorly written group of essays each with a recipe attached to the end. In addition, I thought his humor was on the adolescent side. Of course, I don't like The T...more
Steph
A perplexing, frustrating read... I suppose that mirrors my own feelings regarding Lebovitz's subject matter—the city of Paris itself. My return visit recently caused such feelings of ambivalence within me—there were things I really loved about the city, but things that drove me bonkers as well—and I found those feelings echoed within this book. It's not that I disliked Lebovitz's writing (though sometimes I found his attempts at being cheeky/coy a bit grating), but maybe it's that the things he...more
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153041
American pastry chef living the sweet life in Paris! Author of several cookbooks, including The Perfect Scoop, the complete guide to making the best ice cream and frozen desserts at home, The Great Book of Chocolate, a guide - with recipes - for everything about everyone's favorite ingredient, and Ready for Dessert, a compilation of baking favorites, from an extra-moist Fresh Ginger Cake, to crunc...more
More about David Lebovitz...
The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories The Great Book of Chocolate: The Chocolate Lover's Guide with Recipes Room For Dessert : 110 Recipes for Cakes, Custards, Souffles, Tarts, Pies, Cobblers, Sorbets, Sherbets, Ice Creams, Cookies, Candies, and Cordials

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“Parisians are always in a big hurry, but are especially frantic if they’re behind you. They’re desperate to be where they rightfully feel they belong: in front of you. It’s a whole other story when you’re behind them, especially when it’s their turn: suddenly they seem to have all the time in the world.” 2 likes
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