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Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  11,610 Ratings  ·  1,272 Reviews
In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again.

Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak's pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love aff
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Little, Brown and Company
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Kate I am reading it now and like it better than I liked Lunch in Paris. Maybe it is because I am a young mother, too, or maybe it is because I am…moreI am reading it now and like it better than I liked Lunch in Paris. Maybe it is because I am a young mother, too, or maybe it is because I am listening to it on CD, but I am enjoying it more. (less)
Woman In Gold Actually I thought it was pretty funny and just added more to her becoming a native. :) Besides, who hasn't heard something like that either in their…moreActually I thought it was pretty funny and just added more to her becoming a native. :) Besides, who hasn't heard something like that either in their home country or abroad? I think she had a very appropriate response. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jessica Clark
Jun 13, 2012 Jessica Clark rated it really liked it
Okay. This one is a little tricky for me to write. If you know me, you know that this is a sensitive subject. I have a Masters degree in French and did the hard work and the carte de séjour appointments and the years... YEARS of waiting and longing in between visits to France not knowing if I'd ever go back-- in short, anything other than just "find a French guy".

So, this is a story where the American girl meets the French guy and BEGRUDGINGLY moves to Paris. I'm crying for her, really. Everythi
Isa K.
Apr 29, 2012 Isa K. rated it liked it
There's a community on Tumblr called Better Book Titles where people post snarky photoshops of book covers. This book inspired my first contribution:

How long before aspirational memories from entitled, self-deluded, white women becomes its own genre? The protracted adventures of global trotting Mary Sues, no longer content with self inserting themselves into fiction they must now self insert into entire cultures where they can act out their ingenue fantasies for all eternity. It's a little sad h
Dec 12, 2013 Kristina rated it it was ok
I really hated this book at first and fully expected to give it a 1-star review (unusual for me). Too pretentious and lacking in intrigue to qualify for decent/fun chick lit, too lacking in poignant stories and interesting details to qualify for a worthy memoir, and too self-absorbed and lacking in cultural observation to be a decent travel novel. These things all seemed true at first, but somewhere in the middle Bard seems to find her story (or maybe I just became accustomed to her rather ...more
Book Riot Community
I needed a bit of escapism this month, from San Francisco and my boyfriend’s attempts to go paleo, and this provided both. Romance, France and step by step guides to cooking up a little piece of Parisian paradise at home.

— Rachel Weber

from The Best Books We Read In August 2016:
It would be easy to begrudge Elizabeth Bard her lovely life. As New Yorker living in London in the early 2000's, she met a nice French man at a conference in Paris. They had lunch and fell in love. Ten years on, she is married to that French man and they split their time between a Parisian pied-a-terre and a home in the south of France. In between, Bard became fluent in the French language and French cookery, penned a best-selling memoir/cookbook, her husband launched a successful digital film c ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Alison rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It seems like it's going to just be about a woman meeting a man in France, but then it turns into so much more. Elizabeth has such an appreciation for food and for culture--both French and American. She meets and marries Gwendal pretty early on and from there it becomes about her search for herself in a new land and the challenge of letting go of expectations for what makes her truly happy. I wish I had the cooking skills to try some of her recipes...maybe one day, ...more
Aug 06, 2011 Kay rated it liked it
I don't want to completely slam the author because she is very good at creating visual images for the reader of great food in a beautiful city. It's been a decade - at least - since my trip to Paris but this book does a great job of bringing back memories. I also liked her portrayal of her husband.

I find it a bit trite that she took a formulamatic approach of comparing our two cultures. It seems like every American expat living in France that wants to write a book or memoir presents us as the d
I'm debating whether or not to give this 1 or 2 stars.

This is yet another late 20s/early 30s memoir written by a well-educated, attractive, intelligent yet incredibly self-absorbed, privileged woman. If you're into memoirs like Eat Pray Love and Trail of Crumbs then you'll enjoy this book. If you're like me and can't figure out why you keep on reading these types of books because the authors drive you crazy with their self-absorption, their spoiled "woe is me" attitude, and their pretentiousness
Book Concierge

Subtitle: A Love Story, With Recipes
When Bard was a graduate student in England (art history), she took a weekend trip to Paris, where she met and had lunch with a Frenchman. And the rest, as they say, is history.

This is a charming memoir where Bard explores the many differences between French and American culture. I did get a little tired of her whining about not knowing where she was going (career wise), but I loved her descriptions of the many meals she enjoyed – from simple brioche an
Mar 29, 2015 Juliette rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, 2015
I was trying not to stare, but his hazel-green eyes seemed to be exactly the same color as my own.

I'm sure there's a measure of pride that goes into writing any memoir, but there is a huge amount of chutzpah involved in a memoir when you've not done anything special. Bard's story is about moving from upper middle class in New York City to just plain middle class in Paris and the indulgent whining that comes with it. Oh, sure, her apartment in Paris is tiny (but still within New York City norms
Julie Davis
Feb 24, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
#13 - 2010.

Took a flyer on this when I was given a Barnes and Noble gift card and they didn't have a single one of the six current books I was seeking. It carries the reader into the heart of living in Paris with young American Elizabeth Bard who is having an extended affair with a young Parisian who sounds like a truly wonderful fellow. Her attacks of angst over not having a career or achieving enough or that her Parisian dreamboat is too happy can become rather annoying especially considering
Dec 14, 2011 Nancy rated it did not like it
I found it poorly written and self-congratulatory and was annoyed with this book the entire time. As an American woman who also married a French man in her late 20's and moved to France, I was hoping to relate, but I just thought her generalizations and egotism were too much. To be honest, because she's very privileged through her good education and opportunity to live in Paris, she could have made the story much more appealing to the readers by transforming the bragging into some humorous ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I had a really tough time getting through this one, mainly because the author annoyed me so much. This book has great recipes and excellent descriptions of Paris, but it's more a story of falling in love with a city than a couple falling in love. In fact, I didn't really see any evidence of a great love affair...I can't imagine being madly in love yet taking a year to decide on a marriage proposal. What annoyed me most about this author was how she tried so hard to protest that she came from a ...more
May 01, 2015 Niki rated it it was amazing
Oh my god, LOVE! This book chronicles the ultimate love story and pairs it with food, but not just any food, PARISIAN food! Elizabeth Bard couldn’t have written this book better, because as her story of love and happiness unravels, the recipes become increasingly delicious. Truthfully, the tea she describes in the first chapter is AMAZING and any tips that she has advised on in the book, I have used with success. The evolution of her journey from an American Jew disenfranchised in London into a ...more
Victoria Allman
Nov 26, 2011 Victoria Allman rated it it was amazing
With a first line of "I slept with my French husband halfway through our first date.", you can see why readers are sucked into this delicious story of an American finding her way in Paris. But, it was not until the description of shopping for vegetables in the market that had me drooling and wishing I could live Elizabeth Bard's life.
This well-written account of marrying a French man and setting into a Parisian life is stomach-grumbling good. I read it in one long, enjoyable sitting, like a good
Jul 18, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
This is a delightful memoir of an American woman who falls in love with a Frenchman and moves to Paris. They eventually get married, and Elizabeth learns to navigate life in France. She includes a variety of recipes after every chapter, many of which sounded delicious.

Something I found especially interesting was seeing differences in French culture compared to America. For example, the French guidelines for going shopping, for dining, for going to the beach, even for going to the doctor, are di
I have known of and chatted with Elizabeth for nine years - we share a mutual friend and mutual respect and affection for each other - as she jaunted back first from London and then Paris to visit family and friends in the States. This book explores her decision to move to Paris: it is a delicious read of her adjustment to her new life and what role food has played in significant events, from first date to wedding to dealing with her father-in-law's terminal illness. It is told in a very ...more
Aug 29, 2011 Honey-Squirrel rated it it was ok
This blog-to-book is a occasionally pleasant chick-lit memoir of the challenges and rewards of intercultural romance, new marriage, finding a passion, mastering cooking, and adjusting to an expat life. The book suffers from a lack of suspense, a reliance on cultural clichés, and structural gimmickry (each chapter trendily ends with a recipe tie-in). From the first paragraph, the reader realizes that the author
does indeed marry the Frenchman and that the resolution of her existential crisis is th
Jan 16, 2015 Delilah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-reads
I absolutely LOVED this book....I enjoyed her story about how she ended up in Paris. Paris is a love affair on it's own... she describes areas of Paris that most tourists don't get to.. which I LOVED. I read this book 2 months before making my first trip out to Paris and was able to pop into some of her hang outs and walk the neighborhoods she described. It was a nice, cozy read! Highly recommend!
Feb 13, 2010 Bookish rated it liked it
If one were to whip up what I would consider a pleasant confection of a book, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard would, on paper, have all the right ingredients. I love to travel and I love food - so a memoir about an American who chronicles her life in Paris with recipes seemed to have my name all over it. I settled in with anticipatory delight to what I thought would be a charming and delicious read. And it was - for the most part.

Bard's journalistic roots are evident
With the caveat that I generally enjoy books about food and France, and that I found many of the author's thoughts/feelings and experiences in France similar to mine, I really enjoyed this light read. What I liked most about this memoir was the author's amusing and candid observations about herself and her life in France, including her relationship with her boyfriend, the food, and the culture. I also identified with her ongoing struggle to reconcile her idealistic visions with the realities of ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Falcon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, favorites, own
Lunch in Paris was a delightful, easy read from front to back. It was one of those books I felt I was meant to read because it paralleled my life at the time. I absolutely loved the idea of each chapter ending with a few recipes, especially when those recipes were featured in the previous chapter. In some cases those recipes motivated me to finish the book as quick as possible.

This is the type of book you'll love depending on how much you can relate to Bard's situation, or if you are intrigued
Jul 24, 2015 Carolyn rated it liked it
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard is a love story with recipes. What I liked about it the most is that it actually is a true story. Lunch in Paris changes Elizabeth's life completely as she falls in love with a Frenchman and discovers all that is involved in The French way of Life and Culture through visiting Paris in France and discovering delicious ways with French cuisine. It is a story which changes Elizabeth's whole life. I think it is wonderful that Elizabeth Bard, the author has shared ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Amanda rated it it was ok
Once again after finishing a memoir of an American living in France I am tres heureuse that I live aux Etats-Unis. Bard's book has some anecdotes about the crazy, infuriating and nonsensical aspects of French culture that made me laugh out loud. But I feel like this is terrain I've already covered from other "I went to France and fell in love and had a hard time getting work" books.

Also, it always cracks me up that in EVERY SINGLE book about France there is inevitably a chapter about French wom
Nusrah Javed
Jul 31, 2015 Nusrah Javed marked it as abandoned
While it may not bode well for me that my abandoned bookshelf grows by the day, I cannot and will not force myself to read books that make me not want to read books at all. This memoir was good in the beginning, but towards the middle it started to feel like, 'okay, so you got married to a French guy and had a French wedding and you like French food, now what?' Meh, i would rather read something else.
Julie Ehlers
Well, it wasn't so terrible I couldn't finish it (hence the 2 stars instead of one), but it was lacking any kind of sensuality (unusual for a book about food and love), and the author/heroine was pretty insufferable. I didn't like her at all and didn't root for her, and in a memoir like this rooting for the heroine is pretty essential to a reader's enjoyment.
Pietiekami interesants lasāmgabals par francūžiem un arī amerikāņiem.
May 20, 2011 Helynne rated it liked it
Books about American or British women moving to Paris –often because they fell in love with a Frenchmen—and learning to cope with cultural differences are becoming a whole genre. As this genre goes, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes is one of the best I have encountered. Not only does it have the added appeal of numerous recipes for French culinary delights, but it also has Elizabeth Bard’s engaging writing style, which is smart, funny, and perceptive with moments of real eloquence. Bein ...more
Oct 12, 2016 Kik rated it liked it
a little simple and the recipes weren't that good.
Oct 28, 2010 Lindsay rated it really liked it
"When I spotted him at a seminar on a hypertext version of Finnegan's Wake, I knew he had to be European." So begins Elizabeth Bard's attraction to a future lover in her 2010 offering Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes. The man in question happens not only to be European, but French to boot. What follows is a witty and well-written chronicle of a relationship with that man, his culture, family, and, of course, the food.

I am sure many of us have been nervous about meeting a significant ot
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Elizabeth Bard is an American journalist based in Paris. She has written about art, travel and digital culture for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Wired, Time Out and The Huffington Post. She makes a mean chocolate soufflé.
More about Elizabeth Bard...

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“They weren't tears of sadness or even tears of joy. I was just overflowing. Like so many things since I'd been here, I didn't yet understand it, but I felt it.” 20 likes
“For the record, I'm not an indecisive person, and I'm not a coward. I just have a very detailed imaginary life, and it sometimes takes precedence over what's actually happening around me.” 15 likes
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