Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
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Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  8,036 ratings  ·  968 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...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2010)
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Jessica Clark
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...more
Isa K.
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...more
Kristina
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 grati...more
Julie
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
Alison
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, bu...more
Kay
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...more
Julie Davis
#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...more
Niki Clinger
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
Yoonmee
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...more
Victoria Allman
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...more
Chris
The first sentence in Elizabeth Bard’s food memoir, Lunch in Paris, is “I slept with my friend husband halfway through our first date.” From there I was hooked--and so was she. An American living in London, who meets a Parisian, never to return to live in the States again. Was it the man or the food? “The waiter slapped down my pavé au poivre. It was not a particularly impressive plate—a hunk of meat, fat fried potatoes piled carelessly to one side. But something happened as I sliced the first b...more
Falcon
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...more
Erin
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 p...more
Stephanie D.
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...more
Diane
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...more
Elisabeth
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 Elizabe...more
Nancy
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 self-...more
Honey-Squirrel
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...more
Lesa
American Elizabeth Bard had lunch with a Frenchman in a Paris cafe, and never went home.Whether it was Gwendal's charm, or the steak, Elizabeth was in love. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes is her story of romance, food, and trying to find a place for herself in an unexpected life. The book has recipes throughout, but it also has the thoughtful yearning of an American with feet in two worlds.


Bard first met Gwendal at a conference in London. He was finishing a PhD in Computer Science, a...more
Jocelin
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a sweet and tasty love story. There were some interesting recipes that were incorporated into the story. I like that each of the recipes were apart of each of the chapters that they were in. These recipes meant something special to the author and it showed her progression as a cook in Paris. The subtitle of the book is a "love story with recipes", she really became familiar with all the elements that encompassed the French food experience.
I really felt like...more
Sharon
Elizabeth Bard's memoir, "Lunch in Paris," details not only her meeting with and marriage to a French gentleman called Gwendal but also how she comes to think about food while learning to make some of Gwendal's favorite dishes.

Coming from America, Bard's concepts of shopping, recipes and portions are significantly different from those of her new family. In the course of her first few years living in Paris, she becomes accustomed to shopping on an almost daily basis due to lack of storage space i...more
Jlaurenmc

My favorite type of non-fiction is the foodie/travel/memoir. Kim Sunee did an excellent job with her 2008 book Trail of Crumbs, which details her story of adoption from South Korea to New Orleans, then eventual move to France, and now I've found my next Sunee -- Elizabeth Bard and her memoir Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes. Bard is a journalist from the United States who found herself living in London, and then -- by accident of love -- in Paris.

As Bard recalls her romance with Gwenda...more
Dana Stabenow
An American woman falls in love with a Frenchman and moves to Paris. Some great recipes (the chocolate souffle is really easy and pretty tasty, and I'm trying the tagine at the first opportunity) and some interesting observations on French life from an American perspective, as in:

She wonders how her soon-to-be mother-in-law stays so slim. Answer: The French eat at the table, not on the couch, they don't snack, they cook just enough for one serving per person, and they don't go back for seconds e...more
Alexa
Lunch in Paris is really excellent. I haven't had it since summer of 2009, but I remember loving it. Lunch in Paris, the book, is comme ci, comme ça. The writing is enjoyable and engaging, but the stories are so all over the place. I wish there had been more fluidity.

Some complaints. First, where the hell was the baby??? Some French guy said that Elizabeth looked pregnant halfway through the book and there was no follow up. I get that Elizabeth is bigger than your average French woman, but they...more
Lindsay
"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...more
Helynne
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
Barbara
This full title of this book indicates that it is "a love story with recipes" written by an American woman who met her French husband while visiting France and never returned. This book just didn't deliver in the same way that books like Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence did. I was disappointed. I got the sense that the author was a bit self absorbed.

That said, I appreciated some of her commentary about the differences between life in the US and life in France. Even though she has left...more
Rebekah R
I picked this up for 2 reasons: the first was that I have recently gotten into the (admittedly fairly recent) trend of memoir/recipe books and wanted another one. The second reason being, of course, that it was about Paris, where my heart lies.
Normally this book would have warranted a 5-star rating, so I want to explain why it's a 4 for me. It has wonderful recipes, great writing with a clever, loveable and unique voice, and tells a captivating story while bridging 2 continents and 2 cultures,...more
Mandy
This book is a charming memoir about an American woman who falls in love with a Frenchman. Because my husband lived in France for a couple of years and loves everything about the country and the people, and I have been in love with France since elementary school (I still don't remember how this obsession began. Did I see Forget Paris? Did I think I would look good in a berret? Did I sneak the candy cigarettes that I bought from the ice cream man [total contraband in my house:] into my backyard a...more
Carolann
‘Mostly I’m a thinker, a worrier … it’s not that there’s no free spirit in me. But it’s a free spirit with a five-year plan’

Have you ever wanted to pack up your life, your pug, and your reality and start over in Paris? Well, cher amis I have! But until that time, the closest I have come to fair París is reading all about it by people who are actually walking the walk.

The author, Elizabeth Bard does live in Paris. She is a transplanted American expatriate taking you through how exactly she came t...more
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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.
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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.” 17 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.” 11 likes
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