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

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  2,469 ratings  ·  327 reviews
A self-described Francophile from when he was little, Rosecrans Baldwin always dreamed of living in Paris—drinking le café, eating les croissants, walking in les jardins—so when an opportunity presented itself to work for an advertising agency in Paris, he couldn't turn it down. Despite the fact that he had no experience in advertising. And despite the fact that he barely ...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (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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3.44  · 
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 ·  2,469 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sabra Embury
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Rosecrans has had a dream since childhood of living in Paris. When the opportunity arises he pounces on it. This memoir lite is about when expectation meets reality and you're forced to take off your rose colored glasses. Even with that though, the Paris of this book is viewed with affection.

This is told in a series of anecdotes. A lot of it is more amusing than laugh out loud funny and it's not particularly deep. I also thought a lot of the problems he had were self inflicted.

He's a twenty so
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, memoir, 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
Kenneth Iltz
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
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
Ann Mah
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Susie Chavez
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paris: it’s been his dream since he was nine. But when Rosecrans and his wife move to Paris to take up a job in advertising, he must decide which Paris to keep – the one he’s dreamed about for years, or the one he’s learning to love each day. An honest, hilarious, and spectacularly written autobiographical novel, Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down is the perfect book for people who’ve loved Paris, lived Paris, or simply dreamed of elsewhere.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Read “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” by David Sedaris. It’s this book but funnier, minus the rampant male gaze and sexist jokes.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Rosecrans Baldwin has always dreamed of Paris since his family trip there as a child. He loved the atmosphere, the coffee, the sights, the sounds, and the way it made the people around him feel. The second he saw his mother's personality change after her first sip of Parisian coffee, he knew he wanted to move to Paris. Then his dream comes true when a friend tips him off about a job in an advertising firm and flies him out to the city of lights to interview for it.

Of course, Baldwin has never wo
Karen Germain
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down is American author Rosecrans Baldwin's humorous documentation of his several seasons spent living in Paris and working as a copywriter at a French advertising agency. I was thrilled to discover this was an actual book after reading an excerpt (and loving it) online.

The book was a fun read, and really shone in the passages in which Baldwin shares his misadventures arising from lack of fluency and cultural awareness. (The section dealing with his confu
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, memoir
A year and a half ago, I was one of those people who strongly did not approve of those "Paris is always a good idea" shirts, those datebooks and planners with the hazy pictures of the Eiffel Tower and champagne glasses. Nothing against Paris, just... ugh. Très passé. But then I went to Paris, and I've wanted all those things ever since.

This book isn't my favorite - there wasn't a lot of what I was hoping for. But I like what it has to say about being in a foreign country, living in a foreign cou
I had been meaning to read Rosecrans Baldwin's debut novel You Lost Me There for some time now. But you know how it goes, another book gets in the way and another one... and another one... and well, you know. So when I saw that Baldwin came out with an American in Paris memoir (which included -- not that I knew it at the time -- the writing of that novel), I figured it was a way to make up for that reading sin of omission... particularly being a fan of Europe, including a few quite pleasant days ...more
Jessica Clark
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I REALLY loved the first 35 pages or so of this book and I thought it was going to be a laugh a minute and a fresh, young voice talking about Paris. But, the middle and ending sections are really lacking in good humor, and even cohesion. I think the author's writing when he was optimistic about moving to Paris was a funny and well-written but then he lost his voice once he sort of got "in the flow" of life in upscale Paris. Some "characters" (It is non-fiction, yet I'm not sure what else to call ...more
Josh Mlot
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I enjoyed this memoir, although I had imagined that I'd enjoy it more than I did. This is the story of a writer who (through a friend) finagles a job in Paris. The book chronicles the experiences of the author (and his wife) as they move to Paris and live there for one year. The author starts off feeling madly in love with the romantic idea(l) of Paris, then experiences a lot of bureaucracy, casual racism/sexism and general non-political correctness, tragic hipness & tight pants, & a lit ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of three books, most recently The Last Kid Left (NPR's Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. In 1999 he co-founded the online zine TMN, host of the Tournament of Books. More info at his website -
“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.” 5 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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