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A Town Like Paris: Falling in Love in the City of Light

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  484 ratings  ·  72 reviews
At the age of twenty-eight, stuck in a dead-end job in London, and on the run from a broken heart, Bryce Corbett takes a job in Paris, home of l’amour and la vie boheme; he is determined to make the city his own—no matter how many bottles of Bordeaux it takes. He rents an apartment in Le Marais, the heart of the city’s gay district, hardly the ideal place for a guy hoping ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Broadway Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  484 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
I was so irritated by the condescending and self-important writing in this book, not to mention its dreadful lack of structure (it is a series of lazy, over-written yet underdeveloped essays) and its endless cliches. It is an exercise in turning a book supposedly about a magical city into a shrine to the author's ego and narcissism. Thoroughly unpleasant reading experience. ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm not going to lie: I'll read pretty much anything about Paris. If, say, Rush Limbaugh or Andrew Dice Clay wrote a book about living in Paris, I'd probably read it. (Maybe.) So even though I got the impression that Bryce Corbett was not the sort of person I'd ever want to hang out with in real life, I was nonetheless semi-enchanted by his account of life in Paris. Had one of my favorite cities not been the backdrop, however, I'm not sure if reading about an endless stream of drunken nights wit ...more
Christine Brennen-leigh
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot of books like this, foreigner coming to live in Paris. Funnily enough, a lot of them were Australians, as is this author. Bryce Corbett writes about French customs with a lot of humour while still managing to remain respectful of the differences. He certainly makes you want to move there and partake of the 35 hour week, hour long lunch that is paid for by the government, and long vacations weeks.

Being an expatriate in Paris has it's ups and downs, but when you end up with a fanta
Jacquie South
This started off with promise, and I was looking forward to reading a book set in modern day Paris, and what it's like living there, as an Australian. I was somewhat disappointed. Corbett was quite an unlikable character, completely full of himself and a whinger to boot. He seemed to genuinely enjoy Paris, and goes into raptures constantly about how wonderful and beautiful it is, but then complains consistanly about French people. He heads back to Australia at one stage, full of the greatness of ...more
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
A Town Like Paris is a city profile crossed with a memoir that is hilarious and engaging. Corbett's commentary is constantly self-deprecating, witty, and a lot of fun. His writing style reminded me of Bill Bryson -- except with less historical information and more pop culture references. The majority of the chapters in the book functioned as stand-alone essays about a particular topic or situation in Paris. It wasn't until the end of A Town Like Paris that a more narrative story line was followe ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
I was so irritated by the condescending and self-important writing in this book, not to mention its dreadful lack of structure (it is a series of lazy, over-written yet underdeveloped essays) and its endless cliches. It is an exercise in turning a book supposedly about a magical city into a shrine to the author's ego and narcissism. Thoroughly unpleasant reading experience. ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Unless you are interested in the intimate details of the author's self-absorbed life, this book is a bore. Although the title suggests the book is about Paris, it offers no insight on the city. I suggest you skip this one. ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristin Strong
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: france, humor, memoir
I'm a sucker for personal narratives of expats in France, and this played right into my predilections. Bryce Corbett is an Aussie in Britain, ready for a change of scene, when he lucks into a job based in Paris. The places, the people, and the many quirks of the city are well-drawn, and his self-deprecating humor keeps things light. I enjoyed having my own memory of the Marais and the monuments jogged, and this was a quick, fun read. ...more
Cécile Armitage
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A young Australian man goes to Paris on a lark, lucks into a job with no pressure and proceeds to find "the marrow" of Paris for three years and finally falls in love. ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting perspective of an Australian living in Paris and romance ,drama..
Christel Keijzer
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
an entertaining, anecdotal account of an Australian's experience of working, playing & living in Paris ...more
Cathie Sawyer
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was absolutley infatuated with this novel. The author provides a detailed description of his life as an Australian expat in Paris, focusing on his midnight antics, poor attempts at assimilating and even worse attempts at wooing French beauties. Before reading this novel I had not visited France nor had any desire too, but after reading this I can't lie, I can imagine myself riding a scooter around in the warm summer nights, drinking carafes of wine and partying in dingy bars a lot clearer now. ...more
Stacey Peters
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Parisiens are apparently hard on Aussie expats! On a whim, the author moves to Paris and tries his best to assimilate into French life and concludes its tres impossible. Outsiders can't get in. It was a fun read, which is the saving grace for this book because the author writes very, very well. Some of it reads like prose, so beautiful I reread some passages out loud. And in other places, I laughed out loud. You get a sense of a few neighborhoods including the Marais, but little else in the way ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Bryce Corbett's tale of his Parisian existence is rather amusing... mostly because of the fact that it takes place in Paris and that he is rather witty and interesting. I really enjoyed reading this book because of its Parisian slice-of-life quality, though I could have done very well without Corbett's habit of using the same "choice" words too frequently. He has a penchant for the words: bemused, proffered, prophylactic, aversion, among others.

Also, I would have preferred that he spare us from
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was about a Aussie bachelor who unfortunately wrote about his wild lifestyle that I don't want to read (the reason for "2 stars"). I was only interested in how he lived and deal with a French country through his job, government, food, housing problems (like plumbing and how no one will come asap and he was forced to take showers else where, that's how things get done very slowly) and just enjoying living in Paris. It was funny regarding the problems he has to deal with but there are sw ...more
May 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This semi-nonfiction smart-alecky story from a former gossip columnnist is not the sort of book I'd normally read or enjoy. My wife reads everything David Sedaris writes, plus some David Rakoff & Augustin Burrows. I like hearing about the funnier stories, but I don't read them myself.

In fact, I picked up A Town Like Paris as a gift for her, but then I decided to read it myself. It was only because we both went there on vacation last March that I got a good kick out of it. Funny Paris observation
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I began to read this book prior to my trip to Paris in July 2013. It was worth dipping the toe into the many stories and quips about the City of Light prior to my departure, and it still resonates now having completed it. Once you've been to Paris, you know within that there is nothing like it, nowhere in the world. The book does a great job of highlighting some of the many neighborhoods and customs of Paris' society. It is a funny and compelling look at Paris by someone who never intended in st ...more
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
It's a fast read and mildly amusing, but it didn't so much capture the mood of Paris, as chronicle how he liked to party and drink; got a case of the crabs; formed a rock band on the side; and dated a show girl. All this stuff could've happened anywhere. Yes, he sprinkled some passages that hinted at what it's like to live in Paris, but that all seemed incidental to his partying. Heck, except for one token Frenchman, his circle of friends was composed of ex-pats! I was expecting something more l ...more
Jun 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this book but definitely didn't love it. Some chapters were more interesting than others. I could have done without many of his bachelor stories, which are all too common and could have happened anywhere. I felt the title was a little misleading. His "falling in love" doesn't happen until much later in the book. Or perhaps I missed the point. The writing felt a little bland, not expressing much emotion, funny or otherwise. For this type of genre, I would recommend "Almost French" by Sara ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Corbett's story is a good read but lacks re-read quality. I understand that it's about his experiences, but you can get drunk and laid anywhere in the world and his circle of friends was wholly made up, (with one exception) of ex pats. Not really too many insider tips on France per se (even a dunce knows that customer service is nonexistent in France and that they protest at the drop of a hat) but what he does include is interesting and written in a witty fashion. It's more about Corbett than Pa ...more
May 01, 2008 rated it liked it
My copy of the book with this ISBN was actually titled A Town Like Paris : Falling in Love with the City of Light.

Bryce Corbett interviewed for a job in Paris as a lark -- and was flabbergasted to actually get it. In this book he chronicles the life of an Australian ex-pat by way of London. It is fun, breezy, and ultimately unsatisfying. Like a meringue, there is nothing to it. Like a meringue, you won't care too much because of the enjoyment. At least until you realize you need more.
Lisa Urso
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was looking for something light but not too fluffy to read. This fulfilled both of my requirements. Corbett definitely has a sense of humor.

As someone who once studied abroad in Paris, I found Corbett's descriptions of the city to be spot-on. I felt as if I was walking through the city with him.

The only time that the book kind of dragged was when he wrote about courting the Showgirl. Still, he was courting a Lido showgirl, and that alone made for some interesting reading.
Susanne (Pages of Crime)
Although I enjoyed this book as a whole, I think a lot of the reason is due to the fact that I'm Australian and can understand where the author is coming from. At times though it's almost too Australian, to the extent where it seems like it might not make as much sense to other nationalities. The writing is engaging, can be very funny and moving at times, but in depth chapters on pets don't really seem necessary to the story of living and finding love in Paris. ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a difficult book to rate. While the writing was really good, the author was so unlikable that it made it tiresome, at times, to get through. A narcissist who bragged about his exploits throughout the book, his life seemed pretty pathetic, using substances to justify his immature behavior. I gave it 3* mainly because I can't resist a book about Paris & find something to enjoy, even when written by someone like the author. ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the beginning of this memoir and liked Bryce's style of writing but quickly became tired of how much me, me, me was in the book. He was also quite derogatory about the French whom he insisted on calling 'Frenchies' throughout. Whilst he appeared to make some efforts to assimilate in his new environment he couldn't cope with cultural differences and ended up mixing mostly with expats and fellow Australians. ...more
Diane Raitanen
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
It was fun to enter the life of a young Aussie bachelor living it up in Paris. I enjoyed his sense of humour, however, some parts stretched believability. I found his descriptions of people condescending and sometimes annoying. You did get a feeling that he felt his world was far superior to that of any reader. The cultural differences were hilarious, as were his encounters with his friends' pets. I didn't like the chapters on rock band at all. Overall an enjoyable read. ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this on an Anthropologie sale shelf and bought it because I had a few remaining dollars to spend on a gift card. I didn't have high hopes, but it actually wasn't bad. A little long-winded and repetitive at times, but definitely made me laugh out loud a few times. And now I want to visit Paris! ...more
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