Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine” as Want to Read:
My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,674 ratings  ·  197 reviews
A charming and insightful memoir about coming of age as a fashion journalist in 1980s Paris, by former Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar editor Kate Betts, the author of Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style

“You can always come back,” my mother said. “Just go.”

As a young woman, Kate Betts nursed a dream of striking out on her own in a faraway place and becoming a g
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Spiegel & Grau (first published May 1st 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Paris Dream, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about My Paris Dream

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,674 ratings  ·  197 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am the first to admit that I will read anything and everything about Paris or France. But lately even I have grown a little tired of the: How to Dress Like a Parisienne, How to Eat Like a Parisienne, How to Do Anything Like a Parisienne Because They Do Everything Better Than Us mindset.

Luckily My Paris Dream is not one of those books. What it is, is a delightful memoir of one woman’s dream to live in Paris. She set Paris as her goal and systematically went about achieving that goal. The event
Sherwood Smith
Received from Netgalley.

In 1971, I departed for Austria for a year of study at the university of Vienna, full of expectations, dreams, and a profound ignorance. I'd just turned twenty.

Ten years later, Kate Betts departed for France at roughly the same age (21) and for the same reasons, though she was not expecting to stay a year, but indefinitely. And though she came from a family of privilege (which I did not), she was determined to find work to support herself as she pursued her dream of shedd
Rating: 3 1/2 stars

An enjoyable read that chronicles the early 80's Parisian fashion scene through the eyes of a young budding reporter and Princeton graduate, Kate Betts, editor of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. The parts that thrilled me was the food, scenery and oh yes, the French fashion. Meeting Kate's French friends along with the fading and failing, aging Yves St. Laurent, current fashion icon of the time, Karl Lagerfeld--and countless others-- and along the horizon of the fledglings; Gallian
Feb 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of My Paris Dream. This was an odd reading experience. I really enjoyed parts of this book and really didn't enjoy other parts. Betts writes about her experience as a recent university graduate living in Paris in the 1980s. Over time, she went from being an au pair to being a journalist for a fast paced fashion magazine. I really enjoyed the first half of the book when Betts first arrives in Paris. Her observatio ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I didn't think it was possible for someone to be as ungrateful as the author is in recounting a generous life in Manhattan, Princeton, Paris, and Vogue. For being the former editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar, hustling at WWD and being personally offered a job at Vogue by Anna Wintour herself, the author spends most of the book rehashing her disdain for fashion, telling us how silly and useless it is, when all along all she really wanted was to be a Real Journalist doing Real Work, but inst ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Boo! Someday I know I'll find a memoir I like. I already have, so I keep reading ones that sound promising in the hope of finding a good one. This one wasn't it to say the least. Kate moves to Paris after college to escape an unpleasant family life. Why doesn't she just move out? But her dream is to be a Parisienne, so she lives in Paris for several years, finds the French rather unpleasant, and makes totally superficial observations while whining about her life. She ends up on a first name basi ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I had a hard time rating this book ... I enjoyed it, then I got bored in the middle, enjoyed it again and then was slightly disappointed in the ending. I know quite a bit about Paris as I go there frequently (multiple times a year) and I still had a hard time understanding some locations, so a map would have been helpful. I LOVED the parts when she was discussing specific fashion houses, but didn't love the more romance novel parts. I would recommend this as a beach read for people interested in ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
I suppose this is one of those books where you'd enjoy it if you care about the narrator, but I felt no affinity toward her. I wasn't in the mood to read a memoir about an over privileged woman traveling to France to find herself. ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paris, memoirs
A brave—in the sense of revealing—account of one woman’s love affair with Paris. “Bitter-sweet” is a cliché, but I think it’s the right word to use here. In 1986, Kate Betts graduated from Princeton and went to live in Paris. After struggles of various sorts—linguistic, professional, sartorial, and of course romantic—she eventually succeeded in making a career for herself as a fashion journalist with Fairchild Publications, writing for W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, and was eventually promot ...more
Randal White
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, travel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefanie Onieal
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Bub knows me well...I’m a sucker for anything that mentions memoir, Paris, fashion, and the 80s. There was no stress with this book, just a thorough retelling of Kate Betts’ years living in Paris as she started her career in journalism. It was also a bit of a time travel book for me as I wondered why in the world I didn’t set out for Paris after college, like Kate.
Jennifer Gatto
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Paris and I love fashion so I absolutely loved this book. I have been lucky to visit Paris a number of times and wander the streets. I could picture almost every street, monument and landmark Kate mentions in this book. I loved it. This book may not be for everyone but if you enjoy Paris and the world of fashion give it a try.
Lisa Mcbroom
If author Kate Betts is rading my review Thank You Thank You!!!!! In 2011 I fulfilled a childhood dream, borrowed money and went to Paris. I felt such a connection from the beautiful parks, the lavendar sky, Eiffel Tower, and the delicous coffee. My Paris Dream tells of Kate Betts' time in Paris. Also I loved the 1980's vibe with Tears for Fears, the Go Gos,Laura Ashley attire, and Ray Bans. Having a chaotic summer, curling up and reading this brought back wonderful memories. Thank you kate Bett ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, fiction
It's interesting to me that most Goodreads reviewers found the middle section of this book dull. For me it was the most interesting. I wanted to know more about the business of fashion magazines in the 80s, and with a lot more detail about who said and did what. More dish please. ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Loved the descriptions of Paris — not so much Kate Betts herself. Really, please don't start by complaining about your Ivy league education and receiving a pair of diamond studs. However, her journalistic eye and ear for delicious details of Paris and the characters in it can be quite fun. ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
How do I put this....the author come across as an insufferable human being. I tried hard, and couldn't think of one positive feature. It's people like this who make us look like ugly Americans when traveling or living abroad. ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I find coming of age in Paris memoirs hard to resist, and this one is better than most. Kate Betts, former editor of Harper's Bazaar, relates her story of heading out for Paris after college with a vague notion about wanting to be a journalist. She know very little of the French language and finds that her romantic notions of Americans in Paris are far from the reality she faces.

Luckily she manages to live with a French family who teach her the ways of the French as well as improving her languag
Donna Wellard
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
a colourful, coming of age memoir about forging a career in fashion journalism in Paris! I enjoyed it.
Elizabeth Saverino
A fun Parisian dream!

A fast and delightful read- mesmerizing and enchanting for anyone who loves Paris and has dreamed of a fashion and French food, and the dream of living in Paris !
Amy Rodman
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine

Just finished "My Paris Dream" by Kate Betts. This is a memoir about a young college graduate who decides to uproot her comfortable, predictable American lifestyle and relocate to Paris in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a journalist. She's unsure about her future; all she knows is her fantasy of Paris keeps coming back to her. I picked this book up because I love stories of young women traveling the
Angela Risner
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some people's memoirs of their time in Paris read like a trashy magazine, full of drunken benders and innumerable hookups (I'm looking at you, April Heise.) However, Kate Betts had too much ambition to allow alcohol or men to divert her attention from her career.

Betts takes us through her arrival in Paris in 1986 through her return to New York City to become an editor for Vogue. She dreams of becoming a journalist, a dream shared by many at that time. It is difficult for her to find work in Par
Stephanie Byrne
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly good read. Betts chronicles her life from New York to Paris & back again.

I can see many reasons why people might not like this book like the nonchalant name dropping & pretentious scenes but as I reflected on the book I felt that Betts came across as intelligent, self-aware & rather modest.

Given the book is all about Betts' rise through the world of fashion journalism on Paris, what was one to expect? It would have been a very boring story indeed if it weren't for all the glamorou
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Betts chronicles her life from age 21-40 as she leaves college, and goes off to Paris to start a career as a journalist. It is tough going for a couple years (oops sorry, there is no internship, we have too many interns). She works very hard to get her foot in a door, any door. She rents from a family, she parties with others found in temp jobs and slowly is introduced to a closed French society (who would date la Grosse American?). Based on a couple bylines she gets a job at Women's Wear Daily- ...more
This was a fast and fun book to read. She obviously led a sort of privileged life despite her familial unhappiness and her Parisian experience had many safety nets. She moved her story along rapidly but interestingly and I loved reading about familiar places, marveling at her ability to assimilate so quickly.
A French lover, the key to it all they always say.
I wish I could go back to read her articles in W but I have long since trashed my copies.
I assume the huge title is in her handwriting, b
Kristin Strong
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, france
This is a decent coming-of-age sort of memoir. I enjoyed it mostly because the author and I were in France at overlapping times, though she was in Paris and I was in the Midi. It was funny to hear her echo some of my impressions and experiences, and when I saw her Paris Playlist, I laughed out loud, as I remembered many of the songs and (frighteningly) can still sing some of them.

It's not a reflection on changing cultures (can you really?) and it's not a deeply introspective account of the matur
Anna Cooper
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book is well written and the story is a familiar one to me (but one that I adore) of finding yourself in Paris or in a foreign country...navigating growing up, developing a career and everything that comes along with the 20s time in your life. It brings back memories but also leaves you with a reinvigorated sense of ambition that I think well-known, successful women's memoirs should. The pace was consistent throughout but seemed to really get going in the second half of the book. I enjoyed i ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful travel memoir of an American girl who dreams of living in Paris and making it a reality. I loved the beginning of the book and her gorgeous descriptions of the city, the author is a wonderful writer. However towards the end as her 'Paris dream' faded and her insatiable drive to succeed in the world of fashion publishing took over her life I was left a little disappointed, perhaps because the 'dream' was over. Overall a lovely memoir particularly for anyone who loves Paris. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Another memoir about moving to Paris as a young person with big dreams. This one quickly turns into a somewhat cynical tale of working in the fashion industry. Other than some kind of fun 90's fashion gossip, I found it kind of a snooze. ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because it's a non fiction success story of a woman succeeding in an industry that interests me and in a city I enjoy, if not romanticize. I know some readers didn't like a few things, what they considered whining while privileged, fashion frivolity and name dropping. None of these things troubled or stood out to me.

If you think fashion frivolous and can't be swayed don't read it. I find fashion to be about art, history, self expression and it requires a true craft to be a su
Terri Durling
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well written account of Kate Betts life in Paris, living out her dream of becoming a journalist. My feeling was that it wasn't initially her intention to work in the fashion industry but all roads finally led to that and she flourished in an industry that, although glamorous, is also very demanding and superficial to outsiders. Her grasp of the French language, including all the slang and nuances, is nothing short of amazing to someone who yearns to speak fluently. I love all things French and ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
  • Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag
  • Clothes and Other Things That Matter
  • Love Style Life
  • Older, but Better, but Older
  • Grace: A Memoir
  • Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry
  • How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
  • The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs
  • The Chiffon Trenches
  • The Buddha and the Terrorist
  • The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City
  • The New Normal
  • Ah, Wilderness!
  • Noonday (Life Class, #3)
  • Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #6)
  • Clammed Up (Maine Clambake Mystery, #1)
  • Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created "Sunday in the Park with George"
See similar books…
See top shelves…

News & Interviews

From non-fiction to fantasy, here are Goodreads members' top 12 most popular books from each of the past five years. And we're delighted to...
42 likes · 21 comments
“The best teachers impart knowledge through sleight of hand, like a magician.” 1046 likes
“knew she resented me, but I lacked the maturity and experience to see how resentment could fester and become vindictive.” 0 likes
More quotes…