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Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  15,352 ratings  ·  1,615 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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 7th 2011 by Back Bay Books (first published December 21st 2010)
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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 listenin…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)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  15,352 ratings  ·  1,615 reviews

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Jessica Clark
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
I love books about food. I love reading cookbooks. I love going to the grocery store (wierdo). I can admit it....I'm a foodie. So when my GR friend Dana suggested this one for a Buddy Read, I did not hesitate one bit. And I can gladly say, this one fed my addiction.

Elizabeth Bard is in Europe, you could say lost and trying to figure out things. During a weekend jaunt she meets and has an 'affair' with a french man. So her future continues as trips via the Eurostar to Paris where she and her new
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 nor
Julie Christine
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
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lunch in Paris is charming memoir of an American journalist who fell in love with a Frenchman, as well as Paris. Bard takes us along the journey as she finds her way in a new country and a new life as American living in Paris. She shares her difficulties of learning the language, frustrations with the system, health care and day to day life, but mostly, she shares food!

It is no secret, I love to read about cooking more than I actually like cooking! When my GR friend PorshaJo and I were trying to
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:
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 a
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Davis
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#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
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it
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 p ...more
I didn't buy this book to read Elizabeth Bard's story; I bought it because it was on a table that were buy two get one free, but mostly because it came with recipes. I love food, and you need to really love food to get through this book. And I mean a real passion for food. The kind of passion you need to have to be able to watch Chopped for hours on end...or is that just me? To put it more in perspective, if you read Eat, Pray, Love and really loved the "eat" part, you will like this book.

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
Dec 14, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again
This book was so much more than I was expecting! The writing was surprisingly quirky and witty; the recipes well thought out and incorporated into the story. Will read again!
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I read this book in three sittings over thecourse of two days. If it wasn't for bookclub, I would have put it down before making it through the first chapter. About half-way through, I thought it was going to be a three star book. Good, but a little too off color and more women's magazine material than the stuff I pass on to my friends. As I pushed my way through, I realized that I had to give it at least four stars. The way the book was still buzzing through my mind when I woke up this morning ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.75 (liked it)

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 th
Victoria Allman
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebekah R
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
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. ...more
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Play Book Tag: Lunch in Paris / Elizabeth Bard - 3.5*** 4 11 Jul 22, 2016 09:54AM  

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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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