Paris in July — Life as an Expat

Paris My Sweet:  A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas

Published:  2012 by Sourcebooks

Source:  Purchased

Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin

Published:  2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Source:  Purchased

  I don’t know if it is because I read these two memoirs within about a week of each other but the similarities are so striking that I am convinced that the authors must have known each other.  Both leave New York to work in Paris.  In advertising.  On the Louis Vuitton account.  In fact there is mention in each book of a co-worker from Quebec who is in Paris while her fiance is doing training as a pastry chef; the name is different but the coincidence is interesting.

  So yes these two memoirs are about life in Paris, both the good and the bad.  As someone who is passionnate about Paris (despite only being there once), I could not imagine NOT loving to live there, but then I think about my own move from Winnipeg to Chicago and even without the language barrier it was still a shock.

  Amy Thomas’ book focuses not only on her expat life but on her tours of the infinite number of patisseries and boulangeries to satisfy her sweet tooth.  In New York, Thomas wrote a blog about that city’s dessert triumphs, and part of the lure of the job offer in Paris was to explore that city’s delectable offerings, and she provides a directory of spots in both cities to enjoy a sweet indulgent treat.  Warning:  try not to read this book while you are hungry, or you may find yourself looking for cheap airfares to either place (yes, I did this).

  Baldwin’s book doesn’t have such a hook, it talks more of his work in the ad agency and his co-workers, and how he tries to fit in and do his job despite his difficulties with the French language.  And though Thomas does touch on some of her frustrations with living in Paris, Baldwin does this more specifically, and it provides a more realistic portrayal of how living in Paris is not quite as easy as being in Paris.

  That said, it is still wonderful to read about someone experiencing a life I can now only dream of ….. and that is the pleasure of reading.

  I read these books as part of Paris in July, hosted at BookBath and Thyme for Tea.

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4 Responses to Paris in July — Life as an Expat

  1. Leeswammes says:

    It sounds a bit odd that these books are so similar. But if the reading experience is good, what does it matter?

    BTW I was on the Paris’ ring road on Saturday night. But still haven’t been in Paris itself.

  2. Alex in Leeds says:

    I like the sound of Baldwin’s book, most of my Paris reading has been about the experience of ‘finding yourself’ or exploring Paris as a tourist, I’d like to know more about the expat experience now I think.

  3. zibilee says:

    I haven’t read many books that center on Paris, but I think I need to jump on the bandwagon and see what I can find! I do love the sound of the Paris dessert book, but am not sure that the ad exec book would be a good choice for me. I really enjoyed this double Paris review though. It was rather interesting to read!

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