Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
I have a confession to make. The last time I visited Paris I gained about ten pounds. Yep, that’s right ten pounds spread over eight glorious and wonderful days full of croissants, macaroons, and crepes. I am ashamed that I broke my cardinal sin of flying fashion and wore yoga pants on the plane ride home. But I am not ashamed that I ate the most amazing a delicious food on that trip which, still to this day I look back on with fond memories and a longing for a really good madeleine.
Amy Thomas’s delightful memoir/sweet treat guide book/Parisian love letter is the perfect combination of humor and honesty that is sure to entertain any Francophile. After a number of years working as an advertising copywriter in New York City, Amy is offered a work transfer to Paris. Having been well acquainted with the City of Light from previous travels, Amy jumps at the chance to live and work (in my opinion) in the world’s most beautiful city. I should also mention, by this time Amy is also a well-know food writer and author of the highly successful blog Sweet Freak, so moving to Paris would be a dream come true.
What I enjoyed the most about Paris, My Sweet was Amy’s highly descriptive writing style. More often than not, each chapter had me longing for the delectable sweet treat that Amy meticulously refers to. Frequently, a majority of expat memoirs tend to be shaped the same. Storylines encompassing differences, struggles interspersed lightly with new experiences and finally the realization that living and working in a new city has changed the person you are today. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy these types of memoirs. But what I loved most about Amy’s book was her ability to weave her narrative around the different kinds baked goods, chocolate and candy confections she would encounter and how they would brilliantly attribute to her emotional or physical state.
In addition to being an honest account of expat hardships and triumphs, Paris, My Sweet also proves to be a brilliant guide to the best bakeries in Paris. Since Amy also lived in New York City the book similarly provides recommendations for everything from the best cupcakes to French Toast in the big apple. With helpful maps and a listing guide for both cities I am already planning trips with Amy’s recommendations in mind.
In short I love this book – and I don’t say that too often. From Amy’s true account of the advertising industry (to which I can attest) to her personal struggles as an expat taking on living in a new city, Paris, My Sweet is sure to not only make you hungry but want pack it all up in search of food, fun and adventure – or at least visit your local bakery!
Photo by Karen Regn of Angelina Cafe.