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We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light Paperback – February 28, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perhaps no city has been more lustfully romanticized than Paris, and this cavorting collection of bons mots will do nothing to quell its erotic reputation. Baxter (A Pound of Paper), a cineast and biographer (of Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and others), is an Australian in love with a French woman. After moving into her Parisian apartment in 1990, he subsequently becomes her baby's father, her husband and eventually, in his own way, French. He loosely arranges his narrative in themed chapters, lobbing little-known facts, references to favorite films, and gossip about the inglorious past of certain addresses into stories about the affairs of the heart of famous Parisians and expats. He peppers tales of his quotidian life with bemused observations of Gallic quirks and offhanded recommendations of tucked-away shops and obscure cafés, resulting in a book that is part guidebook, part memoir. Some chapters are bawdy and some hilarious, such as "Invaders," about uncouth, ingrate houseguests. Anyone who appreciates Paris and its myths, likes the meandering storytelling of good conversation and enjoys the mildly salacious will relish reading this book, curled up with a glass of full-bodied red and a box of chocolates. Photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Australian-born Baxter moves from Los Angeles to Paris to start a new marriage to a French television newscaster. Searching for a place to live, they find an apartment on the tiny, Seine-bound Ile de la Cite, the veritable heart of Paris, steps from Notre Dame. From there, Baxter leads his readers on a decidedly eccentric tour of Paris. A film critic, Baxter intelligently connects Paris venues to various films, French and American, familiar and obscure. Baxter loves to focus on Paris' erotic history, and he does a particularly stunning job of explicating Josephine Baker's electric effect on the French psyche, attributing to her nude dances a profound restructuring of French attitudes to sexuality. Foodies will revel in Baxter's portrayals of Parisian restaurants' obsession with offal. Baxter's mordant humor is put to good use in his observations on Paris' ubiquitous dogs and their ton-a-day droppings on the capital's chic byways. Baxter also provides lively perspectives on Andre Malraux and on the city's ancient marketplace, Les Halles. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060832886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060832889
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Baxter was born in Sydney, Australia, but raised in a small country town called Junee. With little else to do, he went to the movies three times a week for most of his adolescence, which provided an instant education in Hollywood movies with which he was often able to embarrass film celebrities ("You SAW that thing?")
His second interest, however, was science fiction, which he began writing in his late teens. He sold stories to the same British and American magazines as J.G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, and in 1966 his first sf novel, THE GOD KILLERS, was published in both the US and Britain. He also edited the first-ever anthologies of Australian science fiction, and wrote the first history of the Australian cinema.
In 1969, he came to Europe, settled in London, and began writing books on the cinema, including a biography of the director Ken Russell, and studies of John Ford, Josef von Sternberg and the gangster and science fiction film genres, and working as an arts journalist for various magazines, and for BBC radio. He also served on the juries of European film festivals.
In 1974 he was invited to become visiting professor at Hollins College in Virginia, USA, where he remained for two years. While in America, he collaborated with Thomas Atkins on THE FIRE CAME BY; THE GREAT SIBERIAN EXPLOSION OF 1908,and wrote a study of director King Vidor, as well as completing two novels, THE HERMES FALL and BIDDING.
Returning to London, he published the technological thriller THE BLACK YACHT. In 1979 he moved to Ireland, and the following year returned to Australia, where he co-scripted the 1988 science fiction film THE TIME GUARDIAN, starring Carrie Fisher and Dean Stockwell. He also wrote and presented three TV series on the cinema, and produced and presented the ABC radio programme BOOKS AND WRITING.
In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a screenwriter and film journalist. The following year, he met his present wife, Marie-Dominique Montel, and re-located in Paris.
After moving to France, John published biographies of Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Robert De Niro, as well as five books of autobiography, A POUND OF PAPER: CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK ADDICT, dealing with his fascination for collecting books, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: SEX AND LOVE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, of which the SUNDAY TIMES of London wrote "it towers above most recent memoirs of life abroad," IMMOVEABLE FEAST: A PARIS CHRISTMAS, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD: A PEDESTRIAN IN PARIS, and THE PERFECT MEAL. IN SEARCH OF THE LOST TASTES OF FRANCE.
John has co-directed the annual Paris Writers Workshop and is a frequent lecturer and public speaker. His hobbies are cooking and book collecting. He has a major collection of modern first editions. When not writing, he can be found prowling the bouquinistes along the Seine or cruising the Internet in search of new acquisitions.


Customer Reviews

There are parts that were a bit dry and boring but overall I enjoyed it.
Smiley
The book is full of delightful moments and fascinating information about its history and the people who have populated it.
Bruce 22
Author John Baxter manages to do this all while being enormously entertaining.
Isadore Ann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Isadore Ann VINE VOICE on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
My husband and I saw this author at our local bookstore, and after hearing him tell stories I had to get this book. I wasn't disappointed. He was a charming, magnificent storyteller, and hey - he lives in Paris so he gets the cool vote right there. So many books are written about Paris that I was hesitate to read another for fear of it being repititive and overdone. This book was neither.

We'll Always Have Paris is part auto-biography in telling the tale of how the author came from Australia and then LA to end up living in Paris. This part blends easily with telling tales of the history of Paris, the great places to hang out in Paris, and the way of life in Paris. Author John Baxter manages to do this all while being enormously entertaining. I read this at night before going to bed and at times had to stifile my laugh for fear of waking my husband. Yes, it's THAT funny sometimes. Readers, get a glass of good French wine and sit back while this storyteller lures you in with what most Americans always wonder - what it's really like to live in Paris.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Akers on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
John Baxter, an Aussie ex-pat whose tale of moving to Paris and conceiving a child with his French girlfriend is the backdrop for a foray into the attitudes toward sex in Paris, featuring sexual attitudes and locales of the 1920-40's to present. I learned that Georges Simenon, author of the famed Inspector Maigret novels, routinely interviewed his house staff for sexual partners and had an affair with Josephine Baker, the acclaimed black songstress appearing on stage nightly in only a skirt of phallic-symbol bananas. There are mentions of many literary figures and their viewpoints on sex, including Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and more. Not the typical Paris guidebook, but will lead you to places not found in Frommer's.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Gordon on July 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I happened to spot this book at B&N the day before leaving for France. Reading about Paris while walking around Paris enhances the experience no end, especially when the book is as equisitely well-written, insightful,charming, and amusing as this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Ward on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a frequent visitor to Paris I know the city pretty well. I'll take Baxter's We'll Always Have Paris" with me next time and drill down to the next level of tourism. An easy and slightly racy style. Good holiday reading even if you are not Paris bound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Writetrak on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
When it comes to the subject of Paris there are some travel writers (myself included) who play in the shallow end of the writing pool while a talented few take us into better depth. John Baxter is one of those rare few. This isn't a travel book as much as it is a wonderful, highly enjoyable book that offers some sound and sense to a city that tugs at our imaginations and hangovers. After reading it I added it to my reference shelf...okay, okay....sure for the knowledge of the city but maybe to steal some of his style as well.
Buy the book and buy one for anyone you know who is thinking about going to Paris. They'll thank you and if not, then you can always smack them with the book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By tierny on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
The chapters on sex are much more interesting than the chapters on love. Even so, Baxtrer only traipses into the history of sex by dint of a buddy who keeps the topic alive between them. It's kind of a glancing blow off the topic. The only sex discussed are the eddies related to, and trailing off of specific conversations.

I don't understand why every guy who writes, who has working sex organs, and knocks someone up in Paris, writes about the event as if it were an event I need to know about. I really don't need to know where his daughter was conceived; and functioning sex organs are not as exceptional as they seem to the owner. Look around.

This is, apparently, another hazard of living in France; writing about your succesful reproduction as it it were of interest to others. He might have saved said daughter the humiliation of the event's inscription.

See also Adam Gopnik "Paris to the Moon" which is overall a more successful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David McQueen on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been to Paris three times; I have read a variety of books on the Paris from the Moveable Feast to the Secret History of Paris to Paris for Dummies, John Baxter's books on Paris have been the most enjoyable, insightful, funny,and at the same time respectful of Paris and the French.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anne on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are so many memoirs of expatriats who move to Paris and feel the need to write about their experiences. I am sorry, but this--for me--did not work. While John Baxter may be a very nice man, he comes off as an insufferable name dropper that must reveal to the poor reader his sexual exploits with far too much personal detail. I found this book barely readable and empty. Two books that come to mind (and there are many others) that I can recommend for reading on the subject are Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik and The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. They are very different from each other: the former is told by a family man who is a respected editor (New Yorker) who does what many of us only dream of doing: moving to Paris for a year or two. His essays are very well done and enjoyable. David Lebovitz is a talented baker and ice cream maker who has several good cookbooks under his belt. His memoir is--given my experience in Paris--spot on and hilarious.
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