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on April 12, 2016
Lunch in Paris is a real story. Sure, you have the normal Paris-colored glasses on while reading, but it's not all pastries and walks along the Seine. It's that and real life.

Elizabeth met Gwendal while she was living in London (she's from New York). They did the long-distance thing for a while (weekends in Paris? Yes please!) and after two years she took the plunge to move into his cozy Parisian apartment with him.

She shares her struggles with learning French, moving to a foreign country, making new friends, and figuring out what she wants to do job wise. She talks about learning the French attitude of doing what makes you happy versus doing what will earn the most money (as we tend to do in the US), and teaches her husband the anything-is-possible attitude many Americans have. It made sense to me that most of the people in their social circle or those they met didn't automatically start talking about what they did for a living; really, who wants to do that? I'm going to find a way to tell new people I meet about my passion for books, my blog, starting a ladies comic book club, and my cats before I talk about where I am stuck from 8-5 each weekday.

Then, there's the food. Elizabeth does a beautiful job taking us on a walk through the market with her and explaining her troubles in trying to recreate her favorites from home with what is available in Paris. Several recipes are included that were part of stories in the same chapter. She also emphasizes what little quantities the french eat; they deny themselves nothing by eating very small portions. I'm working on this! Though it would help if the quality of food were as good as it is over there...

I have already started reading her next book, Picnic in Provence. I recommend them both!
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on January 8, 2017
I read this for my Book Club and couldn't get through it. It just didn't keep my interest at all. I love Paris and so the title was appealing, but there is little conflict or interesting elements that move the story along. It's a love story sure, but that's all it is.
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on August 13, 2012
This is a wonderful memoir by American writer, Elizabeth Bard. She writes a thoughtful story about the biggest decisions in her life - love, marriage, career - with Paris as the back drop. It is a love story, yes, but probably not like the love story you're thinking of. Yes, the love of her life, (her boyfriend, fiance, husband as it happens through the course of the book) Gwendal, and her life with him is the basis of the book, but this is just as easily a love story of family, food, art and Paris.

Amazon is getting really good at recommending books for me. This is one of their recommendations that I probably wouldn't have found without it. I adore this book because, even though we don't travel similar paths in life, Bard and I have similar (universal?) feelings about life's big events - and of course, there's that love of food and cooking. I immediately became immersed in the writing. Bard articulates her love story with Gwendal so well that I feel it with her. You feel her anxiety about moving to and living in Paris. And the food. Bard is unafraid to make and eat new things, like me, she dives right in and is willing to try anything. I love the recipes in this book too! Each chapter has at least two (sometimes several), including both French and American. I highly recommend the summer ratatouille at the end of Chapter 12, I'm not kidding! It's worth the price of the book alone!

Bard's description of Paris - its people, its markets, its food - has kept this book stored in my head for months. And what has made me read it twice in the past year. I feel a genuine escape as I read it. One that I just can't let go of. For me, that's a mark of a great book.
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on March 30, 2017
Absolutely endearing! EB takes us along with her in the most charming and delicious way. Her writing style is engaging and entertaining- I fell in love!
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on May 4, 2015
I found myself ready ready to be finished with this midway through. It had its moments. Beautiful recipes for sure.
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on September 9, 2017
not my cup of tea...of little value...boring
I wanted to like it but couldn't. Took me almost a month to read this. I am a fast reader---2-3 days on a good book. I had to read this for my book club or I would have stopped
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VINE VOICEon March 19, 2011
This book satisfied my love of things French and culinary. It made me want to visit but aware that I would probably not fit in at all. It also made me hungry so beware!
This was a light, humorous at times, more about food than love read. I loved reading about the difference between the French way and the American way, such cultural differences beyond language. The recipes were mouth-watering but most were probably a little more complicated than what I make (though that isn't saying much). This is a definite must for francophilies.
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on February 25, 2011
So it's the middle of February in Pennsylvania and all I see around me is snow. It's around this time of year- (when the days are slightly longer than they were in December but the cold and gray skies force you to crawl back into hibernation until the real Spring emerges) that I start getting Under the Tuscan Sun syndrome. You know, where you just want to pick up and run away to a far away land .............at least until the sun creeps out again.

Then I picked up Lunch in Paris. I have long been entranced by France; its culture , history, and language. Like most of middle class America, I have never traveled to Europe due to cost, but its definitely on my bucket list. I am in love with the idea of France. It has long been the "happy place" where I go to when I get too stressed out. The Paris of my mind is where I fill my days comfortably reading at a café while sipping cafe au lait, shopping at the local market to make meals that American foodies would die for, and admiring the architecture and history of a beautiful city. In my head, I can speak perfect French; an eloquent, sensual language and I am ultimately relaxed with the world around me.

This book definitely quenched my thirst for all things French. Although the author led somewhat of a charmed life, she is still relatable and allows you to be in her moment. The book covers her and her French husband's courtship, years together in Paris, and the process of growth as the author finds out how this new culture fits into her life and how it shapes her into who she is and what she wants to become. What I liked best about the book was a it was an insider account at the differences between American and French society and completely unbiased.

By simple reflection the author was able to pose such interesting questions such as what could we as Americans do that the European's do to improve our lives and the way we view each other? Was the author doing the right thing living a relaxed life knowing that she was brought up on the American way of judging self worth based on academic and professional successes?

Now, let's get to the food. If I can't be in France, food is one way to bring France to me. Of course food is important to the French and the author's important moments are punctuated by great cooking and family gatherings. As she learned French cooking, she learned more and more about herself and those around her. The author was ingenious by adding the recipes after each chapter. If not just to help you understand her journey better but to get you to keep the book for the recipes!

I highly recommend this book, if only just to see life through someone else's eyes for a moment.I am definitely inspired to be a part of the author's Paris, if only via my stove.
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on June 25, 2017
Absolutely enchanting. Couldn't stop reading and making copies of the delicious recipes. Even my husband is enjoying it.
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on July 15, 2013
Sorry, but if you're looking for an amazing ending, this is not the book for you. A simple book and easy read about a woman's life with some very unrealistic recipes? This is for you. I read it for a book club and we all were kind of at a loss on what to talk about.
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