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Paris Was Ours Paperback – Deckle Edge, February 8, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Beyond artistic inspiration, in the twentieth century Paris represented personal freedom (and an insanely favorable exchange rate) for the "Lost Generation" of the 1920's who were stultified by Prohibition, and relief from racial discrimination for African-American artists ( James Baldwin, Nina Simone) in the 1950s and 60s. It is not clear what drives Americans to want to experience Paris today, and "Paris Was Ours" does not shed much light on that issue. In that regard, the most disappointing chapter comes from one of the more famous contributors, David Sedaris, whose scant essay is predictably humorous (and scatalogical) but could have been written anywhere. Instead, some of the more compelling chapters are those written by non-Americans. To Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Paris offers political freedom and escape from the revolutionary Iran of the late 1970s.Read more ›
These people have done some of the same things I have, lots of things I haven't and all write about it very well.
None of it reads like fiction, all of it is fun to read.
Those who know Paris will like the book, those who don't will want to join the first group.
This most entertaining book was a compilation of 32 contributing essays by people who manged the impossible dream of living in Paris. I enjoyed all but one of the first hand experiences of grappling the culture shock that confronts expats trying to become a citizen of Paris. The only essay that was like reading a foreign language was written in half English and half French. When I finished reading it I had no idea of what I had just skimmed through.
If becoming a Parisiene is this difficult I am surprised that anyone who was not born in France actually survived the many differences and hardships that one encounters in Paris (labor strikes, short and sporadic hours of operation for cafes, markets,etc.) and trying to deal with various shop owners who, until you get on their good side, can be very nasty and rude.
Penelope Rowlands lived in Paris as a single mother with a 10 year old child who was constantly being yelled at (and worse)
for unknowingly committing no-nos which are not tolerated by the French.
Why do some endure all of these imposed barriers while others throw up their hands and exclaim Assez!
This collection of essays was entertaining and explains the many nuances associated with living as an expat in the City of Light.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No city is perfect, but there is a reason Paris captures the imagination. This book gives numerous takes on the City of Light by people who have lived and worked there. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Persistent Reader
This book is an anthology of stories about people who have moved to Paris to live there. Experiences vary, and this is not a book by travel agents. Read morePublished 7 months ago by aleta
I enjoyed all the stories but since I do not speak or read French I believe much was lost. Many words were commonly known, such as merci'. Read morePublished 7 months ago by worldfamous
I really enjoyed this collection of essays. They are among the most interesting and most honest I've found. I hope Ms. Rowland continues to produce such good work.Published 12 months ago by Grifel
Entertaining personal stories of non Europeans settling in a superior Parisian culture. I will solidly agree with two of the writers that it is not difficult to spot the average... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Retire to Portugal
For someone who lived in Paris for 5 years, I must say I love this book. Very well-written.Published 19 months ago by J. Nixon