Paris My Sweet (Amy Thomas) – Review

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light…Paris My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Age: Adult
Genre: Memoir / Paris / Food
Source: Publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewer
Publisher: Source Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781402264115 / 280 pages
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Find this book at your local library

Working as a journalist in New York City, Amy Thomas is given a job offer dreams are made of. A year to work on a marketing campaign for Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. As a self-proclaimed Francophile, Thomas only slightly hesitates before accepting a position that takes her across the ocean. Despite her wanderlust with the city of light, Thomas’ love affair with Paris isn’t 100% as sweet as promised.

I think it was this paragraph that first drew me into this book:

…built a mini-library so I’d never be far from Paris. I had books about cats in Paris, dogs in Paris, expats in Paris; Parisian interiors, Parisian gardens, and Parisian cuisine, organized by neighborhood; bistros of Paris, patisseries of Paris, and shopping in Paris.

I think I’m about a few books shy of mirroring her collection of books on Paris in my own little California apartment. Much of Thomas’ love for Paris is driven by her sweet-tooth, namely for chocolates. Although I’m not really a sweets type of girl, I did admire her ardent determination to explore and sample from nearly every single patisserie in both Paris and New York. This book is chock-full of cafes and bakeries in both New York and Paris. It’s definitely a wonderful resource for anyone traveling to either of those two cities with the intent of gorging on sweets.

I’m more of a pastry girl, I’ll take a croissant or danish over a chocolate cake any day. I still remember wandering the Rue Cler, going to a different bakery every morning until I found one right on the corner of Rue Saint Dominique and Blvd du Tour-Maubourg  that had the best apricot croissants. That’s the fun of Paris. There is good food, everywhere. Not to mention the Rue Cler had one of the best open markets in the city. That’s where I ate my first macaron. I’ve been searching endlessly for bakeries in the Bay Area that sell macarons. They are very few and far between and nowhere near as good as the ones in Paris. The best that I’ve found come from Le Boulange Bakery, and Masse’s Pastries.  If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

What I really liked about Amy’s memoir is that it provided a very new perspective to Paris. As a single girl in her 30s, Thomas didn’t move to Paris because of love, or marriage. She moved there for work, and her experiences of trying to fit in were more interesting as she had to figure everything out on her own. From disastrous dates, to a complicated work-environment, Thomas shows us that living in Paris isn’t always as romantic as we think. There are ups and downs, and soon she finds herself in a cultural limbo, not quite a Parisian, but no longer a typical American either.

Most chapters alternated between Thomas’ life in Paris and New York. Most chapters focused mainly on various comfort foods that Thomas relied on to get herself through the tough times in both cities. There are a number of paragraphs describing foods so rich and sweet that I thought I might develop second-hand cavities from her descriptions. My only complaint was that Thomas made several mentions of living in San Francisco for 7 years, but never once mentioned or listed any bakeries or cafes of note. Living so close to San Francisco, I would have loved to have gotten her recommendations for places nearby.

I can happily say that Thomas does actually have recommendations of bakeries in San Francisco, New York and Paris on her two blogs, God I Love Paris and Sweet Freak. I’m also happy to note that she still regularly updates both blogs. Nothing bugs me more than when a blogger abandons their blog after snagging a book deal.


14 responses to “Paris My Sweet (Amy Thomas) – Review

  1. I just started reading Amy’s new book. Thanks for the great review.

  2. I liked your review, this sounds like a book with an interesting perspective. My husband and I are thinking of either Rome or Paris for an upcoming trip, maybe I should read this first.

  3. Memoirs relating to food experiences are one of my favorite types of memoirs, and this one sounds delightful. I have never been to Paris, but it would be nice to do so vicariously through this book.

  4. I like foodie memoirs too. I’m more a pastry and fruit lover than a chocolate freak — tho I do love Belgium chocolate — but I’d love to read her realistic view of the city.

  5. I love Paris! I’m not a sweet freak, but I loved having pain au chocolate for breakfast every morning when I lived in France. I miss that SO MUCH. Panera has a decent-ish imitation, but it’s not as good and is pretty expensive to boot. I never even tried to find macarons in the states. =/

  6. Paris is somewhere I have never had an urge to go to. Two people I know went and both of them did not like it and said never again. My cousin got sick on the food the first night and was sick the whole time. Yes I’m with Beth, Belgium chocolates are the best! Lady Godiva has a Belgium choc. ice cream that is to die for. When its in the freezer it is mine, all mine and I eat right out of the carton:)

    • Belgium is definitely the place to go for chocolate. I still think about the chocolate pieces I ate there and have to find anywhere near as good in the US.

  7. Memoirs about people in Paris are my favorite kind of book. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  8. You might already know about this Bay Area establishment but I thought I would pass it on anyway.!about

  9. Thank you for the lovely review, Nari! I wanted to share some San Francisco-based bakeries that you should sample when you’re in the city:
    Tartine Bakery – so decadent; the perfect balance of California cooking and French classics
    Miette – I believe they have a location in San Rafael, in addition to the Ferry Building and a Hayes Valley location. The most darling sweets shop, with excellent macarons!
    Specialty’s – I am a sucker for this chain’s whopping cookies.
    Bi-Rite Creamery & Smitten – fantastic ice cream
    Citizen Cake – elegant, delicious creations, all around
    For cupcakes, there are many options: SusieCakes, American Cupcake, Cako and Kara’s Cupcakes.
    And several chocolatiers not to be missed: Christopher Elbow, Michael Recchuiti, Cocoa Bella and Fog City News.

    • There are a few Kara’s Cupcakes in the South Bay, but now I have an arsenal of places to visit next time I go up to San Francisco. Thanks for the list! Hopefully they’ll make it into your next book of sweet-eats.

  10. I read the first two chapters but it just didn’t appeal to me. Perhaps it was that my sister lived in Paris for over a year, and there was no mystery or delight left to me. My sister had described living in a tiny au pair suite and only being able to afford canned lentils night after night. No romance and very little chocolate.

    • I think Paris is what you can make of it. We didn’t eat any sweets really during our week there. We had the macarons only once, and the apricot croissants only in the morning. I was more captivated by the architecture and being able to see the Eiffel Tower from nearly every street and arrondismont in the city.
      Although, honestly I really did like the Provence area, Arles, more than Paris. It was the countryside thus more mellow and scenic.

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