Six France-Inspired Reads for Summer

25 June 2013

From indulgent treats to sultry love affairs, these six France-inspired stories will put some extra spice in your summer reading.  Paris, My Sweet: AYear in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate), Amy Thomas’s memoir released last year, takes us on her emotional journey from New York to Paris. Woven through each chapter of deeply personal tales – of making friends, navigating the grim dating scene, surviving bouts of self-doubt and defining happiness (both in and outside of the bakery) – are rapturous tasting excursions on both sides of the Atlantic. Not one to discriminate, Amy relishes the treats each city has to offer and provides a little black book of all her most cherished shops and bakeries so you can experience her edible adventures firsthand.  Self-discovery, questions of identity and the search for meaningful life experiences in Paris after college: the joys and hardships of Hilary Reyl’s heroine Katherine in her first novel Lessons in French remind me a great deal of myself when I first came to the city (sans the intellectual jousting at dinner with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Umberto Eco, of course). Paris in the late 1980’s may be the backdrop but this is a character-driven coming of age story […]…

Continue Reading

Inside Paris: Tips for a Rainy Day {by Amy Thomas}

29 October 2012

October has mostly been a wash-out here in Paris which can leave locals and visitors alike feeling crestfallen – what about those long walks atop growing piles of crunchy leaves in the Tuileries Gardens? Sad, I know. Even faced with relentless rain, author Amy Thomas thinks there’s plenty to make any Paris experience special.  When I think of my favorite moments in Paris, they’re the ones I’ve spent bombing down the streets on a Velib or exploring the different quartiers on foot—stumbling past beautiful boutique vitrines, admiring the doorways and courtyards, and suddenly realizing you’ve been adrift for hours. In other words, they’re moments that require the weather gods’ full cooperation. And anyone who’s spent any time in Paris knows “cooperation” does not often pair with “weather.” It can be unforgivably cold, rain for days, and inspire desires to curl up in a warm ball inside. What you need when the weather turns is a plan. Or my three-pronged strategy for Inside Paris: art, transportation and tea. Art Museums are the obvious choice for escaping the outdoors. So obvious that the whole city (or at least its millions of tourists) seems to flock to the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay on […]…

Continue Reading

Eating Non-French Food in Paris

18 October 2012

North African and Middle Eastern cuisine notwithstanding, Paris isn’t exactly known for its ethnic fare. The prevalence of tacos, burgers, sushi and dim-sum is a relatively recent phenomenon but one which has completely reinvigorated an erstwhile lagging food scene. Slowly (and this is key because the French are historically resistant to change), Parisians are beginning to appreciate the variety and influence of foreign styles and tastes and expats are, well, ecstatic. I frequently field questions from readers about dining out in Paris, specifically for non-French fare. In addition to listing a few of my own favorites, I’ve enlisted the help of a few of my hedonist writer friends – Ann Mah, David Lebovitz, Amy Thomas, Erica Berman, Barbra Austin and Bryan Pirolli – for a varied list you can consult on your next trip should the idea of steak frites and French onion soup seem underwhelming. {MY PICKS} CandelariaA boon to taco-starved expats when it opened over a year ago, this taqueria-meets-cocktail lounge has been consistently good since day one.  Tuck into tacos, tostadas, and deliciously chunky guacamole in the narrow taqueria then head past the unmarked door at the back of the kitchen for prohibition-style cocktails and great music. El […]…

Continue Reading

Paris, My Sweet

14 February 2012

What do you give a girl who has virtually everything in one of the greatest cities in the world? An AirFrance ticket to Paris and a list of the city’s finest indulgences. A career-changing writing gig for French luxury house Louis Vuitton wouldn’t hurt either. For over a year, that was Amy Thomas’s reality. Modish, ambitious and hoping for love (in either the human or chocolate variety), Amy set up camp just off of rue Montorgueil and immediately began eating (and Vélibing) her way through the city’s candied marvels. I can’t recall if it was her ode to chocolate in the New York Times or the pastry smackdowns she hosted and documented on her blog, Sweet Freak, that first put Amy on my radar but she has been an incredible inspiration to me from the moment we finally met at one of my favorite local cafés. My only regret is that we started to get to know one another at the tail end of her stint in Paris. Fortunately, I’ve been able to fill in the gaps with one very candid and delicious read. Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate), Amy’s recently released memoirs, takes us on […]…

Continue Reading

Franco File Friday: Amy Thomas

28 October 2011

As you’re reading this, I’m walking the streets of Manhattan. Or eating them. Probably the latter. Either way, I’m there for work. I could think of no one better suited to feature today than writer and friend, Amy Thomas – an eternal New Yorker perpetually wistful for Paris. After a 2 year stint in Paris with an advertising agency and lovingly documenting her edible adventures on her blog God I Love Paris, Amy bregudgingly packed her bags and returned to NY where she has continued to draw inspiration from Paris for her writing. You might recall a certain ode-to-Paris piece which landed the cover of the New York Time’s Travel section back in March – “Farewell to Paris”, she called it. Yep, that was Amy. She paints Paris with words the way only a true Francophile could – with the perfect blend of whimsy and honesty that keeps her readers charmed. I’m anxiously awaiting the launch of her début book “Paris My Sweet: a Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)” this Spring and I suspect Amy will continue longing for Paris until she finds a way to make both cities her home. Describe what you love about […]…

Continue Reading