Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

by Amy Thomas

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Overview

"From the New York cupcake wars to the perfect
Parisian macaron, Thomas's passion is palpable,
her sweet tooth, unstoppable."—Elizabeth Bard, bestselling author of Lunch in Paris

Forever a girl obsessed with all things French, sweet freak Amy
Thomas landed a gig as rich as the purest dark chocolate: leave
Manhattan for Paris to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton. Working on the Champs-Élysées, strolling the charming streets, and exploring the best patisseries and boulangeries, Amy marveled at the magnificence of the City of Light.

But does falling in love with one city mean turning your back on another? As much as
Amy adored Paris, there was part of her that felt like a humble chocolate chip cookie in a sea of pristine macarons. PARIS,
MY SWEET explores how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a salted caramel souffle's rise, as intensely satisfying as molten chocolate cake, and about how the life you're meant to live doesn't always taste like the one you envisioned.

Part love letter to Paris, part love letter to New York, and total devotion to all things sweet, PARIS, MY SWEET is a treasure map for anyone with a hunger for life.

"Like a tasty Parisian bonbon, this book is filled with sweet surprises."—David Lebovitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Sweet Life in Paris

"Amy Thomas seduces us in the same manner that Paris seduced her —one exquisite morsel at a time."—Nichole Robertson, author of Paris in Color

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402264115
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 02/01/2012
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 348,990
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Amy Thomas is a New York—based writer who, for two lucky years, got to call Paris home. In addition to working as a copywriter in advertising, she writes about food, travel, design, and fashion for various publications such as the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Town & Country, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is slightly obsessed with sweets.

Read an Excerpt

I guess you could say my story began with a bicycle and some bonbons. At the time, it just seemed like a fun summer vacation: it was 2008, and I did an apartment swap with someone in Paris. I had already visited earlier that year, but what can I say? When the invitation to spend time in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) comes knocking, my first response is "pourquoi pas?"

I've just always been one of those girls. I spent a college semester in Paris, and it was then I fell in love with the city's beauty and grace—and Nutella street crepes. When I returned to the States, I wore silk scarves and a black beret; the only thing missing from my clichéd uniform were the Gauloises cigarettes.

I binged on French films, schooling myself in nouvelle vague directors, falling especially hard for Eric Rohmer, before contemporary movies like The City of Lost Children and Amélie seduced me. I studied the Lost Generation, reading Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Janet Flanner, and 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, pâtisseries of Paris, and shopping in Paris. I became a regular at a café in my neighborhood in San Francisco simply because it served café au lait in little bowls instead of mugs, and I had more Eiffel Tower tchotchkes than I am comfortable admitting.

I was just another Francophile, like you. Until that summer of 2008.

That trip was the first time I was in Paris during the summer, and it was absolutely amazing. I loved that it was light out until after 10:00 p.m., giving me several extra hours to roam back-alley streets and sit by the Seine. I was excited to discover new neighborhoods like Bercy and Canal Saint-Martin and new "bistronomy" restaurants like Le Verre Volé and Le Comptoir du Relais. I got sucked into the semi-annual sales, les soldes, and hooked on Vélib's, the public bike-sharing system.

And then there were all the chocolatiers.

By that time, I was just as obsessed with sweets as I was Paris. I had a column in Metro newspaper called "Sweet Freak" and a blog by the same name. I knew every bakery, dessert bar, gelateria, tea salon, and chocolatier in New York City. When I traveled, I built my itinerary around a town's must-visit sweet spots.

So naturally during that week in Paris, I researched the city's best chocolatiers, mapped out a circuit, and then Vélib'ed between eight of them. It was exhilarating and exhausting, not to mention decadent. It was a chocoholic's dream ride. I wrote about my Tour du Chocolat for the New York Times, and it went on to become a top-ten travel story for the year. As I was secretly plotting a way to spend more time eating chocolate in Paris, the in-house recruiter of the ad agency where I worked casually walked into my office one day and asked if I wanted to move to Paris. I was getting transferred to write copy for the iconic fashion label Louis Vuitton. It all happened so suddenly, and seemed so magical, that I had to ask: was Paris my destiny or sheer force of will?

I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you're lucky, you make it to Paris for a while. Here's what happened when I did.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Like a tasty Parisian bonbon, this book is filled with sweet surprises." —-David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris

Customer Reviews

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Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did so enjoy reading of two great cities, wonderful treats to savour. The writing carried me along side her. The swearing, more towrds the end, did leave me with a sour taste. (Please leave it out in your next writing.)
Nora_Ann More than 1 year ago
One of my new favorite books. I hope to go to Paris someday!
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Amy Thomas fell in love with Paris on a trip in her late teens. She dreamed of living there, and after years of work in the advertising field, she was offered a dream job. She could take a contract to work on the advertising of Louis Vuitton, but would have to move to Paris and work there. Amy jumped at the chance as it was her dream come true. Amy's other passion was quality desserts. She had, as a side interest, created a blog about sweets and where to find the best ones in New York. She dreamed about expanding this with all the wonderful new sweet shops and French confections she would find in Paris. Amy spent her first weeks there touring the famous shops and discovering new ones. Paris My Sweet combines both the story of Thomas's two years in Paris and her love of anything sweet. Each chapter talks about an issue common to those starting a new job, moving to a new city, or being a woman on the cusp of middle age who is still single and adventurous but starting to wonder about love, marriage and children. Each chapter also features a category of sweet such as the madeline or cupcakes or macarons. At the end of each chapter is a page outlining the best places to find that category of sweet, both in New York and in Paris. Paris My Sweet will appeal to a wide variety of readers. It is great travel writing. Foodies will be thrilled to read about the variety and intensity of flavors available in the dessert category as well as the guide to the best places to find specific categories. Overall, the book will appear to women working on finding their place in the world, finding that mix of work and family/love that works for them. Throughout the book, Thomas is revealed as a woman questioning her life but ultimately satisfied with her choices, a woman with a zest for life and who loves to share with others. This book is recommended for all these categories of readers.
JCarey More than 1 year ago
Read this book while traveling in Paris for the first time. Interesting to see the differences between traveling there and living there. Also enjoyed seeing the actual shops she was talking about in the book. The guide in the back was the best because I didn't have to search through the chapters to remember a shop name. Will use next time I visit NYC and enjoyed the comparisons between both cities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the time I spent with the author as she explored life, love and desserts! I appreciated that it seemed an honest approach. I will hope to have my NOOK with me next time I get to Paris so I can use the lists with addresses to find some highlighted sweets!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pros- This book proved to be a wonderful guide to exploring sweets in Paris and New York. The writer very obviously knows what she's talking about when it comes to food. Myself, being a total foodie, found this book extremely helpful and mouth-watering.  Cons- The author had a very…negative and condescending attitude, which makes for a difficult read. I get it, it can be difficult to adjust in a new city. But for goodness sake! She's living in Paris, doing her dream job, and getting to sample the world's most delicious food! I was expecting to be refreshed with this book, not drudged down. Also, another thing I found annoying was her CONSTANT debate between living in New York or Paris. The comparisons and dialogues about which place she should chose is interesting at first, but quickly get old by the 10th (or 20th) time. Another negative- the completely unnecessary use of foul language.  To conclude, there are zillions of novels about Paris. If I'd known about the amount of pessimism and complaining I'd be subjected to by reading this "bon bon of a book". I would've chosen a different Paris themed novel. I would have really enjoyed reading a food guide to these cities by the author. She truly had good insight when it comes to exploring a city trough food. Instead, I read a food guide/teenage-girl-level diary laced with complaints and poor-me complexes.   
Maertel More than 1 year ago
This tale of another wanna be rich girl looking for love in Paris could have been wonderful if her values had gone deeper. Are we really supposed to feel bad because she cannot afford another dead baby animal skin purse? Does she really not get that French women don't want her to seduce away the few remaining good French men and so do not invite her into their dining rooms...? Maybe if she had cared about other people or animals (foie gras cookies, eh?), she would have met a Good Guy, French, American, or African, non? Bien sur, the sweet descriptions are inspiring.
roena More than 1 year ago
This book took me a long time to read, when that happen's it means it just doesn't "thrill" me. I loved the story about people, about describing Paris, and NY----but (yes there is a but here) too, too, too much about the descriptions of the food. It got really boring after about 2 chapters, and every chapter is filled with it. The book went into depth of the preparation, presentation, taste of the wonderful and smell of a chocolate chip cookie, and a "prestine" macarons. What does that even mean, a "prestine macaron???" What did I learn from this book? That deserts are wonderful.....I think I already knew that. My advice is if your trying to lose weight, or even maintaine your weight, don't read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This memoir of the author's time in Paris is an absolutely charming, witty, sad, delicious (so many bakeries to visit!), can't-put-down-book. Amy writes so well and describes her surroundings in such vivid detail that the reader will feel like she is right there with her; I wish! Buy this.
CGaleR More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. I visited Paris a week last year, and will return for a week this year. I love to order something from the menu and just enjoy the experience. And the sweets.......oh, the sweets. I've bookmarked (on my Nook Tablet) many, many pages within this book, highlighting endless sweet options for my next visit to the fabulous city. I have friends who have lived in Paris for three months and I know the sadness they experience when leaving the city to return home to the USA. The city is magical, and the author shares that on page after page of this book. With Paris map in hand, thank you Amy for the inspiration to endlessly search for just 'one more bite...'
bostonian71 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Thomas talks about food, especially the sweets she loves so much, the book held my interest (even if some of her thoughts, especially those about places in New York, seem more like excerpts from her other writings than part of an integrated narrative). But when she focuses on herself and her pre-mid-life crisis, the story drags. I can understand feeling lost and alone in a foreign country, but going on at length about her issues doesn't solve anything (as she concludes at least 50 pages too late). I also wish she devoted more attention to some of her side trips to the countryside, instead of citing them in passing as reasons to be happy about her Parisian life ... but that could be just me being a greedy Francophile!
etxgardener on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for almost any book about living in Paris, but this one was so lame and so badly written that it was almost painful to read. It really isn't about living in Paris at all. It's about the cosmic angst of a thirty-something woman who seems to have the emotional maturity of a 12-year old. At least I thought the list of restaurants & patisseries would be useful, but on checking them out, mot are nothing to right home about either. If you love Paris avoid this book.
sarahbest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amy, a 37-year old writer, gets the opportunity of a lifetime: an invitation to move to Paris to copywrite for a prominent advertising agency's Louis Vuitton account while also pursuing her passion for sampling--and writing about--the city's best sweets. On page 199 of this memoir, Amy is given the advice to enjoy the sweetness of her life in Paris. I only wish that she had taken this advice to heart prior to the book's final chapters. In the first two thirds of the memoir, Amy paints an atrocious portrait of herself that is unpleasant to read. She's a snob who detests tourists who flock to Magnolia Bakery because they were inspired by Sex and the City, while in the same breath idolizing the show, recapping scenes from certain episodes in detail. She is full of self pity and self loathing. She whines endlessly about her life, while reminiscing about the Jetta she drove in high school. She hems and haws about whether to head to Paris, because she'salready cozily established in a professionally decorated apartment in New York's pricey Greenwich Village neighborhood. The cost of abandoning her apartment for two years never seems to factor into her pro and con lists. She has a cushy, albeit somewhat unsatisfying, Madison Avenue ad writing job and she cringingly compares herself to friends who are unemployed, as though they suffer the same lot. There are a number of difficult-to-read digs at loved ones and ugly jealously toward loyal friends who find happiness in relationships while Amy remains single (having chosen to have left several long term relationships). These elements are sure to turn many readers off, especially given that Amy's growth into optimism and nascent self-awareness arrives so late in the narrative.This is unfortunate because Amy's narrative about learning to understand Parisian culture bit by bit is compelling. She succeeds in making the experience of exploring Paris by bike, and sampling each arrondissement's artisanal food shops, come alive. Her writing about food is confident and significant; foodies with a sweet tooth, who can stomach all the negativity, will enjoy joyful and colorful descriptions of innumerable desserts consumed in both in New York and Paris. I loved her written portraits of prominent chocolatiers and bakers. Travelers will enjoy her recommendations of where to go and what to try in both cities.
Tmyers526 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book through Early Reviewers, and I absolutely adored it! Great descriptions, and I liked the recommendations on where to get really good sweets. By the end of the book I really wanted to go to Paris, get a Velib, and sample some of the food she described!
am64547 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amy Thomas's descriptions of sweets throughout Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)are absolutely mouth watering. Given the chance to return to Paris for a job opportunity, Thomas packs her bags and moves her life from New York to Paris. Throughout the book, she does a tantalizing job of describing the bakeries she visits throughout Paris and the numerous sweets she enjoys. I enjoyed reading about her experiences of living in Paris and her exploration of the sweets Paris has to offer. She also provides stories of bakeries and sweets in New York, and it was interesting to read the similarities and differences between desserts and bakeries in Paris and New York. While some of the narrative surrounding her personal life dragged, the love affair she has with Paris and sweets shown through and made for an enjoyable read.
VioletBramble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amy Thomas was living in New York City, working for an advertising agency, writing a blog and a newspaper column for The Metro (one of NYCs free morning newspapers that is handed to people when they leave their subway stations on their way to work). Her blog and column were about the many bakeries, chocolate shops, cookie and cupcake places and desert bars in NYC that she would visit to sample their wares. Her job transfers her to Paris to write copy for their Louis Vuitton ad campaign. She will be working out of the Louis Vuitton offices.Thomas had been in love with Paris since her junior year semester abroad that she spent there. She decides that she will spend her free time in Paris biking to as many patiseries and chocolate shops as she possibly can. Between descriptions of mouth watering desserts and chocolates Thomas complains about being lonely, being single, going through early menopause and being unable to afford the 3,500 Euro Louis Vuitton bag she wants (because she doesn't get an LV discount). Thomas compares the pastry and chocolate shops of Paris to their NYC counterparts. The best part of the book is the list of shops in Paris (where I plan to visit) and NYC (where I live). I've lived in NYC most of my life and have only heard of 20% of the places discussed in the book. I'm definitely going to be checking out some of these shops (if they're still in business). The Paris list will come in handy when traveling to that city.Recommended for the food parts of the book
vampiregirl76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amy Thomas is a writer who lives in New York and owner of the blog Sweet Freak©. Paris, My Sweet is her story about how she got to live her dream. Not only living in Paris for a year, but also working for one of the top designers. And along the way checking out some of the best chocolatiers in the world.I don't speak French nor have I ever been to Paris, but I have always want to visit. Like Ms. Thomas I'm a bit of a sweet fanatic. So, while this book isn't my normal genre - it was the perfect read for me.I loved this book! Paris & desserts - what more can you ask for. I pretty much drooled my way through Paris, My Sweet. It was delectably delicious. Ms. Thomas's writing is fresh and fun. I adored the details. The author writes in a way that makes you feel like you are in Paris too. Experiencing everything as she does. This is a must read for foodies and travel fans.
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow!!! Can you say sweet??? This book was delicious, not only the book but the descriptions of all the deserts, especially the chocolate ones. But then the cupcakes sounded pretty good too. I guess I have to say that I am glad that I don't live in New York or Paris, the temptation would just be way to much for me to bear...I loved this book and if you like the sweet side of life you need to read this book too!!
KayeBarley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you're a foodie you are going to enjoy this book. If you love New York and/or Paris (even if you've never been there!), you're going to enjoy this book. I loved all the foodie references and and the little peeks into little known parts of both cities. I wish I could have warmed up to the writer a little more. For someone with all she has going for her, she seemed pretty immature and whiny to me which distracted from this lovely little book.
LauraBrook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What seemed at first like a little slip of a book about eating wonderful sweets in Paris, was actually about not just that, but her life in NYC, eating sweets, where her heart truly lies in regards to most any life topic, eating sweets, her health woes (hit pretty close to home, I have to say), and oh yeah, eating wonderful sweets! At times I wanted to shake her to "snap out of it", but I can't say that being in similar situations myself that I haven't felt the same way. It was a great way to visit NYC and to re-visit Paris from my little couch; all in all, it's a real treat!
caitemaire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After a semester in France years ago and a summer in Paris in 2008, Amy was, without question, just a little obsessed with all things French. Yet, she loves a great deal about her life working and living in New York City. Her job as a advertising copywriter, her friends, her cat, her cute East Village apartment..not to mention an intimate knowledge of every bakery and chocolatier in the city...makes for a good life. But when the chance arises to take a temporary assignment in the City of Light, and delicious desserts, writing ad copy for Louis Vuitton, of course she can not say no.The question becomes will she even want to come back "home". Or actually, maybe what makes a place home.I am not usually a big fan of memoirs. But, I must say I was won over by the promise of descriptions of all sorts of sweet and delicious treats, on both sides of the ocean, and this book did not disappoint in keeping that promise. I do not share Ms. Thomas love of Paris (OK, maybe because I have never been there) but the descriptions of food in this book are so well done, so wonderful, that it could have me packing my bag and buying a black beret for the trip.Ms. Thomas loves food and she excels at writing about it. The descriptions will have your mouth watering and, without a doubt, those parts are my favorite part of the book. Happily, there are a lot of them.But the author also write some very interesting observation about the city and her life there and about it's inhabitants. Again, she is very good at putting us right there as she peddles around on her Vélib', a bicycle for Paris bike sharing system. We are there as she finds the best macarons in the world or shows the city off to her visiting mother and step-father and while she deals with the difficulties of making friends, let alone finding true love, in a culture with some significant differences from the Big Apple.If you live in New York or Paris, or plan to visit either, and have a sweet tooth, this is a book that you will want to pick up. It is fun..and delicious. The lists of 'must visit' places and the cute little maps will be priceless, whether you search out just one or every single one on the list. But even if you never step a foot in either, this is still a fun read, one best read on a full stomach, and yet one with a bit of a serious note too.What will it be for her, NY or Paris?Will she find true love.Well, you will have to pick up a copy and check it out to find out!
MaryinHB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTSLOVED ITAfter getting her dream job in Paris, writing copy for Louis Vuitton, Francophile, Amy Thomas, finds that the grass may not be as green as it should be. Oh, it is green alright, but like all good things, even chocolate, you can overdose. So when Amy's dream job starts to dump on her, she tries to stand up for herself and well, she finally realizes that her golden ring of a job is more brass. She discusses using a bike as transportation around town and her descriptions of the major bakeries and their wares will make your mouth water. I was dying for some chocolate truffles, maybe some tarts, and for sure a nice loaf of French bread. I never knew there were so many different kinds! Of course, at 36, no 37, years old, her friends are married and having kids, so when a health crisis develops she really must decide if children are in her future. Her parents come to visit and there are some really funny moments. She does become very introspective at this point. Where the book truly shines is when she raves about the sweets and how she hunts them down. Her searches around New York are amazingly descriptive and it would be wonderful to plan a trip around some of the places she mentions. Some of the things she talks about (cupcake bubble anyone?) are really insightful and I would weigh a billions pounds by eating all of the things she writes about. Truly a wonderful read about sweets and how to get through life in a new country by yourself.
shalulah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this one, & not just because I'm going to Paris on vacation & appreciate all the sweet recommendations! The only thing that struck me as slightly odd was that it's called "Paris My Sweet" & it's really a comparison of Paris & New York. The dessert tips for both cities are mouth-watering, though, so I'm not going to quibble too much. I really got caught up in Amy Thomas' story. As a single 40+ woman, it was good to read about someone else with the same kind of lifestyle & the same kind of worries - & to have the book not wind up with the author meeting the man of her dreams was so heartening to this reader. What I'll take from this book is the yummy memories & this quote: "..at thirty-seven my life clearly looked nothing like the one my younger self had envisioned. But sometimes you want things just because you think you're supposed to. & sometimes it's the things you never even knew you wanted that give your life the most meaning."
EmThomas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think my experience with reading this book is much akin to a crumble; I somehow expected the story to end with a tidy bow wrapped up in an exquisite architecture of sugar. Alas, the messy, jumbled ending reminds me that real life is often like that - imperfect, unrefined, and haphazard. I appreciated the honesty of her struggles to fit in and could almost feel the pull of each of her lives waiting to be claimed across the Atlantic. I would love to see a Part Two to get a peek at where she is now!
PennyMck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must-read if you love bakeries, sweet treats and exploring European cities