Paris, My Sweet: a year in the city of light (and dark chocolate) by Amy Thomas.
Amy Thomas, an advertising copywriter, fell in love with Paris when she spent a year there as a student. Eventually, her career took her to New York City, which she loved, and where she felt completely at home.
In 2008, she did a week-long apartment swap, and spent her time cycling (or as the locals call it, Vélib'ing) around the French capital, sampling pastries and other sweets. Upon her return to New York, though she still loved it, she found herself yearning for Paris.
Serendipitously, she was offered a job working on the digital advertising for Louis Vuitton, in the Paris offices of the firm Ogilvy & Mather. After nearly a year of paperwork and not-quite-believing it would happen, Thomas packed up her cat Milo, and moved to a flat in the 2eme arrondissement, determined to spend her free time acquainting herself with more Parisian baked goods and sweets.
She does fulfill her dream, at first dealing with the calories by using the Vélib’ system for transportation, as well as living on the sixth-floor of a building without an elevator.
The title of this book is somewhat misleading: though it purports to be a billet-doux to Paris, it's also a love letter to New York. At first, she's not homesick, but after returning to New York for a vacation, she finds herself missing it desperately, mostly because of its familiarity, language, and the friends who live there. She raves about chocolatiers and bakeries in both cities, and is struck by the dessert-cultural exchange that occurs between them.
It's difficult not to snack while reading this book, but you'll crave quality French pastries and chocolates, which might be hard to acquire unless you've already stocked up or live close to a patisserie.
Paris, my sweet is a charming memoir, particularly for Francophiles. If you've already been to Paris, you'll ache to return; if you haven't you'll be desperate for your first visit. Strangely enough, though I've never been to New York, Thomas didn't evoke in me a desire to go there (perhaps because I live near Los Angeles?).
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review.