French culture and language were present in my life since as long as I can remember, even though I was born in Portugal and raised there part of my childhood. Before moving to France for good at 24 years old, I was already familiar with the country and it’s ways. Or at least I thought so… Paris has been my home now for almost 9 years, but it wasn’t always easy to understand the subtilities of the French ways. I have my suspicions that even after living here for 50 years, there will always be some things that I will never quite understand.
This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading books about Paris. Many are written by people who are not French and have a totally different perspective (even if it’s often American or British). The problem is that most of the times, these books seem quite unrealistic. We have the ones who tell us about a fairytale Paris à la Amélie Poulain where everything is perfect and romantic (nothing against all this, I do enjoy Amélie Poulain, even if I never understood how she could pay that beautiful flat in Montmartre with her waitress salary); and the other kind of story, where you can find only negative things, for instance: all French people are rude and arrogant. I do know a couple of ones that fit the bill, but most of them are really quite nice.
Unsurprisingly, some of my favourite books about Paris are related to cooking/food. I recently discovered two books that were really fun and they tells us about the good and the bad times around here, which I really appreciated.
I’ve been a lurker at David Lebovitz’s blog for ages. His good humor and yummy recipes are two excellent reasons to follow his adventures in culinary world. If you live in Paris or you are thinking to visit, David has always a good advice. We both live in the same neighborhood and it was nice to read about places that I know well. We do have different perspectives about some points, but it’s all about personal experiences, so nothing that spoiled the fun in this book. It’s obvious that David loves Paris but he’s far from being blind to it’s faults. Oh and the recipes are … irresistible ! ;-)
Sweet Life in Paris was a very good surprise and quite honestly a charming voice that touched me more than I was expecting. It was fun to follow Elizabeth Bard‘s life in Paris, but also her relationship with a French guy. Could see myself in some of those situations… I had some really good laughs imagining some scenes and thinking that I had exactly the same problem. It’s always good to know you’re not the only one not quite understanding French life.
Recently, I saw this TV show and I was immediately hooked: The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. I loved how she cooks in her minuscule kitchen (the true Parisian reality !) with such passion and enthusiam. I already order her book and can’t wait to test some of her recipes. Those who are in love for French cooking and good shows, will certainly enjoy the adventures of this quirky and fun British cook.