L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home
By, David Lebovitz
I’m sure by now you know we are both major Francophiles, especially me. I’ve always dreamed of moving to Paris and making my own Paris home. I’m also a big David Lebovitz fan and loved his book The Sweet Life in Paris. As soon as I found out he was coming out with a book about setting up his Paris home, I was so excited. I love Lebovitz’s humor and find him to be an expert storyteller, even if he’s just writing a little anecdote to go along with a recipe. The book lived up to my expectations, although it was a bit slower and less funny than his previous book. It felt to me like a very practical love letter to Paris. One in which the lover is fully aware of the object of his affection’s flaws and loves her despite, maybe even because of, them. Since Lebovitz is typically one of the few authors who can actually make me laugh out loud, the slightly tedious pace of the book gave me insight into how frustrating it must have been for him. That being said, no matter how frustrating and stressful it all sounded, I still dream of moving to France. Although now I know not to attempt a major home reno in Paris. If you prefer to only hear the sweet side of things, I suggest reading The Sweet Life in Paris instead. While I did enjoy getting to read a very realistic account of a Parisian home reno and would recommend it to any fellow Francophile, The Sweet Life was just so much sweeter.
L’Appart Discussion Questions:
DISCUSSION: INSTAGRAM LIVE, 4/24 6:30PM PST
Come join us on Instagram Live to discuss the book and/or leave your answers in the comments section below! We will update our answers on this post after the Live.
1. What did you think of the book overall? Did you like it, would you recommend it to others?
My answer: Yes, I did! I love France so much that I devour any book on France. I did find it a bit tedious and frustrating at times, but I really liked getting a realistic inside look into what a reno in France would be like. I would recommend others start with The Sweet Life in Paris to see if they like the author’s style first. That book is also more fun a fun, quick read with lots of amazing Parisian recommendations.
2. What did you think of the inclusion of recipes throughout the book? Did you make any of them? In general do you tend to follow recipes or improvise?
My answer: I liked it, but I’m a weirdo who reads cookbooks like they are novels. I really liked the way he tied them into the chapter with a little anecdote and I’d love to try a few of them. I generally like to read a recipe for inspiration, but then I do my own thing.
3. What part of living in France appeals to you the most?
My answer: The importance of food! I love how it’s such a big production. Meal times are very sacred and you don’t waste them on food that is not delicious. Time slows down as you savor the food and from a young age the French are taught to identify aromas and flavor profiles. I also love the idea of shopping at a farmer’s market regularly and eating only in season.
4. What would be the most challenging part of living in France to you?
My answer: The lack of systems and how difficult it is to get anything done! I would get so frustrated that getting any little thing done would require so much time and paperwork!
5. “Like my life as an American in France, I straddle two cultures, appreciating the qualities of each.” (pg. 21) Can you relate to this quote at all?
My answer: Kind of. I feel like Bassam could relate to it more as he grew up in Lebanon and moved to the states as a teen. I was born and raised in California, but my parents are Arab from Iran. I always felt like I was straddling 3 cultures and never quite fit in with anyone. I did love how unique my culture was though and I love incorporated positive aspects of all three.
6. Did reading the book make you yearn for anything or crave anything?
My answer: TO BE IN FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!! Even during the frustrating parts!
7. Would you move to France after reading this book? If not France, where would you want to live?
My answer: 100% yes! But to Provence, not Paris. I just love Provence soooo much and that’s saying alot, because I really do love Paris. I just wouldn’t attempt a home reno or I would go into it expecting the worst.
8. Have you ever been through a home renovation? What was the most challenging part?
My answer: No and I am very nervous to go through one. It does NOT sound fun!
9. What did you think of the concept of not being too nice to get better service? Have you ever seen this work?
My answer: This is definitely overgeneralizing, but I did notice that having an overly confident attitude and a slightly too-cool-for-school attitude gets you the best service in Paris. Not so much the rest of France, but definitely Paris. Not to say to be rude by any means, but just slightly cool. Is that what they mean by having a certain je ne sais quoi?
10. What does your dream kitchen look like?
My answer: 100% French farmhouse! I thought it was hilarious that a French farmhouse sink doesn’t exist anymore in France and yet we are lusting over them in the states! Also, all white! I love all white kitchens!
We look forward to discussing with you!