November 13, 2017

Book Review: L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz

L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz

Source: Vine

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Bestselling author and world-renowned chef David Lebovitz continues to mine the rich subject of his evolving ex-Pat life in Paris, using his perplexing experiences in apartment renovation as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one’s life. Includes dozens of new recipes.

When David Lebovitz began the project of updating his apartment in his adopted home city, he never imagined he would encounter so much inexplicable red tape while contending with the famously inconsistent European work ethic and hours. Lebovitz maintains his distinctive sense of humor with the help of his partner Romain, peppering this renovation story with recipes from his Paris kitchen. In the midst of it all, he reveals the adventure that accompanies carving out a place for yourself in a foreign country—under baffling conditions—while never losing sight of the magic that inspired him to move to the City of Light many years ago, and to truly make his home there.

Reading The Sweet Life made me not want to ever move to Paris and L'Appart induced the same feeling - at the very least not to ever buy and renovate an apartment there. L'Appart had me gasping in appalled disbelief at Lebovitz's real estate and remodeling horror stories.  Just when I thought it couldn't get worse - it did!  Again and again. 

It emphasizes what I already knew- which is that the French have a baffling way of doing things. However, this time around, despite my horror at Lebovitz's travails, I devoured all his tales of woe eagerly. I am in the middle of a house makeover of my own and Lebovitz's descriptions of his perfect Parisian kitchen, down to the cabinets and the farmhouse sink are vastly intriguing.  As are the recipes. Each chapter ends with a recipe to soothe any vicarious anxieties.

"When I started looking at apartments, I'd also said to myself, I don't want to buy an apartment that I have to do any work in.  That was wishful thinking  There isn't an apartment in Paris that isn't in need of some sort of work.  You don't even need to look deeply to see what needs to be done.  Minerals from the calcified water clogs pipes and leaves a heavy, impenetrable crust around the joints. Serpillieres (tattered floor rags) are laid out on kitchen floors and in bathrooms to sop up the water that sprays from ancient faucets and showerheads... Walls in older places may be stained nicotine yellow and dark rooms are not brightened by low-wattage wall sconces with burn marks surrounding the holes where the rusty wires lead into the plaster wall. All the gray hair I've acquired since moving to France isn't from frustration with the bureaucracy, but from plugging my stand mixer into the wall and getting zapped by a jolt of ungrounded electricity."

1 comment:

  1. I bet there are tales of red tape and bureaucracy in this book. Wow, the quote has me giggling...ungrounded electricity? Shocking! ;P