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We've Always Had Paris... and Provence: A Scrapbook of Our Life in France Paperback – 1 May 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060898585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060898588
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,609,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Guaranteed to turn any foodie or Francophile vert with envy."--St. Petersburg Times

"Entertaining....The passionate rapport and mutual respect between the spouses shines through every chapter...intimate and revealing."--San Francisco Chronicle

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just what I needed to send to a friend who lives in France, and thoroughly enjoys the intricacies of French cooking.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x93850fc0) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x937e8e70) out of 5 stars Very disappointed 14 Jun. 2008
By Anne - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I have copies of all of Patricia Wells's cookbooks and generally like them. "Bistro Cooking" is a particular favorite. This book, however, was a chore to read and rather than enhancing my opinion of her as a person it nearly negated everything. The book is co-authored with her journalist husband--with each taking turns with alternate chapters. They come off as very shallow, self-absorbed, and self-serving people. The book is riddled with black and white photographs--most looking canned and posed as if for an advertisement for her cooking school. It was just too much to hear about her beauty and exercise regime--eyelash curling and all. Upon seeing a woman in the street that looked haggered and spent, her husband turns to her and applauds Patricia's efforts in not letting herself go as this woman obviously had. Just too awful to bear reading this stuff. I don't know what I expected this book to be--but certainly not this. If it weren't so much trouble I would return it to Amazon.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x978e6b8c) out of 5 stars Who cares??? 24 Jun. 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was my introduction to Patricia Wells, about whom I've heard and read so much over the years. Her cookbooks may be wonderful, but the writing in this book certainly is not. The language is uninspired and the details she and her journalist husband choose to share about themselves are almost embarrassing. There also wasn't a single recipe that sounded appealing. The descriptions of Provence were lovely, and it's nice that they've made such a happy life for themselves, but somehow the way they present it all just comes off wrong. Readers would be much better served by picking up Jacques Pepin's charming memoir, The Apprentice.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x936bc930) out of 5 stars I lost interest in it and started searching out the recipes 18 Nov. 2008
By Lady Eve Sidwich - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Patricia and Walter Wells are not Julia and Paul Child! I must have imagined they were, because this little tome was a big disappointment for me. In the end they seem primarily a pair of very fortunate, albeit talented and ambitious, yuppies. An awful lot of self-satisfaction to plow through! Could've really lived without the details of Patricia's beauty routine!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9319b6f0) out of 5 stars did they ever have paris and provence? 25 July 2009
By reader54 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having lived in France for 15 years, most of them spent in Paris, I found it challenging to connect to anything Patricia and Walter Wells had to say about their experience there. One of the first words in the volume is FANTASY. The story told in this book, feels steeped in it. Not that the Wells' did not experience what they state they did. I think it's the cloying, uninteresting and banal manner in which the story is told, rendering what I feel must have been an extraordinary journey, into a bundle of really very tired cliches. Although I am always interested in seeing what Ms Wells will come up with next, I have never been a fan of her sacherine writing style. When I read her, I feel as though I'm reading the work of a very inteligent but calculated woman who has never been able to divorce herself from her little girl fantasy of actually having moved to France. Her writing still has a contrived 'outsiders' feel to it. This does not in any way detract from her love of food, French or otherwise, nor her capacity to prepare it, nor her tirless efforts to successfully create her French dream. Disneyworld was never my idea of a very French place to go in France. I feel vaguely the same way about Patricia Wells take on her adopted France. It always feels to be more a projection of what she needs and wants it to be, than of what it actually is. Hers is not at all a France I would like to spend time in.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9319b618) out of 5 stars Not enough (written for 20 Aug. 2009
By Emily Decobert - Published on
Format: Paperback
How many of us have dreamed of chucking it all and moving to an exotic local? Most of us have and I must admit, my dream was Paris. Having gone there when I was twenty, I began a love affair with this wonderful city that continues to this day. So, of course, when I heard about We've Always had Paris, I had to review it.
Patricia and Walter Wells understand the yearning of us Parisophiles. They often talked about the chance of moving to Paris to live. Both were writers for the Times and they dreamed of the day the call would come in offering a job at the Paris branch of the Times, the International Herald Tribune. One day, the dream became reality and they packed up and moved.
Now they had to face the reality of living where they didn't speak the language and were strangers in a world so different it was almost alien. Add to that Walter's 24 hour a day job and Patricia's freelance and cookbook career and they were almost overwhelmed. However, they find their way in the strange new world of both Paris and Provence and the book is filled with their memories, experiences, and meals.
I began this book with high hopes and found myself slightly disappointed. The tale is very well written and chocked full of tales and recipes, but it lacks lustre. The descriptions of Paris failed to evoke the wonderful sense of the city itself and felt as flat as the pages of the book. When I read a book about a foreign country, I want to get lost in the place and the people and I was sad when these book almost but didn't quite succeed.
The part about Provence also didn't evoke the sense of place and time. Having never been there, I had hoped for a tale filled with the magic of that unique part of the country. I was looking forward to seeing and experiencing in my mind a trip to this area and I didn't find it. The story was well told and filled with those unique experiences of French country living, but I failed to make that vital connection with both the place and the characters.
There can be no doubt that these two writers are very talented at writing factual information and they created technically sound book, but without the magic of the place shining through the book falters.
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