We'll Always Have Paris: Trying and Failing to be French
As a bored, moody teenager, Emma Beddington came across a copy of French ELLE in the library of her austere Yorkshire school. As she turned the pages, full of philosophy, sex and lipstick, she realized that her life had one purpose and one purpose only: she needed to be French. Instead of skulking in her bedroom listening to The Smiths or trudging to Betty's Tea Room to buy fondant fancies, she would be free and solitary, sitting outside the Cafe de Flore with a Scottie dog at her feet, a Moleskine on the table and a Gauloise trembling on her lower lip. And so she set about becoming French: she did a French exchange, albeit in Casablanca; she studied French history at university, and spent the holidays in France with her French boyfriend. Eventually, after a family tragedy, she found herself living in Paris, with the same French boyfriend and two half-French children. Her dream had come true, but how would reality match up? Gradually Emma realized that she might have found Paris, but what she really needed to find was home. Written with enormous wit and warmth, We'll Always Have Paris is a memoir for anyone who has ever worn a Breton T-shirt and wondered, however fleetingly, if they could pass for une vraie Parisienne.
A witty, poignant and candid memoir of one woman's dream of shedding her English inhibitions and becoming French.
Tender, funny, sad, and brutally honest, I devoured this book like I would have eaten Parisian patisserie. I loved every page (as did my husband!) -- JoJo Moyes I totally loved this gorgeous, funny, honest, adorable book: formidable. -- Jenny Colgan Searingly funny, searingly honest, searingly good cake. -- Sarah Franklin, Costa Prize judge and director of Short Stories Aloud I loved We'll Always Have Paris. Love, grief & cake. Often sad and hellishly funny. -- Lissa Evans, author of A Crooked Heart Charged with love, longing and lots of cake, Emma Beddington's warm and witty memoir of her romance with the City of Light is a treat for anyone whose Parisian dreams encompass cafe creme at Les Deux Magots, macaroons at Laduree ... and instinctively recognising the gender of a lave-vaisselle. -- Kathryn Flett We'll Always have Paris is a joy. So much resonated as I read it in a cafe wearing my Breton t-shirt. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink Extremely funny, emotionally acute and often very moving. Writing about yourself and your life without giving in to navel gazing or self- interest is a rare trick and one Emma Beddington pulls off with aplomb; instead she turns her sideways gaze on the world and its absurdities with a wink and a wry smile. We'll Always Have Paris has all this, but in addition a big dose of genuine warmth and wisdom. -- Jess Ruston 'I loved Emma Beddington's funny, poignant memoir, which made me laugh - and cry. -- Nina Stibbe A sumptuous ode to Gallic philosophy, patisserie and joie de vivre, and also a poignant account of relationships, loss and identity. -- Zahra Saeed Independent Emma writes frankly and with self-deprecating humour about depression, motherhood, her Paris dreams and their soul-crushing reality, and cake. There's so much cake in this delightful, thoughtful book. -- Sarra Manning Red
After leaving university, Emma Beddington practised as a lawyer. Today she is a freelance writer, who has contributed to ELLE, Red, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Conde Nast Traveller and O Magazine. She is also the author of the acclaimed blog Belgian Waffle. She lives in Brussels with her husband and two sons.