A Table in Paris by John Donohue
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Ernest Hemingway is absolutely right. I lived in Paris for a year, and my time there has stayed with me ever since. While living in Paris, I worked as an assistant to an Editor at Vogue magazine. My absolute dream job. The job isn't at all what I remember though when I think of my time in Paris.
When I think of Paris, I think about the delicious cuisine, one of a kind boutiques, gorgeous architecture, and fresh markets. I think of the chic French ladies dressed head to toe in black, smoking cigarette after cigarette in the front of the cafés, I think of the non-stop rain pouring down romantically atop the awnings on Boulevard Saint Germain, and I think of opening my window in the mornings and the aroma of butter wafting up and in from the boulangeries down below. That's my Paris.
In his new book, John Donohue takes readers on a journey of the senses. And while we may not be able to leave the confines of our homes right now, we can, and most certainly must, still dream.
A city like no other, Paris is rich with history, culture, and flavour. This sweet little book, A Table in Paris, offers guided recommendations from a breadth of locals, visitors, and experts. The book also offers space for you to add your own Paris dining bucket list, food memories or dreams from each of the twenty arrondissements, and notes on the establishments featured.
It's important to note that this is not just a book of restaurant recommendations and spaces for notes though, there's also some good information packed in here when it comes time to head out for your first bite to eat in the City of Love.
There are some notes on making reservations, dining hours, and language skills. Est-ce que tu parles français?
As the book states, you can get by on little to no French. It's fun to try though, and there are some pointers included in the book.
A Table in Paris also discusses the different types of restaurants which is really helpful. For example, a bistro, is a small and casual place. You probably know that, but could you tell me what a Caves à manger is? I'm going to guess you can't, but John's new book will tell you!
Following the general information, John dives right in with his restaurant recommendations in each arrondissement. They are beautifully laid out, each one named and accompanied by one of John's beautiful graphics. I love that it's not just a simple list of restaurant recommendations as it would be with Monocle or a similar travel guide.
With A Table in Paris, John has thoughtfully added details to each suggestion including things like the year the restaurant opened, the best thing to have there, where he heard about it, price point, etc. Mostly just casual information, but things that are good to know. And probably things that will impress your friends if you take them there, and you're like "hey, I know this place, it's owned by Monsieur Croissant, and they serve the best blah blah in Paris..." You get it!
All in all, this is a fabulous little book. Reading through it has me itching for a trip to Paris so I can visit some of my favourite restaurants, which John already mentioned: Angelina, Maxim's, Chez Omar, L'as Du Fallafal, and Les Deux Magots, to name a few. Oh, what I'd do for a warm goats cheese salad right now!