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A dazzling, heartfelt adventure through the food, art, and fashion scenes of 1980s Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of Save Me the Plums and Delicious!
“An enchanting and irresistible feast . . . As with a perfect meal in the world’s most magical city, I never wanted this sublime novel to end.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of Good Company
Stella reached for an oyster, tipped her head, and tossed it back. It was cool and slippery, the flavor so briny it was like diving into the ocean. Oysters, she thought. Where have they been all my life?
When her estranged mother dies, Stella is left with an unusual inheritance: a one-way plane ticket and a note reading “Go to Paris.” Stella is hardly cut out for adventure; a traumatic childhood has kept her confined to the strict routines of her comfort zone. But when her boss encourages her to take time off, Stella resigns herself to honoring her mother’s last wishes.
Alone in a foreign city, Stella falls into old habits, living cautiously and frugally. Then she stumbles across a vintage store, where she tries on a fabulous Dior dress. The shopkeeper insists that this dress was meant for Stella and for the first time in her life Stella does something impulsive. She buys the dress—and embarks on an adventure.
Her first stop: the iconic brasserie Les Deux Magots, where Stella tastes her first oysters and then meets an octogenarian art collector who decides to take her under his wing. As Jules introduces Stella to a veritable who’s who of the Paris literary, art, and culinary worlds, she begins to understand what it might mean to live a larger life.
As weeks—and many decadent meals—go by, Stella ends up living as a “tumbleweed” at famed bookstore Shakespeare & Company, uncovers a hundred-year-old mystery in a Manet painting, and discovers a passion for food that may be connected to her past. A feast for the senses, this novel is a testament to living deliciously, taking chances, and finding your true home.
About the Author
Ruth Reichl is the New York Times bestselling author of five memoirs, the novel Delicious!, and the cookbook My Kitchen Year. She was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine and previously served as restaurant critic for The New York Times, as well as food editor and restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. She has been honored with six James Beard Awards.
“Reichl['s] . . . writing reads like a dish you want to savor, slowly chewing each perfectly chosen word as she describes the distinct experience of eating ortolan for the first time or sipping a red wine that tastes like ‘liquid rubies.’”—Eater, “The Best Food Books to Read This Spring”
“A delicious feast for the senses, taking the reader on an enchanting journey through the city of love, and following Stella’s adventure into a bolder, more beautiful life.”—Oprah Daily, The Most Anticipated Books of 2024
“You will devour this hopelessly and hopefully romantic novel.”—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
“This is a sumptuous book that I simply could not put down. C’est formidable!”—Julia Louis-Dreyfus
“It’s all here: Les Deux Magots, Dior, L'Ami Louis, and Shakespeare and Company. And there is no better guide than Ruth Reichl.”—Padma Lakshmi, New York Times bestselling author of Love, Loss, and What We Ate
“This is nothing less than an absolute enchantment.”—Nigella Lawson
“The Paris Novel is a gem, and Reichl a charming and delightful guide.”—Bianca Bosker, author of Cork Dork and Get the Picture
“A splendid novel of family, food, and all things French, by one of the world’s best food writers at the top of her game.”—J. Ryan Stradal, author of Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club
“The Paris Novel is a movable feast through France in the 1980s, with stops in memorable bistros, markets, and Left Bank cafés, and an evocative tale of personal discovery and finding one’s true calling in the most delicious city in the world.”—David Lebovitz, author of Drinking French and My Paris Kitchen
“I absolutely loved this gastro tour through the streets of Paris and further afield in France. It's an absolutely wonderful treat.”—Veronica Henry, author of Thirty Days in Paris
“Sensual and sweeping, Ruth Reichl’s The Paris Novel is for anyone who wants to believe that a great meal, a work of art, and an intimate conversation all have the ability to change your life.”—Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant
“I love everything Ruth Reichl writes, and not only is The Paris Novel no exception, it is, page after page, an enchanting and irresistible feast.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of Good Company
“In this rich, colorful, and seductive novel, Ruth took me on a journey to ‘my Paris’, as well as to the ‘savoir vivre’ of France. If you do not have time to go to Paris: get yourself some cheese, baguette, red wine, and let The Paris Novel take you on a remarkable holiday for the soul.”—Nina George, author of The Little Paris Bookshop
“Food critic and novelist Reichl serves up a delectable story of an introverted copy editor’s life-changing visit to Paris in the 1980s. . . .”—Publishers Weekly