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France

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  1. 7.7 hrs • 9/13/2016 • Unabridged

    When New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins moves to Geneva, Switzerland, she decides to learn French—not just to be able to go about her day-to-day life, but in order to be closer to her French husband and his family. When in French is at once a hilarious and idiosyncratic memoir about the things we do for love, and an exploration across cultures and history into how we learn languages, and what they say about who we are. In her late twenties, Lauren Collins moved to London, and fell in love with, and married, Olivier, a handsome French mathematician. When he has to relocate to Geneva for his work, she decides to go with him. In Geneva, however, Lauren is lost for words, literally: not only can she not communicate to the local chimney-sweep when he visits, but, watching Olivier converse fluently in French every day, she is also made painfully aware that she has never really spoken to her husband in his own language. She can say, “au revoir” and “bonjour” but that’s about it. “Hello and goodbye were a pair of bookends,” she writes, “propping up a vast library of blank volumes, void almanacs, novels full of sentiment I couldn’t apprehend.” What will happen when she has children? she wonders. If they grow up speaking French, will they be stuck with a “Borat of a mother” who can’t properly understand them? So she embarks on a quest to learn French, and, in doing so, must tangle with the intricacies of French culture—which, it turns out, is a far cry from family life back home in North Carolina. Down the rabbit hole of French Collins hurtles; role-playing with her classmates at language school; coming to terms with antique French social customs; accidently writing explicit “thank you” notes to her French in-laws; and delving into the strange and wonderful history of humanity’s many forms of language. When in French is a moving, laugh-out-loud funny memoir about falling in love, learning another language, and living far from home, as well as a freewheeling history of language. Collins investigates, among other things, how children acquire speech, the history of the idea of “American” as its own language, and why we don’t trust people who adopt accents. (Her own father takes on a southern accent after moving to North Carolina, much to her mother’s chagrin.) Plumbing the depths of the mysteries of foreign languages, Collins confesses—with style, sparkling humor, and touching honesty—to the frustrations, pleasures, surprises, and, finally, satisfactions of learning French.

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    When in French

    7.7 hrs • 9/13/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 9.1 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    Paris was practically perfect—although for Craig Carlson one thing was still missing: the good ol’ American breakfast he loved so much. Craig was the last person anyone would have expected to open an American diner in Paris. He came from humble beginnings in a working-class town in Connecticut, had never worked in a restaurant, and didn’t know anything about starting a brand-new business. But from his first visit to Paris, Craig knew he had found the city of his dreams. Pancakes in Paris is the story of Craig tackling the impossible—from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for “exotic” American ingredients, and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast in America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious and satisfying as the classic breakfast that tops its menu.

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    Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

    Pancakes in Paris

    9.1 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 1.8 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    San Francisco Film Maker Christopher Strong had his own “Tour de France” dream. To spontaneously cycle the French Country backroads. With no fixed itinerary, tasting the land and the people as well as the food and wine. And so finally, after a week of irregular and informal French lessons from a Dutch friend, with no regard for the niceties of French grammar, Christopher’s French vocabulary was limited to five words. In spite of, or perhaps because of his lack of French language smarts, with no French phrasebook to save him, Christopher’s first “Tour de France” was a resounding personal success. Even on the French Riviera! Inspired by the overwhelming hospitality lavished upon him, Christopher decided to return and film his next adventure. And he continued, year after year. Until finally he had an up close and personal lifestyle/adventure series: “Bicycle Gourmet’s Treasures of France.” An authentic view of France today. After seeing the first results of Christopher’s “Tour de France” filming, his friends, not suprisingly, suggested he write a book. Not a book on French cooking or (shudder) French diet, but a behind-the-scenes account of his filming adventures. And his many encounters with French wine.

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    More Than a Year in Provence

    1.8 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.9 hrs • 8/3/2015 • Unabridged

    Acquired Tastes, originally published as Expensive Habits, is a celebration of life’s extravagances. It explores an aspect of human nature that, although dormant in hard economic times, is capable of erupting with the hint of good fortune and the drop of a credit card. It samples the luxuries of Havana cigars, Parisian hotels, bespoke London tailoring, and hand-made shoes; discusses the proper color for a stretch limousine; and weighs the cost versus the pleasure of keeping a mistress. The proper way to eat true caviar is explained while providing the listener with hours of pure, unadulterated escapism.

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    Acquired Tastes by Peter Mayle

    Acquired Tastes

    4.9 hrs • 8/3/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 4.5 hrs • 5/13/2014 • Unabridged

    Here is Peter Mayle at his effervescent best—his master sleuth, Sam Levitt, eating, drinking, and romancing his way through the South of France even as he investigates a case of deadly intrigue among the Riviera’s jet set. Billionaire Francis Reboul is taking in the view at his coastal estate, awaiting the arrival of vacationing friends Sam Levitt and Elena Morales, when he spies a massive yacht whose passengers seem a little too interested in his property. The yacht belongs to rapacious Russian tycoon Oleg Vronsky, who, for his own purposes, will stop at nothing to obtain Reboul’s villa. When Reboul refuses to sell, Vronsky’s methods quickly turn unsavory. Now it’s up to Sam—he’s saved Reboul’s neck before—to negotiate with an underworld of mercenaries and hit men, not to mention the Corsican mafia, to prevent his friend from becoming a victim of Vronsky’s “Russian diplomacy.” The dire situation doesn’t stop Sam and Elena from attending glamorous fêtes, where both the wines and the starlets sparkle, and enjoying sumptuous meals, from multicourse revelations to understated delights. But as Sam’s sleuthing draws him closer to the truth of Vronsky’s schemes, he realizes Reboul might not be the only one unable to enjoy the good life for long. Brimming with entertaining twists, sparkling scenery, and mouthwatering gustatory interludes as only Peter Mayle can write them, The Corsican Caper is a one-way ticket to pleasure, Provençal style.

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  6. 9.9 hrs • 11/15/2013 • Unabridged

    Swapping his native San Francisco for the City of Light, travel writer David Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket, his head full of romantic notions. Curiosity and the legs of a cross-country runner propelled him daily from an unheated, seventh-floor walk-up garret near the Champs-Élysées to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Père-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens, and the aristocratic Île Saint-Louis midstream in the Seine. Downie wound up living in the chic Marais district, married to the Paris-born American photographer Alison Harris, an equally incurable walker and chronicler. Ten books and a quarter-century later, he still spends several hours every day rambling through Paris and writing about the city he loves. An irreverent, witty romp featuring thirty-one short prose sketches of people, places, and daily life, Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light ranges from the glamorous to the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city.

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    Paris, Paris by David Downie

    Paris, Paris

    Foreword by Diane Johnson
    Read by Max Winter
    9.9 hrs • 11/15/13 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.1 hrs • 10/22/2013 • Unabridged

    Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in southern France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture—the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M. F. K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew.  In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.

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    Provence, 1970

    9.1 hrs • 10/22/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 7.8 hrs • 7/11/2013 • Unabridged

    An intoxicating memoir of an American who discovers a passion for French wine and gambles everything to chase a dream of owning a vineyard in Burgundy. Ray Walker had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn’t stifle. Ray neglected his work, spending hours poring over ancient French wine-making texts, learning the techniques and the language, and daydreaming about vineyards. After Ray experienced his first taste of wine from Burgundy, he could wait no longer. He quit his job and went to France to start a winery—with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no wine-making experience. Fueled by determination and joie de vivre, he immersed himself in the extraordinary history of Burgundy’s vineyards and began honing his skills. Ray became a pioneer in his use of ancient techniques in modern times and founded Maison Ilan. In 2009, Ray became the first non-French winemaker to purchase grapes and produce a wine from Le Chambertin, long considered to be one of the most revered and singular vineyards in the world. Along with his struggle to capture his wine’s distinct terroir, Ray shares enthralling stories of late-night tastings, flying down the Route National on a vintage Peugeot bicycle with no brakes, and his journey to secure both the trust of his insular Burgundian neighbors and the region’s most coveted grapes. Capturing the sunlight, the smell of the damp soil, and the taste of superlative wine, The Road to Burgundy is a glorious celebration of finding one’s true path in life, and taking a chance—whatever the odds.

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    The Road to Burgundy

    7.8 hrs • 7/11/13 • Unabridged
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  9. 11.9 hrs • 4/15/2013 • Unabridged

    Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises, David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, their eccentric route takes 72 days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths—an 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. It is best known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela—“The Way” for short. The object of any pilgrimage is an inward journey manifested in a long, reflective walk. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from Paris to the Pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way.

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    Paris to the Pyrenees by David Downie

    Paris to the Pyrenees

    11.9 hrs • 4/15/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 5.8 hrs • 11/6/2012 • Unabridged

    At the end of The Vintage Caper, Sam had just carried off a staggering feat of derring-do in the heart of Bordeaux, infiltrating the ranks of the French elite to rescue a stolen, priceless wine collection. With the questionable legality of the adventure, and the threat of some very powerful enemies, Sam thought it’d be a while before he returned to France, especially with the charms of the beautiful Elena Morales to keep him in Los Angeles. But when the immensely wealthy Francis Reboul, the victim of Sam’s last heist but someone who knows talent when he sees it, asks our hero to take a job in Marseille, it’s impossible for Sam and Elena to resist the possibility of further excitement, to say nothing of the pleasures of the region. Soon the two are enjoying the coastal sunshine and the delectable food and wine for which Marseille is known. Yet as a competition over Marseille’s valuable waterfront grows more hotly disputed, Sam, representing Reboul, finds himself in the middle of an increasingly intrigue-ridden and dangerous real-estate grab, with thuggish gangsters on one side and shark-like developers on the other. Will Sam survive this caper unscathed? Will he live to enjoy another bowl of bouillabaisse? All will be revealed, with luck, savvy, and a lot of help from Sam’s friends, in the novel’s wonderfully satisfying climax.

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  11. 7.7 hrs • 7/30/2012 • Unabridged

    In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman—and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak’s pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? Lunch in Paris is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs—one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world’s most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size two femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothes pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé), and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese: there’s a crusty exterior until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart. Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare, and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success, and discovering what it truly means to be at home. In the delicious tradition of memoirs like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is the perfect treat for anyone who has dreamed that lunch in Paris could change their life.

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    Lunch in Paris

    7.7 hrs • 7/30/12 • Unabridged
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  12. 6.2 hrs • 6/29/2012 • Unabridged

    An American pastry chef living in Paris shares his deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights. Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood. But he soon discovered it’s a different world in France. From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men’s footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, The Sweet Life in Paris is David’s story of how he came to fall in love with and understand this glorious—yet sometimes maddening—city. When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men’s dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that, in Paris, appearances and image mean everything. The more than fifty original recipes for dishes both savory and sweet, such as pork loin with brown sugar-bourbon glaze, braised turkey in beaujolais nouveau with prunes, bacon and bleu cheese cake, chocolate-coconut marshmallows, chocolate spice bread, lemon-glazed madeleines, and mocha–crème fraîche cake, will have listeners running to the kitchen once they stop laughing. The Sweet Life in Paris is a deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights, cheese, chocolate, and other confections.

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    The Sweet Life in Paris

    6.2 hrs • 6/29/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 9.8 hrs • 11/7/2006 • Unabridged

    An indispensable, richly informative, and always entertaining sourcebook on Provence by the writer who has made the region his own.Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. It is rather a selection of those aspects of Provence that Peter Mayle in almost twenty years there has found to be the most interesting, curious, delicious, or downright fun.He writes about subjects as diverse as architecture, expatriates, scorpions, the Provençal character, legends, lavender, linguistic oddities, the origins of “La Marseillaise,” wild boars and Frenchwinds. And, of course, he writes about food and drink.Provence A—Z is a delight for Peter Mayle’s ever-growing audience and these unabridged selections are the perfect complement to any guidebook on Provence, or, for that matter, France.

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    Provence A–Z

    Read by John Lee
    9.8 hrs • 11/7/06 • Unabridged
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  14. 2.3 hrs • 6/24/2005 • Unabridged

    Ernest Hemingway’s literary ambitions took root in France in the 1920s among some of the most extravagantly creative artists of the twentieth century. Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Cole Porter, Sergey Diaghilev, and others were drawn to the left bank of the Seine in Paris after World War I. Hemingway joined them, and with the publication of his book, The Sun Also Rises, became one of the most powerful forces in the vortex of talent and experimentation. Hemingway’s France follows Hemingway’s travels through Paris and the sun-drenched South of France as he gathers material and inspiration for his art. With frequent quotations by Hemingway and his peers, this is a uniquely intimate portrait of an exciting era in the arts.

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    Hemingway’s France by Winston Conrad

    Hemingway’s France

    2.3 hrs • 6/24/05 • Unabridged
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  15. 5.0 hrs • 5/9/2005 • Abridged

    An urban antidote to A Year in Provence, Stephen Clarke’s book is a laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of an expat in Paris— for Francophiles and Francophobes alikeA Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author’s adventures as an expat in Paris. Based loosely on his own experiences and with names changed to “avoid embarrassment, possible legal action and to prevent the author’s legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit (or quite possibly, a Christian Dior skirt), ” A Year in the Merde is the story of a Paul West, a 27-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British “tea rooms.” He soon becomes immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly cheese; they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language, while going on strike is the second national participation sport after pétanque. He also illuminates how to get the best out of the grumpiest Parisian waiter, how to survive a French business meeting, and how not to buy a house in the French countryside. The author originally wrote A Year in the Merde just for fun and self-published it in France in an English language edition. Weeks later, it had become a word-of-mouth hit for expats and the French alike, even outselling Bill Clinton’s memoir at Paris’s fabled American bookstore Brentano’s. With translation rights now sold in eleven countries, Stephen Clarke is clearly a Bill Bryson (or a Peter Mayle…) for a whole new generation of readers who can never quite decide whether they love—or love to hate—the French.

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    A Year in the Merde

    5.0 hrs • 5/9/05 • Abridged
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  16. 2.9 hrs • 11/1/2004 • Abridged

    More than 40,000 listeners have enjoyed this story on cassette. Now anyone who’s ever dreamed of getting away from it all can enjoy the charms and challenges of A Year in Provence on CD Peter Mayle and his wife had been to Provence as tourists. They had dreamed of one day trading the long, gray winters and damp summers of England for the blue skies and sunshine of the coast of southern France. And then they made it happen. They moved into an old farmhouse at the foot of the Luberon mountains and embarked on a wonderful, if at times bewildering, new life. Among their experiences that first year: being inundated with builders and visitors, grappling with the native accent, taking part in goat races and supervising the planting of a new vineyard. Peter Mayle personally recounts the pleasures and frustrations of Provençal life-sharing in a way no one else can, the unique and endearing culture that is Provence. A Year in Provence was a New York Times bestseller for three years and won the British Book Awards’ “Best Travel Book of the Year.”

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    A Year in Provence

    2.9 hrs • 11/1/04 • Abridged
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