I made my first (and so far, last) 'real' trip to Paris 15 years ago, and I remembered reading an earlier edition of this book before I went. I wish I could say that it came with me, and was full of marginal notes and checkmarks and rings from where my morning bowl of cafe au lait rested against the pages while I planned my food-filled forays into Paris, but I can't. But in looking through this new edition, I was all but ready to do just that.
But this is tuhe kind of guidebook that you can enjoy even if your traveling is a la fauteuil. (A million French people just cringed at that faux expression.) The first thing I did was to look though it to see if Patricia Wells listed any places I remembered going to. I didn't recognize any restaurants or sandwich bars (except for the original Cosi) but I remember going to Hediard, and Fauchon, and having coffee in some of the same cafes, just so I could say I went where Henry James went, and walking through the market on Place Maubert, near my hotel. But even just reading about all of the bakeries, cheese shops and other places Ms. Wells describes, and the meals she has enjoyed at the restaurants she lists, and her tidbits of information about French food, gives you a wonderful sense of being there. The book also has some intriguing recipes, one or two of which I've bought on my list for the cooking portion of Paris in July.
(I read The Food Lover's Guide to Paris courtesy of Workman Publishing and NetGalley.)