L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home

Life throws you a lot of curveballs. I used to say (and still do), “If you want to be comfortable, stay home.” And that’s where I wanted to be when I decided to buy an apartment in Paris. Long-time readers will probably remember the posts about the process, as I searched like a madman for a vintage factory lamp for my kitchen, as we drove across France for a French sink (that curiously, I learned aren’t readily available in France), and how when my ceiling was finally in place, I felt grounded, as if I was almost home.

Or so I thought. As a local architect told me when I was done (or when I thought I was done, see page 315), “90% of the renovations have major problems. The other 10% of the people are lying.” I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, and looking back, I’m still trying to figure how what happened, happened. But now that all is said and done, the stories of before, during, and after, are told in L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home, which is available today.

Looking for an apartment in Paris is a challenge, and not all real estate ads in Paris give you a good indication of what the places are really like. You wonder why people are showing you what they’re showing you, and at what angle. And I’d seen some unusual bathroom situations in my search for an apartment, including one with a toilet parked right next to the bed, in the bedroom (which admittedly was kind of brilliant for those who get up in the middle of the night), but there were other bathrooms that didn’t quite look so well-conceived, or convenient.

Some annonces are a far cry from the highly polished real estate ads we have in the States, and there’s no multiple listing service (MLS), or a singular database, if you’re looking for a place in Paris, so you need to give yourself a wide berth of time and commitment to find a place, relying on a combination of real estate announcements (from agencies that don’t share information, or listings, with other agencies), websites that only show a fraction of what’s available, word-of-mouth (I used to say “Keeping one’s ear to the ground,” but Romain didn’t understand how putting my ear on a sidewalk could help me find an apartment), and a bit of n’importe quoi, or, whatever works.

To make things a little more challenging, some of the information requires a healthy dose of skepticism, unless someone didn’t tell me that Seinfeld was filmed in the Marais.

My long-time readers (btw: thanks for sticking around during that time!) may recall those stories on my blog, which were amusing, insightful, and a sometimes a funny look at the process of renovating – once I found a place that didn’t have a spectacular vista from the terrace, (but an ankle-high railing, which would give new meaning to the word “killer view”), or had a ceiling high enough so that I could stand up in it. After crouching around that place, I, and my neck, were relieved when the owners finally asked me if I wanted to have a seat. Although I did visit a number of places where I was reluctant to even sit down.

The French are much tougher than people give them credit for. But the words à renover strike terror in the hearts of Parisians, because no one wants to do a major renovation in Paris. I learned why.

Things started out just fine, with Romain drawing up dessins for how the apartment should look, and me going on daily quests for everything, from tiles to toilet seats, and having to learn the sometimes confounding vocabulary for all of them.

However as the weeks…then months…then seasons, passed, things took a turns that I wasn’t expecting, and a comedy of errors ensued. When all was said and done, I was lucky that I ended up in one piece. And I’m not exaggerating on being lucky about that one.

As things slid in a direction that I didn’t imagine, a chorus of voices came forth, asking for more stories, more information, more recipes, and more pictures – and I got buried in the chaos and madness.

But distance has a way of putting things into perspective, and it’s time to tell the story of my apartment, which time-pressed Parisians shorten to appart.

L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Home in Paris is seasoned with recipes, some that I had hoped would butter-up the workers (literally), which I managed to eek out in a temporary kitchen. Others were inspired by the experience, like a caramelized, upside-down apple-maple tarte Tatin, shown at the top of the post, that only flipped out once – as opposed to me. Or a Plum-frangipane gratin (below) that can be made in a toaster oven, especially important if you find yourself without a kitchen for weeks…or months…or years.

There’s also a crackly-caramelized pain perdu, made in a skillet (if you have a stove, that is…) that I “cracked” the code to, giving it a perfect crispy-crunchy coating that’s a great contrast to a scoop of creamy, cool ice cream.

And I finally worked out a recipe for individual Kouign Amanns, because no matter how dire the situation, sometimes you can – or need to – find sweetness in situations where you’d least expect to find them, as I did.

There a recipe for a truth-divining cocktail that would have come in handy more than once during the process, as well as a make-ahead French beef stew with olives that leisurely takes its time to finish…like a few of the people involved in the project.

And I had to apologize for presenting a complicated French dessert in a book I was working on at the time, which I simplified, and found just as good served in verrines (glasses.)

Chocolate is always welcome, especially baked into a warm soufflé – billowing mounds of bittersweet chocolate under a crown of chocolate.

And there are always cookies, chocolate chip cookies to be exact, and the recipe in the book sports the earthy taste of buckwheat, helpful when you want (or need) to get back down to earth.

(I also learned that cultural differences even find their way into chocolate chip cookies, which I’ll explain in another blog post.)

I’ll let you find out for yourself how the story turns out, but there are lots of twists and turns in L’appart. As someone wrote to me after finishing the book, “I didn’t realize a book about renovating an apartment in Paris could be such a page-turner!”

But my bathroom no longer looks like this (above), but this…

And my kitchen went from this…

…to this.

But it was quite a journey to get there…and here.

Now you can read all about it. Check out L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home at your local bookseller or online! Overseas readers can order L’appart from Book Depository, which offers global free shipping.



L\'appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home


  • Bricktop
    November 7, 2017 2:14pm

    My “Out for delivery” text from Amazon hit my phone just now. As we may be moving to Paris next year, I am sure I will be alternately entertained and terrified by your experiences.

  • November 7, 2017 2:49pm

    An addendum to the architect’s quote: Places either need to be renovated in some way, or they are “cache-misère”–they look like they’ve been redone, but the problems have just been papered over.

    Looks like you did a great job and I look forward to reading the book.

    • November 7, 2017 6:57pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yup, the “cache-misères” are also something to look out for (as I found out…)

  • Peggy
    November 7, 2017 4:04pm

    It makes me think to the J.P. Dubois’s book “Vous plaisantez, Monsieur Tanner”, very funny and incredible about french renovation !

  • Lillie Allison
    November 7, 2017 4:29pm

    Why don’t you ever do book signings down South in the U.S.?

    • Terri
      November 7, 2017 5:15pm

      I was wondering the same thing!

      • Nancy
        November 7, 2017 11:47pm

        Me too!

    • November 7, 2017 6:12pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, I was in several cities in Texas, as well as in Florida, on my last book tour. Unfortunately I couldn’t go everywhere this time around, because I’m getting old and all that travel (and security lines, airplane seats, etc) are more challenging. In addition, there weren’t venues that came forward to host events. Maybe next time, I’ll get a bus! : )

      • Katie Mavity
        November 7, 2017 7:42pm

        We live in the South Pennines, Bronte Country, in the UK, nearest friendly city Leeds…. We like food and would love to meet you up here! My copy is on its way for my 7 November birthday. Cheers….

  • June W Lovell
    November 7, 2017 4:37pm

    I tried to resist, mais non…. just started Audible and now I’ll have to buy hardcover just for the pictures.

    • helen
      November 7, 2017 7:23pm

      Me too!! :) And the recipes…. but that’s ok, double pleasure.

    • Judith
      November 9, 2017 12:35am

      There are no pictures…

  • Violette kogut
    November 7, 2017 5:14pm

    Last Sunday I went to the bookstore on Connecticut Avenue hoping to see you….hélas! It was the wrong date…..ma faute.
    I bought your book “ my Paris kitchen” the weather was gloomy, I put on my pjs, made a pot of tea and read your book.

    I am from Le 14ème arrondissement, Francais, but I live in the US now….bien sur I go back every year, comme les hirondelles.

    I love to read your articles …..I wish I could have met you, instead I saw Diane Keaton.
    À bientôt, I know the quartiers well that you write about.

    À bientôt.
    Violette kogut

  • Carla
    November 7, 2017 5:16pm

    Please come to Coconut Grove, FL (Miami), it is nice and sunny here. I am sure Books and Books would love to have you introduce your book!!

    • Mo
      November 7, 2017 11:30pm

      Books and Books is fabulous but spacious it’s not!

  • November 7, 2017 5:16pm

    Ordering now. Real book not iBook. Will devour, David you are so much fun to read and follow all these years! Next time in Paris am bringing you many jars of peanut butter❤️❤️

  • Carla
    November 7, 2017 5:20pm

    Just ordered mine!

  • November 7, 2017 5:20pm

    Awesome! Can’t wait to read it! Enjoy the traveling. Love, Lucy

  • ELaine
    November 7, 2017 5:25pm

    I’m buying this today! Can’t wait!

  • Kay
    November 7, 2017 5:28pm

    My two copies just arrived at my door (somehow I ordered 2, so will give one to my best friend).
    Thanks for writing it; I know I’ll enjoy it!

  • Cara
    November 7, 2017 5:43pm

    I’ll be seeing you tomorrow in NYC!! Congrats on the book and I remember the post about the kitchen sink!

    • November 7, 2017 8:32pm

      I also remember the kitchen sink post…. will have to get my hands on your book

  • scargosun
    November 7, 2017 5:45pm

    Boo! No Philly dates! I will be buying today though so I can read all day on Sunday.

  • Susan
    November 7, 2017 5:54pm

    L’appart went straight to the top of my must read list. How do you say “gut reno” in French? Bet that word never appeared in the realty ads. I moved from UWS Manhattan to rural Wisconsin a year ago which was disorienting enough — and I didn’t even reno, just nabbed some thrift store furniture and gussied it up into shabby-chic Swedish.

  • November 7, 2017 5:57pm

    Started reading on the subway this morning on Kindle! Having been through renos in France (à distance, even!) I am sure I’ll relate to a lot! Looking forward to finishing – it’s a great read so far! Congrats! PS: Please come to Toronto!

  • November 7, 2017 6:01pm

    I just got the message from Amazon that my copy is on its way!

  • dewey
    November 7, 2017 6:04pm

    can you tell me if tickets are required for your appearance in NYC?
    thank you

    • November 7, 2017 6:10pm
      David Lebovitz

      For the event tonight at the Powerhouse, they’re not, nor are they for the booksigning (after my ticketed talk) at Sur La Table tomorrow night. More info is on my Schedule page and links to the venues.

  • mumimor
    November 7, 2017 6:11pm

    Congratulations! I know what will be at the top of my wishlist this year.

  • Christine
    November 7, 2017 6:12pm

    No photos in the kindle version? Really?

    • November 7, 2017 6:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      Because L’appart is a memoir, not strictly a cookbook, there wasn’t a place for photos. But I did take photos of the food as I was developing the recipes, which I’ve put here.

      • Christine
        November 8, 2017 12:38pm

        As it turns out, I had bought both an ebook (which Amazon took back) and a hard copy which arrived yesterday. Thought it odd that I received a delivery notice form Amazon for what I thought was an ebook. With most writers, I’m going electronic but actually like having your books bound and in my hands.

        Thanks for the link. I was thinking remodel photos, not recipe photos.

  • Cyndy
    November 7, 2017 6:15pm

    Having followed your blog for almost a decade, I read all about the renovation of your new place. I pre-ordered L’Appart so long ago I’d forgotten whether or not I was getting it. I am thrilled to pieces that it came through on my Kindle yesterday, and now I have a good read for a quite long plane ride next week. Quite fitting, because The Sweet Life in Paris was the first book I read upon arriving in Paris in 2009, and the newest will be the last I read when we return to the US next week (although we will be back in the spring). I look forward to it!

  • frederique jennette
    November 7, 2017 6:40pm

    you must love your “new apartment”, it looks great on these pictures = wonderful improvement!

  • Sharon LuVisi
    November 7, 2017 7:03pm

    David, what a lovely kitchen! You’re obviously over the moon about it. I’m perplexed, however….what is the metal box in the wall cabinet above the espresso machine?

    • helen
      November 7, 2017 7:27pm

      That is an tankless hot water heater. We have one (but it’s outside). We love them, gave us space for a mud room/storage/book self in our ‘backporch / pantry’.

      • November 7, 2017 8:29pm

        We have one too — an “on demand” hot water heater with coils for water that run over gas jets. Common here in Mexico. Ours is also outside, on the other side of the kitchen wall. No waste of gas maintaining a large tank of water at a certain temperature.

  • Kathy
    November 7, 2017 7:49pm

    My copy of L’appart should arrive just days before we close on our little Cannes apartment. Not sure whether that is good or bad but we are ready for l’aventure.

  • Kimberly
    November 7, 2017 7:51pm

    I am an architect. I love and hate gut reno’s. You never know what has been covered over.
    on the finished bathroom, i see the shower handle poking out on the left. I presume the ‘toilet room” is also the shower b/c I see the liner floor drain behind the toilet.

  • Renee
    November 7, 2017 7:53pm

    I am so excited, your book was delivered today while I was at work!

    We will try to stop by tomorrow and will be attending the 92nd St. Y event. It will be great to see you!

    Your book is here at the perfect time as we will be starting some renos soon! I see several divining cocktails in our future! (We are learning way more about fosse septiques than we ever cared to! :) )

    Congratulations on the release!

  • Karin
    November 7, 2017 8:01pm

    started to read as I post ….

  • Karin
    November 7, 2017 8:01pm

    starting to read it as I post this!

  • November 7, 2017 8:13pm

    I”m so ridiculously excited for this book tho’ I fear it may cure me of my desire to buy an apartment in Paris one day…..Can’t wait ’til it gets here!

  • Patti Mackin
    November 7, 2017 8:25pm

    I’m a big fan who travels to Paris frequently.
    That said, I live in Chicago and we never see you on your book tours.
    We have lots of good places to eat, so please consider us on future visits to the states.
    Patti Mackin

    • December 4, 2017 8:23am

      It’s such a bummer, but many authors seem to skip the Midwest. Especially the Heartland states like Indiana, Illinios, Michigan, and Ohio, where great cooks abound!

      • December 4, 2017 2:42pm
        David Lebovitz

        It is. I used to go to wonderful places in Detroit, Ohio and Illinois, but they’ve either closed, or don’t host author appearances anymore. (I used to love going to them, too!) I did go to one place on my last tour but after my appearances, they didn’t want to reimburse me for the expense of getting from the hotel to the venue, and after protracted discussions (that believe it or not, lasted nearly 14 months) they agreed to reimburse me, but only 3/4’s of the expenses (!?), which was took up a huge amount of my time. So I don’t go back there.

        However, if you know of venues that would like to host me, there’s contact information at the bottom of my Schedule page.

  • November 7, 2017 8:33pm

    Ordering mine now Love your writing and your recipes

  • Pat Murphy
    November 7, 2017 8:36pm

    My copy was delivered to my door(Toronto Canada) Can’t wait!!

  • November 7, 2017 8:49pm

    Waiting for my copy as I am writing. Can’t wait to see your recipe for individual Kouign Amanns – I am making a batch right now and could have used your tips on individual sizing.

  • Ana
    November 7, 2017 9:52pm

    I so wish I could go to one of the book signings and see you in person! I love your writing because it is clear, unpretentious, interesting, and to the point — plus you have a great sense of humor. I love your recipes as well. I’ll be adding this book to my collection of your titles very soon.
    I wish you great success in all your endeavors. Congratulations!

  • Debbie
    November 7, 2017 9:56pm

    Hoping Santa brings my copy and I can get to Paris for a signing in the spring. Looks fabulous!

  • MJ
    November 7, 2017 10:05pm

    I am looking forward to finding the copies I ordered in my mailbox today. The last time I gave my sister one of David’s books, she took me to Paris with her the next spring! So she’s getting one. (Your mileage may vary.)

  • Sophia
    November 7, 2017 11:22pm

    Waiting for my amazon delivery. But I wish you would come to Chicago sometime!

  • Thea
    November 8, 2017 12:45am

    Just opened the package now. I remember the fun of reading the posts. Looking forward to more fun with a book-length recounting.

  • Lill
    November 8, 2017 1:17am

    Congratulations David. I look forward to reading your book! If you and Romain ever visit Nova Scotia, it would be a pleasure to give you a tour (not in winter, though;)

  • MaryC
    November 8, 2017 1:24am

    I pre-ordered the kindle version and spent the wee hours last night devouring the book. Although I cringed at what you had to endure, I guffawed at some of your hilarious inadvertent linguistic mishaps, and when you finally wrote about your buche de Noel, it brought tears to my eyes. What a fabulous read! SO happy that you now have this amazing home!

  • Beckett
    November 8, 2017 1:54am

    “And I’d seen some usual bathroom situations…”
    I think you meant unusual?

  • Anna Wright
    November 8, 2017 3:05am

    Dear David,

    I was notified today via email that no movement is expected on the waitlist that I’m currently on. Both of your Seattle events are completely sold out. Please consider adding a third!

    Thank you, Anna

    • November 8, 2017 3:26am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Anna: My schedule is pretty jammed and that day is bracketed by travel days but after the sold-out event at Book Larder, I’ll be there signing books at the shop, which will be open to everyone (no reservations necessary!) More info here.

  • Y
    November 8, 2017 3:14am

    The After shots look amazing. Congrats on surviving the renovations :)

  • Tom L
    November 8, 2017 6:49am

    Happy to see your new book was one of only 3 that the new Martha Stewart LIVING magazine recommends for fall reading and Christmas giving. Congrats on yet another winner!

  • November 8, 2017 7:10am

    I am so excited to see you in San Francisco next week! I’ve recently found you on Youtube and had since been hooked with your blogs! Congratulations, David! Best of luck!

  • Su Su
    November 8, 2017 7:20am

    Congratulations, David! I’ve been looking forward to the book for a while now! Yay!

  • Riddhika
    November 8, 2017 11:21am

    Hi David,
    Can’t wait to read this – sounds fascinating!
    Please do post if you’re doing a book signing in the UK – a personalised signed copy would be awesome!

  • November 8, 2017 2:19pm

    lloks like a GREAT read.
    You accomplished so much!
    I fell in love w/ a huge stone sink in Aix..looked hand crafted..back in te MTL reagion of course none to be found..

  • Carol
    November 8, 2017 2:31pm

    Congrats on your book, I have just bought it from Amazon, really looking forward to reading it. Have followed your Blog for many years and have enjoyed it.

  • Emma
    November 8, 2017 4:02pm

    Talking about unusual bathroom situation, let me tell you about my encounter with a very bathroom shower one.

    I was quite poor and visiting cheap 1 room apartments.
    The owner himself proceed to showmen the bathroom: a Turkish toilet, a very very small washbasin, but no shower… I ask about the shower “here it is, see… “says the owner, lowering above the toilet, a kind of metal grid, and pulling on a rope that opened a shower.

    Yes, you were supposed to shower on a grid over the Turkish toilet !!

    • November 8, 2017 6:37pm
      David Lebovitz

      Home and apartments that have old plumbing sometimes have that kind of arrangement because their place only has one floor drain, so they have to share ;)

      I took a picture of the place with the toilet next to the bed (with no barrier) but couldn’t find it for this post, but recently (in 2014) France started allowing people to put toilets in kitchens and living rooms, so perhaps we’ll be seeing more of those in the future?

      • helen
        November 8, 2017 6:45pm

        That’s just wrong.

        • Emma
          November 9, 2017 4:39pm

          I know, but what about that


          • helen
            November 10, 2017 8:04pm

            Emma, that’s …ugly. In all ways. LOL I guess it rents though, if one is desperate. Reminds me of some of the older pop-up campers that had something similar, with a curtain or thin wall. (@@)

      • Emma
        November 9, 2017 4:38pm

        But French toilets do not have floor drains, so it we don’t need forces sharing :-)

        Worst part is that I asked the owner if he wasn’t ashamed of renting such a disgusting set up and he answered me that I couldn’t afford anything better, it was not his problem. They only take advantage of provincial students who only have a few days in Paris to find a place. Because with time on my hand I found some nice place in Marie du XVIIIe at the same price.

        But the toilet near the bed !!! I’d rather have it at the end to the corridor outside the “chambre de bonne”.

  • November 8, 2017 7:37pm

    This book is on my Christmas list! Thanks for sharing!

  • November 8, 2017 8:02pm

    Congratulations! On completing the book and the reno. Too bad you can’t squeeze in a visit to Sacramento while you’re in NorCal. We’d love to see you here!

  • Nary
    November 8, 2017 10:10pm

    I am THRILLED that you have another book out! I can hardly wait to get my copy and read about your renovation adventures in Paris! I hope to go to your book-signing in Los Angeles; alas I am one of those who don’t mind being comfortable and just staying at home always (esp. with a 3-yr-old)! :)

    Congratulations on the book — I’m sure it is fantastic like your other ones!

  • Donna
    November 9, 2017 1:05am

    Sheer poetry; I am in francophile heaven! Thank you, et merci! I’ve been a follower of your blog, a reader of your books and recently have also been binge watching D&CO, Chasseurs d’appart et Maison a vendre, and I can very much picture your words (OMG, I’m snorting at some of the scenarios)! Too bad your renovation experience couldn’t have concluded within 50 t.v. minutes! Keep living and writing my dream!!!

  • Nina
    November 9, 2017 1:30am

    Loved the book, I couldn’t put it down! The photos of the apartment look lovely, so glad it came out in the end. Wish I could get to the Boston event!

  • November 9, 2017 8:27am

    After renovating several challenging apartments over time, those photos evoke “fond” memories.
    Looking forward to reading your book!

  • November 9, 2017 1:44pm

    David, I read L’Appart in one so-enjoyable day, alternately laughing out loud and cringing. (“Claude” reminded me of the elaborately incompetent contractor our landlady is constantly inflicting on us here in Brook-leen.) My wish for you is that the proceeds from the book allow you to invest in a set of replacement (untwisted) kitchen windows!

  • November 9, 2017 7:44pm

    Your book came yesterday and I read it all in one go. And all I can say is, it’s brilliant, the recipes sound wonderful and I’m scared to death to get the remodeling done that my house desperately needs. Can I borrow Romain?

  • November 10, 2017 9:43am

    Sounds like one for the Christmas pressie wish list to me;) I am a home bird too, despite writing about travel. It was a great insight for me to realise that was what made me happy.

  • Wayne
    November 10, 2017 3:03pm

    Come to Toronto. Lotsa good food here.

  • Barbara
    November 11, 2017 3:17am

    Thank you, David, for putting out all the great recipes and food chat for the couple of years I’ve been subscribing, years when you were in total disarray. Saw you in San Francisco at City Arts and Lectures early this year. Love your delicious photos. Merci for an online read that I savor.

  • Georgette
    November 13, 2017 1:02am

    David–excited about your new book. Will be attending your talk at Milk Street. A very good friend of ours is moving from Boston to Mauves-Sur-Huisne to open a restaurant. Could you suggest a wonderful bon voyage gift? Something that he will need but will not be able to buy in France easily?

  • Mark Steele
    November 13, 2017 3:51am

    Got my copy and read in 2 days. Love it.
    As a pastry chef , you finally articulated for those around me, why I need to make lists for every activity. The tyranny
    of mis-en-place!

  • ron shapley
    November 13, 2017 7:04am

    Dave….. I’ve been reading your book since 10 this morning.. Finished it !! Wonderful story, very funny in some places and frightening over all to the dreamers.. But you weathered the storm and here you are. FYI, I watched the Jeremiah Tower documentary on CNN. Have you had a chance to see it ?? Did you work with Tower at Chez Panisse ?? I suspect Tower was before your time.. It looks like Tower was done in by his ego.

  • Joe Schuver
    November 15, 2017 2:28am

    My incredible local bookstore across the street Bird and Beckett in San Francisco had my copy for me yesterday! I’m reading it slowly as I want it to last. its a real treat, David! Congratulations.

  • Violette kogut
    November 15, 2017 2:54am

    Bonsoir david
    Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble near Columbia, MD to get a copy of your book.
    To start, Madame manager asked what was the name of your book, I told her it had come out and should be in the store.
    She told me to wait, then came back telling me “ there are many boxes of books to be impacted therefore I should come back ????
    I was not very contente, madame thenardier will call me when the books will be on the shelves.
    Being french you make me smile when I read your comments.
    I have not read the recipes yet, that should make my day.
    À bientôt

  • Jean
    November 15, 2017 10:09pm

    This was such an entertaining read I could not put it down. I look forward to trying each of the recipes.

  • November 19, 2017 12:25pm

    Congratulations on your new book, David! It seems like a great one to have (as are the previous of your books :)), and I’m just purchasing it on Amazon :) Can’t wait for it to arrive!

  • Rachele
    November 20, 2017 12:37am

    I just finished the book! After our frustrations from our house renovations here in Cleveland, OH, I feel quite silly. We were dining with some friends from Luxembourg yesterday evening, and I was telling them about your story. They had a good belly laugh when I explained to them how inconvenienced I was when my kitchen renovation completion was delayed by three weeks!

    It looks like it all worked out for you, and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. I laughed, got angry, and even felt my eyes filling with tears of frustration for you on more than one occasion. But it was a happy ending, so cheers to you and Romain.

    Happy thanksgiving!

  • November 22, 2017 8:17am

    I cannot wait to read your latest! I really enjoyed your blog post and looking forward to reading about how things turned out in the end.

    I worked on a renovation in an apartment in Rome that was in a building from the 1600s. It was very interesting. By interesting, I mean there were many tears. ahahaha

  • November 24, 2017 3:44am

    Just completed reading your delightful book. My wife regularly asked, “What are you laughing at?” I told her she’d have to read the book when I was through (and she is – and laughing, too). I am so glad everything worked out well in the end. I looked at this site (not previously knowing it existed) hopefully to find photos. I trust there are more than those above elsewhere that I will find as I explore this site. Again, congratulations on your new home and a wonderfully written tale documenting your travails and triumphs.

  • Kay
    November 26, 2017 6:59pm

    Finished your book last night. Wow! I can’t imagine how you managed to end up with it OK after all those problems. Don’t they issue permits and do inspections as the work progresses over there? I’m definitely seeing the advantages to some sort of regulatory oversight… Sounds like they have a lot of bureaucracy that doesn’t protect the consumer; although, was encouraged that you were offered the chance to get out of the sale during the buying process.
    Sounds like a nightmare! Meanwhile, I’ve had a room that was falling off the back of my house replaced and my kitchen remodeled and both were fine experiences. Paris sounds like a lovely place to visit….

  • Louise Fazzalari
    November 27, 2017 12:10pm

    Hello David,

    I have just finished your wonderful book. I was often on the edge of my seat whilst working through your renovating dramas/disasters. My emotions moved from anger, incrédibilité and almost tears for you and your experience and finally happiness that you have stayed here in France and you were able to achieve the results you had visualised. But also for you and your wonderfully supportive Romain.

    All I can say is another excellent book, just brilliant and engaging as is your blog.
    Best wishes and a very happy Christmas. Louise

  • November 27, 2017 4:52pm

    David – ever since we were both listed as a Martha fav blog years ago, I’ve been following you (although, I am a gardener). This book has been helping to keep me sane as we undertake our kitchen remodel which has been taking over a year.

    Each night, I read 3 or 4 chapters and then drive my parter crazy with a recap every morning – because your tale is eerily similar. Ikea lines, plaster dust, contractors who disappear for weeks, hanging wires, crooked island that I am just going to live with, and more. I’m even trying to write my vegetable gardening book during this process, with a deadline looming.

    Since we live near Boston, at least we have a big fridge and range! I’ll be writing about my ventures in a recap on my blog, and will link to your book with pictures (before and after) of both of our kitchens if that’s OK. because of our similarities. (white tile, wood counters, stainless steel restaurant shelves and more). My other half reminds me of your Romain as well – beard, grumpy and not afraid to yell at the contractors! Good luck with your tour – but get home soon to start baking! Enjoy.

  • Tanya
    November 28, 2017 10:27pm

    I just finished your book and now I want to hop on a flight to Paris, find Claude, and punch him in the face (or other places) on your behalf!!! How on earth did you not stroke out from rage during that process, I will never understand. Mazel tov on your beautiful l’appart, and thank you (I think) for sharing the insanity of how you made it happen. I am feeling very stressed out now on your behalf!!

  • Marianne McGriff
    November 29, 2017 3:36am

    David, The books arrived-mine and the one for Darina! I’m sending to her right away! Thank you so much. I plan to be at Ballymaloe in the Spring and will buy her new one for you and have her sign it! I’ve begun reading your book and LOVE it. Your writing style is easy to read and stories are humorous and poignant at the same time!!!! Blessings, Marianne

  • Eddie Coburn
    November 30, 2017 1:49am

    In a few days, I’m almost through reading L’appart…a wild remodel ride…with great recipes. The apartment looks incredible. And I’m sure the friends and food (and recipe testing & writing & blogging) done at Mr. Lebovitz’s apartment will be tres incredible. My place is not as nice…but maybe someday…but I do have a few beautiful pieces of furniture, sourced from Amish Outlet Store of Smithville OH. I don’t have any relationship to them, I just like to mention nice things in case it helps people…like the hot chocolate at Coffeehouse Northwest on Burnside in Portland OR a walkable distance from Powell’s Books…maybe not as good as the Patisserie Viennoise Paris hot chocolate from Mr. Lebovitz’s earlier incredible book The Sweet Life In Paris…but darn satisfying.

  • Jacqueline
    December 2, 2017 12:05pm

    loving the book but I read cookbooks like a novel. So I have 2 questions about your bacon pea quiche and no way to email or contact you. Hope you read this: 1. Do you add frozen peas to the quicke or thaw them first (wouldn’t frozen create too much water?) and 2. Cooking the dough (your recipe) for 15 min and then filling it to cook another 25 min: will the crust burn or be too hard? Hope you read this

    • December 2, 2017 2:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you’re enjoying the book!

      Answers to your questions: If using frozen peas, add them frozen. If you defrost/thaw them, a lot of liquid will come out (condensation) so better to use them unthawed. Once you add the filling, the crust will not burn on the bottom because the temperature is kept low(er) by the filling. In some instances, the top edge of crust may get too dark; if it does, you can fashion strips of foil over the edges (or use pie crust shields), although I didn’t have that happen to mine.

  • Luiza Maal
    December 3, 2017 10:49pm

    Read your book almost in one seating!
    Love it.
    Is a good testimonial why to hire an architect or engineer no matter where you live…
    But now that i finished the book, I need to bake something, have cravings for a delicious pastry and trip to France is not in the cards this year.
    Good luck in your book tour!

  • Catherine H Clark
    December 4, 2017 2:32am

    Hi David,
    I’m really enjoying your book- halfway through. Just finished listening to a couple podcasts with you describing things in more detail on my daily walk. Today heard the older one with Margaret Cho. Keep on writing and baking. Best on book tour!

  • Brenda Drew
    December 6, 2017 5:14pm

    You’re right….I would rather “stay home and be comfortable”! I have to hand it to you with all your book writing, traveling and renovations and that is not easy in gorgeous Paris, your lifestyle leaves me out of breath! Love your Sweet Life in Paris cookbook and live in Paris vicariously through you! Was in Paris many moons ago and left my heart there! Merci beaucoup for all you do!

  • Mai
    October 31, 2020 5:26pm

    Dear David–I just finished reading this book. I am traumatised. Can’t imagine how rough it was on you, but hope you’re properly able to enjoy the sweet life again!! Sweet jaysus…

  • January 16, 2021 8:57pm

    Hello David–I just finished reading “l’Appart”. Funny, nail-biting and educational all at once. No wonder you wrote “Drinking French” afterward!

    Born and raised in France til 7 years old, I still retain subtle French behaviors tempered by my Americanization.

    PS I related to the story of Romain having no compunction to choosing where to sit at a restaurant.

    Look forward to your newsletter subscription. And congratulations on the 20 years of your blog in 2019. Ca va vite!

    • January 17, 2021 9:46am
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked the book so much! As someone raised in France, I am sure you can relate to many of the cultural differences and quirks (of both American and French cultures) and the differences can be rather vast : )

      Thanks for taking the time to write and enjoy the newsletter, too!


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