French Toast

An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French 

Peter Mayle may have spent a year in Provence, but Harriet Welty Rochefort writes from the experience of living gin Paris for more than twenty years. From a small town in Iowa, Harriet did what so many dream of –she picked up her entire life and moved to the City of Light––permanently.  In French Toast, Harriet makes sense of Prisians and their ever-so-French thoughts on food, money, sex, love marriage, manners, and much, much more.

“Wise and devastatingly funny.”

Los Angeles Times

“A classic!”

Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce

PRAISE for French Toast  

“On the subject of French ways and habits, French Toast remains the gold standard.  A classic!” -Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce

“A book that goes beyond the clichés of fashion folly, exploring instead the nooks and crannies of French society and the French psyche with aplomb and great humor….   French Toast is a gem of a book … A perennial must-read manifesto for travelers and expats alike. “
-Debra Ollivier, author of Entre Nous

“When someone calls you mon cher ami, does in literally mean ‘dear friend’, or, as is often the case, ‘drop dead’?..  Should you shower before making love?…  Rochefort offers answers by the score. Even longtime foreign residents of France have become grateful readers…. Wise and devastatingly funny.” -The Los Angeles Times

“Great fun to read and over too soon.” –Library Journal

French Toast includes the most delightful barbs at France’s subtle but deep-rooted codes of behavior.”  -Leslie Caron, star of An American in Paris, Gigi,and Lili

“Rochefort has been able to zero in on the joys, annoyances, frustrations, and the wonderful things about living in France and the French mentality that I’ve never been able to verbalize or put into perspective.” – Marilyn August, Associated Press correspondent, Paris bureau

“In Harriet Welty Rochefort’s France, teachers berate mediocre students in front of their classmates, people who smile at strangers are assumed to be imbeciles, and sex is an appropriate topic for dinner conversation (though money is not…Her informal, first-persona account…offer(s) practical advice, like how to cut various types of French cheese, when it is appropriate to send flowers, and how to formulate insults and compliments that are très effective.” – Chicago Reader

From chapter on Politesse

“It may be hard to figure out why the French, and especially the Parisians, act as they do, but if you’re a tourist, you probably don’t really care. However, if you live in France, there are a few things you have to try to understand, such as French rules of politesse, which are so complicated that they take years to grasp. Only then do you realize all the gaffes and mistakes you’ve been making!”

From chapter on The French and Money

“In a country where you can wax eloquent on almost anything, there’s one subject that everyone avoids. A Frenchman will go on for hours about the best way to prepare a canard à l’orange or the attributes of haute couture, but when it comes to lucre, he clams up. The basic attitude toward money seems to be this: the less said about it, the better.”

Buy the book

You can buy the book at amazon here