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Patricia Wells on The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris App

We know we’re not the only ones with memories of pouring over The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris in anticipation of a trip, or carrying a dog-eared copy of this classic around the city. For us, it was the only guide book that mattered, and we’re thrilled that Patricia Wells has at last updated the tome, in app form. Here’s the back story,  from Patricia herself.    – Meg & Barbra

For years, people have stopped me on the streets of Paris to ask the same question: “When are you going to update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris?”

When the last update was published in 1999, I felt that I needed to move beyond the guide. My cooking classes, travels, other books, took up all my time and I was beginning to feel like a singer who was expected to belt out the same song over and over again.

Then one day a little more than a year ago my husband, Walter, turned to me and said. “Why don’t you update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris as an app for the iPhone?” I didn’t need to think for even a second. It’s as if the guide was always meant to be an app. Where you can find an address on a map. Call the establishment by just pressing a button. Connect to their web site. Find places open on Sunday or Monday. The best roast chicken or black truffle dish.

I laugh now when I think of how primitive our conditions were when we began researching the guide in 1982: no home computer, no home copier, no Post-it, no Fed Ex, no fax. We typed our copy on carbon paper on a portable Smith Corona typewriter and sent the manuscript via snail mail.

But many conditions remain the same. After 32 years of research in Paris, I still l get lost exiting certain Métro stops and criss-cross the city rain or shine until my feet will no longer take me where I want to go. Research is research and writing is writing, and that will never change.

The entire app experience has been thrilling. And a bit daunting. As well as a gamble. When you write a book, the publisher pays you an advance, you write it, and let them deal with copy editing, layout and design, promotion, distribution, sales. With an app, you’re a one-man band. Unless you have a sponsor or advertiser (we didn’t) you fund the entire project. You interview developers and hire the best. You work on the design, look, feel. You write, edit, copy edit, take photos, crop, dot the i’s and cross the t’s. And then you get to do all the promotion. It’s all been a learning curve, and a good one at that.

As an author, an app offers instant gratification: I love the fact that I can make unlimited minute-by-minute updates, change a review, add a new photo, delete an establishment I may no longer think is worthy. And I no longer have to walk down the street saying “Never” to the reading public.

Android? Blackberry? The future will tell. I am researching and writing as fast as I can: A book update to The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris is in the works, with all new photos and recipes, so no one ever need go hungry in Paris again!

 For more information and to purchase the app, visit

By Patricia Wells

(Contributing Editor, Paris by Mouth) Patricia Wells is an internationally recognized cookbook author, restaurant critic and teacher who divides her time between Paris and Provence. Her book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence (1996) won the James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook. She served as restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune from 1980-2007 and for L’Express from 1988–1991. She remains the only American food writer to have been a restaurant critic for a major French publication. Her popular cooking classes in both Paris and Provence are usually booked more than a year in advance.


  1. Patricia, I have just returned from Paris and I used your app Every Day. The app was such a valuable tool.
    Thank you for the time you invested into this project. Know that you are helping others. Isn’t that what life is all about?

  2. Since I live in Paris most of the year, many friends from out-of-town are constantly asking me questions., .e.g, where’s the best xyz… I would always refer them to this site as well as my favorite reviewer Alec Lobrano “Hungry for Paris” for restaurant reviews etc; unfortunately, neither has a mobile app yet. There is one app I knew existed (to be nameless) was horrible, it was like a walking advertisement, and kept crashing. Then Patricia’s came up, it’s quite easy to navigate and very user friendly, now I refer all my friends to her app. Chapeau Patricia!

  3. I was so happy to get to meet Jacques Pepin a few years ago in California, and when I asked him for Paris restaurant reco’s, he said to check out Patricia Wells’ website, which is what he does. I’m sure now he’d recommend I get the app. And I will! 🙂

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