Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod_Book Review_Berryduchess cover

Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel / Autobiography /Memoir
Published Date: Feb 2014
Date Finished: 31 Oct 2018

“How much money does it take to change your life?”

Unfulfilled at her job and unsuccessful in the dating department, Janice MacLeod doodled this question at her desk. Then she decided to make it a challenge.

Over the next few months, with a little math and a lot of determination, she saved up enough to buy two years of freedom in Europe.

But she had only been in Paris for a few days when she met a handsome butcher (with a striking resemblance to Daniel Craig)—and never went home again.

A love story in the vein of Almost French and Lunch in Paris, Paris Letters (February 4) is a joyful romp through the City of Light, and an inspiring look at what can happen when we dare to create the life we want.

Realizing that her Parisian love affair would be forever, MacLeod began her own business on Etsy, creating beautifully-illustrated letters from Paris inspired by artists like Percy Kelly and Beatrix Potter. She now paints and writes full-time, bringing beautiful things to subscribers around the world and reviving the lost art of letter-writing.

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod_Book Review_Berryduchess_Book on a Bus.JPG
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod_Paris travel quote


Janice MacLeod ( to which the next question will be…from the Clan MacLeod? Yes, they were referring to the Highlander series; batang 80s ka, if you can relate to this) works as a copywriter in L.A. and at some point in her life, it dawned to her that she wanted more to life. She’s single, no kids or whatsoever; very free and as the famous quote says…The world is her oyster.

And so she started selling, saving and discarding her possession. Sold her apartment and car and got everything in a luggage. Her adventure awaits in Europe! She’s open to all possibilities in the next coming months of her life! Career, love life, whatever floats her boat, really!

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod_being free quote

First stop, PARIS! Spending a couple of weeks in the city, exploring the touristy places with French lessons on the side, she’s having the time of her life! Then came the gorgeous butcher who looks like Daniel Craig. Despite the language barrier, the flirting, bisous (kisses) and romance fired up until she had to leave for Edinburgh and then Rome. She needed time to think things through because there’s a standing offer waiting for her back in Paris. The handsome butcher is asking her to stay with him…for good! Oh my! But is she ready? Read to find out!

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When I read the first chapter of this book on my way to the grocery, (#BookOnABus) I already know that I’m gonna love it. It’s that kind of book that tells a story like your friend who just came back from a trip and you wanna know her travel stories! Then suddenly, you’re charmed with the tale of the cities she’s been to.😍

But of course, it also made me think. Mapapaisip ka eh, posible ba yun? Give up everything and start a new life in your dream city? I guess it’s possible if you really want to make it possible. In the book, she explained how she did it and how she managed to handle her finances throughout her stay in Europe. So tama nga si Patrickstarrr, Life opens up when you do.

Ang shala niya magmuni-muni! Sa Europe pa!

But seriously, why not? It’s all about priorities and people have different priorities in life, depending on the stage they’re at. For Janice, she’s decided this time to find her true happiness, a (probable) partner for life & her lost love for art and she succeeded! Plus, she experienced the charming beauty of the City of Lights.

Love is a Language

Most of the time we say that a language barrier is a big problem. But for her and the butcher, it worked the other way. It moved them closer to each other. Of course, they also tried to learn English & French but it took a while. Parang siguro kapag ako yun, mahihirapan ako kasi I love talking and telling stories to my husband and how can you communicate if you have no idea what the other person is saying? But hey, it worked for them!

Christophe a.k.a The-hot-butcher-who-looks-like-Daniel-Craig

For a man with few words, Il est trés romantique! (he is very romantic) He’s like the James Bond with Romeo’s soul! *sigh

* * *

Because of this book, I think that if I’ll ever visit Paris again, I’ll have a different perspective and a brand new appreciation for the city. Janice is right, Paris reveals itself in layers and you have to be patient and be adventurous.

When you live in a modern city like Singapore (not to mention very clean and safe) it takes a while to appreciate cities like Paris because of the level of cleanliness, safety concerns and that fear of getting lost & wasting time. But that’s the beauty of the experience. Get lost and figure your way out. Sure they have a laid-back culture but they sure know how to appreciate downtime & parks & benches & books. They’re not hooked up with their mobile phones, having active social media life because they ACTUALLY HAVE ACTIVE SOCIAL LIVES. They socialise! They meet friends for drinks and talk. No phones!

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod_travel quote

The lost art of sending letters.

Lastly, this book made me appreciate the lost art of sending letters. Would you believe that I HAVE NEVER sent any personal letters/greeting cards!?! OMG! I am serious about this! I used the post office to:

  1. get a postal ID and
  2. send out pleadings thru mail (in my previous job)

That was it! No personal mail whatever! And think about it. When was the last time that you received something from the mail that’s not a product or bills or ads? when did you receive an actual mail from a friend or family? Right? I never received a letter or a greeting card (thru mail) from anyone, ever. So now, I want to try this out! I want to send letters & greeting cards to my friends and I hope they want to receive one, too (fingers crossed)

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Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod is one of the beautiful books that I’ve read to date.

About the Author

JANICE MACLEOD, the illustrator and author of the New York Times best-selling book Paris Letters, was born in Canada and worked in advertising for many years until she decided to slip away from corporate drudgery and spend time abroad. During her time in Paris, she painted letters about her travels and mailed them to friends, who encouraged her to sell the personalized illustrated letters on Etsy. Since then, MacLeod has sent out thousands of letters to fans worldwide.

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xoxo roma


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