In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.
The author describes his first 12 months in Provence, after he and his wife have abandoned England for an 18th-century farmhouse in the Luberon Mountains. Throwing themselves into the life of this rural region, they master the local customs, gain partial understanding of their neighbors' patois, overcome the frustrations of French bureaucracy, and learn to deal with workmen who operate on the idiosyncratic Provencal sense of time. In nimble prose, Mayle, columnist for GQ , captures the humorous aspects of visits to markets, vineyards and goat races, and hunting for mushrooms. Even donating blood is an occasion for fun. The Provencal cuisine is Mayle's leitmotif, however. He opens with an account of a memorable New Year's lunch, ends with an appreciation of an impromptu Christmas dinner, and describes just about every meal eaten during the months in between. His adventures, gastronomic and otherwise, are thoroughly entertaining. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Year in Provence
This is an absolutely delightful and astonishingly well-written series of anecdotes about life in rural Provence and the characters who populate it. I can’t imagine a more entertaining introduction to this colorful region.
Made me hungry:)
The story is so deliciously detailed! I could literally taste the elaborate five course meals and when i looked up from my book i was surprised that i wasnt in provence!
Less a book about southern France and more about the self deprecating reserve of a cosmopolitan Englishman abroad, pitted against the earthy and rustic hi jinx of the Gallic peasantry. It's an age old trope, colonialist meets local color, better exploited by Waugh or Greene or Orwell, but Mayle is a nice stylist who de-centers himself and foregrounds the memorable characters of the Vaucluse. The quiddity of the region, the Mistral blowing across shriveled vineyards, the endless glasses of pastis, the sumptuously slow and hot summer afternoons, the quaint customs of Boule and mushroom gathering, make me want to travel to Provence.