Taking up where his beloved A Year in Provence leaves off, Peter Mayle offers us another funny, beautifully (and deliciously) evocative book about life in Provence. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—the gendarme fallen from grace, the summer visitors ever trying the patience of even the most genial Provençaux, the straightforward dog "Boy"—Toujours Provence is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can't quite "get away from it all," you can surely have a very good time trying.
After writing A Year in Provence , Mayle and his family have made themselves at home in the Midi, as these new tales reveal. The British author infuses his adventures with natural humor, whether the subject is larking with Provencal pals, an epicurean diner sur l'herbe , the tangy wine of the countryside, a concert by Pavarotti. Each account is pure enchantment. But Mayle exhibits anger too, particularly when reporting on the undetectable wretch who sets fires impossible to contain during the season of the mistral. Overall, however, the book features the satisfactions of life with good friends and fresh discoveries in that lovely part of France. Reading about them is the next best thing to being in the Midi, where almost ``every prospect pleases.''
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Mayle warms up to his subject in this second volume. His French improves and so too his frequent Bon mots. His essay on the athlete gourmet makes you hungry and cognizant that fine dining has layers of complexity for the truly devoted. His ruminations on chateauneuf de pape could lead to an irresponsible purchase of a 100 dollar bottle. His description of the Provençal wasp encourages drinking that wine indoors.