A Year in Provence

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A Year in Provence

by Peter Mayle

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | June 4, 1991 | Trade Paperback

A Year in Provence is rated 3.75 out of 5 by 4.

National Bestseller 

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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.56 in

Published: June 4, 1991

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679731148

ISBN - 13: 9780679731146

Found in: Customs and Traditions, Travel

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Armchair Jaunt I quite liked this book. It was recommended to me by a friend, who warned, "It'll make you ravenous!" Indeed. Mayle is as fond of the vino and cuisine as he is of the countryside, and exquisite descriptions abound. Might be a good thing to first stock up on a crusty baguette, quality olive oil, imported cheese, and a hearty red, unless you enjoy torturing yourself. Must confess I haven't yet been to the south of France (sigh), and so cannot report on the author's accuracy. But as far as armchair travel goes, this is a satisfying read. Most rewarding, I think, are the character sketches of the people he encounters: the testy, eccentric neighbour; the various workmen brought to the villa; his imposing British houseguests. Amusing, light-hearted stuff.
Date published: 2000-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Year in Provence I read this book during the hot, sunny days of July and I loved it. It helped to take me away to the laid back, relaxing, European charm of Provence. I could taste the olive oil soaked crusty bread and see the dark and sweaty but good-hearted neighbor that Mayle so deliciously and meticulously describes. I found the situations of the couple in the story farcical and light-hearted and I laughed at the husband's exceptional wit and ability to poke fun at himself. I thought this would make a great movie with Hugh Grant in the leading role, as he is so good in light-hearted comedies. Peter Mayle's descriptive narrative took me away to his beautiful villa and in my imagination I could appreciate the hardy generosity of his French community. It will definitely make you want to plan a trip there…by fantasy or reality. I would recommend reading this book with the goal to visit a beautiful place; relax, pick a hot sunny day deep in the summer and sip on a nice glass of red wine…you will love this trip.
Date published: 1999-05-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Year in Provence Go to France by all means. Drink the wine and eat the cheese. Follow the bike races if that's your style, but do not read this book about Mayle's experience of the glorified south of France. He is a Brit whose trite renderings of French behaviour and morals are not only disrespectful, but insulting. His style is flippant, painfully debonair and not in the least funny. I can't believe they made a TV series from his completely self-indulgent journals.
Date published: 1999-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Year in Provence A great read! Written by British ex-pat Peter Mayle, it is a month-by-month account of the joys and trials of living in Provence. Mayle uses a refreshing choice of words and metaphors throughout. The characters are eccentric and the events hilarious. You too will want to buy a villa in France!
Date published: 1998-12-18

– More About This Product –

A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence

by Peter Mayle

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.56 in

Published: June 4, 1991

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679731148

ISBN - 13: 9780679731146

Read from the Book

THE YEAR BEGAN with lunch.We have always found that New Year's Eve, with its eleventh-hour excesses and doomed resolutions, is a dismal occasion for all the forced jollity and midnight toasts and kisses. And so, when we heard that over in the village of Lacoste, a few miles away, the proprietor of Le Simiane was offering a six-course lunch with pink champagne to his amiable clientele, it seemed like a much more cheerful way to start the next twelve months.By 12:30 the little stone-walled restaurant was full. There were some serious stomachs to be seen-entire families with the embonpoint that comes from spending two or three diligent hours every day at the table, eyes down and conversation postponed in the observance of France's favorite ritual. The proprietor of the restaurant, a man who had somehow perfected the art of hovering despite his considerable size, was dressed for the day in a velvet smoking jacket and bow tie. His mustache, sleek with pomade, quivered with enthusiasm as he rhapsodized over the menu: foie gras, lobster mousse, beef en cro?te, salads dressed in virgin oil, hand-picked cheeses, desserts of a miraculous lightness, digestifs. It was a gastronomic aria which he performed at each table, kissing the tips of his fingers so often that he must have blistered his lips.The final "bon app?tit" died away and a companionable near-silence descended on the restaurant as the food received its due attention. While we ate, my wife and I thought of previous New Year's
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From the Publisher

National Bestseller 

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.

From the Jacket

They had been there often as tourists. They had cherished the dream of someday living all year under the Provencal sun. And suddenly it happened.
Here is the month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations that Peter Mayle and his wife -- and their two large dogs -- experience their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Peter Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival. He relishes the growing camaraderie with his country neighbors -- despite the rich, soupy, often impenetrable patois that threatens to separate them. He makes friends with boar hunters and truffle hunters, a man who eats foxes, and another who bites dentists; he discovers the secrets of handicapping racing goats and of disarming vipers. And he comes to dread the onslaught of tourists who disrupt his tranquillity.
In this often hilarious, seductive book Peter Mayle manages to transport us info all the earthy pleasures of Provencal life and lets us live vicariously in a tempo governed by seasons, not by days. George Lang, who was smitten, suggests: "Get a glass of marc, lean back in your most comfortable chair, and spend a delicious year in Provence."

About the Author

Peter Mayle spent fifteen years in the advertising business, first as a copywriter and then as a reluctant executive, before escaping Madison Avenue in 1975 to write books. His work has been translated into seventeen languages, and he has contributed to the London Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Independent, as well as Gentlemen's Quarterly and Esquire. A Year in Provence won the British Book Awards "Best Travel Book of the Year." Peter Mayle and his wife live in Provence.

From Our Editors

This is Peter Mayle's unforgettable account of the year he and his wife spent in the south of France. From dealing with fickle local contractors to handicapping goat races and sampling local culinary delights, A Year In Provence is an hilarious month-by-month record of the charms and frustrations of moving into an old French farmhouse. Find out why this delightful book has been a New York Times best-seller for three years.

Editorial Reviews

"Delightful." —The Washington Post

 

"Get a glass of marc, lean back in your most comfortable chair, and spend a delicious year in Provence." —George Lang

 

"Engaging, funny and richly appreciative." —The New York Times Book Review

 

"Stylish, witty, delightfully readable." —The Sunday Times (London)

 

"Fascinating." —Christian Science Monitor

 

"I really loved this book." —Julia Child

Bookclub Guide

US

1. How well did Mayle's frequent trips to Provence as a tourist prepare him for the reality of residing there? What were some of the initial surprises he and his wife encountered?

2. How does the form of the book--a month-by-month journal--enhance the immediacy of Mayle's observations and draw the reader into his experiences? How do the changing seasons mirror Mayle's own adjustment to his new environment?

3. Mayle writes that neighbors take on an importance in the country that they don't have in the city [p. 6]. How do his relationships with Faustin, Massot, Menicucci, and the other local workmen reflect this? Does the fact that Mayle is a foreigner influence the way he is treated? How do the men working on his house endear themselves to Mayle, despite his continuing frustrations with their casual attitude about completing the job?

4. Mayle notes there are "two areas of endeavor in which France leads the world-- bureaucracy and gastronomy" [p. 23]. What particular characteristics of the French does Mayle bring to light in stories about the bureaucracy involved in buying the house, a car, insurance, and other necessities?

5. The influx of tourists begins in May and reaches a high point in August. How does his status as a resident affect Mayle's attitudes about friends and acquaintances who, as he himself once did, try to take in everything Provence has to offer during a short holiday? Does he learn things about himself and the life he has chosen by looking through the eyes of visitors? To what extent are his own perceptions influenced by his English upbringing?

6. How does the Mayles' party for the workmen and their wives, as well as their own Christmas dinner at a local restaurant, put the events of the year into context and serve as a coda to the book as a whole?