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Summer in Gascony: Discovering the Other South of France
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Summer in Gascony: Discovering the Other South of France

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  10 reviews
This is a charming fish-out-of-water tale about a young Englishman who spends an extraordinary summer working at a Ferme-Auberge in a remote hilltop village in Gascony, one of the most rural parts of Southwest France. It is an idyllic land of rolling hills and wide horizons, swathed with vineyards, sunflowers and pastures. In the tiny hamlet of Pcguilhan, Martin Calder is ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 13th 2008 by Nicholas Brealey Publishing
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Stephanie Dagg
The book recounts the author’s experiences from the summer he spent as a stagiare, a temporary worker or “trainee general dogsbody”, with the Cazagnac family in the tiny village of Péguilhan, Gascony, France. The family runs a farm and auberge, and the author helps out in both of these, doing everything from watering the tomatoes to shovelling sheep poo to peeling cornichons to cooking magret de canard. He tackles everything with enthusiasm, apart from grain winnowing, which sounds to be complet ...more
I was going to give 3 stars, but I got tired of it by the end. Calder’s summer in Gascony involved mostly farm labor and helping in a small family restaurant/hotel, which he explains well in the beginning, but about halfway through he’s run out of steam so he switches to Gascon history. Unfortunately that still doesn’t make a book’s worth of words, so he bounces back to anecdotes, but by this time the good ones are used up and the last 80 pages or so felt like filler.

p. 59 Whatever others might
Martin Calder's story of the summer in his twenties that he spent working at an auberge in rural Gascony ranks as one of the best books on life in France that I've read. His feel for the country, the level of detail he remembers about the life and language, was remarkable. One of the best things I can say about a travel book: He made me want to go there.
Another pleasing inside look at rural France--la France Profonde--through the eyes of an Anglophone visitor. The author takes you through his summer working at a farm and auberge in southwest France, learning about the local life, the inhabitants, and a bit of history. Very enjoyable, and makes you want to be there.
An easy little book. Happy to go there, continuing my vicarious "living in France." Not for vegans but true to the real life of a farm. I could have done without the "years later..." chapter, which raised questions left unanswered and didn't round out the book. But it's a likeable sojourn, all the same.
Rosie Beck
Thanks Turi! What a little gem of a book. A summer spent in the Gascony region of France told with charm, insights, and a definite sweetness. His free use of adjectives makes you taste the tarts, smell the sheep, feel the weight of a heavy summer sun, et al. Lovely memoir.
Young English Martin Calder spends a summer working at an Auberge in Gascony. He describes his work on the farm, the fun in town and a bit of history of the region.
Alicia Connally
Not something I would usually love cause it tells a lot about the history of the area, but it was just do well written I loved it!!
Jan 05, 2010 Jennie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennie by: Chris Wright
Shelves: travel
Sorry, Chris, I didn't love this. Very interesting, though, and it reminded me a lot of the time I spent in that part of France.
Fir livers of France, their cooking, and their history. Excellent!
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