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A Year in Provence (Provence #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  43,636 Ratings  ·  2,037 Reviews
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
Paperback, 207 pages
Published June 4th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 01, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok
Hmmm...okay. I learned that:

1. With enough money you can relocate to Provence and buy a 200 year old farmhouse with mossy swimming pool, problematic pipes, and a wine cave backing up to the Luberon mountains. Wait, it gets worse!

2. Once you do this everyone who has ever vaguely heard your name and Provence together in the same sentence will attempt to visit whilst you are having a hell of a time fixing the charming antiquated house and bicycling into town. Hard times.

3. Tragedy strikes! Everythi
I read a couple of reviews on goodreads for this book and had to laugh at some of those who felt the book was whiney and written by a rich guy who could afford a super farmhouse with a pool no less! One review said that Mayle went back to England to live. Well – those reviews smack of small minded jealousy. Right now a farmhouse in France can be bought for as little as US$250,000.00; back in 1989 before this became trendy, property values were even more reasonable, especially coming from England ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Margitte rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
The next best thing to living in France, is to read this book. Loved it!

It is the first book in this genre which provided a complete picture of life in a rural French town by two Brits moving there.
Feb 11, 2011 Leftbanker rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who wear fanny packs and read Conde Nast travel publications.
Shelves: travel

It’s sad to think that there are probably dozens of great books about people who have moved to France that were rejected by publishers so they could take this book, which is completely devoid of insights, and shove it down our throats. The book has a wonderful premise in which a British guy and his wife move to the south of France and begin a new life. I think most people who read this book didn’t need much more than that. It is mostly the tedious description of the work he does on an old house
Jun 08, 2011 David rated it liked it
I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book, many of them focusing on the author's presumption in being able to afford a home in Provence and the reviewers' consequent inability to "relate" to him. Others see it as "trite" and not at all what they were expecting.

Well, balderdash. I found this to be a very entertaining account of the first year in a new home and a new country, with all the explorations, discoveries, disappointments, triumphs and failures that go along with it.

Would it b
Oct 16, 2007 Dave rated it liked it
This is a fun book that is literally about the first year Mayle spent in his new home in Provence. The chapters are divided into months, so a reader gets to enjoy with Mayle the seasonal changes of this beautiful region of France. Mayle understands the importance of gastronomy to the French and his food descriptions are a well written part of his story.
Mayle mentions in passing, in an almost disparaging way, people of affluence buying up property in Southern France. This perspective was interes
Oct 03, 2007 Christine rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who find things quaint
I found this book walking to the B train this morning. Someone had gotten rid of it. Don't judge me to harshly for my foray into escapism, it makes the morning commute go fast.

1 week or so later...

So I've finished it, and although it had its moments where I chuckled a bit, I really didn't find it to be the incredible, evocative travel writing that it had been cracked up to be. The food descriptions were probably the strongest part, and I have to admit I did find my mouth watering on occasion.
Julie Ehlers
Jun 02, 2015 Julie Ehlers rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, france
In some ways it wasn't really this book's fault that I didn't like it. It came out in the U.S. in 1990 and was probably one of the first "I-lived-among-the-French-and-they-are-peculiar" memoirs. Since then, there have been countless other memoirs on this same topic, several of which I have read and enjoyed, so by the time I got to this, the flagship volume, the subject matter was a little old hat. Also problematic is that, while some of this book is composed of funny anecdotes, some of it is jus ...more
Bookish Temptations
Dec 30, 2015 Bookish Temptations rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Such a fabulous book. If you've never read a book by Peter Mayle I'd really recommend that you do. I've enjoyed all of his books...some of them several times.
Mar 26, 2015 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
J'adore the English sense of humor. With stiff upper lip and wry observation sprinkled with warm affection, Englishman Peter Mayle embraces a cadre of colorful characters inhabiting the warmer south of France in this memoir documenting his first year as a new permanent resident relocated from Britain to the Lubéron region of Provence.

A Year In Provence is suitably divided into twelve chapters, each devoted to one month, January through December, staging the progress of renovations on Peter and M
Cyndy Aleo
May 20, 2011 Cyndy Aleo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
In the course of thinning out my book herd, I've been reading books that I haven't read in years, trying to determine whether I should keep them, or move them along. Going back to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence was like going back to an old friend's house, but I've never been so hungry in my life as the two times I've read this book.

::: The Dream :::

Mayle and his wife live out a dream come true, dropping everything, selling their home, and moving full-time to Provence, a region of France gener
David Silva
Jul 26, 2012 David Silva rated it it was amazing
I vacationed in the Luberon area of France this year, the setting of Peter Mayle's book and mini series. My friend had read his book prior to arranging the trip and as expected the familiarity was a great starting point. I decided to wait on reading the book until after the trip. I wanted to experience it all first hand. After a truly fabulous time walking all over, eating pretty much nonstop, fumbling with French to the always very polite shop keepers, going to see every little town's offering ...more
Nov 28, 2007 Maria rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, book-club
3.5 stars.

Well, this was a very charming read. The whole "o hay we moved 2 provence, awesome rite?" thing wasn't nearly as obnoxious as I thought it was going to be, although I still think these travelogues are highly masturbatory in nature. Peter Mayle has a light touch with a pen (I think I read the whole thing in under five hours), and a real flair for characterisation. I admire a man who can sketch a portrait in a sentence, like this bit describing his uncle, for example: "'Puke in private,
May 20, 2012 Snap rated it really liked it
I've been cleaning out the bookshelves and found A YEAR IN PROVENCE. I know I read this book when it was first published and remembered enjoying Mayle's chronicles of the year he and his wife moved to Provence. I thought it was the perfect weekend read and I was correct! I enjoyed visiting Provence again. There is a certain rhythm to life in Provence. Mayle's sketches of his neighbors, laborers, markets and restaurants; the customs of the country and the pleasure and frustrations of home ownersh ...more
Tanya Nekrasova
May 03, 2015 Tanya Nekrasova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Эту книгу можно описать всего двумя словами - "МЕЧТЫ СБЫВАЮТСЯ" :D

Поддавшись порыву, супружеская пара из Англии осуществляет свою давнюю мечту - покупают небольшой фермерский домик на юге Франции в Провансе. Но герои даже не подозревали, что покупка дома обернется настоящей серией приключений. Жить в Провансе не так-то просто, их на каждом шагу будут подстерегать неожиданные открытия, новые знакомства, смешные и нелепые ситуации.

"Год в Провансе" - это потрясающе светлая, очаровательная и смешна
Joan Reeves
Jun 02, 2012 Joan Reeves rated it it was amazing
Part Travelogue; Part Love Letter

I loved this charming book. My interest was stirred by the Russell Crowe film A Good Year which was based on Mr. Mayle's book. The movie is heartwarming, witty, and full of sweet charm, and tjh. Naturally I had to seek out the author of the book from which the movie was adapted. In doing so, I bought all of the other books written by Peter Mayle an ex-patriot Englishman living the life we all want to live in Provence.

Thus I began the first of his books A YEAR IN
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Peter Mayle and his wife finally decide to say goodbye to dreary British weather and move to sunny Provence in France. This book tells about their experiences living in Provence, from the colorful locals to the excellent food to the workmen who come and go like forces of nature.

This book had me ready to go on vacation in Provence. Notice that I don't say "move to Provence." I would starve. All those lovingly written descriptions of French food left me cold. I could survive for a week or two thou
Not as funny as he thinks he is. Goes on and on--starry-eyed Anglo-Saxon loose in flinty Province, kept afloat by uncontrollable electricians and incompetent plumbers. And, ultimately, by profits from this best-seller.

Major result of publication, and sequel, has been increase in prices in Auberges and -- worse yet -- doubling the price of nearby Michelin 1, 2 and 3 star restaurants (L'Auberge Procençale; La Bonne Étape: Le Dispason; Méo).
Jul 02, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, nonfiction, 2015
OK, I've had enough. I'm tired of reading how wonderful Provence is - I'm moving!

I loved this story about the people, places, traditions, food, wine, sunshine, seasons, lifestyle, etc. of those living in Provence. Give me a day over there anytime. Would gladly trade the hurrying, stress and impersonal lifestyle we have here.

Peter Mayle sure can tell a wonderful story. I am really enjoying catching up with all his wonderful stories!
❂ Jennifer
One of those beautiful, descriptive memoirs that make me want to sell everything I own for a house in France (or Italy) and a life of tranquility and luxurious food.

Only slightly more wordy review:
Sairam Krishnan
Sep 12, 2015 Sairam Krishnan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old favourite, and I came back to it because I badly needed some comfort reading. A classic in the truest sense, Peter Mayle's little book is akin to a glass of hot chocolate - it reminds you of everything good and beautiful in the world. And that's what you need when you are questioning your sense of meaning and belonging, to understand why you did the things you did, and are going to do the things you want to. You need the books that first made sense to you, that taught you a little or a lo ...more
Jan 26, 2015 Mom rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It was very light and relaxing and since I recently visited France it brought back fond memories.
Romāns kā dzirkstošs vīns.
Apr 09, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing
Funny light read
Mar 05, 2010 Andie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. In my attempts to make good on my promise to read more nonfiction, I finally plucked this off my shelf. It had been sitting there gathering dust since 2006, when I borrowed it from a stranger I'd met and had promised to read it quickly and give it back (sorry about that, whoever you were/are...) I found it to be a delightful, light hearted read. Often I found myself laughing out loud. "Charming" is rarely a term I'd used to describe a book I've read, but this boo ...more
Apr 22, 2012 Ballpoint-arcade rated it really liked it
A Year in Provence is a book to lunch with. An undemanding companion, the novel unfolds in a casual undulating fashion, with each chapter devoted to a different month of the year. So enraptured by the countryside, it’s food and people, you learn little about the author (Peter Mayle).

Besides possessing all the qualities of an ideal lunch companion – it is essential to be in the process of eating whilst reading the book; otherwise to you are at risk of gnawing off your own foot.

The Provencal menu
Elizabeth Drake

This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes

Cover Impressions: I really enjoy the mish-mash of elements in this cover.

The Gist: Peter Mayle and his wife have visited Provence several times and fallen in love with the picturesque countryside and the relaxed style of life. They have decided to take the jump and buy a property there. Peter chronicles their first year in their new home.

Review: This was a book club pick and not something I would normally have chosen for myself. The
Jun 23, 2008 Catherine rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to go to France but can't afford a plane ticket.
Recommended to Catherine by: My mother-in-law.
Shelves: fiction
A Year in Provence is a book about a couple who decides to leave their every-day-life behind and begin a new life together in Provence. For those of you who don't know what Provence is, it's kind of like Tuscany meets France, but better. After reading this book, I truly hope some day Mike and I can enjoy a few days in Provence together.

The book was divided into twelve chapters by month. It was a very easy read and often made me hungry as much of the story is about French food. Unfortunately, I f
Jun 21, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to move to another country but cannot afford it.
Recommended to Jessica by: I found it randomly in a used book store.
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I would really give this 3.5 stars.

I do not believe that the author intended to write a book with a plot. Nor do I believe that he intended to provoke our sympathies by simply recounting the various day to day activities of renovation of the house and exploration of the country. There was no underlying tone of "feel sorry for us". I did, however, find myself thinking, may I be so lucky as to have the problems faced by this obviously wealthy couple.

He did what he set out to do, kept a simple and
Jul 23, 2011 Maydayeve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, peter-mayle
The book really gives you the feel of the place. I recall reading about Provence when i read the biographic novel of Vincent Van Gogh, Lust For Life. Peter Mayle is very perceptive, down to the Procencal's non-verbal communcation: the hand gestures and the meaning of 1 kiss, 2 kisses when greeting a friend. I've read many books that mentioned the french pre-occupation on food but nothing beats this book in illustrating how they love preparing ang partaking their food. I've a lovely mental pictur ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle 1 12 Apr 03, 2015 10:11AM  
Peter Mayle 12 95 Nov 29, 2013 07:18AM  
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  • The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca
  • Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France
  • The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria
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Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939 in Brighton) is a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in advertising before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books, including a series on sex education for children and young people. In 1989, A Year in Provence was published and became an international bestseller. His books have be ...more
More about Peter Mayle...

Other Books in the Series

Provence (7 books)
  • Toujours Provence
  • Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France
  • Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence
  • Provence A-Z
  • Provence from the Air
  • A Chef In Provence

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“It was a meal that we shall never forget; more accurately, it was several meals that we shall never forget, because it went beyond the gastronomic frontiers of anything we had ever experienced, both in quantity and length. It started with homemade pizza - not one, but three: anchovy, mushroom, and cheese, and it was obligatory to have a slice of each. Plates were then wiped with pieces torn from the two-foot loaves in the middle of the table, and the next course came out. There were pates of rabbit, boar, and thrush. There was a chunky, pork-based terrine laced with marc. There were saucissons spotted with peppercorns. There were tiny sweet onions marinated in a fresh tomato sauce. Plates were wiped once more and duck was brought in... We had entire breasts, entire legs, covered in a dark, savory gravy and surrounded by wild mushrooms.

We sat back, thankful that we had been able to finish, and watched with something close to panic as plates were wiped yet again and a huge, steaming casserole was placed on the table. This was the specialty of Madame our hostess - a rabbit civet of the richest, deepest brown - and our feeble requests for small portions were smilingly ignored. We ate it. We ate the green salad with knuckles of bread fried in garlic and olive oil, we ate the plump round crottins of goat's cheese, we ate the almond and cream gateau that the daughter of the house had prepared. That night, we ate for England.”
“Sunglasses must be kept on until an acquaintance is identified at one of the tables, but one must not appear to be looking for company. Instead, the impression should be that one is heading into the cafe to make a phone call to one's titled Italian admirer, when--quelle surprise!--one sees a friend. The sunglasses can then be removed and the hair tossed while one is persuaded to sit down.” 6 likes
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