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A Year In Provence (Provence #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  48,727 Ratings  ·  2,314 Reviews
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 fa
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published April 28th 1990 by Knopf (first published 1989)
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Pat clark I really enjoyed reading about the adventures of this couple while traveling on my way to California. I found it down to earth and funny. Who could…moreI really enjoyed reading about the adventures of this couple while traveling on my way to California. I found it down to earth and funny. Who could predict the events that might occur while trying to establish oneself in a foreign country and remodel a home at the same time? Lots of fun tales develop along the way in one couple's life. A light read. (less)
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Community Reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2007 Leftbanker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
 Lisa A. ✿
Coming across A Year in Provence while searching for books through the library, was one of those serendipitous events that I can only chalk up to literary karma. The book was available, somehow I came across it while searching for another unrelated topic, the cover looked inviting and it was relatively short in length. C'est magnifique! It was a book match made in heaven, especially since I needed something to pull me out of a prolonged reading slump.

Although published over 25 years ago, it stil
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 01, 2007 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars - Fantastic book, would absolutely recommend it.

There's really nothing I don't like about this book. It's short, easy to read, and such fun. Peter Mayle, the author, writes in a charming book that, in my opinion makes the people of Provence endearing. As an American, we often hear (or rather we're aware of the stereotype) how stuck-up, abrasive the French are. Albeit, I have met many-a French-person in my day and luckily I have never had this stereotype confirmed. Sure, they're mannerism
May 22, 2017 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Year in Provence” is not lesfic, nor is it a new book. Thirty years ago it kicked off a new type of travel book that showed the reader what it would be like to live in an area, not just visit it.

Honestly, I expected much more from the book. The first half or two-thirds showed that rich Englishmen and their wives were very condescending toward the rural French. The last part of the book showed more kindness toward the country folks, but only by declaring that the expats were now like them, and
Sep 26, 2007 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 02, 2017 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars, ok +. I'll give the next two a go!
Bookish Temptations
Dec 28, 2015 Bookish Temptations rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cyndy Aleo
May 20, 2011 Cyndy Aleo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2011 Dennis rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, nonfiction, humor
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
Julie Ehlers
May 26, 2015 Julie Ehlers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
David Silva
Dec 17, 2011 David Silva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2012 Snap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
❂ 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:
Nov 28, 2007 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jun 11, 2017 Negin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
I read right this before our visit to Provence, which has turned out to be one of my favorite places on earth.

I was quite excited to read this since I’d always heard such great stuff about it. The book started out nicely enough but then became rather repetitive. Most of the stories were about renovating the author’s home in Provence and various dinner parties. There wasn’t much of a plot at all. I ended up skipping lots of pages and being quite bored, except of course for the parts describing f
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
Joan Reeves
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
Tanya Love
May 03, 2015 Tanya Love 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
Jun 08, 2016 Manab rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Manab by: পীয়্যান নবী
Shelves: memoir
লেখার হাত ভালোই ভদরলোকের, পাতার পর পাতা খাবারের নাম লিখে যাবে সরেফ, আপনি ভাববেন কী না কী লিখতেছে।
যেহেতু বইটায় আসলে আগরহোদদীপক কিছু ত দূরে থাকুক, কিছু ঘটে না, অনেকের ভালো না লাগা সবাভাবিক। অনয সময়ে পড়লে হয়ত আমারও লাগত না, কিনতু বইটায় একটা হাওয়া হাওয়া বযাপার আছে, এবং যেহেতু কোনো ঘটনা নাই, মানে এক বছর পরভাঁস বসবাস বাদে, আপনি নিজেও এই বই এক বছর লাগায়ে পড়তে পারবেন। মানে পড়ার কোনো তাড়া নাই, কথিত এলাকার মত ভেতরের অকষরেরাও মৃদুমনদ ভেক ধরে থাকে।
ফলে, রোগী এবং পরীকষারথীদের জনয আদরশ। বিশেষ করে বিছানায় আটকে
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).
Nov 25, 2016 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque cuenta de forma bastante amena los vericuetos de una pareja en la Provenza durante un año, para mí, le falta algo. Hay escenas muy simpáticas con las que te sientes identificado, el día a día en otro país no es un camino de rosas, y aunque no es un libro pesado, yo esperaba un poquito más.
Jan 06, 2017 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Mayle duce o viaţă frumoasă şi calmă. Sunt fericit că mai există încă oameni care se bucură din lucruri mărunte.
Mai vreau să vă zic ceva: Vreau să mă mut în Provence!
Mar 21, 2017 Tyj-Orion rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Една книга за това колко е трудно да си много богат, колко ужасно е да си купиш стара ферма в Прованс и да я реновираш цяла година, сблъсквайки се с проблеми с личния си басейн, с канализацията и с бюрокрацията. Всичко това е осеяно с обилни описания какво къде е ял авторът и съпругата му, колко било вкусно и т.н. Битовизми и гастрономия - пълна досада. Тук-таме някой разказ за "благородните туземци" ми беше интересен, но за съжаление историята пак се завръщаше към трапезните извращения и тъпчен ...more
Jun 26, 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!
Jan 26, 2015 Mom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It was very light and relaxing and since I recently visited France it brought back fond memories.
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Peter Mayle 12 96 Nov 29, 2013 07:18AM  
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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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