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A Year In Provence (Provence #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  36,512 ratings  ·  1,760 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
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Hardcover, 207 pages
Published April 28th 1990 by Knopf (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jen
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
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Leftbanker
Feb 11, 2011 Leftbanker rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Noel
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
David
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
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Dave
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
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Christine
Oct 03, 2007 Christine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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Dennis
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
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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
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Maria
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,
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Andie
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
Zabet The Dark Empress of Dark Chocolate

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
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Cyndy Aleo
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
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David Silva
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
Catherine
Jun 23, 2008 Catherine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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Snap
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
Gobnait
I could not spend a year anywhere with this couple. They really annoyed me. Therefore, I only stayed until May.

They kept looking down on the locals. It was very rude how they treated them like backwoods country folk. Of course they do things differently there, than in England. It's a whole different country. Didn't they notice that before they moved there?
Christine
Funny light read
Kate Z
This is one of those books I missed the first time around. I needed an excuse to read a book that "everyone" has already read - the January theme/challenge is it. One of my mom's favorites!

I'm not really sure how to rate this book - it's a wonderful book with lively writing peppered with similes. The book is populated by wonderful characters from Provence who are drawn without criticism but revealed for all of their quirks and human-ness. Mayle obviously loves people and loves Provence and that
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is the story of the first year in Provence of Peter Mayle and his wife, who moved from England to a 200-year old stone farm house in a rural part of this French region. Each month has its chapter. It's definitely well-written and nicely descriptive, and it's an easy, flowing read, but ultimately I found this dull. I couldn't help comparing this to my recent read of Bryson's travelogue about Australia, In a Sunburned Country. By the middle of the first page I was madly grinning, at page 17 f ...more
Ballpoint-arcade
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
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Annette
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle is a humorous account of a British couple who moves to an old farmhouse in Southern France. Thinking back on this book, the IHOP slogan keeps running through my mind. “Come hungry, leave happy.” I read this book over twenty years ago when it was first published and I still drool when I think of all the delectable food Peter Mayle mentioned. From the “sugared slices of fried bread called tranches dorées,” to the “cold roasted peppers, slippery with olive oil and ...more
Tyler Hill
A Year in Provence is the type of book you read, enjoy and then promptly forget most of the details of. It might only be worth 3 stars, except it's pleasant enough that you can't hold it's breeziness against it. The basic premise (writer and wife move to Provence, and spend most of the year remodeling their 200-year-old farmhouse and learning what it means to be "Provencal."), is basically the loosest coat hanger, on which Mayle hangs a variety of colorful characters and armloads of observationa ...more
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
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Natalie Gould
I love these sorts of travel/foodie books, and for the most part, this was no exception. The book is written over the course of a year, each chapter representing a different month. I appreciated this type of organization, considering so much of the book was about food, gardening and seasonal eating. The reader truly gets a sense of what a year in Provence might feel like, how the townspeople adapt to the changing weather, an how each month brings a different harvest from the last. The spring and ...more
Боби
Добре, вече съм сигурен. Прованса във Франция е почти 1:1 с прованса в България.

Единствената сериозна разлика, която долових, е меракът - вероятно пораждащ се в хора, които са надвили на масрафа, а у нас такива са малко. Ако повече хора в нашата провинция са по-спокойни за препитанието си, ще има душевен ресор за мераклийски неща: вино, ракия, храна, зимнина, шарлан, петмез, празненства...

Авторът има много приятен изказ, книгата е увлекателна, макар че сюжетът е доста рехав, леко пътеписно-дневн
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Austen to Zafón
I've often dreamed of moving to Europe, so I enjoyed the descriptions in this book of the countryside, the food, and the houses and Mayle is often witty. I'll give him that. But I couldn't help feeling annoyed with his whingeing on about his situation. He and his wife obviously have plenty of money; enough to buy a big, beautiful, old house with a swimming pool and then to pay a bunch of people to work on it while they spend their time eating, drinking wine, and pretending to be locals. What's t ...more
Jay
If you yearn for a life in France, and especially Provence, then I cannot recommend this book more highly.
Peter Mayle writes with ease and eloquence, and reading this book in a comfortable chair in a patch of dappled sunlight is akin to being there! Mayle writes about the trials and tribulations he encounters in pursuit of a long-dreamed-of life in France with such humour and affection that the lazy pace of life if evident throughout. It takes real effort at times to realise that this rose-tint
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Agnese

Grāmata jauka, asprtātīga. Par to kā angļu ģimene iedzīvojas Provansā, kā viņi palēnām aprod ar provansiešu dzīvesveidu. Seko viena komiska situācija pēc otras. Vietām tiešām var pārsmieties.
BET...
Vairāk informācijas par ēdienu ir vienīgi pavārgrāmatās. Seko gari jo gari ēdienu pagatavošanas apstāsti, puse dienas tiek pavadīta ēdot. Iespējams, ka tas traucē tikai retajam. Par garšīgu ēdienu uzskatu siermaizes un izmantoju tikai 2 garšvielas- sāli un piparus, un reizēm gatavoju tikai tāpēc, ka jē
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Garnett
“Oh Darling! Let’s move to the south of France and buy an historic farmhouse with a swimming pool and vineyard! Make sure it’s in the middle of a national park so that we don’t have to see any locals unless their labor is required! Oh, and let us berate tourists and our fellow country who don’t appreciate the country lifestyle of the rustic peasantry. They’re such a simple folk! And they’re all ours!!” Etc. etc.
It makes me want to puke. What’s that I taste? Envy? Well, I’m puking nonetheless.
I
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Jessica
Jun 21, 2009 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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Peter Mayle 12 89 Nov 29, 2013 07:18AM  
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  • Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
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  • The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian
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  • Driving over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucía
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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...
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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.”
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“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.” 5 likes
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