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A Summer in Gascony: The Other South of France
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A Summer in Gascony: The Other South of France

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  71 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Gascony’s incredible culture and beautiful landscape shine as Martin Calder is introduced to “the other South of France.” In the tiny hamlet of Peguilhan, Martin discovers the unique personalities of Jacques-Henri (the hardworking farmer), Anja (the lovely German student), Pattes (a trouble-making stray dog), and more—including the town gossip and a man with incredible Gas ...more
Paperback, New edition, 228 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Nicholas Brealey (first published March 13th 2008)
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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
Apr 12, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-theme
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.
Mar 10, 2009 Turi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, ex-pat
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.
Dec 22, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Year in Provence, but with an indecipherable dialect, and the author is the one doing all the hard work instead of paying locals to do it.

[This review originally appeared on my blog. You can see the post here.]
Sep 22, 2008 Mackay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, france
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
May 10, 2009 Rosie Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 04, 2009 Jennie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alicia Connally
Jun 23, 2014 Alicia Connally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!
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