The best books on the wine, food, and history of Perigord France

Who am I?

Martin Walker studied history at Oxford, international relations and economics at Harvard, and spent 28 years as journalist and foreign correspondent for Britain's The Guardian newspaper. He divides his time between the USA, Britain and the Perigord region of France, where he produces his own Bergerac red wine, 'Cuvee Bruno'. Martin writes a monthly wine column and is a Grand Consul de la Vinee de Bergerac, a body founded in the year 1254 AD and dedicated to the support of the region’s wines. 

I wrote...

Bruno, Chief of Police: A Mystery of the French Countryside

By Martin Walker,

Book cover of Bruno, Chief of Police: A Mystery of the French Countryside

What is my book about?

The first installment in the delightful, internationally acclaimed series featuring Chief of Police Bruno. Meet Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France.  He’s a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that.  Now Bruno must balance his beloved routines—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage, shopping at the local market, drinking wine, strolling the countryside—with a politically delicate investigation.  He’s paired with a young policewoman from Paris and the two suspect anti-immigrant militants.  As they learn more about the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive.

The books I picked & why

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Cafe Neanderthal

By Beebe Bahrami,

Book cover of Cafe Neanderthal

Why this book?

This is the most entertaining (and informative) book on archaeology, prehistory and the cave art of our early ancestors that I have ever read.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Marion Meade,

Book cover of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Why this book?

This may not be the most scholarly book on this extraordinary woman; but it is by far the most readable on the only woman who married both a King of France and King of England, went on Crusade to Jerusalem, and civilized feudalism by sponsoring poets and minstrels and creating the idea of romantic love.

Grape Expectations

By Caro Feely,

Book cover of Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France

Why this book?

A charming and delightful book on an Anglophone family's bold venture in buying a vineyard in the Bergerac region, making it work, and producing some of my own favourite wines.

Life and Food in the Dordogne

By James Bentley,

Book cover of Life and Food in the Dordogne

Why this book?

James Bentley, a former Anglican priest, wrote this a generation ago but it remains a classic, with excellent recipes, by a man who really knew his stuff. I always keep it on hand.

The Discovery of France

By Graham Robb,

Book cover of The Discovery of France

Why this book?

This is an extraordinary and powerful study of France over the last 250 years from the point of view of the people in the increasingly assertive regions, rather than from Paris. From the poor peasants who hibernated in winter to the strength of local cultures and languages, this is living history.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, geography, and neanderthals?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, geography, and neanderthals.

France Explore 537 books about France
Geography Explore 13 books about geography
Neanderthals Explore 9 books about neanderthals

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like You Me Everything: A Novel, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and A Good Year if you like this list.