A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Book cover of A Year in Provence

Book description

A personal description of Provencal life as seen through the eyes of the author and his wife when they move into an old farmhouse at the foot of the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix. The bestselling work of non-fiction in paperback of 1991 in the UK.

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Why read it?

5 authors picked A Year in Provence as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

No book list on any aspect of southern France would be complete without one of Peter Mayle’s many books on his travels and adventures in Provence. 

His initial best seller is a grand introduction to the many small villages, customs, foods, and peoples who maintain the traditional aspects of the unique lifestyle to be found there, which in some places reflects hundreds of years with little change.

I have found in my travels that because this area of France was spared the ravages of the two World Wars, any trip to the region puts the visitor in touch with this…

This is a charming fish-out-of-water adventure. The author has a witty understated style. I enjoyed the tribulations and chaos as he found his way around rural France. The locals in this book felt authentic, which I certainly appreciated. Renovations are hard in a country you know, but this author found humor and understanding, as he floundered around trying to get things done. There’s quite a bit about food, which was entertaining, and is what I would expect in a book set in France. (Personally, I think Italy far outperforms the French when it comes to great food. Give me fresh…

From Deborah's list on making you laugh and love traveling.

Okay, this is another Peter Mayle book, but there are only so many vineyard books that I can recall at the moment. And this is an excellent one! I think it’s the first ‘vineyard’ book that I ever read. Similar to Under the Tuscan Sun, it’s a true story about how Peter and his wife relocated to Provence France for an amazing year. And it’s an amazingly well-written story that transports you straight into French wine country. I particularly love his description of the ancient farmhouse they occupy during their year. This is a real ‘take you away’ tale.

From Melody's list on vineyards.

I love all of Bill Bryson's books, especially his travel literature. He retired recently, but he is still too well known for me to include his work here. Instead, I'm going for an old favourite in a similar genre. A Year in Provence was very well known in its day, 1989, so much so that waves of tourist fans forced the author to emigrate. But it's been a few years and it's possibly not so widely read now. 

Mayle's writing is funny, economical and so readable. If you fancy the idea of spending a glutinous, hilarious time in rural Provence…

From Tristan's list on for intelligent travellers.

“Read this book. You’ll love it,” said a friend. Having decided to buy a second home in France, it seemed a good choice. Peter Mayle and his wife are fed up with Brit weather and their humdrum life. They dream of peerless blue skies, gorgeous views, and a lifestyle laced with haute cuisine and those world-class wines promised by Provence. As it happens, things don’t turn out entirely as they anticipate. Who knew the Mistral wind could blow your socks off? And what about the tribulations associated with renovating an ancient property? To our cost, we now know all about…

From Beth's list on moving abroad to Europe.

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