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A YEAR IN PROVENCE

Author: Peter Mayle

Mayle's account of his first year in Provence describes everything -- the local cuisine, hilarious tips for wooing fickle French contractors, handicapping goat races, enduring winter's icy mistral and more.

Here is the month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations that he and his wife experience during their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival. He relishes the growing camaraderie with his country neighbors -- despite the rich, soupy, often impenetrable patois that threatens to separate them. He makes friends with boar hunters and truffle hunters, a man who eats foxes, and another who bites dentists; he discovers the secrets of handicapping racing goats and of disarming vipers. And he comes to dread the onslaught of tourists who disrupt his tranquillity.

In this often hilarious, seductive book Mayle manages to transport us into the pleasures of Provencal life and lets us live vicariously in a tempo governed by seasons, not days. George Lang, who was smitten, suggests: "Get a glass of marc, lean back in your most comfortable chair, and spend a delicious year in Provence."

From Publishers Weekly
The author describes his first 12 months in Provence, after he and his wife have abandoned England for an 18th-century farmhouse in the Luberon Mountains. Throwing themselves into the life of this rural region, they master the local customs, gain partial understanding of their neighbors' patois, overcome the frustrations of French bureaucracy, and learn to deal with workmen who operate on the idiosyncratic Provencal sense of time. In nimble prose, Mayle, columnist for GQ , captures the humorous aspects of visits to markets, vineyards and goat races, and hunting for mushrooms. Even donating blood is an occasion for fun. The Provencal cuisine is Mayle's leitmotif, however. He opens with an account of a memorable New Year's lunch, ends with an appreciation of an impromptu Christmas dinner, and describes just about every meal eaten during the months in between. His adventures, gastronomic and otherwise, are thoroughly entertaining. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
$12.00 (softcover)
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