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A Year in Provence Paperback – June 4, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,876 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Who hasn't dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.

Beginning, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day with a divine luncheon in a quaint restaurant, Mayle sets the scene and pits his British sensibilities against it. "We had talked about it during the long gray winters and the damp green summers," he writes, "looked with an addict's longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards, dreamed of being woken up by the sun slanting through the bedroom window." He describes in loving detail the charming, 200-year-old farmhouse at the base of the Lubéron Mountains, its thick stone walls and well-tended vines, its wine cave and wells, its shade trees and swimming pool--its lack of central heating. Indeed, not 10 pages into the book, reality comes crashing into conflict with the idyll when the Mistral, that frigid wind that ravages the Rhône valley in winter, cracks the pipes, rips tiles from the roof, and tears a window from its hinges. And that's just January.

In prose that skips along lightly, Mayle records the highlights of each month, from the aberration of snow in February and the algae-filled swimming pool of March through the tourist invasions and unpredictable renovations of the summer months to a quiet Christmas alone. Throughout the book, he paints colorful portraits of his neighbors, the Provençaux grocers and butchers and farmers who amuse, confuse, and befuddle him at every turn. A Year in Provence is part memoir, part homeowner's manual, part travelogue, and all charming fun. --L.A. Smith

From Publishers Weekly

An account of the author's first frustrating but enlightening year in Provence opens with a memorable New Year's lunch and closes with an impromptu Christmas dinner. "In nimble prose, Mayle . . . captures the humorous aspects of visits to markets, vineyards and goat races, and hunting for mushrooms," said PW. Author tour. Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0679731148
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vintage (June 4, 1991)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780679731146
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679731146
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.14 x 0.58 x 7.95 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,876 ratings

About the author

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Peter Mayle is the author of sixteen books. A recipient of the Légion d'Honneur from the French government for his cultural contributions, he lived in Provence with his wife, Jennie, for more than twenty-five years. He died in January 2018.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
2,876 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 13, 2022
2 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 18, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars How I packed for 2 weeks for myself and 2 small children in a carry-on bag.
By WadeFamily on March 18, 2015
PURPOSE:
I ordered two of these bags for a family trip last summer. We went on a two week trip to France to visit friends. I love efficiency packing, and the challenge of packing for a 2 week trip in only carry on bags is actually my idea of a good time. Using packing cubes, I was able to do that without an issue. Had the weather been remotely normal for August in France, I would have been golden...but unseasonably cool temps and lots of rain necessitated purchasing a few more items of warmer clothing for myself and the kids than what you see pictured in the original pack (see photos). I was able to fit the clothing I purchased there in the bag, so the bag would have accommodated the full requirement of clothing, it was only my initial packing that was inadequate, not the bag itself.

MISSION: EFFICIENCY ACCOMPLISHED
I packed a single bag for myself and our two children (ages 3 and 1). The second bag was my husband's. Mens clothing always takes up more space, so he needed an entire bag for himself. I've attached photos of the contents of the bags, as well as how it fits on me. I'm 5'7" with a small frame. I didn't take a photo of my son's clothing before I put it in the cube, but it was comparable to my daughter's kit and also fit in one small packing cube. I was able to pack 4 small cubes (2 for me and 1 for each child), 3 mesh pencil cases packed with underwear and swimsuits, toiletries and makeup, laundry supplies, a hair towel, 3 pairs of shoes, an extra scarf, belt, travel hair dryer, journal, and travel documents. I also folded a tote bag into the backpack, and I used this as a go-to bag on the long flight. Diapering supplies, snacks, and blankets were kept in the storage compartment of a Kelty child-carrier pack. Since that pack had to be stored overhead, I pulled out my tote bag, took a few supplies from the Kelty pack, and moved them into them into the tote, which fit nicely under the airline seat with easy access to these immediate supplies. When on the move, we were able to remain hands free.

DETAILS:
The versatility of carry options allowed us flexibility as to how we carried the bags and our children. I cannot tell you the peace of mind that came with truly having everything I might have needed in the cabin with us. Comfort-wise, this bag is not as comfortable as a true backpacking backpack, but I don't think its reasonable to expect that and to have the flexibility this bag provides as a piece of true luggage. It's a trade off, and well worth it. Having hands free on a long trip was a godsend, and the lack of retractable handle-associated hardware really frees up a lot of space inside the bag, in comparison to a roll-aboard style carry-on. Imagine navigating international airports with two little ones and the associated toileting/diapering/eating...handsfree is a must.

I've also used this bag and filled it up for just myself for 4 day trips to weddings. In those instances, the focus is less on efficiency and more on having everything I need for different events/activities/+more beauty supplies than I use in my everyday wear. From reading other reviews, it seems that the company backs its prodcut to the hilt. I am confident these will get a lot of use in our household, and be durable enough to see our kids through their first "grown up" trip across the pond, years down the road.
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 16, 2015
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Worker Bee
5.0 out of 5 stars You can really feel you are there
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 11, 2019
9 people found this helpful
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david canford
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a trip to rural Provence
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 27, 2021
One person found this helpful
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J E Olearski
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Have a pastis and relax’
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 9, 2018
7 people found this helpful
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CBourne
5.0 out of 5 stars Mouthwatering!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 9, 2020
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sylvia h
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute joy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 29, 2018
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