Customer Reviews


112 Reviews
5 star:
 (72)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (9)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and delightful
In A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle descibes his and his wife's first year living in Provence as British expatriats. The book is divided into twelve chapters, one for each month, and takes us through the Mayles adjusting to life in France and getting their old farmhouse renovated. Mayle writes with self-deprecating wit and genuine pleasure for his new home. He is...
Published on April 30 2004 by Brenda Jo Mengeling

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A sweet taste of France
This being my first entry into the world of travel memoirs, I'm not sure how A Year in Provence compares. However, my uninitiated opinion is that of a pleasant surprise. I thought this book was very well written; a nice and light story; and a tempting depiction of rural France and all its glorious food, festivals and residents.
A Year in Provence is written in...
Published on June 29 2001 by Dianna Setterfield


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and delightful, April 30 2004
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
In A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle descibes his and his wife's first year living in Provence as British expatriats. The book is divided into twelve chapters, one for each month, and takes us through the Mayles adjusting to life in France and getting their old farmhouse renovated. Mayle writes with self-deprecating wit and genuine pleasure for his new home. He is clearly bemused and captivated by his new friends. For example, before the cherry harvest (his land has 30 cherry trees), natives warn him repeatedly of the coming migrant "gypsies" who officially come to harvest the cherries but also have a habit of thievery. The stories are so overblown, that Mayle can't wait to meet these horrible gypsies; the results are hilarious. He and his wife also learn to contend with the Mistral, a harsh wind coming from Siberia, which their plumber informs them is getting stronger year by year, which can only mean that somewhere between Provence and Siberia the earth is getting flatter. In addition to all the home repairs are descriptions of excellent meals in perfect little restaurants around Provence. All is written with breezy good humor and infectious delight for both Provence and the Provenceaux.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Remove author & wife. Insert self & spouse., Nov. 20 2003
By 
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
An Englishman and his wife buy a farmhouse in the countryside of Provence. I presume they are wealthy and retired, because they haven't a care in the world about money and they don't have anywhere else to be. And they certainly don't have jobs. The book starts on New Year's Day and chronicles the author's first year in his new home in a rather detached narrative. The author's wife, his guests and anything not French are somewhat shallowly described and often aren't even given names. If they have kids, I don't recall them being mentioned. I certainly have no idea how old they are. I therefore had no trouble inserting myself and my husband in place of the author and his spouse in this picturesque fantasy.
The real characters are the locals, the workmen, the café owners, the neighbors, their quirky habits and the divine cuisine. Some of the anecdotes seem contrived or shifted in time to accommodate the structure of the book in chapters based on months, but I didn't care. I loved the descriptions of the food, the markets, the country roads, the truffle hunting...
I found the author's style of writing very charming, if somewhat impersonal, and the situations that would induce a working city woman like myself to explosive anger are injected with an innocuous sarcasm that just made me chuckle with laughter. Even though the author must deal with sporadic remodeling, a constant stream of uninvited English guests, the cleaning of the pool etc., Life is good. So don't worry. Eat, drink and be happy.
I read 2, 3 or 4 chapters at a time and I had no trouble putting it down. I even read another book after August and picked it up to read September after a particularly hectic day and I finished the book in that sitting. This was not a page-turner. But I enjoyed it anyway. I have never been to France and I read this book as a work of fiction. I didn't read it to get acquainted with Provence nor did I read it to assist with a decision to travel there, so I have no idea if it is accurate or not. I feel that I am no more familiar with the south of France now that I have read this book, so it didn't seem helpful in that regard. What I do know is that is was delightful and soothing, like a relaxing vacation or a good cup of tea.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Oct. 9 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (E. Calais, VT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
This book is a journal about the adventures of a British family who have recently moved to an aging farmhouse in rural Provence. The author, Peter Mayle, is resolved to let nothing get under his skin, whether it be the unexpectedly cold winter weather, the unpredictable work schedules of the crew fixing up his house, or the unending stream of acquaintances from rainy London who decide that they would like to spend their vacations at Mayle's home in the sunny south. Mayle's style is to treat all of these happenstances with humor, in a British sort of way. At the same time, he manages to squeeze in many details of typical life in rural France. If you've spent any amount of time yourself in the French countryside, you will recognize the scenery that Mayle describes immediately. Mayle also expounds on the pleasures of eating in France- -don't pick up this book if you are trying to control your appetite. Occasionally, Mayle's descriptions of the people he encounters come across as a little too flippant, but overall, the book is quite enjoyable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars witty anecdotes and eccentric antics make a winning combo!, May 20 2003
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
Surrender to the quintessence of Provence! "A Year In Provence" chronicles Mayle's real-life experiences following his family's (wife and dogs) move from England to Provence. Their pages offer an entertaining and light-hearted narrative of everyday life -- the people, the climate, the landscapes, and mainly the acclaimed Provençal art of eating! -- from the perspective of a British "long-term tourist" (as Mayle puts it). The Provence series is usually located in the "Travel" section at most bookstores; yet the discriminating reader will happily discover that these are more novel than guide. Mayle's storey-telling skills are top-notch and keep you reading until the book is done. This, coupled with his clever facetiousness, is a winning combination. Any avid fan of "dry British humour" will enjoy Mayle's witty anecdotes as he puzzles over the sometimes eccentric antics of his Provençal neighbours. These two gems, "A Year in Provence" and it's sequal "Toujour Provence", are amongst the prized possessions in my bookshelf!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars C'est la Vie in Provence, March 9 2003
By 
Rosalind Robertson (Lafayette, LA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
A Year in Provence is a captivating novel by Peter mayle accounting the life of a quaint couple and their two dogs starting a life in the Provence countryside in France. With a love of wine and a few outgoing neighbors, they are quickly settled into their home despite a few minor touch ups, or maybe not so minor. Remodeling their kitchen, making a new table, and getting a vineyard of their own are the first of many tasks on hand. As the summer nears, the pool also must be tended to and stripped of its new green muck color. Goat racing through the town is a pure delight and the various cuisine encounters are nothing short of interesting and "magnifique"!
Mayle's knowledge of the French countryside of Provence must be a non-fictional account for his portrayal is very accurate. He often intertwines colloquial french phrases and words to produce a real life effect. Very little dialogue is used but the story is descriptive and flowing with each incident told. Mayle employs the use of humor in his depiction of the Provencal inhabitants. He emphasizes the use of the Frenchmen's gestures when speaking and the importance of meals and relaxation.
This travel novel provides everything you need to know about the people and routines of Provence. A dream come true for the young couple and a year long adventure encompass this warm-hearted and delightful novel. "C'est la vie!" in Provence.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Truly, a classic travel book for all seasons, July 26 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
Peter Mayle's "A Year In Provence" is already a classic by reputation. It must also be THE travel book to recommend to the uninitiated for not only will Mayle's incomparable wit and humour make instant converts out of you, it is guaranteed to leave you panting for more. You will want to read everything else Mayle has written as well as make a beeline for the nearest travel agent to make the French countryside if not Provence your next holiday destination. I know so for I count myself among the unashamedly smitten. Mayle's travel diary is neatly divided into twelve chapters, each corresponding with a month in the year. Quite clearly, life in Provence is never dull. Activities of its inhabitants are as varied as the climate and social custom will allow. Escaping from rainy old England, Peter and his wife eagerly adapt. How could they not, with the weather this sunny and food this excellent ? Granted, the work ethics of contract workers and the habits of French road users may take some getting used to, but net net the conditions of French country living are nothing less than idyllic. Mayle not only makes our mouths water when he waxes lyrical about every description of French country cuisine, he regales us with so many side splitting tales it is easy to lose count but impossible to forget, mostly about awful scroungers from England who descend on the Mayles expecting free board and lodging. "A Year In Provence" is such a deliriously happy and charming book it is bound to bring relief and joy even to the terminally depressed. I am also reliably informed by a friend that the Provence so picturesquely and vividly described by Mayle is as close as you can get to the real article. So, my recommendation is go buy yourself a copy, relish every word of it and head for your travel agent's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A delicious taste of life in Provence..........., Jan. 29 2002
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
An acquaintance from France said Paris was...nice..., but Provence....ahhhhhhhh, Provence. Provence is her favorite place on Earth! That prompted my interest in reading A YEAR IN PROVENCE. Peter Mayle's monthly chapters on his life in Provence are purely delightful! He and his wife decide to up and move to Provence, taking French language lessons, buying an old stone farmhouse and become the resident foreigners.
The chapters proceed month by month to describe the process of getting work done on the farmhouse(at the proper pace of Provence), the local celebrations, the bistros and bars, the amazing and under anticipated climate, the French passion for food, and most wonderfully of all, the people.
The local people of their village are so intrigueingly described that you feel you would know who they were after a few moments in their presence! He also describes the tourist population, the camping Germans, the "elite" Parisians, and the British friends and acquaintances,who want to vacation for free and show up on his doorstep.
This is a wonderfully fun and enjoyable romp in Provence through the eyes of someone with a wonderful view of the obvious, the not so obvious and quite frankly the exaggerated obvious......ahhhhhhhhhh, Provence!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Oui !, Nov. 2 2001
By 
"pdquick" (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
How many times has this reviewer (and probably you dear reader), considered chucking it all and moving to a quaint two hundred year old farmhouse in the middle of a countryside French vineyard? Probably too numerous to mention.
Yet, that is exactly what Peter Mayle did. He and his bride fled the damp Isle of Britain (but that too is delightful in it's own way!) and headed to Provence. And the story of that first year of their lives there is charming. It is humorous and it is downright entertaining. It is especially so if you've ever tried to deal with the people that inhabit that enchanting land. The French live and work on their own terms. They cannot be persuaded that their's is not just the best, but the ONLY way to do things. Fortunately, though, there is more than one way to skin a bear.
Consider the author's saga of a major home remodeling that contractors promised would be completed by Christmas. As the festive season approached, it became apparent that, without divine intervention, the project would not be finished. Readers will die laughing when they discover how a Christmas party's invitation list was used to complete the job just in the nick of time!
Such stories abound in this book. And, though it was written over a decade ago, everything is as true today as it was then. The only problem with the book is that simply reading descriptions of the gastronomical delights of the region were so well done that this reviewer gained six pounds while reading! A delightful easily read book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars AYear In Provence.....a Lifetime of Pleasure, Oct. 28 2001
By 
douglas barton "emotions in motion" (Arlington, Va.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
What is there left to say about this fine,uproriously funny novel. I happened upon it when it first came out at my local library, thought it looked mildly amusing and took it home,expecting to be fairly entertained...but little more!
Since that fateful day I now have my own copy (hardbound, of course), have read this book, at last count, on five seperate occassions and have given away numerous copies to friends as gifts. Obviously, I am simply a HUGE fan of Mr. Mayle's novel. But it's difficult not to be!
Whether the book is accurate or not,and there's been some discussion of that, I 've found his "innocent's abroad" story funny and touching in many ways. It's a common dream that many of us have which is to run away to your own private paradise and simply live your life as you would wish. Only of course things are never that simple...especially with the Mayle's challenge of working with French beauracracy,builder's and the odd assortment of neighbor's and on-lookers. To say nothing of the occassional uninvited house guests!
There's simply something here for everyone! And of course, an odd moral to their touching story, which I won't explain here...I'll let you discover on your own. So pick up a favorite bottle of wine, some Edith Piaf and sit down with this wonderful novel. Once you're hooked you'll be able to enjoy the sequel as well..."Toujour's Provence"! Bonjoir!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Book About Nothing, July 24 2001
By 
C. Ryan (Winthrop, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Year in Provence (Paperback)
In somewhat the same manner that the former NBC television sitcom, The Jerry Seinfeld Show, was a "show about nothing", A Year In Provence is a "book about nothing".
In the late 1980s, Peter Mayle and his wife move from a gray January in London to a sunny new life in rural Provence in the south of France. The book tracks the first year of their residence, month-by-month. In a typical month there's a wind storm, a delivery truck collapses into the septic tank, they purchase rugs from itinerants who arrive in a Mercedes, the neighboring farmer converts a melon patch to a vineyard and they spend lots of time shopping for food and eat a fantastic meal prepared by an 80 year old chef in a local restaurant. The only recurring story line concerns the masons, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen who come and go throughout the year on a seemingly interminable remodeling of Mayle's 200 year old stone farm house. It may be a book about nothing, but it works.
The reason it works is that any reader can identify with the author. Mayles demonstrates no particular skill in cooking, French, sports, home repair or any other activity. He never says anything very specific about the politics, art or human and natural history of Provence. Rather, he and his wife just enjoy their lives by reveling in the changing seasonal weather and light patterns, getting to know their neighbors and how they make a living, walking the dogs and looking forward to the day all the workmen's tools and building materials will disappear. In short, they're doing what any of us could do if we lived in an interesting place and took time to enjoy just being there instead of feeling we had to justify our existence by "keeping busy". By the end of the book, reflecting on how long it might take to get some help in completing a new project at his house, Mayle decides it's not important to finish it in any particular length of time: "We were beginning to think in seasons instead of days or weeks."
Read this book, and then go live the life you have imagined.
(My only complaint about this thoroughly delightful book is the frequent inclusion, without translation, of snatches of conversation in French.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Year in Provence
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (Paperback - June 4 1991)
CDN$ 16.95 CDN$ 12.24
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews