Book Review: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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A year in Provence is some sort of a personal memoir written by Peter Mayle.

Describing how his first year living in the French countryside had turned out to be for him and his wife. In which such details were divided into twelve chapters in the book – from January to December.

Actually this decision was something that both of them had been wanting to do. To retire early, and to live a simple life in a small town community. So they’ve packed most of their important belongings and moved into an old farmhouse in the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix.

But on their first month in Provence, they were welcomed by the cold winter season. Plus, the house needs a lot of improvements. Which was truly a real struggle for them, and an experience that they were not used to since they usually come to visit the place during the tourist season.

However, despite all of that, Peter and his wife really knew for sure that everything is really going to be worth it. Because Provence is the kind of place that really attracts its visitors of its stunning views of the mountains including its surrounding farms and its vineyards. Another thing is that there’s just something quaint and vintage about its small villages that it tends to feel like you’re on the other side of the world.

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So why do I have an idea about a place that I still haven’t got that chance to visit (but seriously been wanting to)?

Well, before I’ve decided to read the book, I had to make sure that I will have an overview of Provence. So I had to see the film adaptation of Good Year (a novel also written by Peter Mayle) in order to properly visualize this famous countryside, and also to get an idea of some of the important details that might be mentioned in the book – like their usual greetings, the culture of its community, and also their local dishes.

Then by the time I started reading it, I was entirely fascinated by the author’s writing style, for it was very detailed, affable to read, informative, and simply captivating. And even if this was written for almost three decades ago, and that times have already changed since then, I still think that this book is a wonderful reference for anyone who has any plans of visiting France, specifically Provence. In addition to that, it has also a very thorough seasonal account of the place, including those highly recommended restaurants to dine into, and not the usual and overrated restaurants for its tourist.

A year may seem like a short period of time, but a lot has happened since Peter Mayle and his wife had decided to live abroad, and experienced the real charms and frustrations of living a Provencal life, because they’ve truly fallen in love with the place; its people, the food, and how they’ve taken such importance of leading a quiet and meaningful life.

For someone who’ve been wanting to visit France one day, I’ve felt a real connection while reading the author’s personal account of his experiences in living there. And for one moment, it was like I was actually in Provence – living the dream.

Hopefully, one day, I’ll have the chance to go to this breathtaking and beautiful countryside.

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It was a very insightful one to read. In addition to that, I’ve also learned that the author wrote this book so that its readers may know that there’s more to Provence than what we tend to hear from those people who’ve already visited there. Well, of course, it’s a very stunning place. But it’s the kind of a countryside in where its local knows the importance of living a good life and eating a good food with your loved ones. And it’s not about being lazy, it’s just that these people just knew what they truly want in choosing to live a quality life with your friends and family.

The kind of book that after reading will leave all of its readers wanting for more, because getting into the world of Peter Mayle is like they’re on a year-long vacation from France, and would love to extend their stay there.

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well, that’s it for now, and till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading!

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