Peter Mayle and his wife buy an old stone house in the Luberon – a relatively remote and mountainous area of southern France. A Year in Provence is the monthly chronicle of their renovation of the farmhouse. They suffer through the trials of home destruction and construction, all the while baffled by the Provencal dialect.
In the process, they come to know their neighbors (farmers, restaurateurs, craftsmen) and the regional cuisine. Mayle is an enthusiastic consumer of food and drink, and devotes large portions of the book to memorable lunches, restaurants and holidays. The best way to read this book is while eating something decadent – Mayle is not one to worry about calories. He joins wholeheartedly in the local passions for mushrooms, wild game and the powerful, locally-made brandy.
Mayle was one of the first to write this type of foreigner-buying-a-rundown-property-and-discovering-the-simple-things-life memoir. He stands out as well for his humor and sense of the ridiculous, not taking himself or anyone else too seriously.