Encore Provence : New Adventures In The South Of France by Peter Mayle

Encore Provence : New Adventures In The South Of France by Peter Mayle

After an unwise attempt to reside elsewhere, Peter Mayle returns to his cherished Provence, rejoicing in his homecoming by divulging a fresh assortment of escapades, revelations, side-splitting moments, and gustatory delights; all generously sprinkled with a cheerful blend of French characters. The intermissions for rejuvenation encompass an unforgettable meal in a transformed petrol station, an encounter with the finest bouillabaisse, and visits to vibrant weekly markets.

Nevertheless, life persists beyond the midday repast. We also uncover a school for olfactory apprentices in Haute Provence, a horticulturist who cultivates ebony-hued tomatoes, the clandestine secrets of an amorous butcher, a Provencal twist to Halloween, and the genetic repercussions of the celebrated “foie gras” spanning two millennia. Additionally, an unforgettable expedition of Marseille, an extensive discourse on the elixir of olive oil, a pursuit for the quintessential corkscrew, and indispensable recommendations for delectable local cheeses, wines, honey, bread, rustic eateries, and concealed accommodations await.

Never before has Peter Mayle expressed such unapologetic delight in his paradise on earth.

A Year in Provence: Memoir of Culture Shock and Culinary Delights

A Year in Provence is a best-selling memoir written by Peter Mayle, documenting his and his wife’s experiences of moving to southern France and adjusting to a new life outside of England. The book covers their first year in Provence, including encounters with the local cuisine, unfamiliar customs, and unexpected house guests. Despite the challenges of learning the language and establishing themselves as permanent residents, the couple manages to find peace and a sense of belonging in their new home.

The memoir is followed by a series of non-fiction sequels: “Encore Provence” (1999) and “French Lessons” (2001). It was also adapted into a mini-series and served as inspiration for the film, “A Good Year,” as well as the satirical novel, “A Year in the Province” by Christopher Marsh.

Peter Mayle and his wife decided to relocate to Provence after years of visiting the region as tourists. The book is structured around the calendar year, with each chapter dedicated to recounting the events of a specific month. Their farmhouse is located in the rural area of the Luberon Mountains, where they encounter the local dialect and participate in various customs unique to the region.

While the memoir contains many misadventures and learning experiences, the central focus is on the vibrant and diverse food culture of Provence. Mayle vividly describes the meals he enjoys throughout the year, from a memorable New Year’s lunch to a festive Christmas dinner. The couple also faces challenges such as the strong Mistral wind and freezing pipes, which require the assistance of local contractors.

One of the main sources of chaos in their first year in Provence comes from various guests, both invited and uninvited, who come to enjoy the pool and indulge in wine. The couple navigates the complexities of French bureaucracy, attends dinner parties with local families (despite struggling with the strong dialect), and engages in unique experiences like truffle hunting and goat races. These anecdotes highlight the humor and discomfort the couple experiences as they try to adapt to their new surroundings.

A Year in Provence also explores the nuances of cultural differences and the challenges of making a new home in an unfamiliar world. The couple constantly feels like they are caught between two worlds, not fully English because they are no longer in England, but not entirely French enough to fully integrate into their new community.

Through Mayle’s writing, readers gain an appreciation for the exquisite craftsmanship and preparation of meals, the fresh and abundant market ingredients, and the slower pace of life in rural Provence. Despite their initial discomfort, the couple begins to fall in love with their new home and finds solace in the peacefulness and togetherness it offers.

A Year in Provence was an unexpected success for Mayle, leading him to relocate temporarily to avoid the tourist influx and write subsequent books in the region. In 2002, Mayle was honored with the Legion d’Honneur, the highest order of merit in France, for his contributions to the culture. He went on to publish a quartet of novels before his passing in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *