Thursday, March 28, 2013

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle

Author Peter Mayle

Mais, oui! I so enjoyed reading Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle. This is the second book about his adventures leaving his home in England and moving to Provence. The first book, A Year in Provence, recounts his trials and tribulations in dealing with French workmen and building regulations as he tries to get his newly purchased home livable. In this book, the reader travels a little further afield as Mr. Mayle visits villages, restaurants, and markets in other towns in the region. There is even a visit to a dog show.

It fascinates me to read how a person adapts to an entirely different culture, language, and ways of spending and keeping time. 

Here is what Mr. Mayle has to say about life after five years in Provence:

The days pass slowly but the weeks rush by. We now measure the year in ways that have little to do with diaries and specific dates. There is the almond blossom in February, and a few weeks of pre-spring panic in the garden as we try to do the work we've been talking about doing all winter. Spring is a mixture of cherry blossom and a thousand weeds and the first guests of the year, hoping for subtropical weather and often getting nothing but rain and wind. Summer might start in April. It might start in May. We know it's arrived when Bernard calls to help us uncover and clean the pool.

Poppies in June, drought in July, storms in August. The vines begin to turn rusty, the hunters come out of their summer hibernation, the grapes have been picked and the water in the pool nips more and more fiercely until it becomes too cold for anything more than a masochistic plunge in the middle of the day. It must be the end of October.

Winter is filled with good resolutions, and some of them are actually achieved. A dead tree is cut down, a wall is built, the old steel garden chairs are repainted, and whenever there is time to spare we take up the dictionary and resume our struggle with the French language.

And of course, to accompany the changing seasons there are many glasses of wine, pastis, and dinners with friends that last for hours. Not a bad way to live.


  1. Mr. Mayle's Provence books are so enjoyable, and there is a mini series based on them (A Year in Provence) that I think is wonderful, starring John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan.

    1. Hi Kathy. Mr. Mayle has a lovely, breezy style, doesn't he. I saw the mini series a long time ago and it would be fun to watch again. I really will have to re-read his first book about Provence. And he has a novel or two out as well.