A Year in Provence: Visiting the village

This week’s we’re talking all about a memoir, A Year in Provence, a book that may not have changed the face of the French village of Ménerbes, but apparently changed the rest of it.

It sold 6 million + copies over the past 30 years and was translated into 40 languages, sending tourists from all over the world to find out exactly what was so charming about the little village.

The memoir was the subject for The Earful Tower’s Book Club for October and I, too, stopped into the village to take a look around and speak to the locals about how it changed lives.

Listen below.

Referenced in the podcast is this obituary of Peter Mayle from The Telegraph, and this article from the Washington Post, A Sneer in Provence.

And here’s my video from the village itself. Please subscribe on YouTube.

Join the book club if you’re on Facebook and you like books about France. It’s free to join, but I recommend you sign up at $5 a month on Patreon to support it and secure its future. Find the group on Facebook here.

November’s book? Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Get it now and get reading.

PS: Also mentioned in the show was the nearby town of Bonnieux, which is pictured below.

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5 thoughts on “A Year in Provence: Visiting the village

  1. Thanks for the episode …still not a fan of the book but interesting episode…so going out to buy the book today..I am starting to travel this week with a HEAVY book about WW2!!! I am doing this as a true believer in you Oliver because as you know when you travel…light enjoyable reading is the preferred option!! BUT in the spirit of the Book Club I will read …please please can we do something light for December though!!…I am still traveling then and would love a respite!!…great episode again!

  2. I have no doubt that Ménerbes has changed enormously since Mayle turned up there in 1989. Talking to some locals in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (another town overwhelmed by high-end tourists) not so long ago, folks with normal, humble jobs like teaching are priced out. It’s all very pretty, but what is the point if the locals are being pushed out?
    Not on Facebook, so…While on my first read 20+ years ago, I loved Mayle’s descriptions of tearing his hair out with his renovations, since I moved here myself, I am just disgusted. We have renovated a house (that wasn’t even a house to begin with) and a pair of historic apartments and have had only very professional experiences with the artisans. It makes me think the problem was not with the artisans but with the clumsy, clueless author.
    As for eating until death, have you seen the French classic “La Grande Bouffe”?

    1. I’d have loved to have seen Remy de Provence, tourists or not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book though – will look to shifting the club over to Patreon at some point so there’ll be no need to be a Facebook user, perhaps, at all 🙂 And no, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but will look into it!

  3. The book was sheer pleasure when it was first published. You kind of had to understand that there had never been anything like it before.

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