After using the remote countryside of Provence as an annual getaway from life in England, Peter Mayle and his wife decide to make the move permanent and purchase a gorgeous old farmhouse. What they didn't realise was that included in the purchase were some very comical neighbours and a myriad of other eccentric characters who call Provence home.
The book unravels just like the seasons with twelve chapters outlining each month of the year. In this way the reader experiences the biting cold of winter in January, gets to watch the land and its inhabitants slowly come alive in the spring of March and feel the glorious sunshine of July. Part memoir, part travel guide and part beginners guide to Provence, Mayle's often amusing descriptions and experiences give the reader an intimate and honest look inside what it is really like to be a permanent resident of Provence, rather than a temporary visitor.
Even after loads of language practise Mayle and his wife realise over their first dinner with the neighbours, Faustin and Henriette, that their textbook french is useless against the rich, drawling version native to Provence. Still, they understand early on that a common love of good food, good wine and good humour is enough of a universal language to get them through while their french skills catch up.
In the mean time life is prioritised around getting the central heating in the house fixed, and learning a thing or two about French work customs from Didier and his entourage, the local builders on the job. Mayle and his wife literally eat their way through many of the restaurants and cafes around the region and provide more than enough details to get the tastebuds into overdrive.