RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND MOVIES
Here is a selection of our favourite books about people moving to or living in France:
1. A Year in Provence by* Peter Mayle (1989 Hamish Hamilton, 2000 Penguin Books)
2. The Ripening Sun* by Patricia Atkinson (2003, Random House)
3. My Life in France* by Julia Child (2009, Duckworth Overlook)
4. I'll Never Be French (no matter what i do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany* by Mark Greenside (2008, Free Press)
5. The Sweet Life in Paris* by David Lebovitz (2009, Broadway Books)
6. Almost French* by Sarah Turnball (2002, Random House)
7 Au Revoir* by Mary Moody (2001, Macmillan)
8. Last Tango in Toulouse* by Mary Moody (2003, Macmillan)
9. A Town Like Paris: Living and Loving in the City of Light* by Bryce Corbett (2007, Hachette Australia)
10. C'est la Vie by Suzy Gershman (2004, Viking)
11. The Time and the Place* by Donna Drago (2014)
12. A House in the Sunflowers* by Ruth Silvestre
13. A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France* by Betsy Draine (2002, University of Wisconsin Press)
14. Lavender and Linen* by Henrietta Taylor (Harper Collins)
And of course a 'must read' - Simon Moss' - A Piece of Provence*
*Available as a Kindle version.
A Good Year, with Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Albert Finney and Abbie Cornish, is recommended 'homework' if you are thinking of visiting the Lubéron.
This movie didn't please the critics but we love it. If you love the Lubéron or have never been, this is great viewing. It is an adaptation of a Peter Mayle book of the same name which does not come recommended. The changes to bring it to the screen make it a much better story and it contrasts the cut-throat world of financial London to the sunny hills and vines of a very different lifestyle in Provence in an appealing way. OK, there are a couple of difficulties like the respective ages of Fanny and Max as kids versus adults and the portrayal of bond trading isn't very realistic but they are not fatal flaws.
The landscape of the Luberon is well depicted. The scenic roads under Menerbes and Lacoste, the perched village of Gordes, the beautiful reflecting pool in Cucuron and the vineyard itself, La Siroque in the movie but La Canorgue in real life. Both Peter Mayle and the director Ridley Scott have property in the area and they obviously used that knowledge to choose gorgeous locations.
IMDb has the following synopsis "After years of no contact with his Uncle Henry, London banker and bond trader Max Skinner learns that Henry has died intestate, so Max inherits a château and vineyard in Provence. Max spent part of his childhood there, learning maxims and how to win and lose, and honing his killer instinct (at chess, which serves him well in finance). Max goes to France intent on selling the property. He spends a few days there, getting the property ready to show. Memories, a beautiful woman, and a young American who says she's Henry's illegitimate daughter interrupt his plans. Did Max the boy know things that Max the man has forgotten?"
It is possible to visit many of the locations. Fanny's restaurant and the fountain in the middle of Gordes are in front of the chateau. This is an area impossible to miss as a tourist to Gordes because it is right in the heart of things but we have never dined at the restaurant - it seems priced for the tourist bus market. The 'bus stop' where Christie is waiting to leave is the Café de France in Lacoste, a delightful spot for a coffee or glass of wine overlooking the valley and across to Bonnieux. Max's obligatory cultural engagement with Fanny is at the pond in Cucuron (called L'Etang in French and on the northern edge of the old town - look for the blue rectangle on Google maps). This is on the other side of the Luberon range and would fit into a day when you were visiting Lourmarin and Ansouis. In the height of summer with the huge trees shading the whole area it is great coffee stop.
The Château itself is just out of Bonnieux on the D149 Route du Pont Julien and is called Château La Canorgue. The house is private but it is possible to visit the vineyard and cellar door. They make some lovely wines and it is not uncommon to find them on wine lists at restaurants in the area. A very photogenic location as well.