Uncorked… Living the Provençal dream in Saint Paul de Vence (*Book Giveaway*)

Greeting dear readers and friends! Well, it’s shaping up to be a lovely month in beautiful, sunny Provence. Spring is just around the corner and you can feel the sense of excitement in the air. Soon it will be time for beach picnics, spring / summer barbeques, and many late-afternoon “apéro hours”. It’s a wonderful time of year.

It’s also a fantastic time to visit the South of France and explore all of its picture-postcard towns and villages.

One such village, Saint Paul de Vence, is the central location for Paul Shore’s delightful book about his time spent living in Southern France-  Uncorked: My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French.

Paul is initially transplanted to Saint Paul for work, and he immediately falls in love with the picturesque hilltop village – describing the ascent to the town in his car, “where the full beauty of the village and its medieval walls and clock tower show itself fully, along with the Maritime Alps”. Well, that’s enough to make me jump in my car for a visit. Lucky Paul actually got to live in the village and become friends with its residents (I think we’re all a bit jealous!).

Although it wasn’t very easy in the beginning for Paul. When he first arrives in Saint Paul, he feels quite like a stranger in a strange land. Trying to get the lay of the land, and work out what it means to live in a small South-of-France village, he notices that a lot of town-life revolves around a peculiar-looking game of tossing around small, silver balls. If you’ve ever traveled to Southern France, you’ll surely recognize this as the widely-popular game of pétanque.

And as Paul quickly learns, playing pétanque is no laughing matter. The villagers regard the game with an almost religious reverence and the form, rules, and artistry of playing pétanque are analyzed and discussed to no end. Preferably over a tall glass Pastis (an anise and licorice-flavored alcohol enjoyed throughout the south).

Taking up the advice of a local friend, Paul debarks on the brave mission of finding himself a “sponsor” – someone who can teach him how to play pétanque. He asks a known acquaintance, Hubert, and after a first, rather rough rebuff (“YOU ARE NOT FREENCHHH!!”), he agrees to take Paul on as his “apprentice” and teach him the ins and outs of pétanque.

Uncorked author Paul Shore

Thus begins Paul’s great adventure of not only becoming an enviable pétanque player, but of eventually integrating into Saint Paul – in large part thanks to his passion for the game. Along the way, we meet a cast of colorful southern characters, get initiated into the local art scene, and learn what it really takes to live life in another language.

I enjoyed Uncorked: My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French because it speaks volumes about what it means to be an expat in France and also takes us on a lovely ride through a beautiful Provençal village… that would certainly be a dream to live in.




If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Uncorked: My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French, just leave a comment below and tell us where you’d love to live in France – which town, village, or city. 

(Aix-en-Provence is quite near the top of my list!)

A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, March 19th, 2017 (12pm Eastern Standard Time) using random.org.


If you’re interested in purchasing, or learning more about Uncorked,  please visit the Sea to Sky Books website.

26 thoughts on “Uncorked… Living the Provençal dream in Saint Paul de Vence (*Book Giveaway*)”

      1. Great choice Wini! I’ve heard great things but have yet to visit… one to add to the list for 2017. Thank you for entering and bon dimanche! Tuula


    1. At this stage Lyon would be wonderful, but my desire is to get to know the whole of France. I am a direct descendant of the French Huguenots in South Africa. Hoping to travel to France later this year….

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I would live in my favourite village of Vence, just above St Paul. While I love St Paul, it is a bit too touristy for my taste with SO many summer visitors. I love Vence for it’s beautiful old centre, very friendly residents, fantastic restaurants (particularly Le Pigeonnier!). We go back repeatedly and are planning our summer trip there at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J’adore Provence! We own a petite maison in a petite village called St. Roman de Malegarde, close to the Cote du Rhine wine loop. We look forward to our yearly visits, and always yearn to return more and more each time! The book sounds great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. On our last visit to France we visited both Aix en Provence and St Paul de Vence and loved them both. My dream would be to live in Aix or Antibes! (Looking forward to a trip to Paris this spring tho!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore the idea of living among fields of lavender and jasmine so of course Grasse tops my list of French cities to call home. The perfume industry loves Grasse and has a big presence there, not far from coastline, all-around dreamy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would LOVE a copy of your book and to live in Avignon! Or anywhere almost in Provence! Was there in October and just fell in love with the whole area!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My favorite town in all of France is Aix en Provence I spent a week there on my last trip.Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to win this book and I would read it sitting at a table at L’Ormeau in the beautiful village of Lourmarin. I love Provence and in particular the Luberon Valley where each and every one of it’s villages has a life and charm of it’s own whether it be the red dazzling showstopper Roussillon or the white brilliance of Gordes. Love it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. On our first trip to Provence we stayed in the small village of Le Thor. We fell in love with Provence because of our experiences there. Would love to live there. Second choice would be Isle sur Le Sorgue, the market and antiques village!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am in love with the South of France. Our very first experience was staying at a lovely B & B in Saint Paul de Vence. I would love to spend a year living in Bedoin because it’s a great place to be based for cycling and sightseeing. Markets, great food and lots of sunshine. The scenery is amazing with Mont Ventoux the central feature.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All of these ideas sound great and I’ve written them down so I can check them out someday. In the meantime, I’ll pick Aix – sounds like a good home base for exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you to everyone who participated in the book giveaway – your comments are always so inspiring! And a big congratulations to Lorraine Whitten whose comment was chosen at random as the winner. Another book giveaway is coming soon… thank you again for your support of the Belle Provence Travels blog! Tuula


  11. If I had to choose the ultimate place to live in France it would be in Sanary sur Mer in Provence. We are so blessed that through a work connection between my beloved Father Frank I became friends with a French Parisian family. In my early 20’s I visted Paris and was immediatley taken in by this family. Thereafter it has been everything French. My husband and I have had a 40 year relationship with this family and it remains to this day. Their girls came to America after graduations to stay with us and we are now known as their “American Mum and Dad.” As the parents retired and the children got older, one by one they left the hectic life in Paris and have moved to Provence. We visit them often and consider Sanary sur Mer a home away from home. It is a village where not many Americans visit, is a beautiful vibrant port town with an amazing weekly market and beautiful weather. The
    joy that we feel when we arrive in Sanary fills us up. Yes, this is where we would live if the circumstances allowed it. We are still trying to make that move.


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