21 Jun 2016

On Location: A Good Year

On Location, A Good Year on vickiarcher.com

One of the most endearing features of A Good Year is the location.

If you have a trip planned to Provence you might like to visit some of the areas where the movie was made. A Good Year was filmed in the region of Provence called the Luberon. Hilltop villages, fruit orchards, lavender fields; the Luberon has an abundance of natural beauty and is an area of Provence not to be missed.

And the dialogue,

Fanny Chenal: [Fanny approaches a customer who is behind a raised newspaper] Bonjour. Vous avez choisi?

Max Skinner: [lowers newspaper] I think so.

Fanny Chenal: [recognizing him] You sure you don’t need more time?

Max Skinner: No, I know what I want.

Fanny Chenal: You’re sure?

Max Skinner: Absolutely.

Fanny Chenal: So, what is it to be?

Max Skinner: How’s the soup?

Fanny Chenal: The soup is finished.

Max Skinner: Like my job… The fish?

Fanny Chenal: We’ve run out.

Max Skinner: That’s like me with excuses.

Fanny Chenal: Don’t waste my time. Choose something we have.

Max Skinner: I would like a lifetime spent with an irrational and suspicious goddess, some short-tempered jealousy on the side, and a bottle of wine that tastes like you, a glass that’s never empty.


On Location: A Good Year

Chateau la Canorgue

Chateau la Canorgue, the house Max inherits in the movie, is a working vineyard and is about a mile from the town of Bonnieux. The Chateau is on the road between Bonnieux and the Pont Julien. The movie was filmed inside the chateau and outside in the garden and vineyards.

*Cellar door open in May, June, July, and August, from Monday to Friday, from 9.00 am to 7.00pm and on Saturday from 9.00 am to 12.00 and 2.00 to 7.00pm.


A wonderful scene in the film is when Max and Fanny meet for a first date. An old fashioned movie is playing in the background and their table is in front of a very large basin surrounded by plane trees. This village is tiny and the location beautiful.

*Worth a trip for lunch at La Petite Maison de Cucuron,

Place de l’Étang, 84160 Cucuron
+33 (0) 4 90 68 21 99 

Gordes, Lacoste, Bonnieux
Fanny’s bistro was filmed at Hôtel le Renaissance in Gordes.
Bonnieux and Lacoste are the villages seen in the panoramic scenes and Cafe de France in Lacoste is where Max and Christie meet.

* A visit to the Luberon is not complete without exploring these hilltop villages. They are what Provence is all about.
*Market days are Tuesdays (Lacoste, Gordes, Cucuron) and Fridays (Lourmarin, Bonnieux).

What to wear?
If there is one piece I never leave home without it is the field jacket. This style takes me everywhere and works with everything. The weather is variable in Provence and a jacket like this one takes little room in the suitcase and is the piece I wear the most.

Don’t leave home without it :) xv

Wearing On Location

madewell ‘fleet’ jacket in palm tree  ||  hinge military jacket in washed olive

images estellane and sable house

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In This Post:




Visited Chateau La Canorgue in April of 2011 while on a cruise day trip. Hired a private driver and the movie with Russell Crowe came up in conversation and he said he would take us to the location. Ridley Scott chose this home because he had apparently been there before. Although we were only allowed to walk the grounds, we did taste the wine and took lots of pictures in front of the house. I will always remember that afternoon fondly.


One of my favorite summer reads by Peter Mayle and the movie is my guilty pleasure…everytime its on, no matter where in the film, I sit down and enjoy and wish I would inherit a Chateau in Provence.

david terry

Oh, Vicki….how funny…..I showed “A Good Year” just the other day to a 67 year-old, lovelorn friend (his wife, a longtime friend of mine, died quite unexpectedly four years ago….and he’s finally decided that just maybe-perhaps he’s allowed to have a crush on another friend of mine who’s been living the divorced/single life for at least 25 years???????). I’m well-aware that the film isn’t going to go down in the annals of cinematic history as GREAT ART (much like “Under the Tuscan Sun”….unexpectedly enough, the author of the actual book, Frances Mayes, is my neighbor & friend these days). Still????….”A Good Year” and “Under the Tuscan Sun” are (like Sydney Pollack’s “Out of Africa”) absolutely wonderful, invigorating, positive tonics for anyone who’s feeling low or dispirited about life and love. Suffice it to say that a little romance and sympathetic lighting go a long way towards making anyone suddenly think “Oh, that could happen to ME, too!!!”.

In short, I’m a great fan of such movies. I can readily choose and watch three-hour documentaries on the Holocaust or yet another Ingmar Bergman film anytime I choose to display my “serious”, supposedly academic credentials and taste. What’s the point of doing THAT, at our age?????????

As for “A good Year” and its locations??????……I’ve been to Gordes, Bonnieux, and the hilltop villages many times now…..and, yes, they’re lovely. I do have to say (happily so since I read the reviews once I’d returned home, and I found my opinion confirmed) that the nastiest hotel-experience we ever had in France (and Herve is, after all, genuinely French) was at “Hostellerie Le Roy Soleil”. I gathered that the cast of “A Good Year” stayed there during the filming. After that beguiling introduction, Herve and I spent five days basically camping out in the joint…….we kept wandering around, wondering if anyone (outside of the restaurant, which seemed to stay busy) actually WORKED here; it was impossible to find an employee who could answer a question such as “Ummmmm…..you say you have wi-fi, but you don’t seem to have it anywhere but the lobby?” or “It’s nice of you to have taken away the previous day’s sheets this morning, but when might we expect some new ones?”. All in all, it was so dreadful that we kept looking at each other, wondering if this was some “You’re on ‘Candid Camera!’ stunt”. As Herve said “I feel like we’;ve gotten on board a ship where there was a complete mutiny twelve hours before we arrived…..”

We settled for simply ignoring that hotel and enjoying the splendors (A word I rarely use….but I mean it when I use it) of all (or at least a lot of) the Luberon villages. My favorite anecdote (which only makes sense if you know that Herve and I slip in and out of French/English, and that I’m from Tennessee) is from Lacoste. For some reason, I slipped into English as we were trudging up the street to the ruined chateau….and, suddenly, a very large (is that the polite term these days?) and obviously bored, twenty-something girl hopped up from a doorstep and declared (in a REALLY deep Southern accent) “Oh, Mah GAWD!!!!Y’all are from THE SOUTH!!!!! I am TOO!!!!!!!!”. Turns out that the Savannah School of Arts and Design has a Lacoste campus, and the entire village is pullulating with bored sophomores who probably should have taken their eight-week vacance in Paris, Montpelier, or some other university town where something actually “happens”.. We couldn’t shake those girls (two of her American friends joined us) for at least two, dreadful hours. It was the sort of grim, but very amusing experience that one happily remembers afterwards.

Oh, I forgot……..the last night that we were in the Luberon, we went to one of the two restaurants in Menerbes. I liked the dog sitting next to me (he belonged to the lady sitting at the table next to us)….so, I petted him….and we ended up discovering that the English woman (whom I didn’t recall having ever met) had lived next door to me in Oxford for two years. small world, isn’t it?????…..

Thanks for the obviously evocative posting,
David Terry

Anita Rivera

I MUST see this, this is one I missed! Why oh why do these French countryside scenes leave me elated and breathless? Peaceful, sensual, sunny areas with such a casual way of living, attention to detail, but not too stuffy. Just right.

We shall be watching this this week!

david terry

Dear Anita……..given your comment?…..you should also see Charlotte Rampling in “The Swimming Pool”. I’ve watched it perhaps four or five times with friends. It’s full of sex, violence, intrigue, and any number of other crowd-pleasing things, but?……..I return to it when I want to see Rampling simply rambling along a Provencal street……stopping for a bit have a coffee by herself at a cafe…..settling into the house (alone; she’s on a “writing vacation” and staying at the secluded house of her British publisher), etcetera. The lurid parts of the film (which is, indeed, a fine one) are what most folks recall; I particularly relish all those moments when Rampling is alone and quite simply enjoying the pleasures of having a Provencal country house to herself for a month.

Of course….she doesn’t get to be alone for very long…….otherwise, there wouldn’t be much of a plot, I suppose.

sincerely, david terry

Dale White

For those that are really serious about a week or more in the Luberon, based in Bonnieux, check out
TheLuberonExperience.com website. Many wonderful photos and details about your week in the most beautiful part of Provence, the Luberon. My wife and I have done this and highly recommend it, plus Charlie and Kathy Wood will take you to Chateau La Canorgue for a tour and wine tasting as they know the owners, very well! Kathy and Charlie are a delightful couple from Knoxville, Tn. and they know this country so well, from many previous trips they have sponsored.


Thank you for this insight – I am looking to book a trip here next year – currently scouring the internet for hints and tips of where to stay!

Lisa Thomson

One of my favorite, all time movies.Max was incorrigible and the other characters are also wonderful. The scenery, the chateau..beautiful. Thanks for sharing this info, Vicki. One day i would love to visit. For now, I’ll put the movie on. Again.


Can I just say, this is one of my all time favorites!!! I watch it when I’m missing Provence and just love the music too, by the way. The soundtrack is fabulous!! It’s right up there with French Kiss (a good fix for Paris and Provence,) Only You (perfect for Italian pining for Rome and Positano,) and of course Under the Tuscan Sun for Love and Italy!!
Thanks for the locations though, I’m going to check that out. Fun to see where they shot that movie – such perfect locations.

Audrey Friedman

Oh Vicki, thanks for reminding me. This is one of my favorite movies. I need to Netflix it and see it again. Brings back lots of memories.
Thinking of you and the wonderful time I had at Le Petit Bijoux. I have recommended it several times and hope some of friends get to stay there.
Warmest and best regards to you and David…….


Beautiful setting, some good dialogue and over all, fairly entertaining. This movie lacks depth & development however, and I can think of many other actors that would have been an asset as the main character over Russell Crowe.
If one is longing for the beauty of Provence, this movie will serve as a pleasant escape. Makes for light, summer entertainment.

Wendy Going Forward

This is one of my favorite films. I am not a fan of Russell Crow, but he was actually tolerable in this. The thought of this film just put a smile on my face.
The book “The House In France” by Gully Wells is a lovly story that paints a beautiful picture of provincial life

JoAnne Bassett

I love this movie.. the scenery.. the love story… Also under the Tuscan Sun… romantic. When I come to Provence I will have to check out the places mentioned that were in the film. So interesting to learn about all of these.
I am a natural perfumer and love Grasse but do love to explore other areas.


Thank you for the great post Vicki! I’m going to have to watch the DVD again as everyone was great and the dialogue is very amusing.
But now I have to add your post to my list of places to go see in France!
Merci beaucoup!

John Cummings

Hi Vicki, We are staying in Avignon in September and are intending to explore the Luberon, taking in the locations of the film ‘A Good Year’, but still needed to research there exact locations. Having just come across your blog from last year we have all the information we need, so thank you!

anna moody

Does anyone know the location of the night out for Max &Fanny. He met her; brought a bottle of wine; it suddenly rained; band folded up etc,


Great post! We have been planning to visit the province exploring the beautiful landscape shown in this fantastic movie. Your post is of great help finding the best places and time to hopefully taste some of this mysteriously wine. Thanks very much!


Thank you so much for your fantastic website – I am planning a trip around A Good Year locations for my partners 40th next year; I had no idea where to start!


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