Author PJ Adams is Legally Intoxicated by Provence
Sparkling azure waters, chilled pink wine, cicada-led symphonies and the market aromas of rotisserie chickens it is easy to see how one might get drunk on the sensory indulgence of Provence.
PJ Adams grew up in California where she studied, before heading to the London School of Economics. Her degrees led to a career in marketing and publishing for Harcourt Brace Publishers and then University Associates. It was PJ’s work with authors of psychology and motivational books that nudged her towards a second Masters degree this one in counselling psychology (2000). She became a licensed family therapist and a marriage counsellor in 2003.
These days PJ is working on several book projects from a psychological thriller series called Freud’s Revenge to a Mother’s guide called Daughter Wisdom. However, it is her passion for international travel that is fuelling a “psychotherapist’s spin on the unique culture and lifestyle of the French.” Intoxicated by France.
PJ agreed to answer a few questions related to her latest publication Intoxicating Southern France: Provence & Languedoc.
When was your first trip to France?
1990. I was smitten immediately. My sister and I went to Paris and stayed near the Opera. We shopped, dined, saw the museums and the rest of the world dimmed a little for me after that. France sparkles—even in the worst moments—like when I broke my leg in France in 2012. I didn’t let it get me down; I wrote about my experience with the French healthcare system in Intoxicating Paris! I almost forgot that we also took a Seine dinner cruise in 1990 and of course it was unforgettably romantic (even with my sister!).
Can you explain what the “Intoxicating” part of Southern France means to you?
The intoxicating idea is that France bubbles with fascinating culture, mouth-watering cuisine relational intensity, historical panache, architectural magic, and more. The French embrace creativity and the enjoyment of life (dare I say pleasure?). Coming from the US where we are way too serious and work way too hard, when I step onto French soil I feel almost intoxicated emotionally and psychologically. I try to capture that feeling in my books and facilitate readers finding it too.
Can you give our readers an overview of the books? Are these guidebooks based on your travels?
The Intoxicating Paris book is a series of essaylets on a variety of topics: French Women, French Men, Ripening French Women, French Marriage and Relationships, French Parenting, Cuisine and Wine, Art and Architecture, famous “Artistes,” Dessert and Bread, French Healthcare, and how English speakers can capture some of the French magic. I talk about my views as a cultural observer and interactor. I relate quirky stories more than offer hard facts. I do talk about specific restaurants, museums, and accommodations, but the book is less a guidebook and more like a memoir.
Intoxicating Southern France has a little of the flavor of the Paris book, but it is more a guidebook with standard sections of history, navigating the five areas*, locale customs, cuisine, wine, accommodations, eateries, and lifestyle. I offer more facts laced with quirky stories about what I’ve seen, tasted, experienced, and realized.
Now that we understand why you might be “legally” intoxicated by Provence how would you describe the region to someone who is thinking of visiting for the first time?
Provence is a land of changing geography where verdant valleys end in cliff-hanging villages. Where bulls run wild on marshy lands, and where the Luberon is ringed by ancient villages like Gordes and Ménerbes that end up on book covers and in movies. Yes, this is also a place where a river runs through it—but here it’s the Rhône, hailing from the Swiss Alps and flowing freely by flourishing vineyards, Pope’s palaces, and finally out to the Mediterranean sea. Papal wine is grown in this lush land. White horses run in the Camargue. Lavender spreads like a purple carpet across the floor of the pastoral valleys. Popes have spoken to God in Avignon.
Bonus book giveaway!
Now that you are thinking of the sun-kissed south of France, PJ has generously offered to giveaway a full copy of Intoxicating Southern France to a lucky reader.
To enter: this random draw just add a creative comment below this post and tell us why you think Provence is intoxicating.
*Note: The five areas are: Bordeaux, Dordogne, Provence, Languedoc, French Riviera.