Allow Books to Guide Your Travels Through Provence
Travel Guides for Provence
Remember when we carried around hefty paperbacks to guide our travels? In the 1980s, long before smartphones, tourists faithfully checked these guidebooks for reviews on hotels, restaurants and the must-see sights. Backpackers conscious of space and weight often discarded the pages for a city or region once they had visited. These travel ‘bibles’ have been virtually replaced by handheld devices that allow us to download Apps for walking tours, check real-time reviews, make dinner bookings, and order a driver.
Not only is Provence – Alpes – Côte d’Azur (PACA) a mouthful it is also immense geography and hard to tackle in a short vacation or even an extended stay. The following list is not of guidebooks in the traditional sense, but rather a way to discover the best of the region based on these personal experiences. These titles are not travel journals; they are reference sources to help you make the most of your time in this vast and beautiful part of France.
Authors and Local’s tips
Note: Click on book images to order your copies.
PJ Adams is a psychologist by day and a Francophile during all her other waking moments. Adams has published several books about different regions of France. Passionate about the country it makes perfect sense that these books are her “Intoxicating” series. Intoxicating Southern France and the Provence & Languedoc Spotlight offer quirky highlights and incites to the area. “Above all, it’s a guide to the delights of Provence and the Languedoc for those who journey here–or dream of doing so one day.”
Lynne Alderson and her husband split their time between the United Kingdom and the South of France. Alderson has a masters in English Language and Literature from the University of Edinburgh University. Her career stops included work for London-based magazines and marketing communications. During her time as the editor of the Anglo American Group of Provence (AAGP) member’s newsletter, she shared that the publication often received specifics on current events too late for the distribution timeline. So, she launched her blog Aixcentric as an information resource for cultural and other happenings. Alderson has written two books with background details on some of the key figures and artists who lived in Provence. Please read our reviews of “Aix-en-Provence, The Inside Story” and “Art in the South of France, The Inside Story”.
Huntley Baldwin and his wife Joan travelled to Provence many times, enough trips to rent five (5) different houses on 12 separate occasions. Their approach to visiting the region was to settle into a home and day trip from that base, as their urge and energy permitted. As they travelled around Provence, Baldwin recorded many of their experiences with a paintbrush and his sense of humour. “This book is as much about how to get along in Provence as what to see (although we offer suggestions for this, too.)” Published posthumously, “The Provence Book: A Guide with Fables” is a delightful read and makes for an excellent gift for a friend.
Georgeanne Brennan is no stranger to Provence. This author has published over 30 books. What more could this award-winning cookbook author possibly write about the lifestyle in Provence? Then along came “Windows on Provence, Musings on the Food, Wine and Culture of the South of France” published in April 2018, by Yellow Pear Press. The book is a quick read yet covers vast geography. Each chapter includes two components the first is a description of a cornerstone element of lifestyle in Provence, including food, markets, wine, traditional crafts, and historic scenery. The second part contains Brennan’s words of advice on how to make the most of your visit to a particular town. Please read our review of this book here.
Jean François Galeron is a photographer, based in Saint Etienne du Grès in the Alpilles. Since 1982, he has travelled the world covering Grand Prix racing events. In his downtime, he turned his camera lens to the slower natural pace of the Alpilles. His book Lumières des Alpilles, published in December 2016, is the result of a project he contemplated for 30 years. Galeron’s stunning images cover 212-pages. This book is a terrific souvenir or gift for some who loves Provence.
Where to find a copy?:
La Maison de la Presse in Saint-Rémy
La Presse in Eygalières
Office de Tourisme Les Baux de Provence
Lumières des Alpilles Facebook page
Send your order via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Johnson is a Canadian textile designer and artist. She returned to Toronto, Ontario after challenging her artistic skills in New York City for seven years. Whether you have been to the French Riviera countless times or have always dreamed of the place, Virginia Johnson’s “Travels Through the French Riviera” is an insider’s guide from an artist’s perspective. Johnson is a Canadian designer and illustrator, and her book is a compilation of many years of exploration along the Côte d’Azur with her sketchbook and paintbrushes.
Co-authors John Walsh and Hanna Reynolds combined their cycling talents and love of France into “France en Velo, The Ultimate Cycle Journey from Channel to Med – St. Malo to Nice.” This book is perhaps more of a guidebook than the others mentioned in this article. The pages include beautiful photography, tips for things to see, places to stay and details on how to get from place to place on two wheels. Here, is our review of France en Velo.
Mary Kay Seales wrote “The Beginner’s Guide to the French Riviera,” after 17 years of travelling to the French Riviera each summer. Published by French Press Travel Books in 2016, the book is a collection of personal notes and photographs organised as a resource guide for the first time traveller to the French Riviera. The book focuses primarily on Nice and Villefranche sur Mer, but her suggestions are valid for much of the Côte d’Azur. Here, is the book review.