Whether you're planning a walking holiday in Provence or a biking tour of Provence, the chances are you'll want to know all there is to know about the beautiful area of France. If you have time, read a few books on Provence before you go. If you don't have time, pack a couple of books in your bag and read them while you're on holiday. Our self-guided Provence walking and cycling holidays will also offer you a wealth of tips and information, but you can't beat a good book for full-on Provence immersion.
Great books to read while in Provence
Provence has inspired many writers, from novelists to food critics, to pick up a pen and excite others about the wonders of the scenery, atmosphere, gardens, art, and food. Here is our favorite selection of books:
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle Mayle's infectious humor and brilliant writing takes the reader on a journey to discover the joys of French rural living. This is a best-selling book, and it's no wonder! Mayle and his wife did what most of us only imagine doing when they made their dream of a life abroad a reality. They bought an old farmhouse in the Lubéron Valley and began a new life. In a year that starts with a marathon lunch and continues with a host of gastronomic delights, they also survive the unexpected and often hilarious curiosities of rural life. This is a fabulous book to read while in Provence.
Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle A second enjoyable helping of rural life in France sees skulking through customs with a suitcase full of truffles, taking lessons in pastis, and finding gold at the bottom of the garden.
Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle The third book by Mayle is a novel of romance and adventure, again set in Provence. Cezanne in Provence The life and work of acclaimed artist Paul Cezanne is deeply rooted in his native Provence. The book reveals 50 of Cezanne's oil paintings and several watercolors and drawings.
Gardens in Provence by Louisa Jones
Although published in 2001, this book is still a treasure trove of some fabulous Provence gardens. You'll head off on a private tour of some of the best-hidden garden gems in the south of France. With its extensive plant list and visitor's guide, this book is a fantastic source of inspiration for garden lovers.
A Pig in Provence - This is the story of how author Georgeanne Brennan fell in love with Provence and how food can unite a community. In great detail, Brennan tells of the herders who maintain a centuries-old grazing route, of the community feast that brings a town to one table, and of the daily joys of living by the cycles of food and nature.
The Illustrated Olive Farm - The Olive Farm Trilogy is the story of the love affair between actress Carol Drinkwater and TV producer Michel Noll and a Provencal olive farm, Appassionata, which they fell in love with, bought and with little money restored with the aim of producing the most refined olive oil. Carol and Michel document their life on the olive farm in The Illustrated Olive Farm book.
Valuable guide books for Provence
- Rick Steves’ Provence & the French Riviera
- Guide Du Routard France: Guide Du Routard Provence 2012
- Provence Green Guide (Michelin Green Guides)
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Provence & The Cote d'Azur
- Provence (Cadogan Guides Provence)