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Provence A-Z (Hardcover)
An indispensable, richly informative, and always entertaining sourcebook on Provence by the writer who has made the region his own.
Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. It is rather a selection of those aspects of Provence that Peter Mayle in almost twenty years there has found to be the most interesting, curious, delicious, or down-right fun.
In more than 170 entries he writes about subjects as wide-ranging as architecture and zingue-zingue-zoun (in the local patois, a word meant to describe the sound of a violin), as diverse as expatriates, Aix-en-Provence, the Provençal character, legends, lavender, linguistic oddities, the museum of the French Foreign Legion, the museum of the corkscrew, the origins of “La Marseillaise,” and a bawdy folklore character named Fanny.
And, of course, he writes about food and drink: vin rosé, truffles, olives, melons, bouillabaisse, the cheese that killed a Roman emperor, even a cure for indigestion. The wonderful accompanying artwork includes curiosities Mayle has gathered over the years—matchbooks, drawings, century-old ads, photos, tourist brochures, maps.
Provence A-Z is a delight for Peter Mayle’s ever-growing audience and the perfect complement to any guidebook on Provence, or, for that matter, France.
“Mayle's affection for lavender fields and languid lunched continues unabated-and so does his influence.”
“Mayle's magpie dictionary yields amusing facts . . . and useful information. . . . You'll soon succumb to his road-tested charm.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Whether he's smacking his lips in gustatory contentment or mock exasperation, Mayle's affection runneth over. . . . If there is anything charmless or depressing in all of Provence, its secret is safe with him.”
—The Boston Globe
“After nearly two decades of writing about the character and the characters of Provence, Mayle's love for this rich and colorful region is undiminished.”
—The Christian Science Monitor