Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook” as Want to Read:
Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook (Provence)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  489 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The ultimate “dictionary” for lovers of Provence: Peter Mayle's personal selection of the foods, customs and words he finds most fascinating, curious, delicious, or just plain fun.

Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. In more than 170 entries, Peter Mayle—bestselling author of A Year in Provence—writes about subjects as wide-ranging
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by Vintage (first published October 1st 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Provence A-Z, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Provence A-Z

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 826)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rachel
This is an absolutely delightful book that can be read as a series of essays (sometimes very brief) on a wide-ranging list of topics concerning Provence. Over the years, Mayle has built up in me a stunning and almost wholly unrealistic view of Provence: a place that shines in my mind with quiet vineyards; lazy, warm afternoons under deep blue skies; the tang of salt in the air from the Mediterranean; meals consisting of olives, grapes, figs, and honey, with truffles and garlic everywhere; and qu ...more
Anne
What's not to like about this quirky gazetteer to all things Provencal? Just including an entry on the wonderful sel de Camargue made it a winner for me. Although the book is completely Mayle idiosyncratic, it has all the legendary charm of Provence and more than a bit of valuable information among all the miscellanea that he chooses to include. I think that my favorite anecdote involved the rhinoceros on the island of If outside of Marseilles. Highly recommended as a bathroom book, but also as ...more
Beronica
I liked this book. It confirmed what I have learned from my encounters with French people and gave me answers to cultural matters from quirks to serious stuff for them. I enjoyed the jokes and scenic descriptions of Provence. It was nice that the author was English in a humanly western way to help me as an American to understand mes amis. And if I were to ever visit France, Provence would be at the top of the list to stroll through. I thought it was curious the author did not use the French alph ...more
Barb
I thought this book was really interesting and fun to read. A light-hearted, witty account of all things Provencal. Peter Mayle (author of "A Year in Provence" et al) takes the reader from A - Z with snippets of interesting and unique insights into Provence.
Clare
This was excellent pre-trip reading for my birthday excursion to Provence. I was expecting to learn a ton of trivia about the region (which I did, and often regaled my traveling companions with), but I was pleasantly surprised by the humor and wit Mayle brought to his Provençal encyclopedia. (I'm afraid I displayed far less humor and wit in retelling his tales.) Having started Toujours Provence directly after this (it was in the library of our townhouse, and also I'm sort of in love with Peter M ...more
Sandra
Whether you have been to Provence,are going to Provence, always have wanted to go to Provence, or all of the previous mentioned, this book is for you. Mayle leads the reader through an alphabetical assortment of Provencal characters, foods, and traditions with great humor and personal insights. I love Mayle's writings about this area because he has the knack of inserting French phrases amidst the English, and even though I don't know French well the meaning of the word or phrase makes perfect se ...more
Patti
This is a wonderful introduction to the Provence region of France. Mayle's explanations are informative with a touch of humor. A very enjoyable read!
Nancy
A good book to expose one to French culture. I was especially attracted to the sections on food--the "Liste des 13 desserts" made me salivate. I like all the definitions of French phrases, but a pronunciation guide would be helpful. I also liked reading about historic personages like Nostradamus, and Alexandre Dumas who had such a passion for the melons of Cavaillon that he traded books for them. He made a gift to the town of all the volumes he had written in return for a dozen melons every year ...more
Haythem Bastawy
Provence is a light, witty and humorous book full of all sorts of interesting pieces of information on Provence. It's amazing to know that Provence had a language of its own, now what remains of it is the distinct provence dialect. There are also a lot of delicious recipes and descriptions of food and wine, along with the picturesque hilly countryside.

I read the book before going to Paris for a couple of days and although Provence and Paris don't get along very well, they still share the quaint
...more
Richard Brand
I got this in one of those Christmas exchange gifts. I did not buy it and it was wrapped when I picked it so I did not know what I was getting. Mayle writes winsomely and entertainingly, but I had almost no interest in Provence. I have never been to that part of France and have little desire to go to that area. So I had very little interest in the whole book. Apparently, Mayle has been able to make a living writing about Provence. This is his 11 book. If you like to read about Provence, then you ...more
David Bustamante
Enjoyable and entertaining "reference book".
Rachel
I love Peter Mayle's work so much. I love France so much. This book is very fun to read and goes quickly. I wrote down a few of the places to visit someday, and there are a few dishes I'd like to try too. Anyone who likes Mayle's other books will like this.
Nancy
An enjoyable way to learn about the culture and history of the Provence region. Good information told with stories and Mayle's typical good humor. Not an exhaustive encyclopedic work, to be sure, but a great book to take along on a trip to the region, or just to read with a glass of wine in hand on a cold winter day.
Sarah
I love all Peter Mayle's books based in Provence, they always make me want to move back to France! This book I listened to as an audiobook and it was a great one to 'dip' in and out of. Mayle is great at making you feel as if you are really there, enjoy the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of southern France.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is fun if you've enjoyed Mayle's other books on Provence. He has picked out a few Provencal objects or topics for each letter of the alphabet and given a little description or discussion of each one. It's interesting because he has picked out things that other writers don't tell about.
Louis
A lighthearted alphabetical look at the things that make Provence so special.Makes for a great companion book to Peter Mayle's Provence series. Recommended for anyone who has read the Provence books , any Francophile or anyone who wants to visit this region.
Shannon
After living in Provence for a short time even I could see that this book hit some of the aspects of Provencal life on the head. It could have had a little more personality, however. To be fair, though, I like books dripping with sarcasm and wit.
Deondra
It was a little hard to get into because I don't know anything about Provence, so I had no point of reference for the information. The author's humor was quite dry and very British, so some of it was lost on me. It was not a bad book, though.
Adrienne
Currently reading this book, an alphabetical assortment of the littler-known charms and tales of the daily milieu of Provence. Really, i am trying to brush up on my witticisms for my trip to Southern France, Spain and Italy next summer.
Avary
Read this during our trip to France (Burgundy and Provence) so it was quite interesting. I learned things about the area while we were there -- and found additional details/clarification of things our guides had talked about. A fun read.
Carol
Everything you ever wanted to know about Provence in alphabetical order. Written in Peter Mayle's usual style of humor mixed with good information. It's fun to read about places we have visited and customs we have experienced.
Colleen
This audio book was the perfect accompaniment to several projects I was working on. Without a story-line, it was easy to start and stop and brought back many pleasant memories of our trip to Provence. I'm ready to go again.
Pat
I read this on a cruise down the Rhone River. So helpful to figure out all the wonderful terms from Provence. It was also funny, enlightening, entertaining, and useful.

Peter Mayle has captured Provence.
Deb Holden
I started to listen to the audio and decided I really needed to see the French words in print so I am also getting a print copy to follow along. Not worth the time to read unless you are going to Provence.
Sandy
another very entertaining book by the famous author of books on life in contemporary Provence. Always a laugh and a smile listening to or reading these amusing 'asides' of human whimsy and behaviour abroad.
Eric
A few good ideas about a vacation in Provence but most of the information is superflous unless you were really (and I mean really) interested in spending a lot of time in Provence.
Adam
So much fun to read about Provence, always, if you like France and French food/culture this book is delight. Caution: it's not wise to read this book on an empty stomach.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Its appeal was also its downfall: The little stories were often just a bit too little. I should have stuck with the abridgement.
Aviva
I'm so glad I read this, if only for pieds et paquets, which were delicious. I should have read it earlier in the trip planning though.
Andy
Great, eclectic selection of topics about Provence, ranging from Masses in honor of the truffle to a man-made bamboo forest.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 27 28 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Paris Tales
  • Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul
  • Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910
  • Secret London - an Unusual Guide
  • Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of the City's Most Illustrious Figures
  • The Paris Cookbook
  • The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
  • Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French
  • Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France
  • French or Foe?: Getting the Most Out of Visiting, Living and Working in France
  • Foreign Tongue: A Novel of Life and Love in Paris
  • At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's Journey of Discovery
  • Paris Was Ours
  • Murder in Clichy (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #5)
  • The Marais Assassin (Victor Legris, #4)
  • Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order 1940-1944
  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
  • Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
19316
Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939 in Brighton) is a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in advertising before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books, including a series on sex education for children and young people. In 1989, A Year in Provence was published and became an international bestseller. His books have be ...more
More about Peter Mayle...

Other Books in the Series

Provence (7 books)
  • A Year in Provence
  • Toujours Provence
  • Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France
  • Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence
  • Provence from the Air
  • A Chef In Provence
A Year in Provence Toujours Provence Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew A Good Year

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »