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Provence A-Z (Provence)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  610 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The author of the bestselling A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence has joined forces with one of England's most admired painters to create a vibrant and evocative book that brings to life the exquisite countryside of southern France. 30 full-color illus.
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published (first published October 1st 1993)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 02, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
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
Tim Martin
Sep 25, 2016 Tim Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, history, reviewed
This was an easy, fun read, an A to Z catalogue of what interested one noted travel writer about his adopted home of Provence. I will admit to being a little disappointed when I first got the book and flipped through it, not finding entries for subjects that interested me, such as the Pont du Gard, the Camargue, or the Calanques, but as the author put it, he “tried to avoid the more celebrated landmarks, buildings, and monuments” and “neglected great tracts of glorious countryside,” leaving thos ...more
Dec 24, 2016 Leigh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good one for travelers planning to visit Provence.
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
Apr 08, 2010 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2008 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 25, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
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
Richard Brand
Jan 03, 2012 Richard Brand rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Haythem Bastawy
Jul 26, 2013 Haythem Bastawy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rhonda Sue
Apr 12, 2016 Rhonda Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this audiobook version very much. The British narrator had a great French accent as well. If you like history, food, and travel, and France, you will learn some cool facts and feel like you're actually in Provence. It's a little challenging to absorb everything here while driving in the car, but it was quite enjoyable. I may have to read some other books by this author too. Merci beaucoup!
Marta Dulce Și Gavina
What a brilliant book! Dry, ironic humor, keen eye for picturesque details, love for the simple life you can lead only in the country, love for stories people like to tell, whether they are true or not (after all, each expert has their opinion and stories to tell; Mayle likes to quote the most incredible ones)... I'm in love with this book (and the Polish translation is amazingly good!). Recommended for all, not only those who fell for Provence.
Nov 11, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 01, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
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.
Dianne Lipe
Provence A-Z is as it sounds, all things to do with Provence for each letter of the alphabet. I found some of it to be amusing but was mostly bored. Perhaps if I had placed the book somewhere with the intention of reading it for very short periods of time (rather than straight through to the end), I might have enjoyed it more.
Apr 30, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Fun little book written like an encyclopedia, A to Z, about places, people, history, etc. in Provence. Peter Mayle has written several books about his move from England to France - since his fist, "A Year in Provence". All have the same style. His books are good as travel literature but not very helpful as travel guides.
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.
Feb 23, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 21, 2013 Almae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 01, 2010 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, read-in-2010
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.
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.
Sep 13, 2015 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pictures in this are worth a look, as Loxton has an earthy style that marries Cezanne and Gaughin, but the icing, of course, is Mayle's charming, funny, and spot on adoration of the folk of Provence. Short but very sweet.
Aug 31, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, nonfiction
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.
Oct 07, 2010 Avary rated it liked it
Shelves: own, kindle-book
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.
Apr 10, 2010 Colleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 17, 2014 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france-setting
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.
Jun 08, 2008 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Nov 14, 2011 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 08, 2007 Adrienne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-read
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.
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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

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