Crystal clear waters, local cuisine, and sleepy little towns which have remained unchanged for centuries, perhaps longer. If there’s any French destination dreamier than that of Provence, then I’d love to know! And so, if you’re looking to escape to the South of France from the comfort of your armchair, then here are the very best books about Provence!
A year in Provence – by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle’s timeless classic ‘A Year in Provence’ is a must-read for any Francophile. Scratch that, Mayle’s memoir should be read by anyone who revels in memoir-style books which are rich in descriptions and are easy to read. If you were to read just one book about Provence, then make it this.
Toujours Provence – by Peter Mayle
The sequel to the best-selling novel ‘A Year in Provence,’ is Mayle’s ‘Toujours Provence’. Inside, there are delicious descriptions of food in France, as well as proof that living in the countryside isn’t always as boring as it may sound!
Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France – by Peter Mayle
For even more Provençal adventures, Mayle’s third instalment promises more gastronomic adventures, as well as more of a glimpse into what living in Provence is actually like. Within the pages of Encore Provence, readers can expect to learn about the truffle trade and enjoy a dinner in a petrol station!
The Provence Cookbook – by Patricia Wells
If you’re a fan of French cooking, then it’s worth noting that this cookbook is full of Provençal inspired dishes, and is perfect for bringing the flavours of the sun-soaked region back home to wherever you live. In the book, there are 175 recipes, many of which use authentic Provence ingredients.
Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More! – by Marjorie R. Williams
One of the best places to go antiquing in Europe is Provence. Armchair travellers, as well as those planning a trip to Provence to go antiquing for themselves, will soon find that this guide will become their new best friend. Filled with plenty of recommendations on when are where to go, buy this book and readers may soon find themselves wanting to purchase a plane ticket straight to Provence!
The Promise of Provence (Love in Provence) – by Patricia Sands
This novel is for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over in the beautiful area of the world which is Southern France. The premise of the story is that on her 22nd wedding anniversary, Katherine Price wakes up to find a note asking for a divorce.
Nervous at the prospect of being alone, she agrees to partake in a holiday home exchange in Provence and the story takes Katherine on an adventure of food, new beginnings, and the stunning Provençal countryside.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence – by Michael Jacobs
For those who love coffee table style books, the Most Beautiful Villages of Provence should be the next addition to the collection. Filled with information about 34 breathtaking villages in the Provençal region, this book includes illustrations, beautiful photography, and even a map of where everything mentioned within the book is actually located- pretty and handy!
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence – by Martin Gayford
If you enjoy your books served with a side of history, then consider purchasing ‘the Yellow House’. Set in the charming Roman town of Arles, the book retells of how, in 1888, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin (then mostly unknown artists) lived together in October, November, and December. This fly on the wall style book explores themes of friendship, creativity, and art as a wider medium.
The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted – by Bridget Asher
If you loved reading Eat Pray Love or Under the Tuscan Sun, then this novel should be next on your to-read list. Set in Provence, the story follows the love and loss of protagonist Heidi, who has recently become a young widow.
Wishing to escape her past life, she travels to the South of France to renovate a crumbling family home. Together with her niece and son in tow, she navigates her new life in Puyloubier (one of the most beautiful towns in Provence) and learns plenty of family secrets along the way.
The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France – by Carol Drinkwater
This memoir-style book follows the journey of Carol Drinkwater, together with her partner Michel, who purchase an olive farm. Despite not having been together long, nor having a lot of money, this book follows the trials and tribulations (as well as victories) of such an unusual venture. The Olive Farm is the first of a trilogy of books detailing the story…