Literature

This section looks at writers and books - fiction and non-fiction - of special interest to anyone visiting Provence. We'll be adding to it constantly in due course.

New: Imagine a group of top American chefs, gourmets, food writers and intellectuals, all gathered together in Provence in the winter of 1970 to talk, cook and - of course - eat.

Provence, 1970 by Luke BarrThey included Julia Childs (memorably played by Meryl Streep in the film Julie and Julia), James Beard, Richard Olney and MFK Fisher, who lived in France for many years and captured it so vividly in classic books such as Two Towns in Provence.

Now Fisher's great-nephew Luke Barr - who has inherited his great-aunt's elegant and witty way with words - dives back into that charmed episode. Barr's book has a plain cover and rather flat title (Provence, 1970 - or, to give it its full name Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Tasteimage!). But it will be compulsive reading for anyone interested in food and in Provence, and that must include almost everyone.

It's also an intimate family memoir and a literary, insightful portrait of a watershed moment in the evolution of US cuisine and culture.

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Frederic Mistral postage stampYou won't go far in Provence before coming across the name of Frédéric Mistral, a Nobel Prize winning poet who wrote in the provençal language. Most towns have a street, school or square named after him.

The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle

Peter Mayle has almost single-handedly defined an idyllic, affectionate, gently humorous image of the rural South of France in the public imagination with his A Year in Provenceimage! series and multiple spin-offs.

Actors playing a scene from Manon des SourcesWhether you're a keen hiker or a fan of Pagnol, here's a unique experience. An all-day walk / theatrical performance takes you into the wild, craggy hills of Aubagne and the dark, comic heart of the writer's world, which actors bring to thrilling life.

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