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 20 years there, has found to be the most interesting, curious, delicious, or down-right fun.
In more than 170 entries, he speaks 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), and 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 tells us about food and drink: vin rosé, truffles, olives, melons, bouillabaisse, the cheese that killed a Roman emperor, even a cure for indigestion.
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.
©2006 Escargot Productions, Ltd; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"Mayle is the self-appointed pied piper of Provence for Anglophone Francophiles everywhere, and these entries, from 'Accent' to 'Zingue-Zingue-Zoun', display the same conversational style his fans have come to expect." (Publishers Weekly)
I have been a fan of Peter Mayle since my first listen to "French Lessons". This is an excellent and entertaining review of all things "provencale". Not for the faint of heart or casual tourist, this is deep journey, mostly on foot and often diverted. This feast leaves you both satisfied yet clamoring for more. What next?
This is really one of those books you listen to a month before you go and get a glimpse of things that might be of interest about Provence. Simple, but not something I would listen to again , unless I was going to Provence.
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