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PROVENCE: GEOGRAPHY MATTERS
“Provence” has more efficacy as a "brand" than as a place. One rarely if ever hears any residents of the Vaucluse say that they live in "Provence." The word is heard frequently in its adjectival form: provençal.
As geography, the term "Provence" suffers abuse. The French consider contemporary 'Provence' to take in three administrative department:
Confusion pops up due to the administrative region PACA: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
When "Provence" is employed for the department of the Var (Toulon, St, Tropez) or the department of the Alpes-Maritime (Côte d'Azur) or even the five departments of the Languedoc-Roussillon, it is the "brand" asserting itself.
This is a regional distinction that Peter Mayle buys into 100% in his book Provence A-Z. In fact, if Mayle had been 'geographically-correct,' his iconic best seller would have been titled "A Year in the Luberon."
The Luberon and the Comtat Venaissin, referred to as the “Comtat,” are the two large regions within the Vaulcuse,
Category Archives: Reportage
“What’s the point,” was the bemused reaction of a confrere in the Vaucluse to a first read last fall of an article in the New York Times, “Steal My Vacation: Norma Kamali’s Provence” by Stephanie Rosenbloom. A footnote informed readers … Continue reading
Gîtes are the ultimate visitor experience in Provence. A gîte is where you can indulge in the Provencal lifestyle, taking your leisure in the shade of olive trees or at poolside, and grazing on a fresh vegetable-garlic-olive oil-based cuisine. Neither … Continue reading
“You must know it’s right The spore is on the wind tonight…” Steely Dan, Rose Darling Is it a bed and breakfast? Or is it a painting, an art work à la provençale? Both, when you find yourself amidst the … Continue reading
“Let’s get lost, lost in each other’s arms Let’s get lost, let them send out alarms And though they’ll think us rather rude Let’s tell the world we’re in that crazy mood.” Chet Baker If you are in a romantic … Continue reading
“A fragrance that blows cool and warm, dry and sweet. A landscape in Provence, dry earth, fragrant purple fields, the wind of the mistral… draped in a luxurious coat of mouthwatering licorice.” Jean-Claude Ellena, creator of “Brin de Réglisse” … Continue reading
“It is something to do with the light, I suppose, and the airiness and bareness and frugality of life in the Midi, which induces a simplicity of thought, and a kind of whittling to the bone whatever may be the … Continue reading
Peel me a grape, crush me some ice, Skin me a peach, save the fuzz for my pillow. Talk to me nice, talk to me nice, You’ve got to wine me and dine me! Blossom Dearie Fabulous in so many … Continue reading
Is there any terrestrial paradise where, amidst the whispering of the olive-leaves, people can be with whom they like and have what they like and take their ease in shadows and in coolness? – Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier … Continue reading
Yes secrets black with wine, and gold with honey, landscapes of an almost brutal serenity piled one upon another with quixotic profusion, as if to provoke the historic confrontations which have made them significant, muddling up the sacred and the … Continue reading