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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,
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“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
The urge to indulge oneself in the delights of everything Provence is symptomatic of the impoverished assumption that everything in the region is authentic, e.g. made in Provence. Not so. Market day somewhere in Provence. You approach a stand displaying … Continue reading