Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, things have gone from chilly to downright snowy in the south of France. It would probably surprise a lot of folks to know that the inland areas of the region get a decent amount of snow most years. While it takes away a bit of the myth of south-of-France weather, it does make for some pretty amazing postcard-like images of hilltop villages all dressed up for the winter.
We’re keeping warm huddled up next to the fire and having a big cookie bake-fest this weekend. That, along with the afternoon of waffles I promised my daughter for the Sunday gouter (snack hour) are not doing my pre-holiday diet any favors.
Another thing I’ve had the pleasure of doing is cuddling up with a good book. Not a whole lot gets me more excited than talking about Provence, so taking the time to discover Keith Van Sickle’s new book, An Insider’s Guide to Provence, has been a real treat.
If you’re familiar with Keith’s previous books, One Sip at a Time, and, Are We French Yet?, you might feel, as I do, that he’s the perfect fit for a book of this nature. Far from a quick overview of places to see and where to stay in Provence, An Insider’s Guide is a generous effort to take the reader to spots the average traveler might miss.
Keith and his wife Val spend part of each year in the south of France – staying close to their beloved Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, but also venturing further afield to explore some of the well-known (Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles) and lesser-known (Les Baux-de-Provence, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Lacoste) gems of the region.
With more than 20 years of Provence travel experience under his belt, Keith has quite seen and done it all – bringing us his best insider tidbits in an easily digestible, lighthearted format.
The book starts out with some general guidelines for visiting Provence, like adopting a slower pace and really stopping to smell the roses… or lavender in this case. Indeed, one of my favorite lines in the book jumped right out at me in the first chapter – ¨”I like to say that Provence moves at the pace of the seasons rather than the speed of the Internet,” writes Keith. Exactly what makes visiting this region such a treat.
After covering other important elements like the best time to visit, the south of France’s cherished outdoor markets, regional food specialities, and even some fun reading to dive into before you go, Keith gives us a detailed initerary for a experience-packed, one-week visit.
You’ll find all the biggies – like Avignon and St. Rémy – and be treated to a walk-through of the must-do sights and activities at each destination. Further enhancing the week, Keith shares his 10 Favorite Things to Do in Provence, which was my favorite section of the book. Going beyond the tourist route, the reader learns how to experience Provence like the locals do – top picnic spots, beautiful hikes, and even cycling trails.
Other chapters in An Insider’s Guide focus on Keith and Val’s beloved St.-Rémy-de-Provence, The Luberon Valley, The Rhone Valley Wine Region, Roman Provence, Jewish Provence, and a thorough Resources section for the region.
The beauty of Provençal markets.
Keith’s informative and humorous style of writing is always a treat. I’m very happy to be able to give away an ebook copy of An Insider’s Guide to Provence. To enter to win, please leave a comment below telling us where you would like to visit in Provence – a city, village, natural park, or other, that has captured your interest.
One comment will be chosen at random, using random.org, on Saturday, December 18th, 2021 at 12:00 EST.
Thank you very much for participating and good luck – bonne chance!
An Insider’s Guide to Provence is available on Amazon.
You can follow Keith’s French adventures on his website: https://keithvansickle.com/