Provence Glory: Lush Photo Book Captures the Timeless Beauty of Southern France
As ancient as its Roman monuments and as fresh as the flowers in its markets, the Provence region of Southern France has a palpably layered history set against a truly swoon-worthy landscape that spans a varied corner of the country from the Southern Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. In between lie Camargue marshes, Luberon lavender fields, vineyards, medieval towns, and the bustling port city of Marseille.
Provence Glory, from luxury publisher Assouline, is a 312-page visual ode to the region with appropriately rapturous accompanying text by François Simon. In more than 200 vibrant photos and illustrations, the book celebrates the unique mix of climate and culture that has inspired generations of artists, including Cézanne, van Gogh, and Matisse.
For travelers, the tome should supply plenty of dream-board fodder and maybe even some spiritual solace. After all, as the author and Provençal lexicographer Frédéric Mistral put it, "When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence."
Here are a few of our favorite images from the book.
Pictured above: a farmhouse near Gordes
In June and July, a sea of lavender blooms in orderly rows surrounding this 12th-century Cistercian monastery near the village of Gordes, about a 45-minute drive east of Avignon.
The tallest Roman aqueduct ever built stands at a height of 49 meters (160 feet) over the Gardon River outside Avignon. The structure dates back to the first century.
The region's storied sunflowers blossom in early summer, around the same time lavender fields reach peak purple. A flower market is held daily in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville in Aix-en-Provence.
Dating to the Middle Ages, the Château de Cassis occupies a lordly hilltop position next to the Mediterranean southeast of Marseille. The property is now an upscale B&B, and it's conveniently close to the national park that shows off the impressive seaside cliffs and coves known as calanques.
Provence Glory by François Simon is available now for $95 at Assouline.com.