“This is not a general guidebook” says author Keith van Sickle in the introduction to his new book an Insider’s Guide to Provence. It offers no information on lodging for instance, though he lists accommodation guides in the resources section. “Instead, this book is a supplement to those general guidebooks, the personal favorites of an American couple living in Provence. I hope it helps make your next trip here a little more special…”
Keith’s chatty tone, his frequent anecdotes and tips such as “When I was a kid, Mom would remind me to ‘use the magic word!’ when I forgot to say please. And while please and thank you are important in France, the real magic word is bonjour (hello). It is by far the most important word you need to know” make you feel as if a friend is telling you their insider secrets to how to win friends and have a great time in France. There’s a useful section on driving, shopping and pharmacies etc.
When it comes to sight-seeing, the book concentrates mainly on St Remy-de-Provence and the area nearby, including Arles, Avignon, Nimes, Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon Valley. It’s jam packed with useful stuff, not just where to find wonderful restaurants but also vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, speciality foods and how to find them. There’s a recommendation for how to spend a week in Provence – what to see and where to go.
The book covers local markets, the best places for lunch, where to find the greatest views, Roman sites, festivals, where to go wine tasting, and secret spots known only to locals. There are snippets of history and tales of local folklore. And throughout, it’s as if Keith is telling you the best bits, sharing his experiences with a gentle sense of humour and a true love of Provence. The e-book is full of useful links to further reading and more information.
It’s a super add on to any general guidebook of the area. This book shares with the reader, the real Provence which can only be known after years of exploring and by having local friends who are kind enough to share its secrets.
Available in print and digital on Amazon