6 books directly related to Southern France 📚

All 6 Southern France books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Break of Day

Break of Day

By Colette, Enid McLeod (translator),

Why this book?

Break of Day is a uniquely beautiful book, short and elegant. It's about the solace Colette's house and garden in the South of France provided her after a broken marriage. No truer book has been written about that part of France, and how that land can ravish a visitor. I thought of it often when I was writing my own book. Colette had a house in the hills above St.-Tropez, and she writes about gardening, the movements of the day, her animals, the people who come and go, and the delicious, sensual tastes of that part of the world.…

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The best books about the South of France

Book cover of Village in the Vaucluse

Village in the Vaucluse

By Laurence Wylie,

Why this book?

Laurence Wylie's book is a classic account of a year he and his family spent in the village of Roussillon in the South of France in 1950. This book was the key to understanding my own village. At the time, Roussillon was a place with little indoor plumbing, only two phones, and a once-weekly bus service to Avignon. So, is this simply an antiquated description of a year spent in a tiny French community seventy years ago that no longer exists? No. Laurence Wylie, better than any writer before or since, to my mind, captures the character of people in…

From the list:

The best books about the South of France

Book cover of The Ripening Seed

The Ripening Seed

By Colette,

Why this book?

Anyone who wants to read a love story – all of us, surely – has to start with this story of young love set on the coast of the South of France in the early 20th century. Colette’s prose has been well matched by her translators and she’s simply a jewel of a writer and the first woman who really told the truth about love and sexuality.

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The best books set in France with themes to match

Book cover of The Illustrated Provence Letters of Van Gogh

The Illustrated Provence Letters of Van Gogh

By Martin Bailey (editor),

Why this book?

Most everyone knows Vincent van Gogh spent time in the South of France. Most of us know he was a tortured soul and that he spent time in an asylum in Saint Rémy. And most of us know his wonderful painting, The Starry Night, which was painted in Saint Rémy. Since so much of the exquisite joy of the South of France is visual, who better to represent that visual beauty than Vincent van Gogh, one of the greatest painters to ever put brush to canvas? But what you may not know is that Vincent was one of our…

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The best books about the South of France

Book cover of My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood

My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood

By Marcel Pagnol, Rita Barisse (translator),

Why this book?

No one wrote about the South of France with more affection and understanding than Marcel Pagnol. He was a novelist, playwright, director, and memoirist. Pagnol’s family had a small house in the hills near Marseille where they spent summers. His book, My Father’s Glory, is about those months Pagnol spent there as a child and about his family, mostly his father. (The companion book, My Mother’s Castle, concerns his mother more.) The story of his aunt’s sweet, delicate courtship with his eventual uncle is worth reading the book alone. If you’re like me, you will come away from…

From the list:

The best books about the South of France

Book cover of Two Towns in Provence: Map of Another Town and a Considerable Town, a Celebration of Aix-en-Provence & Marseille

Two Towns in Provence: Map of Another Town and a Considerable Town, a Celebration of Aix-en-Provence & Marseille

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Why this book?

M.F.K. Fisher was not only one of our greatest food writers, she was one of our greatest writers, period. Fisher lived for long periods in France, and the result of two of these sojourns is Two Towns in Provence, which is about Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. These two iconic towns are a mere forty miles apart in distance but worlds apart in temperament, character, and spirit. Fisher captures both of their personalities with her exquisite prose, guided by her sympathy and love for these cities and their people. She is especially wonderful at capturing Marseille, a city that has been…

From the list:

The best books about the South of France