The Greeks, the Romans, the barbarians of the North and the Moors have all left their traces in its villages and small towns, from the hills and mountains of the Lubéron to the villages perchés of the Alpes-Maritimes.
It is in smaller communities that the true Provençal spirit can be found: in sunlight falling across the tightly grouped terracotta roofs, or in the velvety shade in an ancient square – the country of Marcel Pagnol and Jean de Florette. Such scenes come alive here in Hugh Palmer’s radiant photographs and Michael Jacobs’ evocative accounts.
The book opens with the villages of the Vaucluse and the Bouches-du-Rhône then moves east to the Var and eventually the mountains of the Alpine départements, drawing out the special characteristics of each region. Here are the tranquil villages of the centre, but in stark contrast are the fortified hill villages of the east, perched on crests or terraced along the mountainside.