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Title: Provence and the Cote D'Azur: The Rough Guide
Description: Rough Guides Limited. 1996. (ISBN: 185828127X). Paperback, 1.0 x 5.2 x 8.0 inches. Paperback - 1995 - good condition, 3 pages near back have water damage but readable - used books, secondhand books, out of print books, hard to find books, second-hand books, nonfiction, non-fiction books delivered world wide. Third Edition The ancient Provenal version of Genesis maintains that prior to introducing Adam, the Creator realized he had several materials left over: large expanses of celestial blue, all kinds of rocks, arable soil filled with seeds for a sumptuous flora, and a variety of as yet unused tastes and smells from the most subtle to the most powerful. "Well", He thinks, "why don't I make a beautiful resum of my world, my own special paradise?" And so Provence came into being. This paradise encompasses the snow-peaked lower Alps and their foothills, which in the east descend to the sea's edge, and to the west extend almost to the Rhne. In central Provence the wild high plateaux are cut by the deepest cleft in the surface of Europe - the Grand Canyon du Verdon. The coastal hinterland is made up of range after range of steep forested hills in which the warm scent of pines, eucalyptus and wild herbs intoxicates the senses. The shore is an everchanging series of geometric bays giving way to chaotic outcrops of glimmering rock and deep, narrow inlets, like miniature Norwegian fjords - the calanques. In the Camargue, the shoreline itself becomes an abstraction as land and sea merge in infinite horizons. Away from the Rhne delta there is nowhere that does not have its frame of hills, or mountains, or strange sudden eruptions of rock. But all these elements would be nothing without the Mediterranean light, which is at its best in spring and autumn. It is both soft and brightly theatrical, as if each landscape had lighting rigged up by an expert for maximum colour and definition with minimum glare. It is no surprise that of all the arts, painting should be the one that owes so much of its European history over the last hundred years to the beauty and escapism of this world. Yet Provence and its coast were far from being an earthly paradise for their early inhabitants. As with most mountainous regions, the soil is poor and cultivation difficult away from the rivers. The low-lying areas of the Camargue and Rhne Valley were marshes or rubbly plains subject to inundation. The coast had no natural defences of rough seas and high cliffs to dissuade invaders. So it was that communities clustered on easily defensible hilltops - the village perchs - with their tight labyrinths of medieval streets, passageways and winding stairs leading inexorably up to a chteau fort. For hundreds of years, Provence remained a prime target for foreign invaders. The ancient Greeks established bases on the coast and on the Rhne, including Massalia and Nikea - modern-day Marseille and Nice - and, later, the Romans cleared a route all along the coast to their cities on the Rhne. Settlers came from all over northern Europe and from across the Mediterranean, and if this wasn't enough, Provence's independence was also contested with France, the Holy Roman Empire, Burgundy, Savoy and the Popes, with internal feuding between rival fiefdoms aggravating the insecurity of daily life. After just fifty years of reunification with France, Provence was again invaded, and within a hundred years was suffering the bloodiest of French civil wars, the Guerres de Religion. Legacies of this turbulant past include some of the best Roman monuments in France, plus great reminders of the medieval age, such as the palace of the Popes in Avignon; the three great monasteries of Silvacane, Thoronet and Snanque, built by the Cistercian order in the twelfth century; the ruined city of Les Baux; the border fortresses of Tarascon and Sisteron; and the frescoes and paintings in the village churches north of Nice. Good.

Keywords: 185828127X

Price: GBP 5.60 = appr. US$ 8.00 Seller: Lady Lisa's Bookshop
- Book number: 18015

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