Book Review: Taking Root in Provence by Anne Marie Simons

I am reading the book, “Taking Root in Provence” and this is my review of it. This book is for anyone who loves France or wants to visit Provence or even live in Provence. As I am reading through the book I find that there is something in it for anyone who reads it. If you are interested in French history, it’s there. If you are interested in the festivals and holidays, it’s there. If you want to know where to find the best truffles, restaurants, and hidden spots in Provence, yep, it’s there.

This is not a story or a guidebook, but a travelogue collection of stories from the author (an American), Anne Marie Simons, through her eyes as she became a integrated into the slower-paced lifestyle of Provence over the course of 10 years, eventually settling there to retire.

I fell in love with France when we won a trip to stay in a castle in Normandy. We also got to experience Paris and the excitement it brings but we found that we love the country much more.

book review of taking root in provenceBy reading this book I learned so many things I never knew like how all French people have health care from the national healthy system because, as they see it “health care is considered a right, not a privilege, and should be accessible and affordable to all.” Someone here in the US needs to read that and take heed.

I learned all about the festivals and when they are held and how Christmas is more about eating than anything else. One story that was of particular interest was about about how on December 4th packets of wheat seeds are sold and people scatter them on a wet cotton placed on a saucer. The wheat germinates and grows and then it is used as the centerpiece for the Christmas dinner – how ingenious. It is to symbolize the coming Spring and help everyone look forward to it with the cold winter that approaches.

The picture Anne paints of the marketplace wants me to jump on a plane and visit Aix-en-Provence today so that I can drink in the beautiful of the flowers, smell the fresh vegetables and fruits, and search for the finest Truffles.

Tradition is everything in Aix-en-Provence as seen through Ms. Simon’s eye as she tells stories of parades, festivals, and traditional meals. The people of France take their food seriously and they spend time eating and socializing for hours on end. It is a more laid-back way of life that we here in the US often long for but can’t seem to obtain.

I haven’t finished the book because I like to savor a book when I read it and take weeks or even a month or two to read one. This book is going to be with me throughout the Summer and will make me yearn to be in Provence, even for a little while.

I know you will enjoy it too. This book is available at

About the Book Taking Root in Provence

They agreed on one thing before retiring-they would travel, sniff around at other countries and other lifestyles, and discover along the way which place came closest to “having it all.” There they would drop anchor and go with the flow. The going has been good, so much so that these former Washingtonians have decided to make France their permanent home. They chose the city over the countryside and took on the challenges and pleasures of Aix-en-Provence, where they have been doing as the locals do for more than a decade now.

The daily markets, strikes, gypsies, curious villagers, ancient traditions, truffle cheaters, pagan and religious celebrations, secret swimming spots in the middle of Marseilles-it’s all there to be suffered and enjoyed. Not to mention an interest in food that borders on the obsessive. Add good weather, a pinch of hedonism, a dose of culture, and it all adds up to that elusive prize: quality of life. In this collection of vignettes, take a ride in the slow lane with Taking Root in Provence, through la France profonde, ancient Roman cities, and that wonderful blend of the old and new worlds that is today’s Provence.

Disclaimer: I received this book to review but was not compensated for my review as all opinions are my own and cannot be purchase.

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