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Once One Of The Most Feared Food Critics In The World, FRANÇOIS SIMON Now Waxes Poetry About Provence in his new Assouline tome

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Francois Simon extols the beauty and abundance of Provence for Assouline

Born in 1953, François Simon is regarded by many as, in the words of The New York Times’, “the most feared and most read figure in France’s culinary world.” A long-time food critic, his reviews and pieces used to out in Le Figaro, the French daily which has been around since 1826. The writer’s reputation precedes him so much that it is rumore that Anton Ego, the not-so-villainous (spoiler alert) critic in the 2007 animated film Ratatouill­e, was inspired by him.

WRITER’S WRITER

Apart from an appearance in the popular Netflix documentar­y series Chef’s Table in 2016 where he paid a visit at the Parisian restaurant Yam’Tcha and discussed Adeline Gattard among other things, Simon continued writing for other publicatio­ns after leaving Le Figaro in 2014. He has contribute­d to GQ, Casa Brutus, and Le Monde, and is also a novelist.

Like most lifestyle journalist­s, Simon is driven by the opportunit­y of discovery. “There’s talent everywhere and what is most exciting for me is to travel round France to unearth it,” he says in a 2010 interview with the Financial Times.

Simon’s most recent project is a book by Assouline titled Provence Glory. This is the writer’s second title with the luxury publisher after the 2001 book The Provence of Alain Ducasse, which he of course collaborat­ed with the French chef.

Measuring 9.8-inch by 13-inch, Provence Glory has around 200 illustrati­ons spread over 312 pages, and was released last month. Here, Simon presents Provence as being something for everyone, from cities to quaint towns and everything in between.

ART, TRAVEL, AND CULTURE

The region’s qualities are extolled through enviable checklist that could be done in it: Swim in the crystalcle­ar waters of the Calanque de Sormiou in Marseille. Drive with the top down through elds of lavender in Valensole. Experience a bite of just-out-of-theoven fougasse, a Provençal classic. Stand in awe of the beautiful, white Camargue horses native to the area.

Located in the South of France, Provence is uniquely positioned to be a cultural blend of the Mediterran­ean. Roman landmarks still prevail from the 1st century AD alongside châteaus from medieval times—a varied legacy brightened by the indigenous mimosas and cypresses.

Perhaps since the region is well-known for its ability to inspire, it’s home to a plethora of festivals such as Rencontre d’Arles, Festival d’Avignon, Festival d’Aixen-Provence and more, all celebratin­g the arts. Artists who have praised the unique Provençal light include Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. Alexandre Dumas and Jean Giono are among the writers who were drawn to write in the shade of the region’s plane trees.

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 ??  ?? Lunch on the terrace at La Colombe d’Or. By Martine Assouline
Lunch on the terrace at La Colombe d’Or. By Martine Assouline
 ??  ?? PROVENCE GLORY is available through Assouline.com.
Painter in front of the Saint-Bénézet bridge, also known as
the Pont d’Avignon. Roger Viollet
PROVENCE GLORY is available through Assouline.com. Painter in front of the Saint-Bénézet bridge, also known as the Pont d’Avignon. Roger Viollet
 ??  ?? Bouquet provençal. Dave G. Houser
Bouquet provençal. Dave G. Houser
 ??  ?? Poolscape at the Château de Cassis. Eric Beracassat
Poolscape at the Château de Cassis. Eric Beracassat

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