Spotlight on Provence Through Literature & Film

Spotlight on Provence Through Literature & Film


What comes to mind when you think of Provence…Quaint stone buildings? Endless lavender fields?  Side-walk cafés nestled on tree-lined streets? Olives, pastis, brilliant sunshine, buttery croissants, crispy baquettes, and more?

All true, but did you know that Provence is also at the heart of some of France’s most prized literary and cinematographic classics? Or that the Provençal language was still widely spoken in the late 19th century and has greatly influenced the Marseillais vocabulary of today? Were you aware of the Provence’s rich cultural diversity and its profound influence on some of France’s finest authors and cinematographers?

Taught entirely in French, the AUCP class ‘Provence Through Literature & Film‘ allows students to look beyond the postcard images of the romantic South of France. They discover the distinctive culture and history of Provence, exploring the complex nature of a region in constant evolution, all while remaining so anchored in its traditions and folklore. You too can experience Provence through the work of influential writers and poets such as Joseph Mistral, Marcel Pagnol, Jean Giono, and Izzo as well as through the films of Marcel Pagnol, Claude Berri, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, and others.

Students in this class will:

  • Understand the diversity of today’s Provence, going beyond stereotypes and first impressions,
  • Read and analyze the works of authors and poets who wrote in and about Provence,
  • Discover a rich array of films set in Provence, allowing students to see their adoptive region through differene lenses,
  • Develop the French writing techniques of résumé, portrait, dissertation & critique…and more!

The course is taught by Marie-Anne Rossignol, who holds a Post-Graduate Degree in General and Comparative Literature from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III. Currently a Senior Lecturer of French as a Second Language, Literature & Phonetics at the Aix-Marseille Université, she is also AUCP’s Associate Professor of The French Feminine Archetype. Her interests include literature, art, journalistic writing, cinema, and Japanese & Asian cultures.

This class is formidable – a fantastic opportunity to discover a side of Provence that I’d never imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed the diverse selection of works we studied…I discovered a number of classic French films and now know more about the history of Provence than my French friends! Marie-Anne is so passionnate and knowledgeable about her subject, it was definitely one of my favorite classes of the semester. – Samantha F., Fordham University, AUCP Aix-en-Provence


Does this class sound like the one for you? Check out the complete syllabus, here. Or take a look at the latest class field trip to the Camargue – a region of Provence that so inspired poet Joseph d’Arbaud and author Frederic Mistral.

All AUCP courses are given in French by local experts and tenured professors from Aix-Marseille University and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques/Sciences Po. The AUCP prides itself in making an authentic French classroom experience accessible to non-native speakers by integrating French-as-a-second language methodology within each professor’s subject matter expertise. Check out the ensemble of AUCP course offerings in the Academics section of our website.