Advice from a Wellesley-in-Aix alum:
    "Don't worry about loading up on a ton of travel guides before you go. They weigh a ton and take up precious packing space. You can buy them when you get there, too, in English or in French. When you arrive in Paris you'll be given a Guide Vert guide to Paris, and there will be plenty of free pamphlets available to you as well. Make sure to buy the PariScope available at every kiosk for concerts, movie times and museum exhibits. Furthermore, there will be an assortment of travel guides waiting for you in your apartment or in the Wellesley Center in Aix."

Recommended Reading

Evidences invisibles. Américains et Français au quotidien.  by Raymonde Carroll (English title: Cultural Misunderstandings) First published in 1987, Carroll’s ethnographic study and analysis of differences between France and the U.S. remains relevant and interesting.

French or Foe? and Savoir Flair by Polly Platt
    Polly Platt a Wellesley alumna, published several well-known books focusing on living and working in France which are still widely read by American business executives, recent expatriates, students and visitors to France.

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong by Jean-Benoit Nadeau & Julie Barlow
    This insightful book by two Canadians is "a journey into the French heart, mind and soul” and contains chapters on French notions of land and ownership, privacy, attitudes toward language, key features of French society, from political centralization to education to street protests.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
    A humorous account of an Englishman’s move to Provence and adaptation to Provençal life that has become a “classic” and led to a series of similar books by Mayle on life in France.

Taking Root in Provence by Anne-Marie Simons. The latest book by an expatriate writer who chose to settle in Aix with her Argentine husband and recounts their discovery of the joys of Provençal living. Delightful and interesting  vignettes on a variety of topics, including Christmas traditions, local festivals, Cézanne, Marseille, gastronomic pleasures and French strikes.

Links travel guide for Provence.

Packing Tips

Advice from a Wellesley-in-Aix alum:
In general, pack as light as you can! The weather ranges from hot summers to fairly cold winters; it is windy but it rarely snows. You may want to bring some items for travelings, like a duffel bag, alarm clock, shower shoes, etc. If you have over-the-counter medicines or vitamins that you like, you may want to bring them; they are different in France. Bring extra contact solution, dental floss, and deodorant; they are very expensive in France. Plug adapters are a must; be sure that they have two rounded prongs and an extension, otherwise, they will not be long enough to work in France.