Salute to Peter Mayle

It is with deep sorrow that I offer this salute to Peter Mayle, who passed away on 18 January in Aix-en-Provence. The author of A Year in Provence, along with many other notable titles that celebrated Provence, held a special place in my heart. Perhaps the following excerpt from the introduction of my book, Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie, offers the best explanation.

“Falling for France is as easy as sipping a glass of pale rosé on a sun-dappled terrasse overlooking a shimmering Mediterranean cove. Moving to France is more complicated.

Peter Mayle did it, famously recounting his French adventures in A Year in Provence, published in 1989. I read the memoir over twenty-five years ago while sitting on a Mediterranean beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. It was magical to be in luscious Provence on my honeymoon, but enjoying A Year in Provence while in Provence made the special event even more memorable.

In the years that followed, I eagerly awaited each of Mr. Mayle’s delightful publications. In fact, he signed one of them for me at my local bookstore in Virginia. I was charmed by his warmth and wit, as well as his scarlet socks. While I was writing this book, a recollection of those spirited chaussettes prompted me to send him a long-overdue fan letter. As his birthday was imminent, I tucked my note inside a fanciful birthday card. To my delight, he wrote back. Not only was his response a gracious thank-you for a thank-you, but it included sage publishing advice. I framed the letter—it inspires me every day.”

Soon after Passion for Provence was published last November, I sent Monsieur Mayle a copy, which he received in early December. Though I don’t know if he was able to read it, it’s my hope that during his final days, he held the book he helped inspire, and that it brought him joy.



One thought on “Salute to Peter Mayle

  1. Hello Gayle! Lovely memoir to Peter; each of his books were a delightful journey as is yours! Congratulations on your success and your vision. We are off to Europe again in the fall; perhaps we could rendezvous! Best!


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