COMING UP: The Birdwatcher’s Wife is the story of an American couple’s French birding quest. Or, rather, it’s the story of my passionate birdwatcher husband’s quest. A bona fide birder I was not, but supporting Ralph’s goal of finding 200 birds in France in one year was a no-brainer. He had backed me while I wrote my first book, and now I’d return the favor. Plus, we’d roam all over the back roads of La Belle France, eating, drinking and exploring ourselves silly. What could possibly go wrong? What could go right? STAYED TUNED!

My first book, Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie (published November 2017) is the story of how my husband, Ralph, and I stumbled upon Provence while living and working in Germany and how we’ve made it home—plus 22 keys to making a French dream come true.

Over two decades, we flirted with France, trying to decide which region we loved more–Alsace, Burgundy or Provence. The sunny southern region–with its bird-rich Camargue–won our hearts in the end. First we shacked up with France in Aix-en-Provence and then eight years ago, we moved to Saint-Remy-de-Provence at the foot of the craggy Les Alpilles mountain range. Along the way, we cracked the codes on living life at lunch, the chocolate chip cookies effect on bureaucrats, keeping our auto on all fours, and appreciating the rarest views–from Saint Jean-de-Luz to Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

Praise for Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie

Belle Provence Travels, January 2021:

“Passion for Provence is light-hearted, uplifting, and an inspiring story about expat life in one of the most captivating regions in all of France. If you’re in the mood for a great “armchair escape” to the sunny south of France, you’ll love reading Gayle’s spirited memoir.”

The Good Life France, June 2020:

“Written in an honest and open manner the tale is totally captivating. Whether you want to know what the South of France is really like because you want to holiday there, you are thinking of buying or renting, love a good story, or are a complete Francophile, this is the book for you. Highly recommended!” 5 Stars

Perfectly Provence:

“…enjoy this funny, witty memoir … a useful resource for anyone considering an expat relocation to France.”

Connexion Magazine, April 2018:

“A honeymoon started this love affair with France, that and a glass or several of rosé…Coupled with a spell in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence they had caught the bug and for the next two decades they criss-crossed the country finding the places they loved most. But loving and living are two different things and being American meant getting residence papers. This is an eye-opener for most Britons, used to the European regime, and Gayle is a handy guide to French life.”

FRANCE magazine, April 2018: “Engaging memoir.”  (4 out of 5 stars)


“…written with wry humour and clear love for France and the French. It’s recommended for those thinking about a move, but also provides interesting observations and insights for those of us already in Provence.”

Available through any book store or Amazon:

Passion for Provence