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Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle

Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle
By Michael Southon

Peter Mayle was born in England in 1939.

His fascination with France began at the age ofseventeen when, as the 'lowliest trainee' in Shell, hewas instructed to accompany his boss - a Mr. Jenkins -on a trip to Paris, and discovered that there was moreto life than fish-and-chips. Jenkins, needless to say,was a caricature of the Englishman abroad("personally, I never eat anything I can'tpronounce").

In his twenties he went to New York and becameadvertising copywriter for David Ogilvy. He laterreturned to England to a comfortable life inadvertising, with a salary higher than the PrimeMinister's.

At age 35, after 'one committee meeting too many', heleft his career as an advertising executive and movedwith his wife and children to Devon in the south ofEngland to write children's books.

In 1974 one of his books - 'Where Did I Come From' -became a best-seller, but because of an unfavorabledeal with the publisher, the book didn't make himwealthy.

In his late 40's Peter Mayle moved with his third wifeto Provence in the south of France, where theyrenovated an old farmhouse.

Their experiences became the subject for 'A Year inProvence' which was an instant success and spent threeyears on the New York Times best-seller list. It wastranslated into twenty languages and turned into a BBCseries.

'A Year in Provence' was followed by 'ToujoursProvence' and 'Encore Provence'.

But his new-found fame came at a cost. Hordes oftourists and reporters descended on Provence lookingfor the writer and his house.

Not realizing the book would become a best-seller,Peter Mayle had given an accurate description of thelocation of his house in the opening pages of 'A YearIn Provence'.

Plagued with unwanted visitors, and suddenly unpopularwith the locals, Peter Mayle fled with his wife to Long Island.

Four years later, when the hue and cry had died down,he returned to France and bought a large house nearAvignon.

Peter Mayle's success with the Provence books spawneda new genre in travel writing - books by Englishmenwho leave the cold wet island, set up house insunnier climes and then write about the curious habitsof the locals. There's even a phrase for it: "Doing aPeter Mayle".

You can get your copy of 'A Year in Provence' at:

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The Colours of Provence

With an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, you are almost guaranteed sunshine during your stay in

Beaches on the French Riviera are almost empty, except in the month of August when the French are "en

The lavender fields are so characteristic of Provence.  You will find lavender everywhere - in the markets, in
gardens and in fields  

Sandy beaches on the French Riviera, blue seas and rocky shorelines grace this southern coast of France.

The food in Provence is wide ranging - from fresh fish on the southern coast - to the mountain cookery as you
reach the borders with Switzerland and Italy.  Why not book a
cooking vacation in Provence to try it for

Site Map

Provence home page

Toujours-Provence -   
Property in Provence
Peter Mayle on Provence
Peter Mayle's books on Provence are an unprecedented success.

His books are "delightfully readable.
The style is high comedy and Mayle is bitingly funny about local rural mores"
Sunday Times

His writing of how he and his wife did what most of us only imagine doing when they made their
long-cherished dream of a life abroad a reality : throwing caution to the wind and buying a 200 year old
farmhouse in the Luberon.  

A Year in Provence
covers their first year, staring with a marathon lunch and continues with a host of gastronomic delights,
learning the finer points of boules and goat-racing, all the earthy pleasures of Provencal life are conjured
up in this enchanting portrait.

Indeed, some people believe that their success has changed the face of Provence forever,
attracting an influx of people searching after the "ideal" of the Provencal lifestyle.

Toujours Provence

Peter once again shares his adventures in France's Midi in an enchanting way.

Encore Provence
After pining away in America for the sights and sounds of his beloved French home,
Peter Mayle returns to Provence to find the local customs
as enchanting as ever.

There are, of course, some gastronomic treats to be had on the way .....
with plenty of moments to relish,
the secrets of perfume-blending,
a crime passionel,
and the simple pleasure of finding the best way to idle away a summer afternoon ...

Hotel Pastis
Forty two year old ad man, Simon Shaw, is rich, successful, newly divorced and bored.
Yearning for a life free of complications, he escapes to the vivid landscapes of Provence.
There he enthusiastically transforms the local gendarmerie into the Hotel Pastis,
a haven for the rich & famous.
Unfortunately, it looks as if his problems have only just begun ...

Acquired Tastes
As reviewed by Publishers Weekly
On assignment for GQ (where these tonic pieces first appeared), Mayle sallies forth to sample the little
luxuries of the richest, the best that life is reputed to offer. With unabashed gusto he praises good cigars,
grand hotels, Parisian bistros, second homes, antiques and fresh truffles....

Other titles by Peter Mayle include French Lessons, A Good Year,
"Where did I come from", "What's happening to me?"

Peter Mayle Audio Books
Read by the author himself, Peter Mayle brings alive the stories in an audio version,
that have made this series of
books about life in Provence so very popular
Peter Mayle on Provence
Peter Mayle Audio Books:-
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