|Passion for Provence 22 keys to la belle vie|
Gayle Smith Padgett
Review of Passion for Provence: 22 keys to la belle vieToday I am reviewing Passion for Provence by Gayle Smith Padgett, a memoir of a new life in Provence for US retirees Gayle and Ralph.
A honeymoon in France and many years spent working in Germany sowed the seed of a retirement in Provence, and this book tells their story of how they made it happen. From the beginning I realized that the one thing Gayle and Ralph don’t seem to do is retire lazily into a sedentary Provencal life, although they are not averse to a lie-in or relaxing on their terrace and enjoying a view of the mountains. These two super-fit outdoorsy people regularly enjoy walking, hiking and playing tennis. I loved the energy they gave off and felt their hobbies truly enabled them to make most of all Provence has to offer. Expertly packing their days, there was still room for plenty of leisurely lunches, excursions further afield and a spot of bird watching too. They are an inspiration.
Their dedication to getting it right, from using pet-sitting assignments to establish their ideal location, to ensuring they ticked the correct boxes of French bureaucracy came across clearly. Gayle was not merely content to learn the language but obtained an official qualification in it too – chapeau ! As a soon to be ex-EU citizen, I hung on her every word when she described the antics (and costs) involved in renewing the annual residency permit and the nail-biting wait to see if the golden ticket of a ten-year card would be forthcoming.
Gayle’s humorous writing style often made me smile and made following their journey very enjoyable. This book has something a bit different to other memoirs as added to the end of each chapter is a little key to make settling into French life easier. These often made me laugh, or nod in agreement, and I always looked forward to discovering the next one.
If you love to read memoirs about life in France, take this one on your holiday this year, you won’t be disappointed.
Many thanks to Gayle for sending me a copy of her book. Links to Amazon can be found below.