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Author Peter Mayle’s last chapter from Provence is a charming goodbye

Author Peter Mayle. | Provided photo

Every traveler can admit to loving a destination enough to daydream about living there — few actually move based on a vacation.

English author Peter Mayle first shared the story of how he and wife Jennie fell for the storybook scenery and exquisite food of the Provencal region in his 1990 best-seller “A Year in Provence,” which became a TV series in 1993.

Fans of Mayle, who died in his beloved Provence in January at 78, can find solace in “My Twenty-Five Years in Provence” (Knopf, $25), a posthumous collection of previously unpublished essays that was planned before his death.

Mayle recounts the logistics of the couple’s transition as they moved to a 200-year-old farmhouse in France and the process of picking up on a different culture.

Mayle finds the humor in his stumbles to blend in, isn’t shy about the downsides to living in this particular paradise — aggressive drivers, summer visitors and fall hunters, to name a few.

The annoyances pale in comparison to Provence’s desirable trademarks: the friendly atmosphere, 300 days a year of sunshine, imaginative food, abundant wine, simplicity and the relaxed pace, making for a “catalog of blessings.”

Even more endearing than sharing his wife’s candid photos of quintessential scenes in their adopted home are Mayle’s final pages detailing four trademark aspects of Provencal life.

Short and sweet, these stories paint an idyllic picture of a charming, slow-paced place, the sort that might beckon for the next season of life. And with Mayle’s memories, tips and powerful storytelling, you’ll realize it’s possible, whichever destination you pick.

Peter Mayle’s posthumous collection of previously unpublished essays.
Peter Mayle’s posthumous collection of previously unpublished essays.