Living la belle vie in Provence is a dream come true for American ex-pats Gayle and Ralph. But their tranquil world is turned upside down when serious birdwatcher Ralph suggests a year-long quest to find 200 bird species in France.
The eat-preen-love life cycle of birds does not fascinate Gayle, but an off-the-beaten-track adventure does. Ancient hilltop villages, vibrant outdoor markets, and gastronomic delights await! Aware that the mission is powered by passion and protective of their relationship, she insists Ralph go slow and savour the experience. He agrees ... but is it a promise he can keep?
They'll crisscross the country, from the Mediterranean to the English Channel, the Pyrenees to the Alps. Heart-pounding alpine roads, mosquito-ridden marshes, and Mother Nature's mighty forces challenge their resolve. However, France's natural beauty, captivating culture, and astounding bird life lead the way ... to discoveries that surprise them both.
Gayle Smith Padgett, a UCLA graduate, has two master’s degrees, neither in French. After studying in Mexico and South America, she worked as a language specialist in California and Virginia and later as a management analyst and US government liaison in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Provence where they continue to crack French codes.