Me and my travels: Peter Mayle, writer

Peter Mayle, writer

My most memorable meal was in...

Paris when I was 19. I was working as a very junior minion for Shell. My boss decided I should go to Paris with him as his bag carrier. We were entertained to lunch at a place called Marius et Jeannette on Avenue Georges V, which does terrific seafood and is still there today. I got slightly drunk and I left my boss's briefcase under the table. My career at Shell was doomed, but I fell in love with France.

My idea of paradise is...

A nice spring day in Provence. It's a very beautiful part of the world with a lovely climate. I love living here; I don't want to go anywhere with beaches and spas.

I'll never go back to....

The Caribbean. I can see why it's attractive for a short holiday but I used to live on Harbour Island and the sunsets and the pink beaches really can't compare with a bit of social activity and a decent dinner.

My last trip was to...

Toronto, for the film festival. It was 48 hours of incredible luxury. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe were there for a screening of A Good Year. The film world is quite an exaggerated existence, but great fun. You can't go for a pee without a black car arriving to take you there!

My top travel tip is...

Expect the worst and take a good book. Nowadays, if you have a journey, albeit a simple one, you consider yourself lucky if nothing happens.

Mmy perfect travelling companion is...

My wife, who, in contrast to me, likes travelling. Her enjoyment makes up for my lack of enjoyment. She's also very efficient so she'll remind me of things I should have brought.

My favourite hotel is...

The Montalembert, in Paris. It's in Saint Germain, our favourite area of Paris. There's a nice bar - very important - and a nice little restaurant.

The last person I sat next to on a plane was...

A businessman from Tel Aviv. We were in first class. He took off his shirt and trousers so he was just in his underpants and socks. Then he got his blanket, put it over his head and went to sleep.

· Provence A-Z by Peter Mayle is published by Profile books , £18. The film adaptation of his novel, A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe, is out now


Interview by Carl Wilkinson

The GuardianTramp

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