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Love and War in the Pyrenees.

A Story of Courage, Fear and Hope 1939-1944

(Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson July 2008)

It was a long time ago that I saw the shredded old espadrilles in the museum of St Laurent de Cerdans that started me off on my new book, Love and War in the Pyrenees. Those old rope and canvas shoes, worn out from criss- crossing the stony paths of the mountains belonged to one of the passeurs who had helped refugees escape across the border. The image stayed with me, and led me to think long and hard about what happened in this region during the Second World War. I slowly discovered a whole hidden history, of escape, occupation, and Resistance. I found a landscape deeply imprinted with the emotion of what had happened there. There were stories of great tragedy, cruelty, and some of hope. That became the way for me to write the book, looking for the single candles in the darkness.

Rosemary Bailey

Rosemary Bailey is an award-winning travel writer and journalist, born in Halifax, Yorkshire. She has been based in the French Pyrenees for many years, and has written a trilogy of books about a region she has grown to love and know intimately. The best-selling Life in a Postcarddescribes her life in a mountain village, the restoration of a ruined monastery and the history of the monks who once lived there. The Man who Married a Mountain follows the romantic quest for the sublime of the eccentric 19th century mountaineer, Sir Henry Russell-Killough. Her most recent book, Love and War in the Pyrenees, is an investigation of the Second World War in the region, combining her own travels with contemporary interviews, documents and letters. In 1997 she wrote the acclaimed Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with Aids, the story of her brother, Simon Bailey, and the remarkable support he received from his Yorkshire mining village parish. Bailey is married to the biographer, Barry Miles, and has one son.


“I like to think of my books as Telling the Tale of the Tribe…”

Rosemary often gives talks about her books and writing. She has appeared at the Dartington Literature Festival, Devon, The Jewish Book Festival in London, in France she has appeared at Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop in Paris, the Café Litteraire in Collioure, and the Literary Lunches at L’Espinet, in Quillan.

“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”

~Anna Quindlen

Writing Tuition

… Maybe I can help!

Rosemary is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, teaching writing at Queen Mary College, London University. She tutors regular weeks for the Arvon Literary Foundation in travel and Life writing. She is available for personal writing tuition, online or in person in France or London, depending on location. Send an email for further information. I can assist with non-fiction travel or memoir writing, journalism or academic work.

Join her in September 2013 for Above the Clouds, a writing retreat in the Pyrenees. www.francewritingretreat.com


“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

~Toni Morrison

 Tailored Travel

The perfect restaurant round the corner from that secret museum, the quiet beach, the walks that only locals know, a planned drive that takes in a whole variety of places you might otherwise miss, the right books to read, the special sights that tourist guides miss, the small museums with hidden treasures, the artists, writers and other famous folk who have lived there and live there now….

Let me tailor your perfect trip to France.

I can advise about most areas of France, but especially the South and Southwest, and a bit of Spanish Catalonia too. I can call on expert chums who live in parts I have yet to reach, for more intimate knowledge and detailed itineraries.




Life in a Postcard

The Man Who Married a Mountain

Scarlet Ribbons