His heart having first been captured by France in 1949 when, at the age of fifteen, he cycled alone and virtually penniless to catch the night boat to Dieppe, Michael de Larrabeiti relates with lyrical ease his journey through manhood, telling vivid, humorous, and often affecting tales of his adventures, of his passions, and of the extraordinary people he encountered. From the linguistically challenged teenage boy forcing down a Green Chartreuse when he actually wanted a peppermint cordial to the adult man usurped in a girlfriend's bed by a Yorkshire terrier named Pudding, French Leave will charm and enthral anyone with an interest in France, good food, wine, or high adventure.