French village echoes with JFK’s Camelot

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LE THOR, France — If the French loved John F. Kennedy, there is a special spot in their hearts for Pierre Salinger, his rotund, cigar-smoking, francophone-ish press secretary whose maternal grandfather served in the Assemblée Nationale and fought to clear Capt. Alfred Dreyfus.

So it’s not surprising that here in this medieval Provençal village east of Avignon, where Mr. Salinger spent his last years with his fourth wife, there is a temple to the jovial spokesman who traded a prizewinning journalistic career for a roller-coaster life of politics, public service, comedy and tragedy.

In a memoir published nine years before his death at a local hospital in 2004 at 79, Mr. Salinger averred distaste for what he called the “Camelotization” of the Kennedys....

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