Yesterday, the summer holidays ended in France as children went back to school, people packed away their holiday gear for another year and workers prepared themselves for the routine of métro, boulot, dodo (subway, work, sleep). The eight weeks or so that appeared invitingly long at the beginning of July raced past in reality. In fact, the signs of summer winding down had been apparent in our area for the previous fortnight.
Retour à la normale
In many ways, I prefer it here when life returns to normal after the summer festivities, while I also recognise that tourism is an important contributor to the local economy. I always feel, though, that holidaymakers see an idealised version of rural France. The markets are bustling and crammed with stalls, the sun shines (mostly), the restaurants are open and one is spoilt for choice for concerts, exhibitions and village fêtes. Wouldn’t it be nice to live here?
I’m not being scornful. The SF and I had exactly the same thoughts when we holidayed in France. What we didn’t realise is that someone flicks a switch on 1st September and daily life reverts to its normal rhythms.
Autumn is my favourite season, despite the fact that it’s going in the wrong direction, i.e. towards winter. Each season has its charms. The weather in September and October – even into November – is often glorious: hot without being blistering. You can work in the garden or take long walks without getting heatstroke. The countryside is ablaze with colour when the leaves turn. Nuts ripen, mushrooms appear (although we are hopeless at finding them) and food changes slowly from lighter summer dishes to more robust fare.
Summer’s last gasp
Speaking of weather, the SF is more than a little peeved that I haven’t reported his carefully-gathered statistics for a while. At the end of September, he likes to look back over the summer months (1st May to 30th September), so I will report on that later on.
In the meantime, the weather has been echoing the rentrée mood. Summer had its last gasp last week, when temperatures soared to 36C here. Our département was on alerte orange for canicule (heatwave).
Méteo France defines canicule as a period of intense heat during the day and at night, lasting for at least 72 hours. The temperature definitions for heatwave vary throughout France. Down here, a canicule is declared if the daytime temperatures exceed 35C and the night-time ones are not less than 21C.
It all ended on Wednesday night with a thunderstorm and quite a lot of much-needed rain. Our département has also been on drought alert. Since then, it’s been unseasonably cool. Last week, we had a fan going in our bedroom. This week, we’ve contemplated putting on the electric blanket.
But wouldn’t it be dull if every season were the same?
You might also like:
Copyright © 2017 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved