Skip to main content

LIVING IN PARADISE: FRANCE IN OCTOBER #4

 

 It's the end of October.  


The sky is blue with puffy white clouds floating by. The temperature approaches 70F during the day, hovers in the high 40s at night. The vines, having just been harvested, are turning color prior to dropping their leaves. Many of those leaves turn yellow before going brown but some blaze bright red. Same with the deciduous trees, mostly yellow but with some autumn colors more familiar to this Northeastern boy.

Yes, it's unusually warm and pleasant. If this is a result of climate change, I'm down with it. I just hope that next summer isn't a killer.

Even given this inviting weather, tourists seeking to prolong summer heat find warmer climates by heading farther south, into Spain. Perhaps taking a ferry or a short hop to northern Africa. Zanzibar is within reach. And many Europeans have spent considerable time in Southeast Asia. 

We remain here in our little rural village in the southwest of France. Quiet descends. Traffic eases. Scarves, sweaters, light jackets, and socks and shoes replace polos, shorts, and sandals. In fact, the easiest way to distinguish the French from the Brits in the region is the insistence of the Brits to continue wearing shorts well after the French have started to protect themselves from the coming gray, wet, cold winter that is inevitably on the way. When the French break out their scarves to 'warm their necks', it's a good idea to follow their example and break out your winter gear.

That's not to say that you need the kind of winter clothing that is required in our former stomping ground of eastern Pennsylvania. My good winter coats have yet to be worn here as I go into my 8th winter. They hang in a closet, not forgotten but not necessary, either. Jackets that are labeled good for three seasons in the USofA are good for four here. So I wear my good fleece. 

Last winter, we had one hard freeze. Simply not worth it to take the down jacket off the hanger for that one day just for the sake of nostalgia.

We miss the pop-up restaurants on the beaches. Do you know about them? They are stored in containers over the winter - full-service kitchens, tables and chairs, decking, and more. They are assembled in the spring right on the beaches up and down the coast. They serve just about anything that you could ask of a simple, unpretentious French restaurant, which is quite a lot. They are busy, busy, busy all summer. Then, suddenly, as if they were migrating birds, some signal unheard by mere mortals is heard and the restaurants disappear for another year.


Year-round restaurants shorten their hours. Folks who didn't take vacations with their kids in the summer close their businesses for a couple of weeks in preparation for the winter holiday push. All Saints and All Souls Day preparation begins. But the winter holidays are a subject for further discussion. 

It's the end of October and we are living in Paradise.


Comments

  1. Like how the pace of this piece, matches the content. Nice.
    Hope all is well, André

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Life happens but life is good. Thanks for the kind words. Take care and be well.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin