Monday, April 8, 2013

en attendant le printemps.


It's a cold and rainy day here in The LPV. April 8th already, yet it feels like November 8th. There is nothing spring-like about today at all. The birds are chirping, but I have a feeling it's more of complaining chirping than happy, chirpy chirping. So while the birds and I sit back and wait for spring, I'll leave you with this post about that very same thing. {originally posted April 3, 2011
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The dichotomy of my life in Le Petit Village goes like this… you see I love it and hate it, but the things I love, and the things I hate are pretty much one in the same. (Let me preface this by saying that ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are very strong words but they sound better than ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ so I’m going with ‘love’ and ‘hate’). And because I’m thinking in opposite terms of love and hate, I’ll write in opposite terms of summer and winter, but I’m going to start with winter.

During the winter months, Le Petit Village and it’s 250 habitants practically hibernates. Many of the houses here are holiday homes that sit empty, shutters closed to the cold winds and snow, waiting for their Parisian and Belgian owners to come back and fill them. It can lend a bit of a ghost town vibe for the rest of us year-round inhabitants, and in those winter months, we tend to huddle close, so as to make us feel like we are not so alone in this wintry, mountain village.


There is one bar/ cafe/ restaurant here, and on those cold Friday nights, when the roads are too icy to navigate down the mountain, the same group of us descend upon it. It is always; my brother-in-law, his young wife, her parents, my next door neighbor/ husband’s best friend, my husband, father-in-law, a couple of local farmers, and me. We huddle around a kerosene heater set up in the middle of the room, chatting, and laughing, sharing plates of saucisson, homemade pâté, and bowls of olives. It feels much more like someone’s cozy living room than a bar.

Now for a city girl me, at times I’m screaming inside, yearning to put on my heels instead of winter muddy snow covered boots, and have a vodka martini in my hand instead of the hearty Leffe, while sitting back in a plush banquette in some decadent bar and not in this old bar, with chipped paint, mismatched furniture, and the same old handful of people every Friday night. But as much as I may want to be in that city bar, I’ve never felt as at home and comforted by the super luxe ‘it’ bar as I do on those dark winter nights surrounded by French villagers and wrapped in the warmth of the kerosene heater.


Then as the months pass, and the sun begins to rise earlier and earlier and shine warmer and brighter, Le Petit Village slowly awakens. And with the sun comes the tourists.

During those beautiful warmer months, when the lavender blooms, our winter population of 250, increases to 1000. Where normally I would go for long walks with my dog and not see a single soul, our tiny streets are buzzing with chatter and traffic and there are people everywhere. That same cozy winter bar becomes packed and any chance of finding a table or a bar stool is practically non-existent.


I complain about the tourists; how they take all the parking spaces in front of our homes, they peer in our windows, and buy up all the baguettes, but secretly I love them. I love that when they are here Le Petit Village is at it’s best and most welcoming. We have small festivals with bumper cars and fireworks, a circus, and parties, all to say, “Bienvenue! Aren’t we quaint and charming? Please come back soon, we love the company”, and everyday feels like a holiday, a snap shot into a Peter Mayle dream.

But just when I think I’m tired of the incessant early Sunday morning chatter of stranger’s voices outside my windows and fighting for my parking spot and my baguette, they are gone, and the cold and solitude comes back. Along with those wintry, kerosene cozy Friday nights. And we settle in and wait for spring.

bisou

25 comments:

  1. Looks like you live in a very beautiful place, but then I find most of France Beautiful.

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  2. That photo boasting the deep purple lavender fields is absolutely gorgeous! Wow. I have never been down there, and of course I knew there were lavender fields but I didn't think it looked as beautiful as this. I guess I'll have to join the pack of tourists at some point to see what all the excitement is about!

    Spring will come...spring will come...let's manifest warm weather!

    I hope you had a lovely weekend!

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  3. I missed this post the first time so very happy you reposted it. A snap shot into your real life in the LPV. I love all the lavender around during the summer. Is the LPV near Sault? Have a great day.

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    Replies
    1. Happy you enjoyed it :)
      Sault is a little less than 40km away, so not too far.

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  4. if i could live somewhere like LPV, i'd do it. i think it's lovely

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  5. Wow, I cannot wait to see more of France. Especially if its in that area when the Lavender blooms, that sounds amazing!

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

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  6. Hello there! This article couldn't be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this post to him.

    Fairly certain he'll have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!

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  7. I would really love to see you village someday! I have to say that especially the winter months sound so wonderful to me!

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  8. I wanna be a flocky tourist and see the lavender!

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  9. Yep. I hear ya. Got a nice hike in yesterday (even through some snow). Talking about our garden, but ... winter storm warnings this evening and forecasted 6F temps tonight have stalled us a bit. Craziness - will probably be back in the 70s by the weekend. Cruel, spring is, but beautiful in its own way. I remember this post - I was still in Italy during one of the most perfect 2 months of 70-degree weather ever - odd, but nice. xo

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  10. It's still in my bucket list to see Peter Mayle's version of South of France. :) Wow, I never really expected that kind of weather over there at this time of year.

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  11. I am really fed up with winter this year, it seems to be going on for ever! Have a good day, Diane

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  12. Very evocative! Oh to be in the LPV in the springtime! Right now, I'd settle for spring anywhere though, what is with this weather??

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  13. You make every season sound pretty great! I'm sure a great many stories will arrive with the tourists...can't wait to hear all about it!

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  14. I shall try hard not to peer in the windows this summer ;o)

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  15. I showed my husband the picture of the rolling golden hills dotted with trees. I asked him where he thought the photo was taken. He guessed Los Olivos, California in the central California wine country. I guess that is why France and the central valley produce good wine.

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  17. First of all; I want some saucisson. It sounds delicious according to my Mac's definition when I right-clicked on it. Seriously - I love me some sausage.

    Second of all; I do understand love/hate. And I do see that you realize the beauty of where you live.

    Third of all; I at times feel as you do, isolated with our winter. And I live six miles from downtown Minneapolis! Winter just makes us snuggle in, hunker down, and venture out to only familiar places because navigating the unknown is just too - too - exhausting. :)

    Our spring is never coming. I am beyond wanting it. Blech!

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  18. Now I know what it feels like to be a local! I often fantasize about moving to Nantucket when Logan graduates but wonder about the long isolated winter. I think it might be hard to do it as a single lady. xo

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  19. Surprisingly enough, here in the North of England we have blue skies and gorgeous sunshine (I must add that it is very cold though before you start getting jealous! It just looks nice.) I'm pleased you reposted this liitle account.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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  20. Beautiful! It definitely sounds like a dream. I think it would be lovely.

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  21. This is perfect- can I come and live in Le Petit Village?! I'm totally the same with tourists- they may clog up the country roads here in Devon, and refuse to reverse, and wear inappropriate shoes on the Moor, but I do like having them around- they make me look at my local area in a totally different way! x

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  22. these are such stunning pictures and views!

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  23. I complain about the tourists all the time, with their 91 license plates, but I secretly love them too. Although they have never come between my and my beloved baguettes.

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  24. it sounds lovely and dreamy! beautiful pics!

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