When I arrived in the South of France just over a week ago, it was surprisingly cold and damp. Winter had not quite relinquished its grip. Now all that has changed. The flowers are blooming and the vineyards are waking up. The sky is looking bluer and the fields greener. Suddenly it’s springtime in France.
Each time I’ve visited this country – I’ve fallen a little more deeply for the place.
I love the French sense of aesthetics. I love the food and the wine and the old, battered shutters. I love the plants in clay pots and the beautiful historical buildings everywhere. I’m smitten with French blue. And here in the Languedoc Region, amongst the stone buildings and stone walls, I’ve fallen for the rugged, rolling, stony countryside.
I love that the French say “enchanté” when introduced. I adore the elderly weathered French men who tip their hats and remove their sunglasses to say bonjour when I am out for my daily walk. The way the woman in the post office cheerfully puts up with my pathetic attempts at speaking the language and then helps me count out my change. Social niceties still seem to matter here.
It occurs to me that I’m remarkably happy in the rural South of France. Perhaps it’s the fresh spring air, and the company I’m keeping, and the charm of the place. Oh yes, and all the fabulous food I’ve been eating.
Maybe this is the famous French joie de vivre – the comprehensive joy of living – that thing that we sometimes forget and lose and have to find all over again.
Thank you France – for the beautiful reminder. I’m smitten.