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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Springtime Skies & the Return of French Cafe Culture


Ahh, springtime. There are few places as wonderful as France to really feel apart of the changing of the seasons. I've never lived in a place which experiences such marked change from one moment to the next.  Truth be told, I find the transition, in a word,...thrilling.

Admittedly a bit of an odd way to describe what happens here when the sun starts to shine, but folks in the South are not shy about expressing their springtime-amour. Off come the overcoats, out come the strappy heels & short skirts, and, most importantly, out come the French themselves.


Square, sidewalks, & bistros are full of locals enjoying those famously-long French lunches or just simply lingering over the day's newspaper & a glass of wine.  The arrival of spring allows the French to do what they do best: return to the slow groove of cafe culture.      


Given the traditionally frost-bitten winters of Provence, this resurgence is well-deserved (& anticipated) and makes the seasonal transition all the more dramatic.

Along with the flowering mimosas, clear skies over the Mediterranean, and the first "chin-chin's" of glasses filled with Rose, spring in Provence is truly a wonderful experience.

How are you celebrating springtime in your corner of the world?

12 comments:

  1. Oh how I wish I could be in Provence to have lunch outside in a cafe on a pretty square like you can only find in Provence. Here I am looking out the window with monsoon-like rains falling for about the 8 or 9th day in a row. I can't wait to get back to Provence. Thanks for the beautiful reminder of what I am missing.

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  2. TAKE me to Provence! All the cafés in Verdun today put their tables outside. I hadn't seen so many people since October! Frenchies really hibernate in the winter!

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  3. It's been beautiful here too! Ate lunch outside on a friend's deck today, then went off to a new nursery and bought two flowering Viburnums! Yes, the deer love them, so I will spray with that awful smelling stuff.
    I guess I would say I celebrate spring with hours of gardening and am in heaven!

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  4. Uhmmm i wish i could say I celebrate Spring by gathering on the outsides of a nice park here in town, listen to some jazz music concert and enjoy the sun kissing my skin. suffice to say, I do enjoy your blog because it takes me for a moment right where you are.

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  5. Michel, it is simply beautiful here at the moment! hope you'll be back soon to enjoy Provencal cafe-life, c'est fantastique :)

    Brenna, the French really do hibernate in the winter, part of the reason the change is so dramatic here, hope you get some sun your way too!

    Libby, oh, your gardening plans sound wonderful! I've just planted some dahlias for mine & really feel like springtime with the bright colors, enjoy!

    Kenya, we'll hang onto the good weather for you visit - can't wait!

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  6. I don't know if you found this when you lived in Italy, but is there some kind of underground resistance effort against spring? I noticed it last year too.

    This whole week it's been unseasonably gorgeous. Yesterday was quite warm, and short-sleeve-worthy. Yet ... those shiny puffy coat things, boots, like no one has even noticed the heat, flowers, green stuff - everywhere we looked. I asked my friend do you all watch the meteo/weather here or just ignore it until someone tells you all you can put away the wearable sleeping bags? He looked around the grocery store we were in and said - 'you are right, it's hot.' And that is all.

    I was sweating just looking at all the black, puff, wool, and dour faces.

    That's it - next year for spring I'm thinking France. You've sold me!

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  7. The warmer the climate is in general, the less tolerant people seem to it being cold. In Germany, any patch of sun even in the winter gets filled with a table or chair and someone sitting in it. Once it gets a little warm the people come out to bask. Like you write about the french, the germans bring out the short skirts and t-shirts.

    There will be a Saturday soon (not today, it went back to being overcast and windy) when it is sunny and warm. this will be the day that the swimsuits will come out and people will lie by the river. THEN I know it is heading toward summer.

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  8. Valerie, Ha ha, love your comment about the "wearable" sleeping bags. I did find Italy particularly strident on their 'overcoat-wearing' even into the later spring months. We've got a bit of both here - sometimes too much, and just as often, too little. I wasn't quite prepared to see people swimming in the sea already. Burrr, it's still freezing!

    Andrew, I guess that leads to your comment. Oh, I can well imagine the Germans getting out & about at every sign of the sun. Seems a bit like here...probably times 10! Be fun to get over there and compare springtime notes :)

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  9. I'm commiserating the end of summer and start of winter. We're officially in autumn, with shorter days and daylight saving about to end. I'd much rather be in your end of the world!:)

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  10. That sounds positively blissful, Tuula!! :-) Spring in California was always marked by strawberries and green hills. Here in Washington it's TONS of rain and all the little Dutch gardens in town filling with daffodils and crocuses. :-)

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  11. I can't wait until we can eat outside again! Krista just summed it up for my part of the world: rain and blooming bulbs. But the cherry trees are blooming too, and the dogwoods. :)

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  12. I'm a sucker for a a good café - and obviously France has far and away the chícest. Lovely snaps, thanks for sharing them.

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