P1080442Voluptuous is the word for France in mid-summer. The vegetation spills generously, luxuriously, langorously over the countryside. It’s full of curves and twirls and flourishes. It smells good. It tastes good. P1080446I had something else ready to post today but changed my mind during my morning walk. This couldn’t wait. In fact, there are so many things to share, I will have to split them into a few posts. Come along; I’ll give you the pictures and play by play. If only I could also transmit the sounds and smells and flavors.

Green figs, just as good as the purple kind.

I set out on a long walk before the sun rose to a point that makes physical exertion a bad idea. However, it took longer than planned because of repeated stops to pick fat, juicy blackberries and succulent figs growing wild. A generous breakfast. P1080455P1080434It’s a bit early for the fruit. Usually they hit their peak in mid-to-late August. Some of the figs are still small and hard, promises of sweet tomorrows.P1080437The grapes aren’t for picking. They aren’t growing wild, after all. I pass the vineyards of the ancient vigneron, who was bent in half but who kept working and who died about a year ago. His son now has all the work to do and is no spring chicken himself. He sells his wine to a cooperative, where quantity counts more than quality. Most of the small vineyards have switched methods, pruning back grape clusters to concentrate the flavor, favoring smaller but better production. The ancient vigneron’s son seems content to stick to the old ways. His vines sprawl and are laden with grapes.P1080435P1080458Even some wild cacti are bursting with fruit. The cacti seem to have migrated across the road from the garden of a retiree who cultivates many varieties of them. The ground here is clay and gets hard and hostile in the summer drought, but those plants that manage to take root also manage to thrive.P1080426P1080428Red seems to be the color of the moment. Red berries everywhere. Not always edible. At least not for humans. The birds enjoy them in their many varieties.P1080456

I stop to admire the solar farm. Do you see it?P1080463

I see it because I know where to look, and I only learned about it last summer; before I looked at that view and had no idea a solar farm was there. (Hint: it’s just left of the right electricity pole. It looks as if the hill is sloping to the left, but in fact, it’s straight and the gray part is solar panels.)P1080461

Can you see it now? It doesn’t mar the view as much as I had expected.P1080416

A tiny snake crosses my path. Much better than a big snake.P1080492

A field, once a vineyard but now fallow, is dotted with wildflowers.P1080460A mysterious gate to nowhere.P1080447

A lady filling a couple of bags with sand. For her houseplants, I suppose. It seems like a hard way to get sand. On the other hand, I admire it. Why drive 10 miles to town to buy a sand in sealed plastic bag when you can walk out and shovel up what you need for free?P1080495

The well-used barbecue of the boulodrome. Thursdays are pétanque night, and when the wind blows the right way at our house we hear the announcements of the winners, delivered with richly rolled R’s and an extra “ah” syllable at the end, typical of the regional accent. We also smell the sausages grilling. Every activity in France is accompanied by food. Even my gym class would eat gâteau du roi (king cake) and drink (alcoholic) cider around Jan. 6. Priorities: breaking bread beats burning calories.

Red roofs and a green steeple.

Perhaps a picnic in the garrigue this weekend. How about you?

21 thoughts on “Back Roads in France

  1. And THAT dear lady is exactly why I chose France to nest. Your corner is lovely and there are of course differences amongst all the familiar things to either Cantal or Grenoble but the overwhelming sense of peace and life savoured is resonant… 🌈 pictures are fabulous ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, each corner of France is different yet still so French. It’s like with strawberries. The garriguettes seem like the strawberriest strawberries you’ve ever tasted, but then when you have mara de bois, which are completely different and you think THEY are the strawberriest, until you taste ciflorette, again quite different from the others and THEY are the strawberriest. All so different, yet all so strawberry.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Luscious! Your blackberries are so plump compared to mine this summer- not near enough rain here so they so they look rather gaunt 😦 Hoping I can still gather enough for a batch of jam.
    Love a good walk about.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You need to take a basket with you on your walk. 🙂

    My sister and I play a game when we walk. I text her my best photo of my morning walk and she does the same. Sometime I win, sometimes she wins. Well actually we both win.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this time of year. Hopefully I can experience some of your world again this year…..Brocantes….wine…. cheese and walks through the countryside.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, wild blackberries–be still, my heart. I’ve had two dogs who were adept at eating those, quite delicately, from the bush, never bothered by the prickers, while I would puncture fingers left and right.
    Nice about the solar farm.

    Liked by 1 person

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