When Provence Shifts from Summer to Autumn
Provence in Autumn
Bizarrely we sense and feel the changing seasons more in Provence than we do in Devon. Back in Exeter, the proximity to the sea seems to soften the edges of summer as it shifts into autumn and likewise, autumn into winter.
That’s not the case here. Today it was almost as if someone had turned the page of a book from the chapter on summer to a prologue for autumn.
It’s hard to explain as the days are still long and hot with temperatures brushing the low 30s, but something has shifted. A feeling of peace and gentle stillness have settled across the valley, and it seems to have literally changed overnight. Continue reading here for the photos and contributor blog post by Vaucluse Dreamer.
Where did Summer Go?
More than once we have been told by a Provencal native (or a longtime resident) that the weather changes after August 15th. Of course, that is not a hard date, but not far from the truth. Once the mid-August holiday passes the holiday crowds thin, as folks head to their homes and prepare for la rentrée.
The market stalls selling touristy cigale prints and gadgets disappear from one week to the next. The number of market stands begins to dwindle slowly over the next few months. Come November, those hearty folk that remain are my true market heroes. It is these stall owners who tough out every season and all the weather that Provence wants to throw their way.
September in Provence remains a popular month for travellers. This month is when the bike tour operators return to the region darting around marking routes and chasing down stray bikers. The morning air in September can be quite crisp, sometimes a bit humid, but usually, by lunchtime, you are down to short sleeves.
Fall Festivals and Activities in Provence
In the Autumn the colours change from the harsh, intense summer sun to a softer, filtered light. The grape harvest begins as the fruit turns deep purple and reaches its peak sugar content. The olives which were almost invisible in June are now bright green and the size of large marbles. Produce in the market stands now includes bright orange potimarron and courge squashes.
Fall in Provence directs you towards a heartier menu. Enjoy meat (lamb, wild boar, taureaux, rabbit, fowl) roasted with herbes de Provence, root vegetables and delicious red wine blends. Enjoy our fall menus, for your next dinner party à la Provencal.
At this time of year, the hiking is fabulous, biking is possible, and golfers might get lucky with an extended season. Best of all, for many people living in or visiting Provence, the autumn months move at a slightly more relaxed pace. The summer hordes have left replaced by smaller groups of visitors. In the fall, there is no guilt involved in lighting a fire and curling up with a book or perhaps taking a une sieste.
As the Plane trees start rustling their drying leaves, we all know that autumn is in the air in Provence. Even if the temperatures indicate otherwise. Discover fall festivals and more family-friendly activities here.