The following may well fall into the category of "things you never wnated to know". If so, just skip it and move along to something more appetizing.
Now that I have better computer access (power to the computer, plus some wi-fi at last) I've found out a little more about the black millipedes that seem to be swarming here, in the morning and again the evening 9described in my previous post). Here's a link: http://toutunmondedansmonjardin.perso.neuf.fr/EN/pages_EN/tachypodoiulus_niger_EN.htm
which explains that these common black European millipedes like damp places and calcareous soils. The photos give a good idea of what each one looks like, but not of how wild it is to see flocks of them moving across the terrace outside the house.
And here's an article about a black millipede invasion in Scotland:
The French name is Iule (pronounced ee-oule). The woman whose gite I'm staying in, Elisabeth, explained that they are around for about a month (it all just started) and that the problem with them began about ten years ago. That's when the authorities told everyone in Provence that they needed to cut their grasses and undergrowth, to reduce the risk of fire. Somehow this has led to a surge in the numbers of iules, and also to a displacement of them from the fields to the areas around people's houses.
Every place has its advantages and it downsides. Toronto has winter and snow and a few other issues. Provence, while beautiful and romantic, has scorpions and a few other goodies, including these non-biting, non-hurting but somewhat creepy millipedes.