Thursday, July 18, 2013


In the TGV speeding north toward Paris. Fields of ripe pale-gold wheat punctuated by lines of bushy trees, the occasional village ith tints of grey and ochre,. Earlier, as we raced through Provence, there were fields of sunflowers, facing east and aglow, and the shining golden straw stubble of freshly harvested wheat, and then rain in Lyon at our brief station stop. The sun is back out now, the colours the slightly dull green of full summer, the grasses by the verge already yellow and drY.

I was sorry to say good-bye to the little stone gite this morning just before dawn, and to its owner, the graceful Elsabeth. I’d be happy to return. Things I’ve learned: Not to buy olives without tasting them, ever (I bought olives de Nyons at Tarascon market that looked fine, and I love Nyons olives, but were tired and tasteless); to get up before dawn to catch earliest light and coolness, a truth I know from elsewhere but needed to be reminded of; tht a simple sandwich of good baguette buttered with good ham is better than almost anything; that I would rather be in a town or a city, to people-watch and wander, then driving through countryside, however lovely; that cherries in Provence can be as delicious and amazing as Ontario cherries; that a good religieuse still tempts me where other sweets and pastries do not; that I really enjoy the polite phrases and “formules” in France that grease the wheels of everyday - “bonne journee Madame” on leaving a shop etc.; that citron presse is still my preferred drink at a cafĂ©, by far.

And so, in the TGV, which somehow has no wi-fi, a curious omission in this ultra-modern efficient France, we’ve made our last stop; the next one is Charles de Gaulle airport, where there’ll be a bit of a dash to Air Canada.

I bought a book for the plane, this year’s winner of the Prix Femina, which so far is wonderful. It’s  a novel by Patrick Deville called Peste & Cholera, set across the first half of the twentieth century, in France and Vietnam, about a medical researcher who worked with Pasteur. I am already engrossed and enchanted.

Now posting this from the airport, before boarding the plane.

Adieu belle France…

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