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Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France

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Sweet French Seasons — Notes from the Lot Valley

Upper Lot ValleyOne of our favourite discoveries has been the Upper Lot Valley, where Americans Rain Heron and Lance Odeja have a number of lovely holiday cottages in the captivating area around Entraygues-sur-Truyere ( 12 Aveyron, Midi-Pyrenees). We last visited on a superb hot summers day in late June, so it was interesting to receive the following update from there, especially in the middle of the worst British winter in 20 years. The author, Rain Heron, charmingly evokes the promise of Spring in this beautiful area:- By Rain Heron, Cottage Owner Sweet French Cottages

Winter is on the wane. The fall of snow has become almost a distant memory and cold, wintry days are now gleefully interspersed with blue skies and sunshine. In recent weeks, some days here in the Lot Valley have reached up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the height of the afternoon sun! The change in weather stirs the soul and incites the garden with the promise of spring. My garden is already enthusiastic about the proposition. My leafless hydrangeas have the pledge of generous flowers adorning its branches; my roses have a concert of rosebuds waiting patiently along its otherwise gangly branches. My lilac bushes – one of my favorite springtime flowers – already hints at its heady perfume. Another scented beauty, my specimen magnolia tree, augurs in its lush pink tinged blossoms. My camellia is heavy with buds, and my narcissus and tulips have already broken ground and are busy rising to the impending occasion. Growing up in Southern California, I was nothing less than, “seasonally deprived.” Not that I was fully aware of my deficiency at the time. However, since moving to the Lot Valley in Southwest France a few years ago, I have discovered the depth of my seasonal impoverishment. I look forward to all the seasons with childlike wonder and relish the distinguishing characteristics of each one. There is certainly no going back now! I had planned to read at least ten good novels, write several letters and organize photo albums during the introspective winter months. Yet, now in only a few weeks, the winter shall be old news and the spring will be the new seasonal star in all of its budding glory. The Spring Equinox shall once again make its appearance and take the cyclical stage. Yet, I don’t want to shortchange winter before its formal conclusion. In my mind, our winters are the model winter, with just an occasional dusting of snow to decorate the tree boughs and to add sparkle and ambient light to an otherwise gray and shadowy landscape. I truly delight in the sculptural beauty of the leafless trees, when the color of the bark is front stage with its smudge-like colors of eggplant, chocolate, burgundy and orange. These colors are nothing less than transcendent while they comingle with the inky greens of the evergreens and incandescent lime green moss that paints the hillsides along the Lot Valley. In the wintertime, the Lot River is a snake that changes color like a chameleon…from russet at times of heavy rainfall to a plush or tropical green color on a sunny brisk day. The amplified sound of the rushing river from the melting snowfall of the Massif Central offers up a winter concerto. The stream just below us — a tributary leading to the Lot River — chimes in with its undertones, adding to the fullness of the fluid, watery music. So, for me, it is quite sad to see winter waning, quietly and softly bowing out and graciously introducing the renewal of spring. On the other temperate hand, spring is a tremendously restorative season that speaks of replenishment and good cheer, and holds a special place in my seasonally nascent heart.

For more info see Sweet French Cottages

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