Season of Change

L’automne est arrivé and is making itself felt even here in France. The color is not as dramatic as in New England . . .

Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire 2013
Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire 2013

. . . where we are usually to be found in October. But there are the occasional flashes of color, like these  . . . whatever they are . . . on a tree in le jardin . . . 

Anyone know what this is?
Anyone know what this is?

But mostly, the heat has lost its intensity, the mosquitoes are gone (WOOHOO!) and the days are shorter . . .

Looking out to sea from La Rochelle, October afternoon.
Looking out to sea from La Rochelle, October afternoon.

We took advantage of a gorgeous afternoon to climb la tour Saint-Nicolas with Courtney. We only had time for one tower, and la tour de la Lanterne has recently closed for renovations and won’t reopen until sometime next year.

La tour Saint-Nicolas
La tour Saint-Nicolas
La tour Saint-Nicolas
La tour Saint-Nicolas

Courtney does not love heights, so of course we climbed the tallest of the three. Love all the stairs going every which way. And of course, the view . . .

View from la tour Saint-Nicolas
View from la tour Saint-Nicolas

But perfect weather like we had that day is becoming the exception. The cool and the occasional rain showers make us appreciate les arcades de La Rochelle and, last week, les passages couverts de Paris . . . 

Passage Vivienne, Paris
Galerie Vivienne, Paris

We’re choosing to eat à l’interieur instead of à l’exterieur . . .

Courtney, Café de la Paix, La Rochelle
Courtney, Café de la Paix, La Rochelle

And of course l’automne makes us feel like curling up with a good book . . .

Book Shop in one of the covered passages of Paris
Book Shop in one of the covered passages of Paris
Book Shop in Covered Passage of Paris
Book Shop in one of the covered passages of Paris

The changing season signals other changes as well. Tomorrow is our last day in La Rochelle, and that feels strange. We’ll fit in one last lunch at Les 4 Sergents, courtesy of our kind landlords, and I’ll have one last French lesson with my fabulous tutor, Natacha, who has become another good friend.

The past few days have found me wandering in and out of tourist shops, buying a Charente-Maritime calendar and reproductions of watercolors of the towers and the sea, strongly tempted by other touristy knickknacks to which I wouldn’t have given a second glance a month ago. All in an effort to hang onto something precious, I guess. But of course a refrigerator magnet is not an adequate substitute for this place and these friends. So, we don’t know when, but God willing, we will certainly be back.

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