August 3, 2011

Surviving Summer in the South of France - 10 Things You Should Know

Our Village

1) It's HOT.
You probably already knew that, right?
Well, you'd be surprised by how many people come here and are shocked by how intense the heat can be in June, July and August.

2) Air conditioning is a luxury.
A good fan is worth its weight in gold.


3) Ice is not plentiful.
Order a drink in a café and you'll get one cube, two if you're lucky.
Unless you order Pastis. Then you'll get a small bucketful.

4) Fruit and vegetables are ripe when you buy them.
Purchase only what you will consume in a day or two. Ditto for cheese.

Reine-Claude plums

5) Walking around in a bathing suit or short shorts is tacky.
Unless you are at the beach. If so, ignore this tip.

6) Rosé is your friend.
As are salads, gazpacho, ham, olives, pâté, tubs of ice cream and sorbet, cheese and basically anything that doesn't require turning on an oven.
Or, you could always do all of your cooking to the balcony or in the garden, if you have one.

Paella and Tabasco

7) Embrace the siesta. 
A nap in a cool room with the shutters closed and a fan blowing is the best way to spend the afternoon. It's simply too hot to do anything else.

8) Find a friend with a swimming pool.
And ply them with gifts.
Your goal: an open invitation.

Sunday lunch

9) Get up early and get any errands run before the heat of the day hits. 
Of course, most places don't open until 9am, but at least you can enjoy some time at the café in the cool of the morning while you wait for the shops to open.  
See tip #7.

10) Slather on the sunscreen.
You wouldn't believe how quickly you'll get burned to a crisp down here. Pin It


Rachel said...

These tips would work for Rio de janeiro's summer too!

Veronica said...

Gotta say that after 35C daily in Andalucia (it would be at least 25C by 9 am), it feels cool to me here now :) said...

We suffer from heat a lot here from January to it is like in a desert

helen tilston said...

This is sage advice for all of us experiencing temps over 100.
We are blessed with air conditioning.

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

All good advice. Love your picture of the paella cooking on the wood fire. Did you make it recently? Yum! (or as the French say "Miam!") Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

Jason said...

Love your blog. I've followed for some time but hadn't taken the time to comment. When I saw your picture of Capestang I had to do a double-take.

You see, my wife and I own a beautiful village home in Azille and the Allée Pol Lapeyre there looks nearly identical to your picture.

As to the rest of your great post, I would say that I would rather deal with the heat in France right now over the heatwave we are experiencing here stateside (Nashville).

Stay cool. =)

Sandy said...

The paella looks to die for!

Anonymous said...

All very true. Are you having more seasonal weather down there these days?

Murissa Maurice said...

Thank you for the tips! I am heading to this area next summer so I will put them to good use!
The fire pit looks so inviting! Lovely to eat some fresh seafood with a glass of Rose.

Do you have any good gazpacho recipes for us?

The Wanderfull Traveler

Jules8 said...

Great tips - Thanks! I would fit right in as I'm not a fan of air conditioning and napping is one of my favorite things to do!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

spot on tips! The bit about bathing suits and short shorts hors plage is funny - when I was in Aix briefly in the Spring I even saw cheek-revealing short shorts. With cowboy boots and a crop top. Interesting fashion sense down South :)

Chez Loulou said...

I'm sure they would!

It must! Though it has been a strangely cool summer this year.

I don't know if I could live in heat all year around. Nice to visit though!

Chez Loulou said...

I miss air conditioning! The office where I work in the summers can be unbearable sometimes.
Hope you're having a good summer. Stay cool!

That was taken a couple of years ago, in our neighbor's garden. José is of Spanish descent and he is the paella master!
I wrote about it:

Hello! Nice to hear from another "neighbor." :)
Hope your heat wave ends soon. When are you coming back to France?

Chez Loulou said...

It was delicious! Do you ever make it?

Yes, the temperatures are slowly inching their way up. 87 degrees today. But it has still been a gorgeous, not too hot summer.

I have a white gazpacho recipe and a cold tomato soup recipe that you could try.
Enjoy your trip!

Chez Loulou said...

Yes, then you would definitely love it here! :)

There is some strange fashion down here!
And too many men walking around in tiny shorts with no shirt...who really shouldn't be. (if you know what I mean)

meredith said...

Both of my kids have been totally hitting on their friends with pools. And today looks like it's going to be a hot one!

Majella O'Shea said...

Oh I feel so 'homesick' for Capestang! Couldn't believe it when I opened your blog and there she was! Just back after three weeks there, and missing it a lot. Our tip for hot days is a deck chair in the shade of the Plane trees on the banks of the Canal! Followed by a cool Rose!

Love your blog!


Gretchen said...

I spent a week in Nice during a backpacking trip in Europe the summer after finishing college. I remember we survived the heat by eating gelato for lunch (and sometimes breakfast too!) and living at the beach.

aimee said...

Pretty photos! Wish I were there! Enjoy the rest of your hot summer.

geetlee said...

the view is stunning!
California gets dry, not much green which is pretty in its own way.
Thanks for dropping by :)

Pradeepa said...

This is news to me. I never thought France could have terrible summers.

Chez Loulou said...

We've been spoiled by this cool summer. Yesterday was hot! Thunderstorms on their way tonight.

I love that you recognized Capestang! Do you have a holiday home there?

Those are both excellent south of France summer survival tips. :)

Chez Loulou said...

Thank you! You too.

My sister lives in northern California and I remember how brown and baked looking it can be there in the summer. Still a beautiful place to live, though!

This has been a wonderful summer! Not too hot and lots of sun and cool wind.

Craig said...

Good advice... especially the one involving rosé and ice cream :)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Love the tips and I am going to take you up on the Pastis, the rosé, the naps, and the pool. We are hot on the Gulf Coast also, panting like lizards. Fortunately, we do have air conditioning. I try to exercise before the sun comes up and stay indoors during the midday hours. When we get a storm or a shower, the humidity afterwards brings the heat on with a vengeance!


Oh, yes... no cooking!

Majella21 said...

Yes we have a lovely little house in Capestang village. Unfortunately, we don't get to spend as much time there as we like! But when we do, it's heaven. We love all the local produce, food tastes so good there. We haven't been adventurous enough with the cheeses, though so we have decided to start with your list to help us get started.


Samantha Vérant said...

Amen, sister! Here's to Pastis, Gazapacho, et fermant les volets!

Chez Loulou said...

One can never go wrong with rosé and ice cream! :)

I remember that kind of humid heat when we lived in New Orleans. Sultry and soft. I miss it sometimes, but then again we did have an air conditioned house to escape to!
Enjoy your Pastis, the rosé, the naps, and the pool.
When are you coming back to Paris?

I'm happy to hear that you'll be trying some more French cheese next time you're here. Les Halles in Narbonne has several Fromageries that you should check out.

Santé! :)

Sharon T said...

A lot of those same rules apply here in the front range of Colorado. Not a lot of a/c and we've had temps in the upper 90's (which is unusual for us). Shade, fans and rosé abound at my house! We do a lot of grilling to keep from heating the house up. Now I want to make paella too!

Chez Loulou said...

You should try making Paella. This is the recipe I use. I've been making it for years!

angela said...

And eat soupe au pistou, despite it being a warm soup, it is perfect for a summer's evening!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

I love this!! Who needs Peter Mayle? Is that paella? I've been having a personal paella renaissance but haven't had the chance to do one over an open flame like that of course. What a fantastic idea. Maybe next time I'm at my parents' in NH. Merci!

Carola Bartz said...

This is the most delicious paella I have seen...

Ellie said...

Just found your blog and enjoying reading it. The South of France looks lovely. Have just become your latest follower.

Chez Loulou said...

I never thought of soupe au pistou. Definitely a summer soup with all those fresh vegetables and basil.
Thanks for the idea!

Peter Mayle? Who?
Yes, that is paella, being cooked in a garden down the street by our neighbor, José. It was delicious!

It was one of the best I'd ever tasted, too!

Welcome and thanks for commenting. The south of France is definitely a place you should visit one day!

emiglia said...

All true... I like the rosé tip. Rosé, rosé, rosé. If you find yourself in Paziols, go by Bertrand Bergé's caves for the Méconnu; tell Sabine Emily sent you. You might have to add the suffix "the American..." -- it's my Paziols last name.

Chez Loulou said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I think we have the same last name...