Winter in Laroque

February 9, 2010

January was ushered in by record freezing temperatures and snow that spread across Europe. We watched the meteo daily as the temperatures in the north hovered near 0, Fahrenheit that is!  The Chunnel closed, London’s airports closed, the snow was getting deep.  Over the next few days, the cold moved south until it reached the Mediterranean.  It was windy and the rain was cold.  But, how bad could this be in the sunny Languedoc? 

 In the US, we have our after-Christmas sales, which are nothing compared to the French January soldes, the twice yearly phenomena that excites French shoppers.  By French law, advertised sales are limited to twice yearly events in January and June.  Not that French stores haven’t found ways to nip away at the rules with in store promotions, special offers, or a clearance section.  The media hyped the event too, building anticipation for the January 6th commencement in Paris.  Not wanting to miss out, I bundled up, and headed into Perpignan to check it out.  I was in the midst of a spending frenzy, 50 % off!! when my portable rang.  “Vite, vite, l’orage arrive,” hurry home before the weather gets bad … it might even snow.  The shopkeeper quickly rang up my purchases, and cautioned me to take care with the approaching storm.

 Snow at the Mediterranean?  It started snowing about half-way back to Laroque.  Slushy stuff, but it was piling up along the sides of the road.  I slowed a bit, unsure how much traction I would have with the skinny wheels on my Renault.  As the road climbed toward Laroque, it got more snowy.  Luckily, there weren’t many cars on the road, it seemed everyone had heeded the warning.  When I got to Laroque it was snowing in earnest.  I decided it best to park down in the village.  The snow was deep!

It continued to snow.  As I looked up my street, the street light cast a beautiful golden glow on the fresh snow as it clung to the overhanging trees.  What a magical sight!