It’s amazing how quickly things change. The last weekend in August is the mass exodus of Europeans heading back home from their holidays and with them gone, comes an imperceptible shift. The leaves are starting to change colour, the roads are quieter, there are smaller crowds at the market and you can find parking without any stress at all. By the middle of the month, it’s downright empty in some towns. But there is a certain charm about it.
While it’s wonderful to have the buzz of patios filled to the brim and the hustle and bustle of visitors, I love it when things slow down. You feel you are part of something special, something local, something calm.
This weekend I rode up and over Les Baux in Les Alpilles. It’s not in my area, so it was a treat to head to a different place to ride, taking in the endless hectares of beautiful olive groves. The sun was shining, a perfect 28 degrees, no wind and a fraction of the traffic on the roads. That is what this time of year brings, and it’s delightful.
There is however one thing that doesn’t slow down; it’s harvest or vendage. So while there are fewer tourists on the road, there are three times as many tractors, trailers and various farming equipment travelling at no more than 30 kilometres per hour. Plus, the grapes get slightly crushed in the transport of the open trailers, and there is grape juice dripping from just about everywhere, leaving a sticky, but intoxicating mess.
So welcome September—the most enchanting month in Provence.