Se sentir bien

thumb_IMG_3421_1024 This is a postcard from my morning run.

Pictures can capture the beauty of this place but not the way it smells. Close your eyes and join me on a virtual tour around our corner of Lake Geneva in the Haute Savoie.

Take a deep breath. The first thing you will notice is the lake smell. Wet, musky, a hint of freshwater fish. Lac Léman is just a few hundred metres away, and on days with a bit of humidity in the air it feels like you are breathing the lake.

There is a large farm field between our house and the lake. As we pass by it the smell of fresh-cut grass rises – heady and pleasant. Then something stronger overrides it. Manure has been spread to fertilize the land and its odour hangs heavy in the air.

The road crosses through the woods and the air changes. Suddenly it is cooler, denser. The smell of wet leaves and spices tickles your nostrils as you are surrounded by myriad shades of green. If you hear a rustle up ahead don’t be surprised. Sometimes a deer will cross – un chevreuil in French. I am always caught in amazement to see them so close but they are gone before I can get my camera out.

The road turns up towards the Château de Beauregard, stately on its perch above the lake. The trees thin out and you can see a few brown and white cows grazing in the neighbouring field as the forest smell mingles with a grassy note of dung.

We continue up the road until we reach the village centre. The bakery emits a warm, yeasty advertisement of bread just out of the oven.

Cutting across the main road, we cross behind the church and up through residential streets. There is a sudden sharp smell of onions cooking in someone’s kitchen, reminding us that it is almost lunchtime.

thumb_IMG_3432_1024A leafy green hedge with tiny white flowers gives off intense bursts of crisp musk. Then the houses give way and we are in a field of yellow. Colza, rapeseed or canola, in full flower gives off a perfume that is delicate and honeyed. We pick up speed as we pass it. The sheep next door give us a curious stare.

Now it’s back down through more houses to the main road and home. We come to the roundabout where traffic flows from Evian to Geneva. Fumes of diesel exhaust are like grey ashes in the nose, an unpleasant reminder that the city is not far off.

To feel and to smell are two different sensations but in French they are described by the same word: sentir. Every time I go for a walk or a run around my village, there are so many things that smell wonderful, or simply memorable. Most importantly, je me sens bien – I feel good.

How do you feel?



  1. suzyjbarker · May 19, 2016

    Lovely painting using smell – like it.

    • MELewis · May 19, 2016

      That is exactly what I set out to do – so happy you felt it worked! 🙂

  2. francetaste · May 19, 2016

    Very lovely. Nothing better than running in French countryside!

    • MELewis · May 19, 2016

      I can’t compare it to that many other countrysides….but it is indeed wonderful. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. Suzanne et Pierre · May 19, 2016

    You made me want to be alongside you on this walk to smell all of it…very evocative. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · May 19, 2016

      I tried to do with words what you and Pierre so often do with pictures. Pleased it evoked pleasant memories. 🙂

  4. Osyth · May 19, 2016

    The smell of early morning is incomparable – so new. Your run must be so invigorating and new-making in this beautiful place 🙂

    • MELewis · May 19, 2016

      Could not agree more, Osyth, there is something about the new day that has a particular magic. I don’t always run but being up before the rest of the world will always be my pleasure zone. Hope you are back to enjoy it in France. 🙂

  5. George Lewis · May 19, 2016

    Good description ,I was back on my last morning run there !

    • MELewis · May 19, 2016

      Time to come back and refresh the memory! 🙂

  6. Lisa @ cheergerm · May 20, 2016

    I feel like I was there on that run with you Mel. Lovely.

    • MELewis · May 20, 2016

      This blogger couldn’t ask for more. Thanks, Lisa!

  7. Colin Bisset · May 20, 2016


  8. midihideaways · May 23, 2016

    Thanks for that outing – bliss!!

    • MELewis · May 24, 2016

      Cheers! I’m sure you must have some nice fragrances in your parts….lavender, aïoli….?

  9. jackiemallon · May 23, 2016

    Idyllic running landscape. It’s making me want to lace up my trainers and imagine the East River is a field full of yellow…

    • MELewis · May 24, 2016

      Indeed, it’s quite a contrast but I would love to run in New York!

  10. Barbed Words · May 23, 2016

    Wow, you paint a stunning picture 🙂

    • MELewis · May 24, 2016

      Merci, never thought of it that way….word painting. 🙂

  11. poshbirdy · May 25, 2016

    What a lovely run this was. Thoroughly enjoyed it

    • MELewis · May 26, 2016

      Cheers, Posh. Nice to have you along!

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