Autour du lac

A month ago this blogger was steaming like a microwave ready meal.

Summer – long awaited, much anticipated and gloriously welcome – came upon us in June with an inferno blast that lasted until mid-July. After that things got spotty weather-wise, with alternating days of clouds and cooler air interspersed with sweltering waves. Now, at last, I sense a change in the air. It’s still summer, but we are over the hump and heading towards those golden late summer days.

Hot weather is all very well if you’re on holiday. After all these years in France, a land where most people distrust air conditioning, I’ve learned to live without A/C for those weeks when the ‘mercure’ rises beyond my comfort zone.

It’s work that’s the problem. My get-up-and-go gets up and evaporates at plus 30 degrees Celsius. So I decided, quite simply, to ease up. My clients cooperated by slowing down the orders. And somehow my blogging break turned from two weeks into five.

It’s been wonderful! I’d been feeling in a bit of a rut for awhile blog-wise, so the break was most welcome. I stepped back, stared at the sky, reorganized my closets, worked on my memoir (more on that later) and set myself a few different goals.

One was to go to the lake more. I realized after a month of summer that I hadn’t once dipped my toes in the lake. We are lucky to have a pool at our house, and to live in an area of mountains and lakes very close to Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). When it’s really hot it’s just too easy to cool off in the pool. But the experience of swimming in the soft water of a lake is completely different, soul soothing, and one of my absolute favourite things.

So I set myself a challenge to go there every day and swim or just savour a moment by the water’s edge. It has pushed me to discover every ‘beach’ in our area (in French, ‘la plage’ is often a grassy stretch of a swimming area by the lake). New to Instagram, I decided to post a picture by the lake every day for a month. If you’re interested, you can follow my doings here.

Another was to try stand-up paddle again. I managed to get up on a board twice on Lake Annecy. Husband even joined me the second time, and for a newbie did rather well (he’s atrociously fit), only falling in twice.

And, just recently, I celebrated a bit of a milestone birthday. Which probably explains why I feel like reconnecting with my inner child. The one who loved nothing more than the barefoot freedom of summers by the lake.

So that’s my summer so far. How’s yours been? I’ve missed you guys!



  1. Happy milestone birthday! It does us good to get out of the routine. Enjoy your daily dips and I look forward to your Instagram photos now too…

    • MELewis · August 10, 2017

      So right! Thanks for following and same here. 🙂

  2. phildange · August 10, 2017

    I’m happy to see you back sweet lady . I’ve missed you (a little) too .

    • MELewis · August 10, 2017

      Aw, thanks, Phil! (I will remind you of that next time I manage an ‘outrage’ of French language or culture…) 😛

  3. Osyth · August 10, 2017

    I’m so glad you took the time to press reset. It is so important to step back and reflect and indulge in oneself from time to time. It is not always easy to achieve but in my experience, when one is ‘selfish’ in that good way it is totally replenishing. Your summer does sound idyllic and being one who does follow your Instagram I have loved the lake pictures .. water and mountains of course being my go-to soul salvers. My summer has been tiring. But good. Very very good. Autumn beckons and summer will be a sweet memory … and all shall be well 🙂

    • MELewis · August 10, 2017

      Merci Madame Osyth. As you know, things are never as idyllic as they appear but it does a body good to reflect a bit. I’m with you — this summer has been exhausting, in spite of many pleasant moments, and I am mentally gearing up for fall. Vive la rentrée!

  4. francetaste · August 10, 2017

    These paddle boards are intriguing. Might have to try it out.
    For some reason, Carcassonne avoided the “Lucifer” heat wave. It was hot, but doable–around 35 for highs and in the low 20s at night. I like to feel summer, that baking oven feeling, the dry smell, the minimalism of clothing, the magnetism of shade, the deceleration of time and motion.
    Suddenly it has cooled off a lot, but I expect another blast before summer ends.

    • phildange · August 10, 2017

      These paddle boats have a name : they are called “un pedalo” . I don’t know nowadays but chidren of my age and my time were all magnetized towards them . I still can’t see the reason, because it is rather tiring after the firt minute, but as soon as we saw them we all wanted to ride them . And I still feel the calling if ever I see one . A complete mystery .

      • MELewis · August 11, 2017

        Phil, I meant not ‘pedalo’ but stand up paddle – ‘SUP’ in French. A bit more challenging than a paddle boat! 😉 even attempted to take a yoga on SUP class but was unable to balance on anything higher than my knees!

      • phildange · August 11, 2017

        Oh sorry, I don’t know those . The last time I’ve been in the outside world was in 1968 .

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      Funny, my brief memory of Carcassonne (believe we passed through briefly one afernoon many years ago) was of extreme heat, the walls of city seeming to hold in the oven blast. I do know what you mean about feeling that summer heat, but I think we are not all created equal in terms of our ability to survive – even thrive – in hot weather. I get red-faced and pour sweat when others are just hitting their stride. Hoping you get another blast of summer!

      • francetaste · August 11, 2017

        Today is cool again. So weird. It can indeed get very hot here, but this year we haven’t flirted with 40 more than once or twice. I expect we’ll have a couple more scorchers this summer.
        I know what you mean about your face turning red. As soon as I made any effort, I turn purple, with the area around my mouth very white. People always get worried. I’ve been like that since I was a kid.

      • MELewis · August 11, 2017

        40? My knees just turned to water….gah!

  5. M. L. Kappa · August 10, 2017

    What a lovely post! It’s good to take a break – and it’s good to have you back. Oh, and Happy Birthday! 🍾🎂

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      Why thank you, Ms. Athens! A change is better than a rest as they say and as for the birthday, it’s just a number (or so I keep telling myself, my body seeming to have a mind of its own is sending lots of little aches and pains to remind me of my advanced age!) 😀

  6. The Pink Agendist · August 10, 2017

    A house with a little lake/étang was my dream, but it turned out that was a step too far on the wishlist. In the end we had to choose between being in town or having a lake.

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      The thing about realizing your dreams is that you realize you can’t have it all. I remember wanting old stone, steeped in character, but with modern decorative touches. That all went by the window when we discovered it was either out of our price range or required heavy handyman skills, which neither of us has. So it’s a modern house but close enough to the lake that we can smell it (lake smell!), and glimpse a bit of it between the two houses in front of ours. And only 30 minutes to Geneva which is all the city I need.

  7. coteetcampagne · August 10, 2017

    Milestone birthdays?
    I survived mine and didn’t explode or lose what’s left of marbles so it was fine.
    It has given me a new perspective though. Really

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      Perspective truly is the silver lining of ageing. I feel that every loss has a relative gain (and not just weight!). Hope your birthday was happy – I utterly spoiled myself as I’ve learned not to wait for others to do it. More sagessse!

  8. parisbreakfast · August 11, 2017

    Yr own pool and a lake too! Heaven. Paris pools are nice but I’d leave in an instant to have so much water access. Or I think I would…always wanted to go to Annacy
    Enjoy your freedom

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      It is a bit of heaven indeed to be so close to lakes and mountains. The down side is the season for swimming is rather short, but given my Canadian blood I’m usually in by May and enjoying the odd dip until late September. Hope you can make it to Annecy one day soon. If you get a chance, stay away from the touristy centre in the height of summer and enjoy the tranquility of the lake near Talloires. Cheers!

  9. Dana · August 11, 2017

    Happy to see you’re back- hope you enjoyed an amazing holiday! xx

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      My blogging break was a holiday in itself – and the best part of all is that we still have a real vacation coming up at the end of the month. Obrigado!

      • Dana · August 11, 2017

        Enjoy Portugal!

  10. Victoria Blake · August 11, 2017

    On Wednesday in London it rained solidly and heavily for the whole day so it wasn’t the best of days to be experimenting ahem with my pedometer. By the end of the day it said 601 steps or as my partner said you have been as animate as a rock. The steps were from desk to kettle and back, from desk to window and back and repeat. There was a brief visit to the boiler in contemplation of turning on the heating! Glad you had a good holiday – the lake looks lovely.

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      Thank you! Sorry to hear the step counting was less than inspiring but as for wet weather in London, isn’t that par for the course? Lol. I am spending the weekend in the mountains Switzerland where the temperatures have dropped to 12 C – apparently there is snow not far and turning on the heat is looking like a good idea. Brrr!

      • Victoria Blake · August 11, 2017

        Oh, you’re right – complaining about the weather in London is like complaining that the tube is overcrowded! Hope you have a great weekend.

  11. acflory · August 11, 2017

    Welcome back! Sounds as if you’ve re-discovered your joie de vivre. 🙂

    • MELewis · August 11, 2017

      Indeed I have, Meeks. Nothing like hitting reset! Thanks for the homecoming wishes!

      • acflory · August 11, 2017

        Nice to have you back. 🙂

  12. Suzanne et Pierre · August 11, 2017

    Summer here in the Eastern part of Canada has been almost non-existent. Not one day over 30C in all of July with more rain than usual. We are longing for a heat wave! It is however a different story in the Western part of Canada where the dry heat has wreck the summer of a number of people who were evacuated because of forest fires. We are still taking advantage of the summer we have and are just back from my hometown where we picked liters of wild blueberries…they are very yummy…

    P.S. Blogging hasn’t tempted me back yet…I am doing quite well without the routine of posting regularly though I have started taking pictures again but not in large quantities…

    • MELewis · August 12, 2017

      It has been a strange year, weather-wise. Climate change? In Canada I heard reports of a very late spring, then a lot of rain followed by some very hot temps in Toronto. We had almost no snow or rain in the early part of the year and have virtual drought conditions in much of France, with the usual forest fires in the south and in Corsica. Also in Portugal where we are heading in a few weeks. Yet right now it’s cool and rainy in August and feels almost like fall. Unheard of in the past!

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve missed summer so far, Suzanne. How we do crave that heat, and then when it comes it quickly wear out its welcome. The blueberries are definitely a bonus though! The ones we get here are nowhere near as good as in Canada.

      I do miss your blog but I understand…it’s a big commitment to keep a blog, even weekly, and should be done out of wanting to say something rather than feeling it as an obligation. Nice of you to keep in touch and I do hope to see you back again one day soon!

  13. Lisa @ cheergerm · August 12, 2017

    Happy Milestone Birthday Mel! How lucky to have a beautiful lake so close. Great to step back and take stock sometimes. Enjoy your holiday!

    • MELewis · August 12, 2017

      Thank you Lisa! We are lucky ducks indeed… 😀

  14. CompassAndCamera · August 13, 2017

    Welcome back! Sounds like a wonderful summer! Annecy is one of my favorite places for lakeside lounging. Looking forward to seeing your Instagram posts.

  15. midihideaways · August 17, 2017

    Happy Birthday – whatever the number!! I took a leaf out of your book and took a blogging holiday too – and I’m still not back 🙂 But I’ll start again with the rentree!!

    • MELewis · August 17, 2017

      Merci beaucoup! Enjoy your break and see you in September!

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