Battre son plein

One month into Spring, nature has reached fever pitch in our corner of France.

The greening of fields and trees is perhaps one or two shades away from its most intense. But the pink and white blossoms on the trees are in full bloom, the fields are intensely yellow with dandelion and rapeseed, every plant is either burgeoning or bearing signs of a bud. Flying insects go about their business everywhere and bump up against the windows in the sun.

The birds do not seem to sleep at all (and I am often awake to hear them). I’ve no idea if these are normal birds, perhaps twittering all night long to protect their young, or night birds. There are a couple of nests in the eaves. Whatever they are, I don’t remember ever hearing quite this much nocturnal peeping before.

It’s a wonderful time of year. In a couple of weeks, the farmers will have plowed the fields for planting, the blossoms will be off the trees and the sun will be high enough to send me scurrying for a hat.

‘Battre son plein’ means to reach a crescendo, a culmination point. The expression is often used to describe an event, like a party or fair (la fête bat son plein). It is thought to find roots in the description of the tide reaching its maximum point before going out, but this is not certain. Some say it has to do with music, others with the moon.

Whatever it is, my heart is beating along with it.

Along with it beats the rest of French life. Macron has called in the military to remove the ‘zadistes’ or squatters from the ill-fated Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport/agricultural development (more on that later). The students are blocking a dozen universities; trains and planes are still regularly cancelled. And this week, following the worrying military strikes in Syria by France, Britain and the US, it was announced that Macron has taken steps to withdraw the Legion of Honour awarded to Assad by former president Jacques Chirac. Why he got it in the first place is a mystery.

As our spring season reaches fever pitch, across the pond snow shovels are still in active duty. And down under, I hear a collective sigh of relief at the passing of the summer’s heat.

Whatever weather is at your door, may you enjoy it while it lasts or herald what’s next.

Happy days!


  1. davidprosser · April 19, 2018

    Sunshine and warmth are knocking at my door for a few days. It’s glorious and the joy and smiles are catching.
    xxx Mega Hugs xxx

    • MELewis · April 19, 2018

      You of all people are deserving of sunshine, David. You share so much of it on your weekly updates! 😀 Long may it last! xo

  2. coteetcampagne · April 19, 2018

    I’ m working on the terrace.

    Sadly the WiFi is weak up here
    Trev says he’ll install a repeater to boost it, but frankly I like the excuse of stopping here and there to enjoy the amazing weather. This is pretty typical for April in Campagne actually.

    • MELewis · April 19, 2018

      Good for you! I would get absolutely nothing done outside, regardless of the WiFi signal. But you are right to enjoy the weather while it’s at its best — you can’t beat it, might as well join it!

  3. francetaste · April 19, 2018

    G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. Absolutely amazing weather these days, and here, too, the birds are raising a cacophony at all hours.
    My kid said last night, “We are so lucky to live in France. My friends don’t realize how lucky they are. They take it for granted.” I think the urge to complain and to protest and strike runs deep here, and honestly, that’s OK.

    • MELewis · April 19, 2018

      Your kid sounds mature beyond his years. Beyond many people’s years, actually! Between the protesting and complaining, there is still a good deal of getting on with it, and that helps.

  4. acflory · April 19, 2018

    For once our autumn and your spring seem to be in tandem – cold nights, sunshiny days and just enough rain to freshen up the drab brown of summer with some bright green. Not a bad time of year at all. 🙂 Salut!

    • MELewis · April 19, 2018

      Oh, we are in sync! How amazing is that? Profites-en! 😀

      • acflory · April 19, 2018

        Never fear. I’ve had my morning coffee and now I’m about to grab my shovel. 😀

  5. Susanne · April 19, 2018

    Thank goodness for the joys of spring to balance the unease elsewhere.

    • MELewis · April 19, 2018

      True that. For now I am taking the joy where I find it! 🙂

  6. Colin Bisset · April 19, 2018

    You’ve captured the essence of spring – strikes and all. I think one of the particular joys of your region is the incredible variety of plants that grow in your pastures – nothing as simple as plain grass. No wonder the cheese tastes so good… So there, spring stimulates the appetites in so many ways!

    • MELewis · April 20, 2018

      It’s true that we are fortunate to have so much close at hand. Small farming patches and pastures are integrated into villages and right next to houses. I never even got close to a cow before moving to France! Never mind realizing that there are milk cows and beef cattle, laying hens and chickens. Although this is an alpine region, there are vines on the hillsides and the fields are full of all kinds of plants (when not being planted or manured). The farmers still fallow the fields between crops. That is about the extent of my agricultural knowledge, but it is many times beyond what I ever experienced in Canada, living in the big city. Thanks for pointing it out, Colin!

  7. Suzanne et Pierre · April 20, 2018

    Spring should start on Saturday in Montreal…well, they are forecasting a sunny day with temperature reaching 12C and maybe even 16C next week. Still not very warm but at least we are starting to see the end of this awful winter. Glad to see such green in your photos…

  8. poshbirdy · April 24, 2018

    Lovely post. We should all be enjoying the good life (love the pics)

    • MELewis · April 26, 2018

      Cheers, Posh! It is hard not to enjoy when the opportunity is so ripe. Sadly, it will not last forever…

  9. · May 9, 2018

    Love the pictures. We seem to be pretty well synced with you here in Gutenberg land. A couple of days we started setting time aside for a five mile walk, just to make sure we don’t miss the sunshine and fresh wind. Sure hope it doesn’t rain on tomorrow’s holiday.

    • MELewis · May 10, 2018

      Sadly this holiday Thursday is cold and rainy here. But the good news is they’re calling for sunny tomorrow! Hope you get your fill of fresh air and sunshine!

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