Countdown to Flying the Coop in Saint-Remy-de-Provence

A basket of blooms greets patrons at the popular Boulangerie Hache.

Here we are in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, heading into the fourth (and last!) week of the third major lockdown in France’s battle to conquer Covid. As of 3 May, the ten-kilometer limit on travel will be lifted. Time will tell when restaurants and cafes will be able to open, but indicators suggest that may happen around mid-May.

The ancient Roman city of Glanum showing off its colors.

In the meantime, Mother Nature waits for no official announcement. She’s marching full on into le printemps. Trees are leafing out, and blossoms are blooming–in the fields and in town, lifting spirits with their splashes of color.

Hoopoe By Zeynel Cebeci – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,\\

Plants aren’t the only color delivery system at work. Striking birds like the fabulous hoopoe (above) with its stunning topknot have arrived—we saw one in the Alpilles a week ago. (It was too fast for a photo —this one is from Wikimedia.) Swifts, too, are here, wheeling around high up, squeaking as they go. Rollers and bee-eaters have been reported in the area too, but we haven’t seen them yet. We’re prepared, though, with our eyes peeled and binoculars at the ready. To see their swooshes of vibrant blue and cinnamon will be a joy.

Bee-eater: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

And so will returning to some sort of normalcy. And that includes going to the movies and enjoying cultural events. Along those lines, the marquee of our neighborhood cinema, the Ciné Palace, reflects these optimistic sentiments: “Looking forward to seeing you again! See you soon in our hall! So that culture lives!”

Our local cinema, the Ciné Palace, offers hopeful reminders of resilience.

Stay safe, well, and hopeful.

Bises, Gayle


Completing The Birdwatcher’s Wife is proving more difficult than anticipated. But I’m making progress–I think!–and hopeful the changes I’ve made in the last month are meaningful. Some days, it feels like two steps forward and one and three-quarters back, but the search for the finish line continues. Watch this space!

A bursting redbud tree in all its hot pink glory!

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