The first snow has been laid like ermine on the shoulder of the Mont Ventoux. The smells of wood burning and stew leak out from behind heavy doors. The pom poms on the plane trees perform their last jig in the naked blue of an empty sky as a robin heralds the winter. The air smells of thyme after rain.
In the village the residents nod their heads and lower their lids at each other, snug in the knowledge that from now until June it is no longer about lavender and the sound of the cicadas, about renting out your gite, about selling your pots, your authentique farmhouse, your sunflowers or your editions of The Times. It is no longer about dodging campervans or cheap sun, about sweating up the mountain.
No, today the organic butcher is happy to discuss the cut of veal and give me the bones, and the baker has bread left and time to chat at midday. Our neighbour pops round for a coffee for the first time in six months. We talk about the truffles that will come with the first frost, a baby born to a mutual friend, and make a date to share her quince tagine.
The village and its villagers heave a sigh of relief in the silvery silence.