The Grape Years Weblog
January 24, 2005
Villers-La-Faye, Burgundy - France
The temperature is hovering at about five below, and there’s
still plenty of snow on the ground. I can only think of one thing I don’t like
about the snow, and that thing is quite specific to being here in Burgundy.
Excerpt from Victoria's
Official Tourism site
" Located in a sub-Mediterranean zone, Victoria
BC boasts the mildest climate in Canada. Victoria receives an
average of 2,183 hours of sunshine each year, with flowers in bloom
year-round and an eight month frost-free season. [...] Spring
arrives as early as February and is mild."
February in Victoria!
Whenever it snows here, or even when the thermometer falls below
freezing, I am bombarded with comments along the lines of, “This weather must
make you feel right at home!” and “I’m sure this doesn’t feel that cold to
Never mind that I have explained to everyone until I’m blue in
the face that in fact I’m from the West Coast of Canada, from an island
in the Pacific Ocean where it rarely snows, and where the climate is actually
far more temperate than in Burgundy.
No use. For the majority of the French, Canada IS Québec. Therefore, Canada
means snow, and trappers, and maple syrup.
Rather than disappoint, which I’ve generally found is the upshot
of going into a lengthy description of the microclimate of Southern Vancouver
Island, I’ve adopted a new persona – that of a hardy Canadian girl who can mush
dogs and tramp through glacial temperatures without getting frostbite. This is far less tiring, and, so far, seems to make everyone
Yesterday was particularly windy and frigid, and as I tramped through the village to buy a baguette
from the boulangerie, I was stopped by a women whom I'd recently met who was on her way
home for lunch. After rolling down her car window, she said bonjour and
exclaimed that she would never be caught dead walking outside in such weather,
but then hastily added that it must be different for me as I am from Canada.
“Yes, I don’t mind the cold,” I remarked with studied modesty.
We go on another walk today, again pulling the girls on the
sled, and we meet our friend Jean-Yves along the way. We’ve already had a
snowball fight in the driveway, so we probably look like a family of abominable
“Shame on you Laura!” Jean-Yves admonishes me, after we do the
customary round of bises, and Jean-Yves and Franck share a manly
handshake. “It’s freezing out and you’re not even wearing a bonnet.”
I laugh throatily through my ice-encrusted scarf. “Mais
Jean-Yves, you forget that I am CANADIAN!”
“Oh yes,” he says with a huge smile. “How could I have
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Story by Laura Bradbury & Photos
by Franck Germain - All Rights