American humorist author Mark Twain once wrote that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. He apparently never made it to Carcassonne in August. We’ve been in the City by the Bay shivering in the fog with only short sleeve shirts and shorts and know exactly what he was talking about. What we didn’t know however was that we’d have the same experience here in the south of France and we’re not complaining at all.
One of the factors that influenced our decision to make this move was the weather. Atlanta is hot in the summer, it’s been over 100 degrees F (38 C) there too often to count, and cold enough in the winter to keep our birdbath water solid for a long time. In contrast, the historical averages in Carcassonne make it much more temperate, still experiencing four definite seasons but without extremes. Of course averages have their drawbacks. Years ago I was riding a passenger train with friend and sister-in-law Pam through the midwest US where our feet were freezing and our heads burning up. The conductor explained that the thermostat was set to an ambient temperature that accounted for the average between the floor and ceiling. So much for statistics.
We also have the wind here, more often than not, and sometimes very strong. Several of the real estate websites for this area promote “300 days of sunshine!” as an enticement to move here. When we first told that to some longtime residents of Carcassonne they just laughed and agreed with that sunny statement but said that the housing agents neglected to mention that there are an equal number of windy days. These new friends went on to say that in the summer we would appreciate the cooling breezes allowing us to leave the windows open and making home air conditioning a rarity. Considering that at this time of year I start out the morning in jeans and a sweatshirt and finish the day in shorts and a t-shirt, I’d say that they’re right!