We had heard that it was coming. The Mistral, that is. But what it was, we weren’t quite sure. From a very kind little shop owner, we had been told what we believed to be, was some sort of wind heading our way. However, our conversation with that sweet woman was a very broken mix of French, Italian, a little bit of Spanish, and of course, English. She spoke no English, and us, very little French. But yes, from what we gathered, and mostly from a lot of hand gestures, it was going to be windy the next morning.
We thought to ourselves, “huh, maybe they get something like the Santa Ana winds here.” But no, as we quickly learned, the Mistral was no Santa Ana. In fact, it was nothing like that dry, hot wind that whips through Southern California.
We woke up the next morning and started with our normal Provençal routine – we lazily got up, got ready, and enjoyed our coffee while gushing over the previous night’s dinner. And then just as our tummies started to rumble, we picked out what market to venture off to. We both agreed that we could really get used to this life. The good food, the good wine. . .yep, life was pretty perfect.
Right before we left our apartment, we checked the weather one last time for the day. And since it was going to hit 89°, we hurried out in our Summer clothes and sandals. As far as we knew, Mistral or not, it was going to be a hot day.
But when we walked outside, we both immediately tensed up and shivered. Brrrrr. Like, really, seriously, brrrrr. It was chilly. In fact, after several weeks of basking in the hot European Summer sun, it downright felt cold to us. We both immediately checked our phones, yep, 82°. We were beyond perplexed. But with the cool wind whipping against our faces, we ran back inside to grab some layers.
What we came to understand, is that yes, the Mistral is a wind. A wind that blows during the Summer months in the South of France. But it isn’t just any sort of wind. It is a wind that can change the “feels like” temperature by nearly 30 degrees with it’s strong gusts. So while the weather man said that it was going to be hot, hot, hot. . .the Mistral had turned it into the most gloriously Fall-like day.
For these two San Diego transplants who desperately miss a four season climate, there was nothing better. The air was crisp and cool, and the Mistral blew strong, stirring up leaves and leaving the faintest scent of Fall behind.
It had been far too long since we felt like we needed to bundle up and grab some warm drinks. And although we knew that the Mistral was not going to be sticking around, it was the perfect little taste of our favorite season.