Saturday, February 07, 2015

Choosing the road to winter

It all started with a cancelled plane.

Lest you think that all I do is wander around the back roads of Aveyron because that is, well, all there is to do here, listen up!

Today I had a highly cultural afternoon planned. The famous American artist Jim Dine, who has works displayed in the excellent temporary exhibit currently at the Musée Soulages, was going to be giving a conference in Rodez -- and I was going to go.

But his Paris-Rodez flight was cancelled, apparently for mechanical reasons, and I ended up in Rodez with nothing but a tad bit of shopping to do.

So, I had some exploration time. But where to go?

This is definitely not the road to Marcillac

I basically had two choices: driving towards spring, or savoring the end of winter.

The road to Marcillac tempted me, as Le Vallon is always a bit warmer. 

It was 37°F in Rodez; logically it would be over 40° in Marcillac. And after the 2 weeks we have had, even 41°F sounded positively balmy.

Some serious snow had clearly been going on here

But then again, despite our two weeks of cold and ice, Rodez and my home village had actually accumulated only a few puny inches of snow. So I hadn't really braved the elements

I decided to take the colder option and head up the Col d'Aujol, a small pass only about 20 minutes from Rodez, but also about 200 meters higher. 

Around here, when it has been snowing, 200 meters usually makes a lot of difference, and today was no exception. 

Bushes under a blanket

The road was clear and dry, but as soon as I got above 700 meters, everything around me was a quiet winter wonderland. 

I regret missing many photo opportunities because there was simply no place to park. Snowdrifts were blocking the roadsides, and the few smaller roads heading off the main one didn't promise the best driving conditions. 

(In fact, they didn't even promise that I would have enough traction in my snow tires to make it home, so I played it safe.)

Snow like cotton balls, a reminder that spring is around the corner

At the entrance to one hamlet, though, I found an ice-free parking area, and was able to commit this day to my photographic memory: the day that the famous American artist Jim Dine couldn't take his flight from Paris to Rodez. 


Katie Zeller said...

We've had cold here, and wind, but only a brief dusting of snow. Snow against a blue ski is always beautiful.... but after all the years in the Midwest, I don't miss is at all LOL

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Having spent the past four days working in Detroit I am ready to head south for warmer weather. I do hope you had a pair of those fabulous Maison Fabre gloves to keep your hands warm!


Sue Brady Ardington said...

I am enjoying the winter visions of France, something new to me. You write in such a way that I feel as if I were there with you.

Jennifer Greco said...

So disappointing that Jim Dine wasn't able to make it. I would have loved to have seen him as well!
However, it looks like you took advantage of the day and your crisp, winter photos are lovely.

rosemary said...

beautiful photos. i LOVE jim dine. what a great opportunity that would have been.

Betty Carlson said...

Katie- I like a little snowy period every winter, but then again the PNW is not like the Midwest

Genie -- Sorry, just have Isotoners. I know all about Maison Fabre though.

Sue -- Glad you are reading and enjoying!

Jen and Rosemary -- Yes, it was very disappointing. Plus a friend of mine was going to be interpreting, so I was doubly interested. Ironically said friend's wife was flying up to Paris that morning and her flight was cancelled too...there was some mechanical problem on the Rodez-Paris plane that cancelled the flight up and, subsequently, Jim Dine's flight down.

Alana said...

I've never been to France. But snow, I know. I am surrounded by snow here in upstate New York but it was nice to see someone else's snow for a change.

Betty Carlson said...

"Someone else's snow" -- I like that!

MM said...

Oh, you got real snow... sigh. We got a few flakes, but it was more like dandruff on Robert Pattison's shoulders than the lovely stuff you've shown here...

Betty Carlson said...

MM, yes we did get "real snow," but only 3 or 4 inches around our house. These pictures were taken 200 meters upwards, as I said. We still have a bit on the ground after nearly a week of no new snow, which shows how cold it has been.

Perpetua said...

It's a pity you didn't get to listen to Jim Dine, but you certainly made the best of the unsuspected free time. Lovely photos.

Not much snow down here in the valley this year, though the hills have had some.