Tomorrow will the the third anniversary of shaking hands on my accepted offer on the house. On a purely financial calculation, with French property prices still stagnant at best, and the Euro down 10% from 2012, it’s not going to make me a profitable international property investor. But that entirely misses the point: it was done to enjoy myself, and to make memories, either by myself, or with other people. And that has been exactly what has happened: I could not have asked for more. The majority of my time here has been with various friends – many have been cyclists, but the winter weather is less enticing for cyclists, given the likelihood of a very reduced choice of routes.
Up till now at New Year I’ve had the pleasure of friends happy to walk, read and relax (plus one intrepid cyclist!). Last year saw the region blanketed in snow, and Chris, Anna and I had some magnificent walks. This year has been amazingly mild until now, with the result that all the ski resorts are shut, and just a trace of snow on Grand Veymont, at 2300m. But this year I’ve had no takers, so here I am, alone, with time on my hands, and a bike.
And though temperatures have taken a bit of a dive for my stay, there’s been good riding to be had so far, with care taken to delay starts till temperatures have risen, and avoiding the higher cols. The forecast is changeable, and dampness yesterday limited me to a 40-mile loop to Luc-en-Diois. Today brought sunshine and blue skies after a cold foggy start, so I made the most of it with 80 miles to Saoû, Roynac and Granes, including a road new to me, over the pleasant Col de Devès.