Weather in southwest France: January 2011 update

Snowdrops at Beaulieu

It’s still a bit early for snowdrops, although they are visibly pushing upwards. The best places in the area to see them are on the banks of the River Seye behind the Abbaye de Beaulieu (now a centre of contemporary art) and the banks of the River Bonnette above Caylus. The ground is carpeted with them from mid-February.

Fortunately, we have had no snow in January this year, apart from the occasional light flurry, which has not settled. It has veered from being very cold at times to quite mild at others. Here are the figures. 

1.     Weather assessment for January

A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In January, there were:

Pluses – 16
Zeros – 7
Minuses – 8

The chart shows plus days as a percentage of the total for each January for the past 13 years (the line is the trend).

In terms of number of pluses, this January takes joint first place with January 2002. This doesn’t necessarily mean it was warm, but it does show that it was sunny. This is in stark contrast to January 2010, which had only six pluses.

2.     Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. We had 57mm of rain this January, compared with the average of 89.6 days (see chart below). It rained on six days compared with the average of 11.2.

We had very little rain this January. On the one hand, this is welcome since we all prefer to see the sun. On the other, it could lead to problems later on if the aquifers are not replenished in the winter. By the time the spring comes, the rain is less penetrating since the plants soak it up. And who wants it to rain in May and June like it did last year?

3.     Frost nights

There were 13 frost nights in January. This is around the average for the 12 years we have been keeping these particular figures. January last year was cold with 17 frost nights, but January 2000 and January 2005 both had 19.

Since Saint Valentine’s Day falls this month, I have tried to find a suitable weather dicton. The best ones I can come up with for that day, and not very romantic, are:

Tel temps le jour de Saint-Valentin, tel temps au printemps qui vient – whatever the weather is on Saint Valentine’s Day, it will be the same during the spring.

Février avec neige nous garantit un bel été – A February with snow guarantees a fine summer. But I’d rather not have the snow.

Finally, one for the whole of February, with which I’m sure we all identify:

Février, entre tous les mois, le plus court et le moins courtois – February among all the months is the shortest and least pleasant.

Copyright © 2011 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved


  1. Vanessa,

    They are Stewart and Andrea, you must live rather near them. Also have friends who just moved to Verfeil from Parisot, David and Linda, and through them Andrew and Yvonne, plus others. I hesitate to be more specific on the blog. Would love to hear any tidbits you discover about the history, but am glad to subscribe to your blog and to be able to read of your experiences living there.

    Best wishes,



  2. Vanessa,

    We were told that the village records in the church were destroyed when someone was allowed to stay there out of the cold, someone who we were told was perhaps not quite right mentally. Apparently, in an effort to fend off the cold, the records were found handy to make a fire and the village history was destroyed. Is the story true? Heard this from a couple of sources, perhaps it is. Much of my knowledge comes from the Joseph Lombard book Parisot, published in 1902, I believe. Therein is evidence that my Delpech ancestor’s paternal side lived in Lacau prior to his 1648 birth, his maternal side of Delnat was present in nearby Causseviel. Lacau was the home of various Delpech families, it was formerly called Lo Calme and before that, Clopservel. We did find many Delpech families in the area in the huge old handwritten books that comprise the Parisot commune cadastres from 1578 and 1644, if I remember the dates correctly. So little hamlets like Lacau, or Cornerave, or Labadie, formerly thriving communities, are now but a remnant of their past. All fascinating stuff to me!

    Thanks again,



    • You have obviously done a huge amount of research, Scott, and I’m sure you know far more about Parisot than I do. I must look up Lombard’s book. I didn’t know the story about how the parish records were destroyed and will see if I can find out more.
      Best wishes,


      • Hi, Vanessa,

        Would love to hear anything you find out regarding the burning of the village records! You will find Lombard’s book at the Archives in Rodez; I was fortunate to have it copied in its entirety. And by the way, I house-sat at Moulin de l’Esperty, perhaps you know my friends there and others in the village, I’m sure.

        Best wishes,



        • Hi, Scott,

          I’ll let you know if I find anything out, although I suspect you already know far more than me. I don’t think I know the folk at Moulin de l’Esperty. I’ll email you if there’s anything lengthy to tell.

          Best wishes,



  3. Bonjour, I’m very glad to have found your blog today, I was able to read interesting accounts of life in my favorite area. My first visit to the area was in 1998, as we were doing research for a family history project. My ancestor was born, as near as we can tell because the records are destroyed, in or near Parisot in 1648, came to the Montreal as a soldier in 1665. My name Perrizo strangely enough derives from the village name, as my ancestor was Jean Delpech dit Parisot, the village name being added as a nickname for many of the soldiers in the regiment. It changed to Delpe or Dalpe and Pariseau, plus many other variations, over the next few hundred years, and my own family had their name “Americanized” by perhaps a priest in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, about 1860, as when they gave their name as “Dalpe dit Pariseau” in French, it was recorded “Perrizo” and remains so for our branch through today.

    I love the area around Parisot and all the towns you describe, it is a wonderful place and one to be longed for when away. I keep in touch with Parisot village life through friends there but am pleased to have your blog to help me keep the place alive for the future, thank you for creating it and offering your interesting insights.

    Best regards,

    Scott Perrizo


    • Hello Scott, thank you for getting in touch. What an interesting history about your family and family name. It’s nice to think that a small village in la France profonde can have an influence on virtually the other side of the globe. I wasn’t quite clear whether you live in Canada or the States; a long way away, obviously.

      We can see Parisot from our upstairs windows, like an enchanted castle in the mist, sometimes. I will keep you in mind when I write about the locality. No doubt you know it pretty well already.

      How often do you get to visit? Do let me know next time you plan to be there. August as you probably know is the time when Parisot comes alive with the art festival, fête du lac and some lovely concerts.

      Kind regards,



      • Hello, Vanessa,

        I appreciate your response. Yours must be a very nice view, with Parisot in the distance; I love how the little hill-top villages in the area can be such attractive focal points in various changes of weather. My screensaver is a misty-day view of Parisot village, though would love to replace that view with the real thing. And yes, the descendants of my ancestor born in Parisot (more likely Lacau, the hamlet below) now number more than a million, I believe, in the U.S. and Canada. I live in Colorado, but was born and raised in Minnesota, where my branch of the family moved in about 1865.

        I’ve spent time in the area four times since 1998, have been fortunate to house-sit for friends south of Parisot a couple of times. The Parisot village records were burned about 1946, we were told, so there is little hard evidence left for me to research that would reveal any specific information about my ancestor. However, there is much history I would still love to learn about the area, to me it is a very fascinating place. I hope to return in another year or so to resume this search and have as a constant goal to someday move to the area for good. I don’t believe the arts festival had begun when I was there last in August 2005, but really enjoyed the summer and took many hikes around Cornerave, Cornusson, and a big hike with friends circling Parisot village, it was great fun.

        Again, thank you for writing, I look forward to being able to read your blog on a regular basis.

        Best regards,



        • Hello, Scott,

          It’s astonishing that there are a million descendants of your Parisot ancestor in the US and Canada! I know the little hamlet of Lacau, on the road to Najac, where very few people now live, although a couple of the houses have been restored recently.

          What a pity that the Parisot records were burned in 1946. I’m sure that there are still ways of finding out about the village’s history, though. We are 3 km south of Parisot, and might well know your friends for whom you have house-sat.

          The art festival is a comparatively recent innovation and started in 2007, I think. As I said, I will keep you in mind when I write about the area. I will also look out for any historical facts that I think might be of interest in relation to your family. You presumably know that the village has a website http://coll82%5Bdot%5Dcom%5Bbackslash%5Dparisot (I don’t put in the full address in case of spam), which tells you what is going on there.

          A plus,



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