Bonne Année and December’s Weather

We had a number of sunsets like this in December
We had a number of sunsets like this in December

First, bonne année to everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas. We are having a dry January – no, not the weather, which is the opposite. Rather, we’re not imbibing any alcohol, except the odd glass if invited out. This is hard when you live in France with access to countless varieties of wine. But we feel we owe it to our livers and our wallets.

Apart from a quick foray on Saturday, when virtually everything was closed, today was our first visit to the village since New Year. Tuesday is market day. Just after New Year, this involves the ritual of greeting and kissing acquaintances and wishing each other the traditional formula “Meilleurs voeux – surtout pour la santé” (Best wishes for the New Year – especially for good health).

We have just experienced an unusually mild and dry December. The SF (Statistics Freak to new readers) has been crunching away to produce the numbers and is a bit vexed that I’ve waited until now to post them.

Weather assessment for December

We have developed a subjective assessment, by which 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 December, we had:

Pluses – 23
Zeros – 7
Minuses – 1

The graph shows the percentage of plus days each December for the past 18 years (the line is the trend). We ricocheted from the joint worst December ever in 2014 to the best ever in 2015, which also skews the trend.

Proportion of plus days in December over 18 years
Proportion of plus days in December over 18 years

The weather was perfect for walking and we took advantage of it last week. The lack of rainfall meant we usually came home wearing clean boots. However, it reverted to type on New Year’s Eve and it’s been chillier and damp since then.


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. In December we had only 8 mm and most of that was on 31st December. The average for the month is 72.1 mm. It rained on only two days: normally, you would expect eight.

Despite the dry autumn, the annual rainfall is still 98% of the average at 767.5 mm compared to the 784.9 mm we would normally expect. Some months were unusually wet while others were exceptionally dry.

Rainfall for 2015
Rainfall for 2015

Frost nights

Normally, dry, sunny weather in December equals more frosts, but we had only six. This is significantly less than the average of about 10. We had as many as 20 frost nights in December 2001.

So far, the weather is still relatively mild, although the rain is falling as snow on the mountains. The wind only has to turn to the east for the same to happen here. What do the dictons (sayings say)?

Dieu te garde d’un bon janvier. May God spare you a good January.

I imagine that this is because one is lulled into a false sense of security. It can turn very cold in February.

You might also like:

Meilleurs Voeux Before the World Ends
Sunflowers in November
Autumn Colours
Preparing for Winter

Copyright © 2016 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved



  1. Bonne année! I have very much enjoyed reading your blog. It has improved my knowledge of this area of France and brought me many smiles. My wife and I have recently bought a stone farmhouse on the edge of the Gresigne not far from Penne. I am fascinated by the history and natural history of the area. Can you recommend any books about the Gresigne and its environs? My French isn’t wonderful but I could probably struggle through! Thank you for your writing – spellbinding, and full of affection of an area we love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words about my blog, Peter. I’m delighted to hear that you have enjoyed it. The Grésigne is beautiful and fascinating and shows signs of human activity since prehistoric times. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of books specifically on the Grésigne and its surrounding area. A quick look on the internet doesn’t reveal much, although I did find a short YouTube video of somebody talking about it – but he speaks with the local accent, which is not always intelligible:
      Your best bet would be to ask at the local tourist offices (Penne, Bruniquel, Puycelsi), which might offer publications about it or be able to point you in the right direction.

      I’m sorry not to be more helpful, but I hope you will enjoy your new house. A late friend had a small château (really a manor house) on the edge of the Grésigne with a fabulous view to the west. Part of the house dated back to the Templars. I always loved going there and walking with her in the forest.


  2. Woke up this morning to fog–in the desert!!!
    No kissy, kissy but meilleurs vouex–surtout pour la santé to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck to your daughter and son-in-law. I can’t quite go the whole hog (as it were) to veganism but I’m certainly cutting down on portions of everything this month. I hope to feel better for it – at the moment I just feel hungry and fed up! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh poor you … last year I did a nine-day detox. I was like an angry bison for the first three days but at the end of it I felt (and believed I looked) so much better for it and it started a regime that stuck for the year (though now I am an avowed 80-20 girl … 80% good 20% caution to the wind) and I am sure you will feel rejuvenated too – bon courage! BTW my daughter lives in London and spends her entire life effecting the most alarming diets …. I can’t wait for her to move to a move sane place and stop WORRYING so much about what she eats. It’s terribly tiring 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

I'd love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.