Spring AT LAST!!!!



Well. It has been a long, cold, hard winter in many parts of the world, including here in Essoyes, including in my second-beloved-home New York City, including in my home state of Minnesota (which had an April blizzard ridiculously far into April this year, even for Minnesota, sheesh!)

Here in Essoyes some of us lost trees in Tempête Eleanor, and some of us were flooded after that. All of us, I think it is fair to say, have had quite enough of cold, windy, wet weather.  At least for now!

But. I think I can (cautiously) announce that spring is finally here. At least in Essoyes,  and all over France, where, after the long, unusually wintry winter the temperatures suddenly spiked last week, setting records in the opposite direction.

Well, whatever. IT IS GOOD to be warm, and to have sun, and for the days to be longer.

It is also good to see the tourists coming back to Essoyes, to visit the Maison Renoir. I was honored to be invited to the celebration of a new honor for all the people in Essoyes (and elsewhere) who worked so hard for so long on the preparations for, and realization of the restoration of the Renoir home, and its opening to the public. The house has now officially been designated as a Maison des Illustres, which is a national mark of recognition for historic sites that “conserve and transmit the memory of illustrious men and women in the political, social ,and cultural life of France.” In fact Essoyes has the distinction of now having two of these sites: the Renoir home, which opened to the public last summer, and Renoir’s studio, which has been open to the public since 2011. Here are some pictures from inside the home:


Meanwhile, outside, the sun is shining, the wildflowers are blooming, the fields of wheat are a rich, pure green (especially beautiful when the wind moves over them), and the fields of rapeseed are beginning to flower with their bright yellow blooms. The vines are beginning to bud, and we are all hoping that there will be no more return of cold weather like there was in early May the past two years. 😦 We need continued warm weather now, in order to have a good grape harvest this year. 

The leaves on the trees are budding (giving vivid meaning to the words “spring green”). Tiny little pine cones are forming in the branches of the conifers, the birds are singing, and I am savoring every moment.


In July the Route du Champagne en Fête will once again be celebrated in the Côte des Bars, and Essoyes is among the villages hosting it this year. I wrote about that here.

Stay tuned for more news from Essoyes as spring turns into summer…and for now…WELCOME SPRING!!!

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She leads writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” for the City University of New York each summer. In May she will teach Parlez-Vous Anglais? Survival French and French Travel Tips , a “crash course” introduction to  French ways, at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington D.C.  





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