Apres la pluie, le soleil. After the rain, sunshine. I saw this phrase on a poster in the Paris metro last year - it's the name of a film - and it stuck in my mind.
Well, finally, the sunshine has arrived and it is time to dust down the sparkly flip flops, paint your toes the colour of berry compote (well perhaps not if you're a bloke) and dig out the bottle of fake tan.
It seems that we've skipped the gradual shedding of layers that is spring, and gone straight to plein soleil, bare feet and blue organza sky. There are ballerina pink tulips perking up the window boxes outside the mairie and tubs full of daffodils flanking the entrance.
My friend Delphine tells me that her brother Gilles, a farmer, is 'sowing his sunflowers'; while le colza (rapeseed) has shot up to hip height in the week that I've been away.
Not everyone loves the cartoon yellow colour or the musty-cupboard smell of this crop, but walking the dog in the early evening, it looks like summer to me.