The shutters close, the Season ends

Come September 1st in the Greater Daglan Area, it’s as if someone closes the shutters all at once. The curtains come down. The door is slammed shut.

In other words, after the two months of July and August, the Tourist Season is over.

This takes a bit of getting used to, for a few reasons. Perhaps most notably, businesses aren’t open as much, or for as long. This means we have to plan our shopping a bit more carefully.

For example, Daglan’s 8 à  Huit convenience store is now closed on Mondays, and its business hours aren’t as generous. The bio (organic foods) store in St. Cybranet is also closed on Mondays now.

There’s a similar story at the popular Fabrice Le Chef boutique in the heart of Daglan. It was open every day in the Season, and stayed open through the day, so lunches could be served on its patio. But have a look at the chalkboard out front now — there’s a two-and-a-half-hour break during the middle of the day; it’s open only a half day on Sunday (the day for Daglan’s weekly market); and it’s closed on Monday:

Closed on Mondays, as the Season ends.

Closed on Mondays, as the Season ends.

Our Sunday market is now much quieter, and as you can see in this photo, taken at about noon yesterday, it’s a bit short of actual shoppers:

Daglan's Sunday market -- but where are the shoppers?

Daglan’s Sunday market — but where are the shoppers?

Campgrounds are popular in the GDA, and account for a huge proportion of our tourists. Now the several campgrounds in the area are either closed until next spring, or emptying out fast. The tents and caravans have been packed, and the visitors are probably already back home in the U.K., the Netherlands and Belgium, with their kids in school. Here’s Les Cascades, just north of Daglan, looking distinctly quiet yesterday:

Campgrounds like Les Cascades are empty, or nearly so.

Campgrounds like Les Cascades are empty, or nearly so.

Now that we’re at mid-September, there’s a change in the air too. Actually, the weather has been just about perfect lately — with cool, almost cold nights, cool mornings, and warm, sometimes hot, days.

But I figure that the night air is just cold enough to encourage the shrubs and trees to start taking on their autumn colours. Here’s a walnut grove, next to Daglan’s rugby pitch, starting to show yellow in the trees’ leaves, and signaling that the harvest is just around the corner:

The walnut tree leaves are just starting to show yellow.

The walnut tree leaves are just starting to show yellow.

Tobacco has already been harvested, from what I can see, and the fields of corn are to be harvested soon. In fact, this field of corn looks like it could use harvesting pretty quickly, before it dies of old age:

This field of corn is ready to be harvested -- and soon!

This field of corn is ready to be harvested — and soon!

Saddest of all are the huge fields of sunflowers that are scattered throughout the GDA. At the key T-junction in St. Cybranet, north of Daglan, there’s a particularly impressive field of sunflowers that now seems downright gloomy, with dull and drooping heads and leaves that are going grey. Here’s how it looked yesterday:

A sad-looking field of sunflowers in St. Cybranet.

A sad-looking field of sunflowers in St. Cybranet.

Of course it’s not all gloom and doom. Despite the closed-for-business Mondays, I still maintain that September is the best of all possible months to visit the GDA.

Without the hordes of tourists, traffic is much lighter,  the weather tends to be good, and it’s easier to get into restaurants and various tourist attractions. In Daglan itself, the popular tea salon Le Thé Vert is open all of September (every day but Wednesday), and seems to be doing a brisk trade throughout the day, especially at lunch time.

On the home front, we are expecting two more sets of guests before the month ends, so there’s lots more sightseeing and fine dining to come.

And to end on a bright note, have a look at this little guy — proudly lighting up the area just next to that sad-looking field of sunflowers in St. Cybranet:

One little sunflower has managed to stay sunny.

One little sunflower has managed to stay sunny.

Shine on, little guy!

This entry was posted in Agriculture in the Dordogne, Flora and fauna, Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Markets in France, Travels in and out of France, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The shutters close, the Season ends

  1. Lindie Walters says:

    Hi Loren

    Must say, it is nice to read your blog and actually know what and where youre writing about, almost unreal that all the tourists are gone and saddest of all – the sunflowers!! They were so beautiful, thinking of you guys preparing to bunk down for winter, fortunately for us in SA, Spring is here and we are all looking forward to Summer to follow, how blessed we were to experience a brilliant Summer in France, just what the doctor ordered to eliminate the winter blues!

    Feel free any time to come and visit if winter gets too grey,

    All my love to Jan Regards


    • loren24250 says:

      There is still lots of time this year for us to enjoy Daglan — but we may indeed be visiting South Africa next year. Stay tuned! We’d love to see you again, and soon!

  2. Doug Curson says:

    As the little sunflower suggests, I’m not at all sure that things in and around Daglan are quite so dis-spiriting as the general tone of you blog!! We have just returned to UK after two weeks or so near Daglan and wish we were still there.
    This year we got the impression that there was a significantly larger number of English people than usual in and around Daglan, including more now resident there. Perhaps not the case, or perhaps your blog is encouraging more people to visit. Any ideas?


    • loren24250 says:

      I didn’t mean to be too negative — but it is indeed a fact of life here that things start to close down immediately after the first of September. As I wrote, the weather now is absolutely great, so I\m sorry you’re back in the U.K. already. Not sure about the proportion of English tourists. Seemed about “normal” to me. But all are welcome!

  3. Michael Stokely says:

    Great article. We’ll visit one day….

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