Having grown up and lived my whole life in Scotland until we moved to Southern France in 2006, grey-cold-rainy was my normal. Surely because of this background, all year round here in Grasse, I constantly marvel (and thank God) for this incredible Mediterranean climate. As you can imagine, it’s been a trial to learn to adjust to living in such a climate! Here’s some examples: Sunshine in Winter. Every single month of the year, just a handful of kilometers from Villa des Parfums, people are laying, sunbathing, in bikinis – or less – on the beaches. When you come from a country, where even in the height of summer, wearing shorts is a rare occurrence, there are literally no words to express how much joy I feel when I behold such a sight mid-winter!
Sun-tan. I now have a year-round tan, without even trying, because we get to live outdoors all year round! After a couple of years of living here, I discovered that I had tan-lines even mid-winter – this does NOT happen, ever, when you live in Scotland.
Running in shorts. It’s actually too warm, even in January, to run in anything other than shorts and t-shirt. Long-sleeved running gear is no longer necessary but sunglasses, sunscreen and tank-tops are essential!
Shade vs Sun. I now seek out the shade, rather than the sun. This was one habit that certainly took several years to break. If you live in Scotland, or anywhere like it, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. If there is sun, then you are in it. Period. My husband, and his Mediterranean countrymen, are the polar opposite: where there is sun; you are in the shade. This backward practice seemed very strange to me for several years. I didn’t mind baking in the sun for hours on end, on the contrary, I was quite delighted to discover that my white Scottish skin actually did turn quite golden under the beautiful Mediterranean sun. I was delighted, until I began to notice that I was actually getting wrinkles on my neck and décolleté, and that I had numerous brown sun-spots on my face….irreversible sun-damage……So I’ve finally become like the locals, you’ll still find me laying out, but lathered in sunscreen, no more tanning oil for me, and under an umbrella…..maybe those winter tan lines will start to disappear?!
The Mediterranean climate is truly beautiful. When I moved to Grasse, I learned that there is a ‘microclimate’ here, I had no understanding of what that meant until I actually adjusted to living here. It translates as over 300 days a year of sunshine. No frost. Mild winters. Early Spring. Hot summer days and balmy summer nights. Wearing flip-flops until November. It’s rarely too cold, nor too hot. Just enough rain that there’s never a drought. Perfect for growing fruit and flowers. I am thankful. I love this Mediterranean climate. To this Scottish woman, it feels like perfection.