Here comes autumn…

October 1, 2018 at 6:50 am Leave a comment


Autumn in Essoyes

It has been such a beautiful month of September in northern France this year!

And it is a busy time too. Almost immediately after the big trucks hauling grapes had stopped making their several-times-a-day runs from the vineyards to the pressoir in Essoyes during the vendange, they were replaced by big trucks hauling loads of wood out of the forest, bringing people their fuel for the winter. And so that sweet smell of grape juice that lingers in the air after the vendange has been replaced with the scent of freshly-cut wood…


My firewood was delivered this week. The first time I had to arrange for a delivery of wood, a couple of years ago, I had a lot to learn, as i wrote about here. This time I was much more well prepared, but I still gave myself a little refresher course from the helpful cowboy (Cody) at before I began stacking the wood. The job went much more quickly this time than the first time, partly because I only ordered half as much wood this time, and partly because I knew what I was doing.

It’s hard work, stacking wood, and I got pretty stiff and sore by the end of the day, but I managed to make some very neat piles, much more well organized than my first time around, in record time. It’s hard work, but it’s an enjoyable task too, and a nice change of pace for a writer. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm, with a slight breeze: and since every time I looked up from my work what I saw is the view at the top of this post–how bad can that be, really?! (Not. Bad. At All!)

It’s also a good feeling to know that I’m ready for winter weather when it comes. And the prequels are already here: although the afternoons have been sunny and warm, even summery, the mornings and evenings are quite “brisk,” as they might say in my home state of Minnesota. (Though they wouldn’t say about it the weather we’re having here right now. Not yet! Not Minnesotans… 🙂 )

After I got all the wood stacked, and got caught up with an editorial project I’ve been working on, I rewarded myself with taking a little break to visit the restored Renoir home here in Essoyes, in time to see the original works of art that were on loan from the Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer and the Albert André Museum in Bagnols-sur-Cèze this summer–a bronze bust of the artist’s youngest son, Claude Renoir (still fondly known around here as “Coco”), and a lovely Albert André painting of Renoir painting a portrait of his family. (NB: They are no longer there, the works of art have been returned to their owners: so you’ll just have to wait and see what interesting loans du Côte des Renoir will be able to share with the public next year. Stay tuned!)

It hasn’t been all country living for me this month. A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Paris. Along with some business meetings and a couple of routine doctor visits, I was happy to be able to spend some time with my son, who has just started his graduate studies in Paris. Then this weekend, he was here, working on a story he’s writing about champagne. Lucky me!!!! Here are some photos he took, aren’t they lovely?


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. She is currently working on two books: A Long Way from Iowa, a literary memoir; and Demystifying the French, a cultural guide to living and traveling in France. 

Entry filed under: About Essoyes, Neither Here nor There....

Report from Essoyes: Les Vendanges 2018 It’s been an exciting week in Essoyes…

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