The Mistral Wind – Provence’s famous fierce wind –
“Behind the Mistral is the beauty of Provence. Its fierceness blows away clouds and grime and doubt, leaving colors the depth of dreams and a freshness that can come only after the Mistral’s scouring. Provence needs the Mistral or it ceases to be the Provence of my dreams.” – Kamiah A. Walker
It’s been super windy lately. The Mistral has been blowing hard; howling loudly and rattling the shutters keeping me up late into the night.
The Mistral wind blows every spring and winter, for an average of 120 days per year. The Mistral winds can be so strong and fierce that they discourage you from going outside. They can be warm, or so bitterly cold they chill you to your bones. Hiking guides often advise against outings during the Mistral should you be blown so violently that you lose your balance climbing to the top of a castle or mountain range. Children are said to be particularly restless during the winds, adults are said to go mad…
The Mistral wind blows freely down the Rhone River, reaching across the Mediterranean Sea to as far as North Africa. These are not hurricane strength winds, but they are nonetheless very intense (up to 100 mph). The winds usually blow for two or three days at a time, but can blow for up to a full week at times. Scattered on rooftops throughout Provence, you will see heavy stones attempting to prevent the scattering of tiles that are possible with the heavy gusts of Mistral wind. Trees are planted tightly to stop the piercing winds devastating path.
My tip to you during periods of Mistral wind : Wear sunglasses in an attempt to protect your eyes from the scattering dust and debris !
Although the weekly outside markets may close, and café patrons may disappear indoors, the Mistral wind also brings with it a promise of sunny days ahead as it washes away the dark grey clouds.
-Girl Gone Gallic