La Locherie

The Four Seasons

La Locherie is a great destination all the year round
View our seasonal weather data, taken from our own weather station here.

The Mayenne In Summer

SummerSummer days are long at La Locherie. The rising sun shines in on the gites and soon sweeps round on to the south-facing courtyard, where it stays until it sets behind the trees on the western boundary. Temperatures seem to be generally a couple of degrees higher than in England but in the courtyard suntrap they can often be positively Mediterranean. As you lay soaking up the rays, with swallows and house martins swooping overhead, you will marvel at the tranquility of our petit paradis. Usually the only sounds to disturb your slumber are the birdsong and the buzzing of the bees. Out in the green fields, the cows graze all day on the lush grass to produce the milk that provides le lait, butter and cheeses. Growing silently nearby is the maize for the cattle's winter food. At the end of summer, when the golden crop has been ripened by the sun, the whole of the plant will be harvested and shredded in the field before being taken back to the farm for storage. If you do feel like like venturing further afield, the nearest beaches in both Normandy and Brittany are under an hour's drive away. Take a gentle drive along either coast and take your pick. Quiet and deserted or more lively with a bar nearby, the choice is yours. Even in August, we have walked across vast, empty sandy beaches. Bathing lakes with a cafe and all facilities are also very popular in France and the closest is located in Fougeres.

The Mayenne In Autumn

Autumn Autumn brings amazing new shades of beauty to the Mayenne. The green fields that predominate in this dairyland are now offset by a vivid range of browns, golds and coppers. Occasionally, where maize has been grown and harvested as cattle-feed, the fields provide another, lighter, contrast. Overhead, the skies are rarely completely grey. When storms threaten, dramatic midnight-blue clouds thicken and roll in, but even then an eerie brightness can make the experience breathtaking. And when rain falls it is not uncommon to see the whole arc of a rainbow. If you are lucky, you might see two stretching across the sky together. As summer turns to autumn, harvest begins in Mayenne. There is the Maize crop to get in to feed the cows through winter; apples and pears to be picked for cider and perry and for the market - like neighbouring Normandy and Brittany, this is a big apple-growing area with many farmers distilling their own calvados (apple brandy), whether licensed to do so or not. Nature's harvest is abundant here, too. Every hedgerow is thick with sweet-chestnut trees which drop their nuts in thick carpets. The locals swoop to claim the free bounty, using them as an addition to casseroles, or turning them into marron glace (sugared chestnuts) into a kind of jam, into stuffings, or just roasting them on their wood fires. That's how we like them best. Walnuts grow wild, too, and hazelnuts are in most hedgerows. And this is the time of year for fungi, as well, though some can be deadly and we've not got the confidence yet, nor the knowledge, to pick our own. It's safer to buy them at the market.

The Mayenne In Winter

Summer Some of the Britons in France shut up their holiday homes for the winter and come back with the swallows in spring, but we feel that each season has its own beauty and we love to be at La Locherie at this time of the year. What better than the prospect of a roaring log fire to warm you after a brisk walk through delightful countryside? Every village has at least one marked walking route, or randonnais. Make the effort to wrap up and go out, you'll be glad you did. There's an old-fashioned magic surrounding Christmas in Mayenne. It's a great place to buy unusual and elegant presents - and the shopkeepers will be pleased to gift-wrap your purchases with infinite care, even adding ribbons and bows.

The Mayenne In Spring

Summer Spring is a lovely time to be at La Locherie as the buds burst open with a riot of colour. Tulips seem more popular with the Mayenne gardeners than daffodils, shooting up in their thousands, mostly in red and yellow. In the wild, the ditches, dredged out in autumn, burst into bloom with a brilliant display of primroses and cowslips, as glorious as we used to see in Britain. In the hedgerows, the chestnut and oak leaves begin to clothe the bare branches. And the cuckoo calls out across the fields of green. Some days it is even warm enough to eat lunch outdoors. This is our pond, into which we are attracting frogs, toads, damsel flies, pond skaters and many other species.

© La Locherie 2002 - 2018
page last updated: March 02 2014