What a month April has been! We’ve become so used in recent years to drought-like conditions in spring and early summer that a prolonged period of April showers, as we’ve had this last fortnight, takes us completely by surprise. It is easy to forget that this should be the norm and the ground desperately needs more water after yet another dry winter.
From New Year to early April we had only ten days with any rainfall and all the talk was of drought, falling water tables and failing crops. Well, April has see a reversal of that – our first downpour was on the 10th April and we’ve had rain every day since, with just a couple of exceptions. Some days it has been steady rain, but more often than not it has been altenating heavy showers and sunshine, with a couple of hailstorms thrown in for good measure. Just the kind of weather to keep you on your toes! At the same time it’s about 10 degrees colder than a month ago – brrr!
Of course, as luck would have it this shift in the weather coincided with our moving the hostas into their summer positions on the back terrace, so on several occasions we’ve been running around like lunatics, moving plants under cover lest their leaves be peppered with holes by hailstones. Planning these operations has not been easy as it seems like France Metéo has predicted hailstorms almost every day for the past fortnight, but the frozen pellets have only actually made an appearance on two occasions.
Getting Out of the Rain
For anyone visiting Alençon and looking for shelter from the showers and downpours, here are a few suggestions in the town centre:
- the Musée de la Dentelle et Beaux Arts – the famous Alençon Lace Museum, next to the Lace Workshops
- the Basilique de Notre Dame – a magnificent church of cathedral proportions with wonderful façades
- Chocolats Glatigny and Chocolat Pedro, near the basilica on Grande Rue
- Maison Sainte Thérèse – the birthplace and early home of Saint Theresa of Lisieux
- the Tourist Office in the Maison d’Ozé, through the archway in the Notre Dame church square
- the “Salon du Thé” – our favourite place for a patisserie and coffee, near the Halle au Blé
- … any one of the other dozens of bars and tea rooms in the town centre
Not far from Alençon itself, more under cover places to visit include:
- the Château de Carrouges
- the Musée du Vélo as Fresnay-sur-Chedouet
- the Cathedral and Religious Art Museum at Sées
- the Maison du Sabot – forest crafts, clogs and clogmaking at Neufchâtel-en-Saosnois
- the Cathedral St Julien and the 24 Hours Car Museum at Le Mans
- and much more – just ask