The sun's rays are warming you through the pine trees, but you will not know if the summer is here until you hear THE CICADAS!
Marseille and the South of France without cicadas is quite simply unthinkable. It just doesn't exist. But beware, although cicadas are synonymous with summer and holidaying for some people, they can be perfectly unbearable!
For example, if we go back to the beginning with the girls in bikinis and sun blazing down, do we really need 10 cicadas perched in the pine tree that's kindly giving us some shade? Seriously, ten cicadas - or even two or three – and your day at the beach feels more like a rave party than a day of rest.
Ok, I'm getting a bit carried away, but I'm just getting my own back on a cicada that keeps me awake EVERY summer and who likes to get up at 7.30 in the morning...
Putting aside our differences, we can't deny that cicadas add charm to our beloved Provence. A summer without cicadas would be boring, wouldn't it? And it's all well and good hearing them chirp and decorating our houses with nice plaster copies of them, but do we really know much about our little friends?
First and foremost, why do they sing?
The cicada sings to.... wait for it... attract female cicadas!
In fact, they wear us out all summer long by simply flirting in the trees while we drink the aperitif!
At the end of the day, the South of France is a bit like a giant open-air night club, with hundreds of thousands of male cicadas spending their days trying to make new conquests. It's as if us humans spent summer singing and chatting people up... alright, it's kind of the same thing. In fact, cicadas have quite a bit in common with our 'Marseillais', so I'm starting to appreciate them a bit more – I mean really, we can't blame them simply because they want to find a girlfriend, right?
Another fun fact: male cicadas only sing when it's sunny and hot. You'll never hear them on windy, sunny or overcast days. That's simply because at temperatures below 22°C, their tymbals – kind of open flaps at the stem of the wing – lose their flexibility and make it difficult for the cicada to chirp!
Finally, if we think about it, cicadas have got it all worked out: they sit on a branch and sing all day long in the sunshine, they pick up a couple of girls from time to time and when it's cloudy, they toddle off home and wait until it's sunny again. Jean de La Fontaine's fable really wasn't far from the truth, except that here in Marseille, the cicada would win at the end! Honestly, what do ants do except work all year round and stock up tons of provisions for winter? We have 2 months of winter here and even then, we manage to get to the beach, catch sea urchins, play boules and eat out on terraces! Perhaps cicadas are Parisian after all...
Really, I'm starting to like the little critter that wakes me up every summer morning more and more. An insect that spends its life singing and flirting simply has to be the king of all insects.
Don't worry, we're not going to compile a top ten of the coolest insects but from now on, when you hear a cicada, just think about all this and tell yourself that in the branch overhead, there is simply a male cicada giving it his all to go out with the lady who's been hanging around at the other end of the branch for the last 2 days. A little compassion, please! Can you believe that last year (true story!), a Parisian couple actually went to the local Gendarmerie to file a complaint against cicadas for noise pollution?
If you don't like cicadas, you either have to put up with them, or move. I've decided to put up with them and now I've finished writing this text, I'm feeling rather fond of them. In any case, I like them a lot more than mosquitoes... But that's another story.
We are Anaïs and Pedro, we love loads of things, like the States, Japan, pizzas, Motorhead, Vietnamese food and karaoke… On our blog, we talk about our travels and the places we love in Marseille and elsewhere. We also host really fun evening events from time to time.
Whether it's served hot with a salad, used to crown a cheese platter, or savoured fresh with honey or olive oil, goat's cheese is an absolute culinary must. Provence's dry, sunny climate is perfect for goat breeding -and that's lucky for us!
A gourmet treat…
Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.
In a sauce or salad, red is the colour!
Not having qualifications doesn't mean your life is ruined
Can anyone resist an almond? Everyone raves about these little nuggets of happiness you can savour every which way – fresh, dried, whole, grilled, sliced, ground or made into a cream or milk!
The Gourmet's New Eldorado
It had all but disappeared from the markets, but then – perhaps as a result of Halloween arriving in France – squash made a big comeback on our stalls just over a decade ago
It all starts with a crushed clove...
Provencal cuisine simply wouldn't exist without garlic
Francis lived happily close beside his tree...
Picked ripe from the tree, figs are simply to die for. They can also be scattered on trays and left to dry in the sun for 3 days: "That's the best way to keep your figs all winter – we serve figs at Christmas as one of Provence's famous 13 Desserts," smiles Jacqueline Honoré.
A story that will make you turn to jelly...
As yellow as sunshine and as warm as a winter fireplace... The quince isn't very pretty, but the people of Provence love it. You could even say that a passion has been born between this irregular-shaped fruit, somewhat resembling a dented, rustic pear and our lovers of jams, jellies and pastes.
When we talk about the South of France, what's the first thing we think of? The MEDITERRANEAN SEA! (and the sun of course – it's all part of the package).