24 March 2007

Heure d'été

Even though the weather outside is still wintry, today France moves the clocks ahead an hour and we begin 6 or 7 months of what is called daylight saving time, or heure d'été — "summer time."

When I say it's wintry outside today, I mean it is 5.5ºC (41ºF), gray, foggy, misty, and even drizzly. It's too wet to do anything outside. Walt just told me this is the "warmest" morning we've had in a week.

This morning, Sunday, the sun rose at about 8:00 a.m., and it will set tonoght at about 8:00 p.m. I noticed that when the U.S. moved the clock ahead an hour about two weeks ago, as a result the sun was rising at approximately 7:00 and going down at approximately 7:00 there (in N.C. and in Calif.). Our time zone in France is set such that we were already getting sunrise and sunset at those hours, and now the sun is rising and setting later.

By June, our sunset will occur at about 10:00 p.m. and it will be light until nearly 11:00. That is a nice time of year in France. We'll get our garden planted in May and the long hours of daylight will make all the plants grow really fast through June and July.

We didn't have much of a winter this year. There might have been one day when the temperature didn't get above freezing at all, and in fact there were very few mornings when the temperature even got down to freezing. Now it is officially springtime but the weather is chilly and damp. I suppose that's normal, but I want warm sunny days now, merci beaucoup.

We'll be starting to get the yard cleaned up, and the garden plots tilled up, as soon as the weather improves and the ground has a chance to dry out a bit. Meanwhile, we have to kitchen to do.

I did these mockups in Photoshop to see the difference between divided and undivided windows. Here's what the view out of one of our bedroom windows looks like now, through the new windows we had installed three years ago:

And here's what it would look like with petits bois, the traditional divided-lights style:

Isn't it nicer when you have a clear view of the outside?


  1. I heard an ad on the radio yesterday: "Vous avez une heure de plus pour faire la fête ce soir, alors allez à..."

    I think the French are sorely in need of an expression similar to "Spring ahead, fall back!"

  2. I like windows that let you see outside. However there are areas where you can't choose and have to adjust to whatever the townhall has to say.

  3. I don't think we have any extra restrictions here. Our neighborhood is a mix of old longères (farmhouses) and newer pavillons like ours (built in the late 1960s). There's no unified style at La Renaudière.

    I know we'd have to get permission to put in skylights, for example. The window contractors didn't say we need permission to change our windows, and we didn't get permission when we changed the ones on the back side of the house three years ago.

  4. Don't ask for permission.
    Never ask for permission.

    Even if there are no restrictions or regulations, they will need several months and pages and pages of documents to come to the decision that no decision is required.

    However... Note... that is NOT a professional opinion, that is just something I heard as I was walking down the street. :))

    Ask opinions at your own risk.

    PS: personally, I have to say I prefer the divided lights, since your house seems to be a fairly traditional structure even if it isn't "ancienne" but the most solid argument for replacing windows is to remain consistent throughout the house.

    Well, you asked! :))

  5. I go for the divided windows, Ken. It may be nice to have a full view of the outdoors, but the people outside can also have a full view of the indoors, and that's just not right. Either way, the important thing is that your windows keep your home warm. They must be energy efficient so that no warm air would leak out when you most need it. I hope you're more prepared for next winter, Ken!


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