January on the rue de la Renaudière, just outside Saint-Aignan
From the other direction, the road passes a few houses down below — twice as many houses, actually, as there were down there when we arrived here in 2003 — before driving or walking up the hill through the woods to get to our little village. It's a hamlet rather than a village, really, because there's no church, no shops.
The road in...
When you get past the houses and into the woods, the hill is very steep and narrow. In wintertime, with all the rains, the shoulders are soft and muddy. If you're driving and meet another vehicle, you have to pull halfway off the pavement to get by.
...and up the hill
I looked back at our weather record for the December that just passed. We had rain on 15 out of 31 days, and more rain that we've ever had in a month since we starting keeping track of precipitation and temperatures about 7 years ago. Luckily, we live at the top of the hill and don't have to worry about flooding.