Recently, it's been really chilly at night to the point that last Sunday, after a terrific outdoor party, we walked home and made ourselves mugs of cocoa. As I write this, late on a Saturday afternoon, the hills are swathed in what looks like a thin layer of cotton wool but is actually rain, it's a cool 11 degrees outside, and we're talking about lighting a fire. Two cubic metres of 50 cm oak logs were delivered last week. We're ready.
But even without all this, just by wandering around Lavelanet market, you'd still know that winter is looming.
These are the invaluable folding covers that keep flies and other insects off food when you're eating outside. While there will be many days still when it's warm enough for pâté, salads and rosé in the garden, the long candle-lit dinners on the terrace are over for this year.
But there are compensations. Like girolles and ceps to cook gently in butter with garlic and eat on toasted baguette, or to add to scrambled eggs or a risotto.
There's always a queue at this producer's stall.
You have to warm your outside too. All the flimsy cotton frocks, and tiny tops of summer have been marked down to five euros. Replacing them are long sleeves and warmer colours.
Charentaises are the kind of cosy slipper worn by grandads in storybooks. It's easy enough to get romantic about tiled floors in the summer but the reality is that they're cold on the feet.