Down the mountain and up about nine degrees centigrade to meet J-F and C in central Grenoble. They are visiting their family home near Pierrelatte for the Ascension holiday, and have very kindly invited me to do the first leg of my journey south with them and stay the night. We drove down the Isère valley on roads bordered with brilliant red poppies, and were then buffeted by the Mistral down the Rhone valley, lined with brilliant yellow broom. By the time we crossed the olive-tree line there were almost no clouds left in the sky but the wind did not let up.

The house is extraordinary, created out of 16th century stone vaults. This huge living room was once stables and the manger is still in the corner of the room. Another vaulted room once housed sheep.

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