Fragrance of France

The next moment he re-entered the shadow of the fir woods, but the mere glimpse, crossing the clearing, of the night as it grew luminous, served to recall the beauty of the world about him, and he felt a thrill of pleasure. The air was (-old and still; a little mist rone from the ravines, but it was not yet laden with the perfume of jonquils and wild strawberries; it bore only that other fragrance which has neither name nor season, the smell of the pines and dead leaves, of springing grass, of old bark cracking above the new skin of the trees, and the breath of that immortal flower, the forest moss. The traveler loved this fragrance and drank in deep draughts of it, and accustomed though he was to this nightly fete of the forest, the gleams of the sky, the odor of the earth, the quiver of its silent life, he cried half to himself: "Well done, winter! Well done, Vosges mountains! They cannot spoil you! He even put his stick under his arm so as to make less noise on the sand and pine needles of the winding path, and looked behind him to say, "Trot softly, Fidele; this is too beautiful!"
A February Night in Alsace by Ene Bazin

If you pass this way during the season of the vintage, the air will be laden with the odour of the over-ripened grapes, and the vines will fairly shake out at you the fragrance of Chambertin, Pommard, or Volnay, until your senses swim as though in truth you had been drinking, but today in May there is only the fragrance of green leaves and the smell of the rich yellow earth wafted to us as we rush onward.
Winged wheels in France
By Michael Myers Shoemaker

The weather has all to do with one's impressions of a country. I always associate France with a golden sunlight, for so many times I have left London, stifling under its black fogs, and literally sailed into the sunshine on the coast of France. So especially does sunshine form a part and parcel of Southern France, somewhat too strong and blinding in summer, but in the spring with its blossoms of fruit trees and in the autumn with its splendour of color and the dreamy odor of over-ripened fruits, the sunlight of France is,— well, just the sunlight of France, and those who have seen it will remember it always. To-day in the high tide of spring all nature rejoices. These ruins gleam white and pure, the city, like an ancient dame of high degree, bears a gracious aspect, the river dances and sparkles, and the long highways stretch off and off until lost in the midst of olive groves and blossoming fruit trees.
Winged wheels in France
By Michael Myers Shoemaker


After the view, down the hillside again, through
the shady garths of the little bosket of the Sacre
Coeur, along inclined walks that zigzag from one
picturesque flight of dirt steps to another. Birds
fill the trees with song ; a fountain tinkles pleasantly ;
the sunlight, streaming through the branches, makes
a brilliant patchwork of the warm, moist earth, and
the air is redolent with woodsy fragrance. Small
terra-cotta monuments of the Dolorous and Joyous
Mysteries, and granite Stations of the Cross, dot
the path all the way through the miniature wood.
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs

All about the hills are charming walks, and the
stony height across the river, which gives a splendid
view of town and fortress, is a veritable paradise
of every imaginable kind, size and color of wild
flower, the air saturated with their rich fragrance.
On from Sisteron the scenery is striking and varied.
Near Annot, the rock formations are especially novel.
Big, isolated boulders perch insecurely in all sorts
of impossible places on the hillsides. In a number
of places walls have been built, making a house of
the niche or cavern under the rock.
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs

AS you step from the railroad station upon
the broad, clean Avenue Feucheres, Nimes
turns brightly toward you a sun-kissed
southern visage of ancient splendor and present pros-
perity : wide streets full of trees ; formal gardens
with sweet-smelling shrubs ; promenades of the most
lavish sort; bits of Roman architecture as precious
and beautiful as rare scarabaei ; wooded heights
spangled with flowers and bristling with odoriferous
firs. The city is so perfumed, with a subtle, elusive,
fragrant freshness, you open your nostrils to it in
sheer eagerness of life. You breathe in the essence
of the German poet's line, 'Weisst du das Land wo
die Citronen bluehn?^' Very different it is from the
heavy, cloying sweetness of tuberose and jasmine,
and perfumes in the making, as at Grasse.
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs

However, the most fascinating object in town is
the ancient Porte du Croux, a great, square tower,
with all the loopholes and traces of medieval defense
so picturesque and so useless now. Dripping with
delicate vines, and scarred with the wounds of time,
it suggests in every graceful but sturdy line the
fourteenth century, of which it is so beautiful a rep-
resentative. The street leading through it winds out-
ward between stout walls to a noble barbican, or
outer defense; and to see Nevers at its best, go
through them both, and a little beyond, of a June
afternoon, just before sunset. There, in the slowly
fading glory of the scented afternoon, lies the town,
its roofs and pinnacles, chateau and Cathedral, gate-
ways and spires, all a blaze of liquid gold, conjuring
the ghosts of another day to people anew each storied
house and tower.
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs

One of the loveliest walks in any French city
to-day is in Nimes, along the Quai de la Fontaine,
with its little canal to Fountain Park. Ten or fif-
teen feet below the level of the quai runs the clear
green stream, mirroring back long, quivering, silky
vistas of the proud old trees that line the banks
above, arching their necks and whispering to the
scented breeze that the heavy, inartistic houses flank-
ing them are modern excrescences, not without some
dignity, but certainly creatures of no character.
Crossing streets make the eff'ect of the stream that
of a series of very long and deep but narrow tanks
or basins, full of glorious reflections.
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs


TO many places one must go in the spring to
see the country at its best; not so La Belle
France. Surely no other name of affection
for a land was ever better deserved than this. From
the golden sands of Picardy to the blue shore of the
Mediterranean, every province is lovely, and every
one has its own special form of loveliness, its definite
characteristics : golden sands, apple orchards and bil-
lowing fields of grain; black rocks, gray weather,
the Miserere of the sea for the music of life — and
death ; brilliant rivers that wind in sinuous coils, and
dark, sullen streams that force their way to the sea
with savage impetuosity ; placid canals and milky
highroads bordered by slender trees ; endless vine-
yards, where bursting grapes drink deep of the golden
sun ; the sky-piercing fence of the Alps, saw teeth
full of snow, and bristling with pine and fir ; vast,
solemn gorges, suggestive of the Canon of the Colo-
rado ; barren deserts of gray or tan, and wide marshes
with blue lagoons ; air full of shimmering heat waves,
of myriad colors and the subtle perfume of rose and
olive and oleander, linden and jasmine and whispering
palm. Blue the sky and blue the shore — but why go
on forever?
France from sea to sea
By Arthur Stanley Riggs