The Cicada September 03 2016, 0 Comments

Vincent Van Gogh quoted “I work even in the middle of the day, in the full sunshine, and I enjoy it like a cicada.”

If the rooster, (coq in French) is the official animal of France, the cicada (cigale in French) is for sure the symbol of Provence. There is no doubt that Provence is the area where the Cicadas are the most loved. This is a summertime creature. The cicada appears near the end of June and is never heard after mid-September.

A typical summer day in Provence always includes the sound of cicadas. As soon as the temperature rises above 28°C (82°F), the air begins to vibrate with its song which is one of the loudest sound any insect can produce. Some of cicadas' songs can be as loud as a motorcycle passing down the road.

The cicada’s music is a love call, the eternal and universal romance of the male seeking his partner… with no discretion at all!

You will often see ceramic reproductions of cicadas hanged on the walls of houses. You can buy one of these in almost every tourist store within this area.

Locals and tourists alike buy tablecloth where cicadas are drawn on a usually glazed orange and purple background, reminding the colors of Lavender and reinforcing the feeling of being in Provence.

In the Provence’s culture, the cicada is synonymous of mindlessness and insouciance. This is mainly due to Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695). This French fabulist wrote his masterpiece called “La Cigale et la Fourmi” generally translated as “The Cricket and the Ant”. This fable features the hard working and thrifty ant that spends the summer collecting foods to prepare the tough winter season ahead. In the same time the happy and untroubled Cicada sings her song all summer.

When winter comes, the cicada goes begging to the ant for a little food until the summer comes back again. The thrifty ant replies: "You sang all summer, didn’t you?"; "Well, dance now!"

Every kid in France learns this fable in primary school.

Besides being the symbol of Provence, the true charm of the “Cigale” is that it rings in the beginning of summertime. People of Provence who love the sun are really attached to it.

 

What could be better than to spend a chilling afternoon of July or August in the shade of a tree, with a picnic basket filled with a baguette, some cheese, a bottle of rosé de Provence, listening to the melody of the Cicadas?

For sure we would suggest you add to this picture a tasting of our Calissons to succeed in the whole immersion in Provence culture.

http://www.bygilles.com/collections/all

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.