In which we drive into France, but not very far

by Laura A

After lunch today, we drove into France, just because we could.  We’ve rented a friend’s car for the month, and France is only about forty minutes away.  We drove to a lake just on the other side of the French/Italian border, in an area called Moncenisio, or Mount Cenis in French. Down on the Piemontese plan, there had been a sunny haze that bordered on a fog, and visibility was low. As we drove up into the Alps, the haze dissipated and the sky became piercingly clear.

When we got to the lake, we realized it would be an excellent place to hike, but we had gotten a late start, Sarie had forgotten her passport, and it was plain that the French border police only let us through to have a quick look. Still, the view was beautiful. We were just above the tree line, at what was probably a dammed up melt lake. All along the road on the way up were what had probably formerly been old roadside inns, now abandoned, and as we approached the border, we started to see partially melted snow (there was one cold, rainy day in Torino this week). Terra cotta roofs gradually gave way to slate ones, and sometimes there were both materials on the same roof. Signs, too, were a mixture of Italian and French.

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped for an afternoon macchiato at the first Italian bar we came to, in Clòo. We realized that we felt at home hearing Italian and following Italian customs. Still, we’d love to return to the Alps soon for a hike. Crossing the border almost makes me want to review my French–one day.

Clòo, where we stopped for macchiato.  It has both slate and terra cotta roofs