Despite the children not being remotely in the mood for a walk this afternoon, I still set out with them and my parents for a walk of a few miles along the floor of the lush Vallée de Bonnan.
We saw so many flowers that I couldn't quite take them all in. Daisies, buttercups, vetch, periwinkles, wild strawberries, violets, cowslips and aquilegia. Bursting out of the hedgerows, spreading across the meadows, winding their way up through box hedges and around the base of oak trees.
But what really stopped us in our tracks were the wild orchids. Teeny, tiny purple and blue ones, and then some large, dramatic, asparagus-like, pink ones just as we finished our walk.
There were also some truly enormous, and very ugly, ones which were not quite in bloom. We're going to have to come back and check on their progress next week. I find orchids fascinating, although I couldn't say that I really like them. They spook me for some reason - they are so mysterious in the way that they come and go from a patch of land between one year and the next, and their way of clustering as they grow and then suddenly unfurling is a little sinister.
I found out today that it is not a good idea to walk with children who don't want to be walking with you, because the complaining and sighing can diminish the charm of even the most beautiful of surroundings. I've learnt my lesson, however. Tomorrow I will be doing my longest walk yet - and my first walk of this holiday by myself. We're all heading into town early in the morning, to go shopping at the market, and I shall be fortifying myself with an espresso and a croissant at the cafe before I set off alone on foot for the long walk back home.