As I walk up the steps to Yvette's front door for our weekly French/English conversation, little piles of hailstones nestle in the corners.
This week, "les giboulées de mars" - the unwelcome, early-March, cold, stinging squalls (much less friendly than April showers) - have arrived. A treacherous time for blossom.
But they are also a sign. As are the first cranes starting to fly north this week. And the tree frogs, beginning to tune up on the far side of the valley.
Spring really is just round the corner.