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The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Old Jul 26th 2022, 7:19 am
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Default The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

In the 1980s I was staying for a few weeks with a French family in Provence. During my stay, the Mistral was blowing and I was told that it caused depression in some people and that in Provence it
was (or had been historically) seen as a mitigating factor in certain criminal cases. The family quoted a case where someone had taken her husband's life during the Mistral and because she had documented episodes of 'Mistral depression' over a number of years, she received a lenient sentence.
Does anyone know if this is true or just folklore? I have tried to find references but, so far, to no avail. Whilst scanning the internet, I did find mention that the Fohn wind caused depressive episodes in some people in certain Swiss valleys.
The subject came up recently in a conversation with a friend who is a Judge in Germany - he was amazed to hear the story and thought it unlikely to be based on fact. That's my challenge!
If anyone has heard of a similar tale, I would be most interested . . .
Best, Robert

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Old Jul 26th 2022, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Robert McGhee
In the 1980s I was staying for a few weeks with a French family in Provence. During my stay, the Mistral was blowing and I was told that it caused depression in some people and that in Provence it
was (or had been historically) seen as a mitigating factor in certain criminal cases. The family quoted a case where someone had taken her husband's life during the Mistral and because she had documented episodes of 'Mistral depression' over a number of years, she received a lenient sentence.
Does anyone know if this is true or just folklore? I have tried to find references but, so far, to no avail. Whilst scanning the internet, I did find mention that the Fohn wind caused depressive episodes in some people in certain Swiss valleys.
The subject came up recently in a conversation with a friend who is a Judge in Germany - he was amazed to hear the story and thought it unlikely to be based on fact. That's my challenge!
If anyone has heard of a similar tale, I would be most interested . . .
Best, Robert
I have an old Swiss friend who has always put it down to the Föhn when she feels down. She lived in Zürich when I met her and is now in Liechtenstein where the Föhn still affects her 50 years later....
I don't know about the Mistral having such an effect on people, but I can say that it's cousin, the Tramontane, makes me irritable when strong, although not to the point of killing some one...
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Old Jul 26th 2022, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Robert McGhee
In the 1980s I was staying for a few weeks with a French family in Provence. During my stay, the Mistral was blowing and I was told that it caused depression in some people and that in Provence it
was (or had been historically) seen as a mitigating factor in certain criminal cases. The family quoted a case where someone had taken her husband's life during the Mistral and because she had documented episodes of 'Mistral depression' over a number of years, she received a lenient sentence.
Does anyone know if this is true or just folklore? I have tried to find references but, so far, to no avail. Whilst scanning the internet, I did find mention that the Fohn wind caused depressive episodes in some people in certain Swiss valleys.
The subject came up recently in a conversation with a friend who is a Judge in Germany - he was amazed to hear the story and thought it unlikely to be based on fact. That's my challenge!
If anyone has heard of a similar tale, I would be most interested . . .
Best, Robert
I don't know about that and certain people will always be depressed about something. In Britain the folklore is the rain, in Scandinavia the long cold winters and in other parts of the world extreme heat and no rain at all. As dmu mentioned, the Tramontane is another wind that can bother people but for others who grew up near the coast it's nothing special. Here in the West of Ireland or Wellington (NZ) it would be normal wind while for others it's something they can't imagine. I remember talking to a guy from Madrid and even on a calm day he could not cope with the wind here. They also claim that Tarifa has one of the highest suicide rates in Spain, due to wind. If the Mistral was so bad that the guy killed, would it have been better if he was in Reykjavik? At the end of the day nobody forces people to stay were they are. We often drive across the border to Spain and I think it's always the A9 in France that's extremely windy between Narbonne and the border. so could bother some who aren't used to wind.

Last edited by Moses2013; Jul 26th 2022 at 8:39 pm.
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Old Jul 26th 2022, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I don't know about that and certain people will always be depressed about something. In Britain the folklore is the rain, in Scandinavia the long cold winters and in other parts of the world extreme heat and no rain at all. As dmu mentioned, the Tramontane is another wind that can bother people but for others who grew up near the coast it's nothing special. Here in the West of Ireland or Wellington (NZ) it would be normal wind while for others it's something they can't imagine. I remember talking to a guy from Madrid and even on a calm day he could not cope with the wind here. They also claim that Tarifa has one of the highest suicide rates in Spain, due to wind. If the Mistral was so bad that the guy killed, would it have been better if he was in Reykjavik? At the end of the day nobody forces people to stay were they are.
I certainly agree with the comment here, "certain people will always be depressed about something". Severe depression freqently leads to dramatic consequences, whether in Province/France or elsewhere in the world - with or without windy weather.
We've visied Provence several times, generally without problems. On one trip however we spent the day discovering the markets/antique shops etc in L'Isle sur la Sorgue. Absolutely delightful trip! The weather was warm, windless and it was truly a memorable day. The following day we were in Aix and Province and around midday the wind got up, and completely spoilt the trip - especially for myself who hates windy weather. And I understand Aix is partially protected from the Mistral!
Here, some place north and not to distant from Toulouse, we quite frequently experience the Tramontane/Autan (I'm never sure which), and I hate it - especialy in autumn and winter time.
As for causing depression and commiting foul deeds, I occasionally feel I want to wring Mme TP's neck, with or without an evil wind........

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Old Jul 26th 2022, 9:30 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
I certainly agree with the comment here, "certain people will always be depressed about something". Severe depression freqently leads to dramatic consequences, whether in Province/France or elsewhere in the world - with or without windy weather.
We've visied Provence several times, generally without problems. On one trip however we spent the day discovering the markets/antique shops etc in L'Isle sur la Sorgue. Absolutely delightful trip! The weather was warm, windless and it was truly a memorable day. The following day we were in Aix and Province and around midday the wind got up, and completely spoilt the trip - especially for myself who hates windy weather. And I understand Aix is partially protected from the Mistral!
Here, some place north and not to distant from Toulouse, we quite frequently experience the Tramontane, and I hate it - especialy in autumn and winter time.
As for causing depression and commiting foul deeds, I occasionally feel I want to wring Mme TP's neck, with or without an evil wind........
It was pissing down here in the west of Ireland on Sunday and I would have been grateful for windy weather with sun. After a very dry spring, we've had a pretty much average summer and it's hard to believe that the rest of Europe is burning with all the wild fires going on. I have family in Germany and they were moaning about the heat and are hoping for rain, so you can't win. I will be driving through France in October and might stop in Montauban for the night and drive on to Cerbère across the border past Llançà. Even with wind, along the coast in October it usually feels like a summer here.
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Old Jul 26th 2022, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Moses2013
It was pissing down here in the west of Ireland on Sunday and I would have been grateful for windy weather with sun. After a very dry spring, we've had a pretty much average summer and it's hard to believe that the rest of Europe is burning with all the wild fires going on. I have family in Germany and they were moaning about the heat and are hoping for rain, so you can't win. I will be driving through France in October and might stop in Montauban for the night and drive on to Cerbère across the border past Llançà. Even with wind, along the coast in October it usually feels like a summer here.
Veering off the main topic, if you do visit Montauban, there are some great museums there, especially the now renovated Musee Ingress Bourdelle.
And of special interest to cult film fans, a MUST visit is Les Tontons Flingeuers store Archeo Deco in Place National, an Alladin's Cave of associated memorabilia.
A clip to this memorable film here:
Spoiler:
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Old Jul 26th 2022, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I don't know about that and certain people will always be depressed about something. In Britain the folklore is the rain, in Scandinavia the long cold winters and in other parts of the world extreme heat and no rain at all. As dmu mentioned, the Tramontane is another wind that can bother people but for others who grew up near the coast it's nothing special. Here in the West of Ireland or Wellington (NZ) it would be normal wind while for others it's something they can't imagine. I remember talking to a guy from Madrid and even on a calm day he could not cope with the wind here. They also claim that Tarifa has one of the highest suicide rates in Spain, due to wind. If the Mistral was so bad that the guy killed, would it have been better if he was in Reykjavik? At the end of the day nobody forces people to stay were they are. We often drive across the border to Spain and I think it's always the A9 in France that's extremely windy between Narbonne and the border. so could bother some who aren't used to wind.
Not so sure about that one? I know a lot of us are lucky enough to be able to move from choice, whether to other areas in one country, or to another country altogether. But there are millions of people who aren't that lucky. For various reasons, especially financial/work ones, there are millions of people for whom a relocation is virtually impossible. And I'd hazard a guess that as many of those will be people in lower socio-economic areas, they are less likely to be aware of ways of mitigating the effect extreme climate has one them, be it heat, gloomy skies or strong winds.
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Old Jul 27th 2022, 12:06 am
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Pollyana
Not so sure about that one? I know a lot of us are lucky enough to be able to move from choice, whether to other areas in one country, or to another country altogether. But there are millions of people who aren't that lucky. For various reasons, especially financial/work ones, there are millions of people for whom a relocation is virtually impossible. And I'd hazard a guess that as many of those will be people in lower socio-economic areas, they are less likely to be aware of ways of mitigating the effect extreme climate has one them, be it heat, gloomy skies or strong winds.
You are probably right when it comes to poor countries and if it was very long ago before unemployment regulations. I also said before in an older thread that not everyone is in the position to move abroad and has the luck we had, but certainly not the case in the EU these days and a move 30 miles away wouldn't have been impossible.
In general, to receive unemployment benefits you need to stay in the country which pays your benefits. However, under certain conditions, you can go to another EU country to look for work and continue to receive your unemployment benefits from the country where you became unemployed.
So from a legal point, it would be more interesting to know who actually documented the Mistral depression and what happened to them if they didn't suggest a move away?
"because she had documented episodes of 'Mistral depression' over a number of years, she received a lenient sentence"

Last edited by Moses2013; Jul 27th 2022 at 12:34 am.
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Old Jul 27th 2022, 12:38 am
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I don't know about that and certain people will always be depressed about something. In Britain the folklore is the rain, in Scandinavia the long cold winters and in other parts of the world extreme heat and no rain at all. As dmu mentioned, the Tramontane is another wind that can bother people but for others who grew up near the coast it's nothing special. Here in the West of Ireland or Wellington (NZ) it would be normal wind while for others it's something they can't imagine. I remember talking to a guy from Madrid and even on a calm day he could not cope with the wind here. They also claim that Tarifa has one of the highest suicide rates in Spain, due to wind. If the Mistral was so bad that the guy killed, would it have been better if he was in Reykjavik? At the end of the day nobody forces people to stay were they are. We often drive across the border to Spain and I think it's always the A9 in France that's extremely windy between Narbonne and the border. so could bother some who aren't used to wind.
Just a comment about Madrid.....and the alleged wind? We lived there for almost 2 years whilst I was working with Iberia at Barajas International airport. During all of that time I cannot recall ever being disturbed by the wind, so in that respect it was fine with me. I generally dislike the cold too, and Madrid can get pretty cold, but I found it pleasant as it was very dry.
I recall driving to work early one morning in Dec or Jan, and just before getting out of the car, Torrejon USA forces radio had just given the weather forecast. "Sunny with a temperature of minus 12deg!" In the car park I looked up at the cloudless bright-blue sky, and despite the cold forecast felt ok as it was so dry. That same week it snowed, just a light fall, but from our appartment to see the traffic slipping & sliding was more entertaining that most tv programs we watched.
I have very fond memories of that sejour in Madrid, despite the fact that my car was tampered with twice and our appartment was broken into and valuables taken on a Sunday afternoon, the only day that the concierge was off-duty.

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Old Jul 27th 2022, 1:08 am
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
Just a comment about Madrid.....and the alleged wind? We lived there for almost 2 years whilst I was working with Iberia at Barajas International airport. During all of that time I cannot recall ever being disturbed by the wind, so in that respect it was fine with me. I generally dislike the cold too, and Madrid can get pretty cold, but I found it pleasant as it was very dry.
I recall driving to work early one morning in Dec or Jan, and just before getting out of the car, Torrejon USA forces radio had just given the weather forecast. "Sunny with a temperature of minus 12deg!" In the car park I looked up at the cloudless bright-blue sky, and despite the cold forecast felt ok as it was so dry. That same week it snowed, just a light fall, but from our appartment to see the traffic slipping & sliding was more entertaining that most tv programs we watched.
I have very fond memories of that sejour in Madrid, despite the fact that my car was tampered with twice and our appartment was broken into and valuables taken on a Sunday afternoon, the only day that the concierge was off-duty.
It does seem that a lot of people have a bigger problem with wind rather than rain. I remember living in Germany near Frankfurt and we never had wind, although that seems to be changing and even Germany is now often hit by tornadoes and my family complain that they get more storms. This is actually a great app and Banyuls-sur-Mer seems to be very windy.

https://www.windy.com/?41.695,-1.971,7

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Old Jul 27th 2022, 1:56 am
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Wind is ok unless it is a howling wind. We got howling winds on the prairies in Colorado sometimes, terrible if it goes on for hours. Not as bad as Tornado of course! 🌪 🌞 🌵
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Old Jul 27th 2022, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
Veering off the main topic, if you do visit Montauban, there are some great museums there, especially the now renovated Musee Ingress Bourdelle.
And of special interest to cult film fans, a MUST visit is Les Tontons Flingeuers store Archeo Deco in Place National, an Alladin's Cave of associated memorabilia.
A clip to this memorable film here:
I visited the Musée Bourdelle in Paris with my future OH, thinking it was a saucy trip to a bordel museum. What a culture shock....
Thanks for Les Tontons Flingueurs - I always watch it when it comes on my Cinema channels.
And just to clarify, the Tramontane blows from the NW and the Autan follows on from the "Marin" in the Languedoc coming from the SE, usually bringing rain. Dare I say "'Autan en emporte le Vent"?
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Old Jul 27th 2022, 9:09 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Thank you all for your interesting responses - it looks like the original information I was given may have been an urban / rural myth!
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Old Jul 28th 2022, 5:16 am
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

Originally Posted by dmu
I visited the Musée Bourdelle in Paris with my future OH, thinking it was a saucy trip to a bordel museum. What a culture shock....
Thanks for Les Tontons Flingueurs - I always watch it when it comes on my Cinema channels.
And just to clarify, the Tramontane blows from the NW and the Autan follows on from the "Marin" in the Languedoc coming from the SE, usually bringing rain. Dare I say "'Autan en emporte le Vent"?
"Autan en emporte le Vent" very drole. Gone with the Wind received so many Academy Awards. Your visit to the Musée Bourdelle in Paris (thinking it was a saucy trip to a bordel museum) I reckon also deserves a well earned Oscar!
At least you wouldn't have sounded as if you'd visited a baked-bean factory, as many did after the 'Gone With The Wind' performance.......

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Old Aug 19th 2022, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: The Mistral in Provence / Mitigating factor?

I found this article which refers to the Mistral possibly having been used as mitigation in a serious crime:

https://learnearnandreturn.wordpress...call_the_wind/

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