There is more than enough truth here to establish and constantly confirm the stereotype. But the last few days have been less fierce light and more lightning, less dramatic shadows and more dark cloud.
(Which, of course, has its own appeal. As Dylan pointed out, some people get wet; some feel the rain.)
The problem, however, is that the south of France has come to believe its own stereotype: everything is geared to outdoor living in the fierce light. Like the egregious Osborne, they have no Plan B.
So your favourite bar on market day, which colonises half a hectare of the place most of the time, is suddenly revealed to be a tiny salon capable of accommodating only a couple of dozen soaking wet drinkers inside. And the parasols which were designed to provide shade are less efficient at providing shelter from the storm. After the crammed aperos, lunch is equally problematic. 200 cover restaurants can seat a mere tenth of those customers at the half dozen small tables near the loo and the kitchen. The exhibitions, market stalls and concerts are all diminished in size and appeal by the rain.
In an English summer, the Sunday afternoon barbecue is characterised by the race inside as your guests grab plates, glasses and bottles to avoid another shower. On Sunday, we had the opposite. A table all laid inside, the meal ready, the wine poured, when suddenly ... yes, it's the sun. We grabbed plates, glasses, cutlery and quickly set up outside, eager to re-establish and engage with our idea of lunch in the south of France.
The rain held off. Our guests left in good-ish order. And when the pluie orageuse returned that evening, it didn't matter. It was fine in Boston, and the Sox beat the As comfortably.