As soon as you arrive in Provence you can hear the unmistakeable sound of cicadas (cigales) chirping in the heat. According to Provençal myth, the cicada was sent by God to disrupt the peasants’ endless siestas and stop them from growing too lazy. There are about 2,500 species of cicada, around 15 of which live in the south of France. They have a four-year life span but only a few weeks are spent above ground, during which time the males sing to attract females by contracting and relaxing ribbed membranes inside their stomachs. The cicada is the one of the world's loudest insects, recording sounds of up to 120 decibels – but below 22 degrees Centigrade the resounding sections of the diaphragm lose their elasticity, which explains the quiet during periods of rain or after sunset. You'll see plenty of restaurants called ‘La Cigale’ in Provence, but – although they are a delicacy in Latin America and Asia – you won't find cicadas on the menus here!
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