According to the villagers of Vauvert in the Languedoc region of southern France, you can set your watch by the habits of Rene Girard. Each morning, at the same time, he pops into the same cafe and orders his coffee, having just called at the same newsagent to pick up his morning newspapers.
He then sets off on the 35-kilometre journey to the nearest major city, Montpellier, where he is the coach of the unlikely pacesetters in France's Ligue 1.
Girard, 57, was born in Vauvert, so there is a pride that goes beyond the professional in what he has achieved so far this season.
The same can be said of many of his players. The defenders Abdelhamid El Kaoutari and Mathieu Delplagne were born in Montpellier, as was the midfielder, Jamel Saihi. Younes Belhanda, outstanding as the team's creator since August, comes from nearby Avignon.
So there is homely aspect to the leaders of le championnat in a season when French domestic football was supposed to turn much more globalised and cosmopolitan, with the resonant impact of a Paris Saint-Germain flush with new wealth from their Qatari stakeholders.
The arrival at PSG of the likes of Javier Pastore, the Argentinian lured from Italy's Serie A for over €40 million (Dh192m), and of Joe Cole, Ligue 1's first England international for two decades, at the champions Lille, during the French summer seemed to be setting Ligue 1 in a new direction.
But PSG and Lille sit only second and third in the table. They play each other tomorrow, by which time Montpellier, at home to Toulouse this evening, could have opened up important space in the table ahead of them.
Girard's team are already well ahead in terms of their firepower, with 36 goals from their first 17 matches. One of the significant transformations wrought by Girard, who took over Montpellier when they were promoted from the second division, in 2009, has been to refine their football.
The teams of his first two campaigns acquired a reputation for robustness, sometimes on the edge of excessive roughness.
The current side play a freer-flowing game, or at least they have for most of the last four months. They suffered their first league defeat since September last weekend, 1-0 at Valenciennes.
The presence of so many homegrown footballers is a necessity. Montpellier do not draw huge crowds to the Stade de Mosson, averaging around 16,000.
"If we were getting 25,000 then I might be going into the winter transfer market to bring in somebody," Louis Nicollin, the long-serving president, said this week. He is excited about his place at the summit of Ligue 1 but knows that next month a serious challenge awaits the table-toppers.
Belhanda and El Kaoutari, though born in France, are Morocco internationals. Saihi plays for Tunisia, and Souleymane Camara, the striker, for Senegal. All of them will be required by their countries for the African Cup of Nations, which begins on January 21 and runs until February 10.
Might that be the point at which the Montpellier express runs out of steam? Nicollin believes not, citing "good young players".
One of them is Olivier Giroud, 25, who leads Ligue 1 with 12 goals. He was recruited from the second-division side Tours 18 months ago, and his sharp finishing and hard work have been noticed by one of Montpellier's most famous ex-players. Laurent Blanc, now coach of France, gave Giroud his debut for Les Bleus last month, another feather in the cap for Montpellier.