PARIS - It's nearing winter's end.
A group of millionaire footballers stroked the ball around under a cloudless, azure sky, uncharacteristically sunny at this time of the year.
This was last Friday, at the Camp des Loges in the Western suburbs of Paris, where Paris Saint-Germain train.
There, a footballing dynasty is taking shape.
Not domestic dominance. That wheel was already set in motion.
After clinching the French Ligue 1 title last season, they look set to do it again.
A 2-0 win over St Etienne on Monday morning (Singapore time), courtesy of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace, kept PSG eight points clear of Monaco in the league standings.
But, given the size the club have grown into since billionaire conglomerate Qatar Investment Authority gave them their backing in 2011 , the coveted prize is now in Europe.
Their route into this term's Champions League quarter-finals was completed in emphatic fashion.
They topped Group C in the group stages, then swept Bayer Leverkusen aside with a 6-1 aggregate win in the Round of 16.
They are not quite in the league of Barcelona or Bayern Munich yet but, from the vibes one gets after speaking to the players, they feel they are getting there.
From the second-floor balcony which overlooks their training ground, PSG and Brazil skipper Thiago Silva spoke last Friday with a belief that success may be on the horizon.
"We have a good opportunity to win the Champions League this season," the 29-year-old defender, widely regarded as one of the finest of his trade, told The New Paper.
"We have shown that we are good enough to take on any team on our day."
Last season, their journey was cut short in the last eight by Barcelona, but they technically didn't lose.
The aggregate score read 3-3, but the Parisian outfit went out on the away-goals rule.
However, no French club have won European club football's top prize except for Marseille in 1993.
It's clear PSG have a huge task on their hands.
But, then again, it also seems as if PSG have plenty of justification to do.