Well, we made it through January. That was eventful, wasn’t it? I don’t think I slept at all on January 6th, while the siege on the Capitol unfolded. France and all Europe were also watching in horror, their news headlines decrying the “attack on American democracy.” They regard us as the gold standard, and this seemed to shake them almost as much as it did us Americans. I spent that night on Twitter schooling some of our elected “representatives” on the finer points of the Constitution. My mother’s patriotic heart beats in me.
Since that day, things have calmed down considerably here. We enjoyed some freakish spring-like weather, and then as is common after a warm spell in winter, some snow. We’ve had snow every year in Paris recently, something that was not always so common in the past. It doesn’t amount to much, nothing like the storm that pummeled the Northeast recently (this Buffalo gal was envious of you guys). In Paris, we get a few flakes, mostly wet snow, no more than a light dusting. An inch is a lot for Parisians. Four inches shuts the city right down.
As soon as I saw the first flakes early in the morning of the 16th, I threw on my boots and my warmest duds, and headed out, giddy like a little girl. “Snow!” I posted on my Instagram. “Snow!” on my Facebook. “Snow!” I cried as I headed out to play.
We had about an inch by the time I got outside, a pristine cottony cover on the ground and tree branches. It masked city filth, transformed cars into hillocks of white. My little neighborhood, with its two-story atelier buildings and 19th-century homes, had become an Alpine village. It lasted only a few hours. Rain came and washed it away before it could be sullied by city life. A precious and magical moment, one of many served up by the City of Light.
Lately, we’re having mostly rain, typical for this time of year. The Seine is swelling and breeching its embankments, leaving little room for boats to pass under its bridges. It’s nothing like the flood of 2016, which had reached 6.1 meters. That happened due to a patch of intense storms in late spring when the run-off reservoirs had already been sealed off for summer. At this time of year, it’s not uncommon for the waters to rise. We watch with fascination more than anything. That seems to be good advice for a saner 2021: watch with fascination and worry about life’s floods only if and when they happen.
I actually love winter in Paris. It’s generally milder than New York, which can be bitter for days on end. Sure, New York has more sun than Paris at this time of year, but I don’t mind the clouds in winter. They make me feel cozier, the sky lowering itself to protect us from the freezing atmosphere above. The Parisian winter sky can be changeable, too, permitting just the right amount of sun to filter though, casting a soft coppery glow on the otherwise pale facades of Haussmann’s city. There is something about the light of northern France in winter that escapes description, but I will forever endeavor to find the right words.
Some wintery highlights in Paris:
Showing You the Love this February!
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The Paris Writing Salon, is my project created with fellow author Gabrielle Luthy. We’re an online community by writers for writers to help you get writing, get published, and get more readers. So if you’re wanting to write more seriously, or just need support no matter what level you’re at, we’re here.
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