I’m pretty accustomed to snow. Maine, after all, is not exactly the tropics. But since arriving in Paris 6+ years ago, my winters have been lacking in sledding, bonhommes de neige and my grandma’s recipe for snowcream. We won’t count a couple of wintertime journeys to Switzerland or the French Alps. We’re talking about snow in Paris here.
Most winters, I see a bunch of Facebook posts some time around midnight on a cold day in January. “Il neige !!!!! trop coool!!”. Sometimes there will be photos of slightly snow-dusted rooftops, illuminated by street lights. Nine times out of ten, I wake up to see a dirty, slushy road, and grumpy people wandering around with umbrellas. There may have been snow, but it was no longer. And therefore, I have been led to treat the French as the perennial ‘boy who cried wolf’ of snowfall.
Canal Saint Martin at the beginning of the snowfall.
Well, it started snowing on Friday afternoon, sometime before my voice lesson–so, say, 4 o’clock. And it hasn’t really stopped. Seriously. I’ve never seen this much snow in Paris. People are freaking out. It’s basically the best–making me ecstatically happy and homesick all at the same time, and the worst… because there are literally no snow plows. I haven’t seen a single one. And let’s be honest, my little Renault Clio was not made to plow through a snowdrift. It may be time for La Republique to have a discussion about bad-weather infrastructure… the buses don’t have snow tires, the roads aren’t salted, and NO ONE shovels their freaking sidewalk. Oki, an old lady in the park told me today that technically shop and home owners are bound by some civil code to shovel their sidewalks…but do they do it ? The big ole bruise on my rear end would beg to differ.
There is another issue. The weather is so mild here, that I’ve left all of my ‘real’ snow gear in Maine–quite frankly, where it belongs. Luckily, I reluctantly dragged my L.L. Bean toggle coat over here a couple years ago, but other than that, I’ve been winging it with a pair of grocery-bag-lined shearling boots and multiple layers of my cold-weather running gear. As with all things outdoors, it’s been pretty hilarious to see the Frenchie winter weather getups. I’ve seen fur-covered stiletto boots, leather pants, and one INSANE human being jogging through the snow in shorts and a sleeveless compression top. Oh, the French.
But I’ve been celebrating the weather this weekend by taking several long, gorgeous, exhausting & invigorating walks in my beloved Bois de Vincennes. The dogs all seem to be enjoying the fluff even more than the people. Figaro spent Saturday afternoon bounding through the woods, chasing snowballs on slippery paths, knocking over snowmen, and even falling through the ice on a frozen stream. It was pretty much impossible to wake him up for the rest of the evening afterwards.
Saturday in the Bois de Vincennes. Photo credit to my friend François.
I’m looking out the window into my garden as I type, and while the flakes had ceased this morning, and even turned into rain, they are back. And if you believe the weather app on my iphone, there will be quite a few more before the week’s end. But when you think about it, other than the basic infrastructure problems, France is pretty much the perfect place to enjoy a snow storm… because what do you want to eat when it’s cold outside ? Well, if you are me, the answer is cheese. And hot chocolate. Both of which are at a particular level of awesome here.
My weather app also informs me, however, that it will be 72 and sunny this weekend in Marrakech… and since I’ll be there for a couple of days in February, this mini-storm doesn’t seem so bad.