January 23, 2013

Paris sous la neige 2013

I have spent countless hours wandering around Paris, taking endless photos of the same iconic images of this most beautiful city. I had been anticipating a relaxing, atypical visit to Paris this time, the first time in years that I have been here without students or friends, the first time in over a decade that I had no intention of playing tourist. I planned to slow down, to stroll in my favorite neighborhoods, "faire la lèche-vitrine" (window shop), stop in cafés for coffee or wine, and take less obvious pictures of Paris. That all changed when I woke on Saturday morning to Paris transformed!

Due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, Paris enjoys a very mild climate with an average winter temperature of about 5° Celsius (41° F). There is rarely more than a sugary dusting of snow, temporarily transforming the city into a confection rivaling any at Ladurée, Pierre Hermé, or Angelina. And like a French pastry, this delicious beauty is usually gone by midday. Paris' highest snowfall on record, 15.75 inches, occurred in 1946, but last weekend's 8 inches was the most snow in recent memory. The idea of capturing this rare and beautiful moment was too tempting for me not change my plans and play in the snow! And I wasn't the only one! It's amazing how several inches of frozen precipitation can melt the steely faces of typically chic Parisians. Instead everyone bundled up and slowed down to enjoy the winter wonderland. Although, to be fair, it is difficult to rush about when streets and sidewalks are snow-covered and slippery. 

Cars, Vespas, and Velib' (the city's rental bikes) were buried.

The Métro was probably the best way to get around
if you were in a hurry, but it was the weekend!

Instead, families, couples, and pets filled the parks with peels of laughter 
as they fought "batailles de neige" and built "bonhommes de neige"

Photographers and news crews scrambled to record the magical scenes, and like me, attempted to capture the ephemeral beautiful of snow blanketing Paris' monuments, dark winter trees, green benches, gray Mansard roofs, orange chimney pots, and bright café tables.

Bundle up and take a stroll with me through snowy Paris!
Paris' beauty is evident in both sweeping vistas and tiny details.

The white domes of the Sacré Coeur are barely visible.

Yet, lovers will always find a way to express their devotion!

Give in & be a tourist!

La Tour Eiffel
Le Palais de Chaillot (Trocadéro)

Le Parc des Champs de Mars

L'Arc de Triomphe

Le Jardin des Champs-Elysées

La Place de la Concorde

Le Grand Palais

Le Pont Alexandre III
Les Quais de la Seine

Les Invalides

Notre Dame de Paris

 Warm up in a café:

With an expresso or hot chocolate:

Or dream of snuggling by the fireplace
 in an Hausmannian apartment:

*Le Sigh!*