BREAKING NEWS….Paris has ground to a standstill after a record-breaking snowfall of….
Seriously, fifteen centimetres. All my Canadian friends are having a merry little laugh about this, as the only time 15cm of snow would be disruptive in Calgary is if it fell in mid-August. In fact, as I write this, around 40cm of snow has fallen in Calgary today and it’s still coming down….and life goes on!
Paris really did grind to a halt on Tuesday evening when the snow started piling up….there was a record breaking 730 traffic jams across the city, with some being so bad that people were forced to abandon their cars or spend the night in them. Insane!!
Now to be fair, it obviously doesn’t snow often here- the last ‘significant’ snowfall was in 2010 according to The Local– therefore people simply don’t have the knowledge/equipment/resources to deal with anything that sticks to the road… no winter tires, no scrapers for their cars, no snowplows, no shovels, etc. But still- it seems crazy to see the panic and chaos caused in this enormous city by some frozen water.
The snow started falling on Monday, but it was only a couple flakes here and there. I was still super excited about it, but I didn’t expect it to come to much at all. It was all very pretty, but besides a little dusting on some parked cars, none of it stuck.
Tuesday was when the ‘storm’ blew in, it snowed most of the day and by early evening it was starting to stick to the roads and cause all sorts of mayhem. All bus routes in the city were shut down, along with many of the trains and a few metros. Now, normally this wouldn’t be an issue for us at all- we are super blessed in that Marc works a 20 minute walk from our apartment, so he is able to get home without depending on the roads or trains. Usually. Of course, Tuesday was the day he had to fly to Clermont-Ferrand (in central France). He was meant to fly back to the city in the early evening but his flight was delayed, delayed again, and then finally cancelled. Thankfully it was cancelled in time for him to get on a train (that was mercifully still running), but it was a long trip back and he didn’t arrive until well after midnight. It’s so typical- the ONE day where working up the road would have been a huge advantage and we still managed to get caught up in the chaos!
Despite all the travel headaches and complications, the French seemed SO happy to see the snow….well, the kids anyways. They got Wednesday off as a ‘snow day’ and I have never seen so many excited kids racing around the neighbourhood, throwing snowballs at everything and building snowmen. It was so cool and it definitely mirrored my own excitement- I love the snow so much, and I wasn’t expecting to see so much of it here in Paris. What a treat for our first winter here! Apparently the last time this much snow fell in the city was 1987, so this was truly special.
Marc still went to work on Wednesday morning, but he (correctly) assumed the office wouldn’t be very busy and he could afford to sleep in a little and join Murphy and I for our morning walk in the Bois de Boulogne. The snow was fresh and untouched; it felt just like being back in Switzerland and wandering through Les Paccots (well, with slightly fewer hills!).
I felt that I would forever regret not trekking into the city to see how it looked sous la neige so I caught the metro to Hotel de Ville after our lunchtime CrossFit and spent some time wandering through the streets of Île de la Cité and Île Saint Louis. It was really beautiful- the temperature was still very cold and the sun hadn’t yet come out, so most of the snow was still there.
This morning dawned bright and clear, so I knew that my morning walk with Murphy might well be the last time I got to tramp through the snowy forest. It was so pretty in the early morning light!
I feel crazy blessed; it’s my birthday later this month and my one request to Marc was that we go somewhere where there is snow- I’ve never had a winter without seeing any, and I didn’t want this to be the first. With this in mind, we booked an amazing place in the Alps for the end of February, but it turns out we don’t even need to wait that long or go that far (though obviously we still are- I’m really looking forward to it!). So this snowfall feels like an early and unexpected birthday gift….
And the best part? They are predicting ten more centimetres for tomorrow!!!!