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Paris in White


It snows so rarely in Paris that when it does, everyone dons their gloves and snow boots and heads out with their cameras. You see people posing, having snow fights, building snowmen (more like dirtmen with a bit of snowflakes). I know, it's a bit ridiculous. I plead guilty to all three.


The eight years that we've lived in Paris, it's snowed three times. Well, kind of snowed. But Paris dusted in white is enchanting. You can't help but whip your camera out. And you'd better be quick, because it all melts before you can say "cheese".

So last weekend, when snow was forecasted, my daughter Téa was beside herself with excitement. She whisked out the door at the first snowflake falling, and went for a walk in the neighbourhood and the nearby Luxembourg gardens.

I snuck that photo in there although there isn't any snow in sight, but does ice count? It was part of an exhibition from a few years back on environmental consciousness and global warming. This is rue Soufflot, just at the entrance of the Pantheon where Emily stood in one of the scenes in Emily in Paris (I had to watch it because it was basically filmed in my backyard).

The inscription on the Panthéon reads "TO ITS GREAT MEN, A GRATEFUL FATHERLAND". Sadly, they forgot the women who till today are grossly unrepresented at the Panthéon. Originally intended as a church dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve, the Panthéon was finally decreed a mausoleum in 1881. A handful of women lie there, amongst whom are Marie Curie and Simone Veil, who was the latest Frenchwoman to be panthéonisé there. She was a Holocaust survivor who later became a much revered stateswoman and icon of women's rights: most famously, reproductive rights.

Look, I'm almost as well-dressed as the lady in the photo above.

In the winter of 2013, there was enough snowfall in Paris to last a day or two.

The Latin Quarter
île St Louis, elegant, and affluent neighbourhood
The Notre Dame Cathedral, winter 2013

If you happen to be in Paris on a snowy day (with Covid, it may be a while yet), and are tempted to have a snow fight, I would advise you to be careful where you pick your snow up. You could end up throwing more than a snowball. That scene with Emily discovering the source of a trailing scent? It is clichéd, but it's not untrue.


photo credits: Téa Fayet

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