It was something I never thought I’d see outside of vintage photos, Paris dressed in white. During my first winter we were graced with a moment of flurries and though it lasted only an instant and didn’t transform the city into a blank canvas, it still brought with it all the excitement of a kid’s first snow day.
When a sheet of pure white snow covered Paris last weekend, I wasn’t the only one ready to unleash her inner child. The Parisians are renowned for being a bit stone-faced, lacking in expression, and refraining from demonstrations of too much excitement. And French parents, though no doubt loving, seem to pride themselves on raising their toddlers as miniature adults, politely mannered and impeccably dressed. But the fresh snow cast a spell on Paris, transforming Parisians into overgrown French children and whiting-out what I’ve come to expect and appreciate about their culture. Mothers, chicly dressed, were taking the lead on building the bonhomme de neige (snowman), sometimes even on their hands and knees to “help” the little ones. And fathers let out bouts of laughter as they ambushed their little ones with surprise snowball attacks. At times it seemed the adults were enjoying the rare snow far more than their children.
As quickly as the snow had come, it was gone. Come Monday all that remained was thick brown slush, the snowmen at Place des Vosges melted into a pile of broken carrots and branches. But a smile spreads across my face each time I remember the father, screaming daughter over his shoulder, heading straight for the frozen lake at Tuileries in a teasing gesture to toss her in. And the shrills of laughter spilling from the narrow street below my apartment at the start of another snowball fight.
To relive the mystique of Paris sous la neige, there are many more wonderful images on Flickr. Enjoy and keep warm!