La Première Neige 20/12/2009Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
Tags: france, montmartre, pairs, snow, winter
People said it would snow, but they were my roommates who have no experience in the matter. Repeat denials of the possibility may have been proven wrong but it did allow me a morning surprise when I opened the storm shutters and saw the neighboring rooftops. Instead of the dread which had greeted each glance at a weather report, I was filled with a childlike glee watching flakes fall and collect.
Fortunately the wind was still, not blowing over the top of Montmartre and creeping between the edge of your hat and the edge of your collar. People walked along, avoiding patches of packed ice that consumed the sidewalks. Heading up the hill I slipped and shuffled past little old ladies defiantly wearing little old lady dresses, fighting gravity’s pull as they carefully descended. The young at heart had decorated parked cars with profane messages. Inexpertly crafted snowballs sailed and laughter rang through the frozen air.
Normally the narrow cobbled streets winding around Sacre-Cœur are choked with tourists, but only the most dedicated had braved this wintery day. The city didn’t seem terribly impressed by the snowfall. Each roof bore evidence of the night’s events but from a distance it lacked the charm which surrounded me. Everyone still had to go to work, cars crept through the streets, schoolchildren were still locked away.
Free of their constraints, I wandered aimlessly back towards the house. On Lamarck I trailed a pair of cops who trudged along, nudging one another and flirting. One would scoop a handful of snow from a car and pile it on the other’s head, to have the favor returned a minute later. They laughed, they smiled, they were probably violating all sorts of codes of conduct.
The day wore on and snow become water, running rivulets down the hill. After the sun left us a bitter cold sank in and ice began to spread. The flurries were wet, promising pneumonia over picturesque scenery, and eventually gave way to drizzle. In the following days snow lurked in the shadows and decorated the few cars which haven’t been moved. New flakes lose form as soon as they hit the ground, threatening to ice over the sidewalks.
Forecasts now suggest the temperature will rise to just above freezing, warm enough for it to rain and become miserable. By next week the little winter wonderland will have been mostly forgotten, except by people like me who didn’t grow up where it snows.