I had been to Paris as a visitor countless times, had experienced all the seasons, but I had never seen Paris covered in snow. Just before I finally moved to Paris during the winter four years ago, I saw an old photo of the Eiffel Tower standing in the snowy Champs de Mars and knew that this was what I wanted to see.
Alas, for the next two winters yes, there were some snowflakes, but of the tiny, wet variety that barely made it to the ground. I was so disappointed.
Then, finally, in February 2018 it happened. That hush, that special light, the crunching of footfall and cars outside that makes you realize it’s snowing properly, and the world is being covered in a thick white blanket. That night I stood mesmerized on my balcony and watched the snowflakes play in the light of the streetlamps.
In the morning it was still there, several inches thick, covering the street, the cars, everything. I wrapped up warm and headed out toward the Eiffel Tower. The buses had stopped, but I got as far as Trocadero on the metro. Walking down toward the Eiffel Tower I had expected it to be busy with people, but no, it seemed that everybody had stayed inside keeping warm.
On Pont d’Iena, I met a bride and groom, of all people, posing for pictures in the snow. She was barely visible in her white dress and must have been freezing, but the photos would surely turn out magical. I traipsed across to the Champ de Mars, and apart from four other people (can you imagine only four people on the Champ de Mars? Unheard of!), I was alone. I crunched through the snow, leaving new traces in the otherwise pristine white blanket. The iron lady stood high above me and despite by now having wet feet and working on frostbite on my fingers, with my nose having lost all feeling, I was the happiest I’ve ever been in Paris. And that is saying something.
I was probably a pre-teen when I discovered Alexandre Dumas's novels. I was an avid, indiscriminate reader, and I devoured them all, buying some, borrowing others, until there weren't any left.
When I first moved to Paris, I had a problem with the beauty of the city. I was both amazed and frustrated by it.