In Paris, Four Inches of Mayhem

Quelle horreur!  Paris came to a virtual standstill this week after four inches of snow paralyzed the city.  When the Eiffel Tower ices up, can a complete shut-down be far behind?  And why not!  If a catastrophe closes the office in time for lunch, the resourceful Parisienne can head to her favourite brasserie and spend the afternoon watching French authorities deal with the gridlock while she enjoys her cassoulet.   

Let is Snow! This cassoulet will warm and restore any ET caught in a storm

Roads into Paris were closed, and over a thousand stranded citoyens slept in their cars or makeshift shelters. More than 2,000 police and protection agents were dispatched to the aid of motorists stuck on the Paris peripherique and Ile de France highways.  The ETs trust that the patrols delivered the necessities for survival – a good vintage, foie gras, a baguette and a corkscrew.  That is what the French taxpayer should expect.

Since the Experienced Travellers can’t report first-hand, they found this wonderful photo slideshow that will entertain and enchant.  Click on the link and gaze at them while you read!

Hearing weather reports from Paris reminds The ETs of their last visit.  In September, we were puzzled by Parisians bundled into heavy coats and scarves.  Now we agree that these style choices were chic preparation for a cataclysm like this blizzard.  After all, a snowstorm is no excuse for wearing last year’s outerwear. 

The Rue de Levis market in snow (2009) by Georges Seguin (Wikipedia Commons)

We hailed the bravery of ladies in the street markets maneuvering their shopping baskets through inches of snow, over decorative but lethal pavement.  The ETs were also relieved to see how Parisians made good use of the ubiquitous umbrellas.   But as they watched the first video, they wondered about the guy who was shoveling snow with a rake. 

J'accuse! Fillon holds French weathermen responsible (Lemarie Wikipedia Commons)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Francois Fillon accused the Météo France weather service of having “failed to forecast the snow and in any case not its intensity”.  We wonder if there will be a special session in the National Assembly to ascertain responsibility.   Perhaps Fillon weighed the political implications of denouncing Mere Nature and decided that Météo France was a better target. 

This YouTube video slideshow is a little lengthy at 4:00, but it takes you around a city blanketed in snow.

From this CNN article,  journalist Celine Martelet says that she was on a highway near Paris for three hours. “There’s an incredible silence, not one noise,” she said. “People are leaving their cars and trying to go on foot. I saw one man on skis, who was going to find his wife who was stuck in a traffic jam two kilometers away. He was going to help her get out of her car.” 

The ETs hope that the man found his wife.  Perhaps the police had already been there with wine and sustenance.  Did the stranded couple pass a romantic evening on the Peripherique under the snowy skies?

(I’m sure our friends in the Midwest shook their heads over Paris devestated by a  four inch snowfall.  We will remember you when it hits the east coast!  But don’t worry – we’re well fortified by plenty of good French wine)

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8 Responses to “In Paris, Four Inches of Mayhem”

  1. Ann Mason Says:

    What great pictures! Good work Madame

  2. Julie Says:

    It was all that wine.. lol

  3. Allison Says:

    Such great photos! And the music — ooh, la la! Loved the slide show and the commentary. I shared your site with Mike’s daughter, Monica, who will be moving to Zurich for 3 years (!) with her husband Ed. This is a great example of how to get to know your city through sunny times — and not so sunny times.

    Thanks for the delicious entertainment!!

    • Julie Says:

      Allison, it’s good to hear from you! I do hope a trip to Switzerland is in the planning stages. The Swiss know how to handle snow.

  4. Joanne Says:

    Much better to be trapped your car in Paris than the NY Thruway!

  5. Julie Says:

    Miss J you are absolutely right. No one will bring you foie gras on the Thruway. Not even a Zweigles white hot.

  6. Robette Says:

    Speaking as a devotee of my adopted hometown Denver and the American West, I have one question: where is the wildlife? On Cmas weekend, we hiked the red spires of Garden of the Gods with a cloud-shrouded Pikes Peak in the background. In a canyon on the SW side of the Denver suburbs, I stood 4 feet from a large bighorn ram and looked it right in the eye, while also viewing a herd of females and their yearlings. Things got interesting (and I vamoosed) when another large male showed up. We sauntered along a trail in the foothills with high white bluffs and random red red spines that show (if you read the interpretive signs) that Denver used to be an inland sea. And then we enjoyed our favorite Mexican joint along with a traditional Cmas turkey dinner.
    When you can have tamales and good beer, who needs foie gras and vino?
    PS We had no snow at all until New Year’s which made this all possible!

  7. Julie Says:

    Robette, you had a remarkable hike, and oh, the tamales.. Perfection!

    Paris wildlife is somewhat different. Instead of bighorn rams, Paris has fast Renaults – and we flee from them too. The human wildlife is a little more exotic and might merit an adults-only post sometime in the future.

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