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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Friday, 30 December 2005

Topic: World View

Our Man in Paris - This is Snow?
From Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis - an account of snow in Paris. Here in Hollywood it's in the middle sixties, just a few clouds and milky haze all day, and palm trees and all that.

This Is Snow?

PARIS, Friday, December 30, 2005 -

This morning I planned to go to Etoile to shoot the traditional, if rare, view of the Arc de Triomphe blotted out by a Parisian blizzard. As part of the preparation I turned on radio France-Info to get the weather forecast. It said snow in Brittany was coming here, to be followed later in the afternoon by freezing rain. Hotcha, hotcha, get the photo!

One New Years Eve in the late '70s a freezing rain descended on Paris in the late afternoon and froze the whole city. Only the Métros kept running. Drivers, who had been taking in movies to while away their idle hours before the fête, emerged to find that they were frozen out of their cars. The whole place was a big skidbahn. Just about everybody went nowhere that New Years Eve and the leftover booze lasted until Valentine's Day.

I looked out the window and the Tour Montparnasse was gone, lost in the murk. The street below was rapidly covered and the four black lines left by car tires turned gray as the snow thickened. Well and fine, but not quite a blizzard. Need to wait a bit more to see if it's going to be a true blitz.

So I went out for supplies; cigarettes and money. The snow seemed to have stopped, but my head was immediately wet. Hours in advance, despite France-Info, the freezing rain was here. It felt like icy needles, especially when pushed by the breeze from the south. Ghastly is the best word for it. If this keeps up the whole city will be glassed, slicker than the ice rink at the Hôtel be Ville. It's not weather for sending enemies out for a bit of fun.

Not only this but freezing rain doesn't show well in photos. I could go out there and end up in the emergency ward with a broken leg, cohabiting with the bent scooter drivers and other hapless victims too foolhardy to stay in.

If the freezing rain is earlier than expected, maybe we'll have the predicted thaw by nightfall. And before you know it Paris Plage will be beckoning with its wavering palms, grass skirts and Hawaiian guitars. It's a sure thing, eventually.

Text and Photo Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

See also -

Parisians Venture Out Into the Snow
Snow disrupts Europe as temperatures plummet
Europe Hammered By A Second Snowstorm

Posted by Alan at 14:14 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

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