It’s been a wintery week in Paris. As the winter months go, I think we can agree February can be a month of snow and ice. The truth is, Paris has a mild winter and the grass stays a brilliant green and the many of the hearty plants thrive. My neighbors have window boxes of flowering red geraniums adding a happy pop of color to the grey building facade.
Paris has had a few days of non-stop flurries, but nothing tends to come of the inclement weather. It wets the streets and as far as I can tell does not make for slick conditions. The heat of the city, the pollution, the cars, the metros seem to keep the snow in check. However, this past Wednesday we had some real snowfall and accumulation.
In a city of cool sophistication, Parisian citizens turned into giddy children. The adventurous ones made the most of the “snowfall of the decade.” A new sport was created, downhill slalom skiing on the steps of Sacré-Coeur (this would be akin to skiing down the Art Museum steps in Philadelphia). Bike riding in the city continued, although some riders opted for an umbrella in-hand rather than the usual cigarette.
In the snow, I continued to make my way to language class. I signed up for an intensive course; I’ll continue next week. It’s really no fun. My head is spinning. Learning a language is humbling. My mouth or maybe it’s my tongue does not move in the requisite way to properly enunciate the French language.
The class has three other women from around the world. They come from Japan, Argentina and the Ukraine. We all speak English, so if we are permitted by our teacher we can talk in English on breaks. These other ladies speak multiple languages (beyond their native tongue and English). I am in awe of their skill.
On Friday, our instructor was sick so after commuting to school, we learned we had the morning free. I made the most of the time and hopped over to a Le Peloton Cafè. A wonderful little spot, named for the cycling “pack” which races in road cycling events. Le Peloton is a friendly shop and I warmed up with a flat white (I think I need to do a coffee post soon) and then moved on to the orchid exposition at the Jardin des Plantes.
The Jardin des Plantes is one of several public gardens in the city of Paris. It has tropical greenhouses that can be toured for a small fee all year round. For the month of February, they host an orchid exposition. All types of orchids are displayed which makes for a great environment to get out of the snowy weather. I did not pay too much attention to the names of the orchids, but I did take plenty of pictures to sustain me through the cold days ahead.