Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
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Paris, France
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December 31
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Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
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www.alysasalzberg.com
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A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out www.alysasalzberg.com.

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MAY 10, 2011 11:51AM

My Parisian Year

Rate: 37 Flag

 

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 June: Peasants Harvesting Crops, with central Paris in the background, from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

 
 
 

And suddenly, spring is falling away to summer.

After being away from Paris for three weeks, it’s amazing to come back to a place where there are no buds in the trees, but full green leaves, still luxuriant in the as-yet-unestival weather.  Still, it's getting warmer.  It’s strange not to need a coat or a sweater most days.

Seasons never seemed so clearly demarcated before I came to Paris.  Part of that is because most of my later childhood and all of my teen years were spent in Georgia, where you don’t really have spring-summer-fall-winter, but rather: cold mornings hot afternoons and tornadoes, hot, hot and surprisingly cold, less hot.

There are four distinct seasons in New York, but when I lived there, I was a student, and my life tended to be ruled by the university calendar rather than by nature.

No, it wasn’t until I came to live in the City of Lights that I really began to experience seasons.  And though Paris does have the four classic ones, I’ve often thought it feels so much more complex. 

I was musing about this this last night, and  Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a famous early 15th century book of hours featuring beautiful illustrations, came to mind.  The illuminations in this book have become famous not only for their high artistic quality, but also because they portray servants and peasants of the duke doing typical activities for each month.  The city of Paris plays a role in this manuscript, since two of the months feature views of its medieval monuments, like the Louvre when it was a castle (it was demolished and rebuilt as a palace in a modernization project by Franços I in the mid-to-late 1500’s - castles are sooo 15th century….). 

 

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October: Peasants tilling the fields,with the Louvre castle in the background, from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
 

How strange that just as illustrators like the Limbourg Brothers could find activities typical of each month, seven hundred years later, I, too, find my Parisian months easy to define.

In January, everyone heads back to work after taking time off for the holidays. But not too easily; some are already planning vacations for the end of the month or February.   Galettes are available everywhere, which makes me very happy.  And the winter sales (Les Soldes) are in full swing.  Many Parisian fashionistas get their clothes and shoes during this time, since ordinarily these items would be way too expensive.

In February, Galettes are still abundant.  Advertisements in the Metro focus on tropical vacations, luring people with five to six paid weeks off to come spend a little of that time in the warm weather.  Parisians’ thoughts also turn to ski trips, especially when the kids are off for the two week school break.

March is usually kind of tough.  The length of the busy winter months catches up with you, and there are no Galettes for consolation.  It’s hard to say what the weather will be like from day to day.  Every shaft of sunlight or warm breeze feels like hope.    People begin thinking of spring vacations.

In April, the trees and flowers on the boulevards and in the parks begin to bloom. The weather is mild, sometimes still a little chilly, but there’s more sun. It truly is the most beautiful month to be in Paris.  But there’s something most people don’t know:  While we romanticize Paris in the springtime, inhabitants of the city are busy sneezing and rubbing their eyes, even as they admire the view; pollen is everywhere, and we get the good -- lovely cityscapes --, as well as the bad -- allergies galore.  The coming of Easter is heralded by chocolates in very interesting shapes - mainly variations on chickens and bells (the French "Easter Bunny" is a bell that flies from Rome and scatters candy over the land - wtf).

May is still spring, but thoughts have already turned to summer. The weather is warmer, the trees’ blossoms have fallen away and left green leaves behind.  Television takes on a lighter tone, with the Eurovision singing contest (a delightfully unintentionally cheese-filled event where EU countries’ appointed musical acts try to garner votes from other countries, to be named champion.) and the glamorous Cannes Film Festival.  This latter is not only our way to see big international stars gathered on French turf; it also seems to be an excuse for just about every well-known journalist to head down to the Cote d’Azure to enjoy sea, sun, and schmoozing – hey, it’s their job!  There are several holidays in May, and people use those to build long weekends or simply long weeks.  Everything slows down, as if the whole world is sitting at a café terrace, sipping a cool drink.   The collective heat in apartment buildings is turned off.  Seasonal ice cream shops reopen.  The days become longer – Parisian longer.  Nowhere in this part of the world have I heard about such long days; it doesn’t get dark here until 9pm, and that will continue to be pushed back until August, when twilight gets here between 10 and 10:30!

In June, the city takes a collective breath and buckles down to get work done, because July and August – well, come on, that’s summer!  Still, June does have its more relaxed moments: two holidays, blockbuster movies in theaters, and the Fête de la Musique (Music Day, where anyone can perform music in the streets, and people go out and stroll around appreciating (or wryly critiquing!  We are Parisians, after all!) the melodies).

By early July, schools are out, and a significant portion of the population of all ages has left Paris for their summer vacations.  The Metro is a bit emptier, the streets calmer.  It’s a nice break for everyone.  There just two crowded places: tourist attractions and  shops (this is the month of the summer sales (Les Soldes)). The only hard thing about Paris in July is that most apartments (including my own) aren’t air conditioned.  Electric fans come out, and many of us go to strange lengths to keep the heat away: shutters are permanently closed, rooms kept in darkness.  Stores quickly run out of cool mozzarella cheese and ice cream.  Parisians don’t celebrate Bastille Day – which they don’t call Bastille Day, but just “July 14th”-- with the same fervor as we Americans do the 4th of July – but there are fireworks, beautiful ones just behind the Eiffel Tower.  The only problem is the crowds.  Last year, I viewed the entire spectacle from just in front of the Ecole Militaire, on tip-toes, sandwiched between fellow onlookers and a bike someone had ill-advisedly brought along.  In the countryside, villages begin having their “Fête du Village”, Village Celebration, with small parades set up by locals, and sometimes some pretty impressive fireworks.

August is traditionally vacation month in France.  A few decades ago, most of the country just shut down during this time.  Besides the tourists, Paris was a ghost town.  But the global economy has forced the French into working – at least at half-capacity.  Still, there is some consolation for those who go to work; as my boyfriend says when asked why he never takes off in August, “My boss and most of my co-workers are away, so going to work now is like vacation.”  Like many others, he wiles away the hours mostly alone in an air-conditioned building doing the minimum amount of work necessary and spending the rest of the time online.  At home, we continue to live in the heat.  August is about the time where I’ve started to take it for granted that I’ll need to take a cold shower at least three times a day – and not for the fun reason people mostly talk about when they mention cold showers.  Luckily, September and cooler weather are on the horizon.  But on the other hand….

September is the month most Parisians dread.  It’s called “la rentrée”, meaning, “the return”, since so many people come back from vacation, and school begins as well.  People try to be upbeat during the rentrée, and many are still rested from their long vacations – or just from not having been annoyed by their co-workers for the last month.  Some people who managed to hold out all summer, beat the rentrée by choosing to take a vacation now.  These people are geniuses. The rest of us grumble and try to carry on.  The rentrée littéraire is a good thing, though - it's when new books come out to great fanfare and literary prizes are given out and people are all abuzz about books.  It always amazes me how enthusiastic the French are about reading.  In September I always worry about transitional shoes.  I’ve been used to wearing sandals (and flip flops on days off – they’re becoming more popular here but are generally looked at as inappropriate by the older generations), and now I need comfortable footwear that won’t be too warm.  A yearly quest.  Another positive part of September is the braderie de Lille, which usually takes place the first weekend of the month.  Most of the city of Lille shuts down to vehicle traffic, and the place turns into a huge garage sale, with everyone from antiques dealers to grandmothers on the sidewalks selling any kind of item you can imagine. The last time we went, we bought what we thought was a real scrimshaw walrus tooth (we would never have bought it if it were made in modern times, but the carvings and date showed it was from the 19th century). Turns out that “find” was actually an extremely well-made replica of a real scrimshaw piece that’s in a museum; we gave our copy to my boyfriend’s father, who loves it and put it an honored place on top of their TV.  A few years before that, at my first braderie, I ended up finding and buying a piece that's at the origin of all those “Prince Albert in a can” jokes.

 

pa     pa2

 

 

October is often a nasty month, weather-wise.  While September was a mild transition into cooler temperatures and shorter days, now the wind becomes bitingly cold and merciless. The days are noticeably shorter, and the air is grey.  Year-round it’s always somewhat rainy in Paris – that’s what makes the city smell so clean (without the rain, it would probably have a tinge of dog poop, since Parisians normally just leave that on the sidewalk, and the special motorized cars adapted to clean it can’t get through the whole city in a single day).  But the October rain feels glacial.  I start to wear gloves.  There are no major holidays now, and there won’t be next month, either. There is the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Festival), which puts a bit of fun weirdness into an otherwise monotonous month.  Some Parisians think now is the time to start making plans for a little getaway…but many decide to hold on till the big holidays in December.  I’m happy I insist we celebrate Halloween.

November – Continued cold and dreariness, but at least the month starts with La Toussaint (All Saints Day), a national holiday.  Time off – and a possible long weekend somewhere sunnier for some.  Holiday shopping also starts becoming a distraction – though if this is a good or bad thing, depends on who you are.

December – The grands magasins (department stores) put on their famous window displays, avenues are decorated with tastefully exuberant holiday lights, and there’s a big tree in front of Notre Dame.  The church’s manger is disappointingly minimalist for me – I always go in there expecting something as magnificent as New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s. But the minimalism is probably a good thing, focusing on what’s important. Still, most people don’t seem to think very much about the spiritual – instead, their thoughts are on the upcoming holiday break – and regardless of what they celebrate, food.  Visions of oysters, champagne, and foie gras dance in their heads.  Boxes of chocolate are on sale everywhere – this is a standard gift to give to co-workers, teachers, neighbors and friends.  Sometimes I truly think I’m French.  It only snows a few times a year in Paris – if that – but this often happens at least once or twice in December.  The contrast of white snow and grey rooftops is a rare pleasure for the eye.  At the same time, good luck taking it in; since Parisians don’t salt their sidewalks, you’ll probably spend a lot of this month slipping on sheets of ice and biting your lip as elderly people fall beside you.  Hanukkah celebrations take place in Jewish neighborhoods – but always quietly; it’s not as important a holiday here as it is in the US, and due to some bad stuff in the past that we won’t go into right now, the French Jewish community is pretty discreet, which makes me a bit sad, pizza-bagel that I am.  Most people who celebrate Christmas go home – “home” often being the countryside – where they eat traditional French meals fait maison and rest and watch movies on television.  But not Christmas movies – the French don’t seem to like those, though my boyfriend has fallen in love with A Christmas Carol because he relates to Ebenezer Scrooge (seriously).  The movies we watch here are recent family releases – the “Harry Potter” ones are usually shown on a set weeknight leading up to the holiday.  In the spirit of equality, one of the founding principals of the French republic (of which we’re currently in the 5th incarnation; the French are perpetually unsatisfied), New Year’s is THE big holiday, since people of all beliefs can celebrate it.  It’s not a family holiday, though, so normally we head to parties with friends.  At the stroke of midnight, you know all networks will be overloaded and your “Bonne Année!” text messages will be blocked for hours, but you send them anyway. The next morning it will be January, and you’ll start the year with late text messages friends and family sent you.

And so, there’s my Parisian year. 

If my mention of Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry  left you hoping for castles, I apologize – but then again, now that I think of it, I can include a castle: when I go to certain places in the east of Paris, I can see the Château de Vincennes, a castle just outside the city.

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The castle's high keep, seen here in the middle of the background of Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry's "December" page, is still easily recognizeable today. 

 

 

 
But the Château is generally only easily visible from here in winter, when the trees are merely branches (and only thick ones at that, since all Parisian trees are regularly cut to avoid apparently unaesthetic twigs).  So for some Parisians, winter is castle season, and summer is knowing that this view lies just behind a veil of green. 

 

 

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Comments

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Ah, the rhythms of other worlds. I'm basking in yours--and remembering that, intellectually, I value a culture that schedules around life, rather than counting life as "free time" or "time off." Although in practice (coming off two weeks of Semana Santa vacations followed by three days off for Cinco de Mayo and the dread that there would be no school again today, Mexico's dia de la madre), I can't help wishing I were getting work done. One's cultural roots are hard to break free of! Lovely post.
I bet this makes cover. So well done and the love of your galettes comes through ten fold hahaha
You know in Montreal I seldom see flip flops either unless its on teh college kids.
This was fab ulouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus..:)
rated with hugs
A stunning post. I can't wait to visit Paris. We have two seasons here. I went away for five days and entirely missed spring. We have hot and wet. That's all. And not in a good way. RRR
This is a wonderful piece, deserving of the cover. I felt like I was there with you as I read. Love the illustrations as well.
Alysa, I have never read about the months of Paris in this way before and many thanks for expressing so beautifully the many times of the year in that lovely city! What a wonderful city to be living in!
During August, as long as your boyfriend's co-workers are gone from the office, why don't you move in there. Enjoy the air conditioning. Too bad that Hanukkah is quietly celebrated. I would have hoped that Le Marais would host a food-filled celebration of sorts. As if I'd need another reason to wander through that district. "some bad stuff" -- yes, I guess that's one way to put it.
Marveilleuse! Great use of the Tres Riches Heures Why be Napoleonic if you can go back to the fifteenth century?

I guess I'll just have to bravely make do with Macarons since tous les galletes will be long gone by July. Ah well, I've always liked July better than January, anyway. The weather is sure better.

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You just love to make me jealous, don't you!
What a wonderful picture of life in Paris. We are so lucky to get frequent and well-written glimpses into Parisian local color.

Lezlie
I wish you could see the color of my face -- so very green with envy. I was just thinking about the way time feels at various points in our lives. My children's school schedule used to rule our lives, and now I barely know the dates that school begins and ends!
What a beautifully personal and yet universal post. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Thanks for sharing a whole year of Paris with us! I'd be tempted if it didn't mean learning French (languages other than my native are not my gift). I do envy all those vacations...
I didn't know that there was still anything like a traditional life to the city, any city, anymore. It sounds like you're experiencing Paris through achingly old-fashioned lenses. It's pretty chaotic all year long, at least that's always been my experience of it. And pretty poor, too, once you get outside the Tourist Zones, those nice well prepared little bubbles meant for visitors. I never could understand why people who went there said it was so well ordered, especially the Metro, it seemed just as dingy and out of control as every other place. Are you sure you're really there?
Wonderful.

And lest we forget, Prince Albert in the can was Tommy Schofield's brand of tobacco. Carried the can in the breast pocket of his bib overalls where it fit perfectly. Notice the label? It was wholesome, just like he said it was.
You bring back memories of my time in Paris--I remember the wooden boxes of oysters outside the grocery stores around Christmastime and how wonderfully green April was there. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Beautifully told, Alysa...a lovely weaving of the year's ebbs and flows.
Alysa, this was beautifully written. It must have taken you hours. -R-
loveinmexico – I’m so glad you appreciate living life and not working – though I guess it can be a struggle for some people to accept such a thing. Interestingly, people often joke that the French are lazy because they have so much vacation, but apparently they have it fixed so that the work days are slightly longer here than in the US, and thus people end up working enough to make up for all those days off. I feel like they have this brilliant knack for balance that way. And yet, most of them are still so darn grumpy….

Linda – You are so sweet – and I’m fascinated that flip flops aren’t more popular in Canada – at least when the weather’s warm. I didn’t wear flip flops until I was about 16 and once I did, I was converted. If I could, I’d wear my bottines in cold weather and flip flops in warm weather. I think the latter just make you feel so relaxed! And yes, I guess I am irrevocably Galette obsessed…. : - )

Bernadine – Thanks so much. I’m sorry about the seasons by you. Hot and wet are only good in moderation.

Sarah – You are too kind. I’m glad you like the illustrations, too. You can see the main one for each month on the Wikipedia article that I linked to at the beginning of this post. Medieval art rules!

designanator – Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed this –I just went with it, after musing about it so much last night. I think it would be really interesting to do as an OC, how people’s years are spent. And with visual arts folks like yourself, I’d ask for a picture accompanying what you write for each month!

Stim – I have thought about moving in to his office before, believe you me! But I couldn’t leave our poor cat behind. He just spends the hot days lying comatose in front of the fan. I wish I could shave him. As for Hanukkah, I hear there’s a van with a giant menorah that rolls through different Jewish neighborhoods. Next year I’m going to try to track it down. The Marais is worth visiting – every day is a celebration of Jewish culture, even though the place is getting more and more overrun by designer shops – of all things! Today I went there to pick up a falafel on my way home and I was just amazed by the ever-encroaching clothes stores. Still, it’s really a great place, with some delicious food – including some of the only Ashkenazi cuisine I’ve come across in the city (most Jewish people in Paris are Sephardic).

Shiral – Merci! And I’m sorry you won’t get to try Galette – but a pastry you should try is the brioche at the Bon Marche (the food part, right next to the department store). Its simple ingredients are blended into this perfect subtle mix – in one bite you have a buttery taste that fades into saltiness, then sugary sweetness. It’s just divine – and available all year long! And if you can’t get there, don’t worry – nothing beats a warm croissant, and you’ll be able to find those in most boulangeries!

Matt – Never intentionally, I promise!

Lezlie – Thank you. I’m lucky to get all the knowledge and photos and perspective from all of you – that’s what I love about OS, everyone coming from different places and sharing what they see, observe, and feel. Aww…I’m getting emotional here….

Bellwether – I bet even green looks great on such a lovely person as yourself. And it’s interesting what you say about how time used to be measured by school and now it’s so different – I often think that way, too. Not that being free of that kind of rigorous schedule is a bad thing, right?

maryway – Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it – it came from the heart.

Eva – Thanks! And I bet you’d nail French! You should give it a shot! Anyway, the way I figure it, the French are so picky about their language (they even critique each other) that no one can speak it perfectly, so that’s all the more reason to take the plunge!

skinnydave – I don’t think my view of Paris is achingly old-fashioned – just positive. I’ve wanted to live here since I was 13 years old, and as an immigrant I’m still struggling to be able to do so. I’ve visited and lived in a few cities and I totally agree that often the parts for tourists tend to be better kept and prettier than the rest of the metropolis. But I disagree that the rest of Paris is as poor, shabby, and chaotic as you make it sound. I’ve only lived in residential, non-touristy areas here, including the city’s outskirts, right across from government housing, and there are indeed some not-so-pretty places, but for me part of the magic of this city is that for every ugly building, every drab façade, every litter-strewn stretch of sidewalk, you only have to turn the corner to discover something wonderful. The city’s full of gorgeous architecture from a number of different eras, soaring churches, historical curiosities, charming side streets, and lively cafes, local markets that sprout up certain mornings and disappear as if by magic - and all these things are facts. The Metro isn’t the cleanest or calmest place in the world – but of all the Metros I’ve been on in any major city, it’s one of the easiest to navigate, and, barring a few sketchy stations, also feels very safe. And convenience-wise, it’s hard to beat; since it’s the densest underground transport system in the world, it’s easy to find a station and get out and find where you need to go, pretty much no matter where you are in Paris, and except for very late hours, you usually don’t have to wait more than 5 minutes for a train. I’ll never forget how shocked I was when I visited Washington DC, whose Metro was very clean and easy to navigate – but where you had to wait 15 or 20 minutes between trains! Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but give me speed and convenience in a slightly less clean environment, any day! I don’t think city life or Parisian life are for everyone, and I’d suggest that next time you visit, you take a few trips out to the countryside or to nearby, beautiful suburbs like Meudon. Or do a meet-up with me - I’ll show you some really gorgeous sights and you’ll see Paris really isn’t so bad!

Brassawe – Thanks for reading and for saying something about my Prince Albert in a can!

Felicia – Thank you so much for reading, and I’m glad I could bring back some happy memories.

Macco – You are too kind and you have to get here to experience it for yourself again – after all, this post is called “MY Parisian Year” –everyone’s is different! Plus, we’ve got to meet up one of these days!

Just Thinking – Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it and felt the rhythm.
Christine - Thanks so much! You know, it's funny - I wrote it pretty quickly because it'd been in my mind all day (and thus there are so many typos and redundancies - I wish I weren't so hasty sometimes), but the pictures - getting them formatted and centered and not screwing up the html code and whatnot - oh boy - THAT took a very long time!
So what do you say, everyone? Open Call?
congrats alysa on the ep.. hugggggggggggg
so well done, Alysa. Kudos!
...written from the heart of a most expressive, thoughtful expat in homage to her adopted home. A year in the City of Lights. Excuse my 'French', but this is fucking fabulous!!
So interesting, A. I felt I was there in all seasons with you. What a joy to live in Paris!
What a lovely post - gives a real feel of what it's like to live in Paris.

I'm interested to hear they have a special dog-poop cleaning-up system, since on my first visit years ago it was dog poop that I was most aware of. This time I didn't notice it so much - perhaps because I was being on the look out for man-piss. Anyway, obviously they would have to have a system for cleaning up dog-poop or the city would be buried in it by now.

I think the monthly run-down (with beautiful medieval pictures) is a great way to give an over-view of a place.

P.S. - you were surprised by the late nightfall in summer cuz you grew up down south and then went "north" to NYC. We who live in more northern reaches are familiar with the extremities of the daylight hours thru the seasons.
I have the same Prince Albert tin!! We were there 11 years ago this coming August and Paris was pretty much closed down except for restaurants and museums. The South of France's retail shops were open. We will have to go back some day!
Congrats on the EP!
R
Today as I type this, my brother is in Paris. I hope he's having the experience you share here for May ~ dreamy.
You're so fortunate to have spent so much time in that magnificent city Alysa. Your account stirred up a few memories as I spent a lot of time in Paris in the late 80s and early 90s. I didn't find the seasons quite so regular as you, except for the many oppressive summer days. Once I even went to three movies in one day just to escape the humidity and get out of my hotel room.

But I remember sitting in outdoor cafes in February and bundling up in early June. My Parisien friends thought it odd that Paris' spring was so renowned, as its weather was so variable.

As I told my femme almost-fatale when I finally had to leave, "We'll always have Paris".
You're such a wonderful painter, Alysa.
I love that Paris has seasons like Illinois. I have come to love those seasons too. Appreciate seeing them through your Parisian lens.
Paris, je t'aime aussi. For my fifth anniversary of surviving cancer, I rented an apartment in the 18th, sixth floor, no lift, for the summer. August was my favorite month, so quiet. By then I had found my patisserie and my parc. I managed to tramp through 77 galleries of painting at the Louvre, but a close fave was the Carnavalet Museum–all the art is about the history of Paris, really cool images of the Seine with peasants offloading vegetables from boats, and bodies being relocated to the Catacombs. My apartment was in a dicey part of the 18th, but I adored it. No tourists, and I got to see them filming the death scene from Mesrine–Vincent Casell stood about twenty feet away from me, all fat and wigged, but still tres tres hunky!
Since I have never been to Paris, I will savor this piece, and think of the Parisian year and the people guided by nature and custom and how it is a bit different and yet the same for all of us. Well done.
You make me want to go back to Paris. I was there during the drought of 2003 and sadly the air was thick with car exhaust and all the fountains had been shut off.
Thank you for this it was wonderful and I had to make a copy of it. I don't think I could read anywhere such a concise description of a Parisian year so that if I travel there (again) at some future time I'll know what to expect.
Allyssa -- so wonderful.. I too lived in Paris for a year.. brings back les Memoires Fabuleux! Merci for Posting!
Makes me want to hop on a plane! Loved the Mideval art!
I don't think I will ever be able to go to Paris, but your wonderful descriptive prose gave me details I had never read before. I was able to visit for a few moments, if only in my mind. Thank you.
I am not sure I could ever adjust to such slow variation
in the seasons, as I am from New England,
where every day is different from the last,
and that's if you're lucky...

We discuss the weather incessantly.

My mom used to say,"Oh, I hate these
weather forecasters! I like to be surprised!"
James (above), I have no clue what you are trying to say.

"I am from New England, where every day is different from the last,
and that's if you're lucky..."

So if you are "unlucky" the seasons change every half day?
Thank you so much for reading and for your comments, everyone. I'm glad I could bring Paris to many of you - and I hope you'll be able to come here - or come back here - soon.

Retablo - James is a mystical soul, the true definition of a poet. His eloquence is sometimes evident, and sometimes he gives us phrases to mull over. I'm sure you will think about the one that's puzzled you and suddenly like a ray of sun it'll come clear. The same could be said for the more difficult of Shakespeare's sonnets.
He has to be clear about what he's trying to say before he can say it. I know what he's trying to say but it makes no sense, unless you are willing to not think about it.
Retablo - what's even less clear to me is why you've chosen my post for trolling. I welcome all comments, good and bad, because like you I believe in open-mindedness and free expression. However, when you start to attack someone who has also used these rights to merely make a comment, that is way out of line. I think to fixate on an innocent fellow commentator like you're doing is a sign of deep unhappiness or even jealousy of said commentator. Why not take the time you're spending reading and critiquing others, to work on your own craft and write a few posts of your own?
Jalouuuuuuuse!

Great post made me homesick for my favorite city, one I lived in for eight months (at Cite Universitaire, pas tres chic!) and have been to many times. I love October there, when its time to start wearing wool and all the trees are colored and the markets filled with boar and pheasant and hare -- that felt medieval to me.

I noticed the city change radically after Easter when it was crammed with tourists until September; only in the fall and winter did it feel "mine."

Thanks for such a lovely, detailed and evocative post!
C'est magnifique! I love this back story to Maurice Duvalier's "I Love Paris." I spent a very cold May there, a lovely October, a sublime September, but never really celebrated a holiday in Paris. Thank you for all this nuance I was missing. (And I am glad you do Halloween!) (r)
Oh this is a wonderful perspective and I felt all the months and the leaves fluttering in the breeze. It must be fantastic there now. Throw a pebble into the Seine for me please?
I can't help reading this with an ache of envy because of all the routine vacation talk. It sounds like a balanced life, not like the rare 4-day weekend we take to visit the in-laws. Those Parisians know how to live, and their society supports it. It sounds like a dream.