“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Bonjour Madam, Monsieur. Welcome to Paris. It is a good time to be here. The sun is shining. Oui.”
Our talkative cab driver informed us that it had rained and turned cold the previous two and a half weeks and now summer has returned. His good spirits were contagious and I hoped our good weather would last.
Our primary purpose for this Paris trip was for Ron to attend a week long Street Photography Workshop led by Peter Turnley. Peter’s opening remarks to the group of participants and me, the tag-a-long, was, “of all the years I’ve spent in Paris, I believe you are going to experience some of the best September weather we have ever had.”
And, he was right. Temperatures were in the 70’s, low humidity, and perfect walking and photography weather. As planned, Ron and I remained another week to enjoy Paris at our leisure. This was our first visit and already, I want to return.
Weather is a universal topic and subject to daily comments wherever one lives. From our hotel manager to shop keepers, or anyone we came in contact with, we were reminded of the previous two week’s weather and how lucky we were to be here, now. Big cities can be harsh and unfriendly, but the beautiful weather seemed to bring out the best in everyone. Plenty of smiles, eye-contact, respect and an overall friendly, helpful attitude.
The Sun King, Louis IV, left behind vestiges of 17th century France, glittering extravagances which include grand mansions (now hotels), squares, gardens, and theaters. Presently, these public places once used by the aristocracy, prove to be lovely settings for everyone… for enjoying and embracing the remnants of summer.
Walking through Les Tuileries and Jardin de Luxembourg found us in a world of people who were enjoying their leisure time. Of course, some were tourists, like us, resting for a minute while checking the map to pinpoint the next location to be marked off the list, but many were Parisiennes, perhaps on lunch break, or just taking time to read, nap or lounge in the sun while taking advantage of their abundant green spaces.
The outdoor cafes, of course, were always brimming with couples and small groups, lingering in the sunshine with an espresso or glass of wine.
There was always a crowd on the lawn at the base of the Eiffle, and sitting on the wall around the Louvre was a favorite resting spot.
Place Igor Stravinsky, located by the Pompidou Center, is not only dominated by its creative and whimsical fountains, but also by the many locals and tourists who find its location perfect for eating a gelato or watching the world go by…in the sun, of course.
In the park adjacent to St. Eustache, a young woman seemingly enjoyed her time alone to read while taking advantage of the perfect weather.
Some young people along the Seine took a more serious approach to holding on to summer.
We learned that part of the joy in absorbing any culture is to sit on a park bench, people watch, slow down and relax. We don’t have to do it all.
With its many parks and fountains, flower gardens and sidewalk cafes, Paris, not only is the City of Light, but for me, this September, the City of Radiant Sunshine.
“Keep your face always towards the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman