This is the first time I have been in Paris in the winter. Each time I lived/visited previously was between the months of May-September. I was not sure what to expect, weather-wise. Paris has such a range! We have had days that were just brutally cold. Windy, no sun, rain. But we have had a few in between days where the sun is shining and it makes all the difference. The average temperature for the past few weeks has been 39-45 degrees fahrenheit ( thats about 3-5C for the metric crowd). It actually snowed here in Paris last week! This is rare as Paris does not normally get any snow, but lots of rain. While it did not stick to the ground, I did manage a little video from my window:
I am Canadian, so I have never had a huge problem with the cold. In fact, wearing a coat and scarf is one of my favorite outfits.
I have warm clothes, and day to day I am never that cold. But giving tours means I can be outside, not moving excessively, for upwards of 6 hours. I underestimated how cold that would make me feel by the end of the tour (specifically my feet). After several outfit failures, I finally found a formula that kept me warm. One word: layers. I know, that should be relatively obvious. But one thing I learned were which type of layers- real fabrics make all the difference. Wool and cashmere keep you toasty, polyester and cotton acrylics do not. Another cheat?
Ski socks. Those big thick ski socks have saved my toes from falling off!
One thing I did not anticipate was how challenging giving tours was going to be in the winter. It is one thing for me to be cold and walk briskly to my destination, it is another when I have to stay upbeat and try to distract everyone else from how cold they are!
Since I solved my warmth issue, I had to figure out how to keep my guests happy. Tours happen rain or shine, warm or cold, blustery winds or not. Now when people come to Paris, they often feel like they have to make the most of the short time they have here. This means that they show up for the tour, regardless of the weather. Just because they show up, that does not mean that they are happy about it. I can see on their faces when they stop listening and check their phone to see how much longer, or they try to put their hands further in their pockets. I do my absolute best to be as engaging and entertaining as possible, but sometimes it is just not enough. I have to ignore the bone chilly winds, and rainy drizzle and carry on like we are taking a walk on a balmy 70 degree day. I find that if I power through, stay upbeat and cheery, then they do as well. But not always.
I had a girl leave in the middle of my tour the other day. She wanted to know where the nearest H&M was, she was going to buy another sweater & pair of socks. You can’t keep them all (warm)! Yet, I also had a couple come up to me at the end of the tour, almost as soon as I finished talking. They thanked me profusely for the amazing tour and said that my tour was well worth the cold weather they endured. Then they wanted to know where the closest cafe was because they needed a warm beverage ASAP. More happy travelers!
The whole city is decorated for Christmas and it transforms this already beautiful city into something from a fairytale. Here are just a few of the pictures I’ve snapped around the city.
My next post is going to be about the Christmas markets around Paris. You might be surprised at the most commonly found stall!