A Spring Awakening in Paris
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Friday, March 20, 2015

A Spring Awakening in Paris

Marche d'Aligre florist
Parisian florists do their best work in the spring...

Goodbye dark grey velvet skies and 4PM sunsets and hello spring. Every March 20th we celebrate as if it were the first spring we ever encountered. The sins of winter are forgiven and Paris will soon be at its best. We'll all shake off the sleepiness of the winter and step outside and enjoy the prospects of warm temperatures and some sun, if the smog and clouds ever lift (thick enough to hide today's partial solar eclipse. Way to go, Paris)

Some of us are sitting inside, hammering away at a keyboard and combing through books trying to finish a doctoral thesis. Others, I imagine, aren't. Hence the unimaginative post. But it's curious to think of Paris coming out of hibernation and the different reasons that various Parisians will celebrate...

Play this in the background while reading...

PICNICKERS: The most grateful are the Parisian picnickers who can begin preparing their cheese and charcuterie spreads with baguettes and wine. It won’t be long until the banks of the Seine and Canal are writhing with activity.

RUNNERS: As the Paris Marathon creeps up, the final days of training can be spent in shorts – no more thermals, hats, or gloves. And despite the pollution, breathing gets easier as the air warms. Suddenly a 20 mile Sunday run doesn't seem as daunting (he says now...).

CHOCOLATIERS: Easter is prime time to sell boatloads of chocolate, thanks to Easter. Look for dark, milk, and white varieties in the shapes of hens, fish, bunnies, and assorted seafood.

TOUR GUIDES: Those of us who do tours are more than happy to spend spring afternoons touring around, showing tourists the best of Paris. It’s a far cry from dragging frozen families through the streets and huddling in a café to thaw in January.

STUDENTS: Spring means the end of the semester. For some at the university, May marks the end of the year, so it’s a downhill ride from March 20th – unless you factor in exams, term papers, or maybe a doctoral thesis for some of us…

 
Promenade Plantee Paris
Flowers along the Promenade Plantée 

METRO COMMUTERS: The metro becomes a less hostile place in the spring as the layers shed and the smells fade (a bit). With less dodging from cold to hot, commuters sweat less in the metro under all of those layers (is my theory) and thus smell less pungent. Also more people are inclined to walk, which means less congestion (though more tourists make up for that). 

MARKET VENDORS: The fresh produce vendors at the local markets are no longer shivering waiting for their clients. On top of that, they have better produce to sell as strawberries, cherries, apricots, and the other warm weather produce starts to trickle into their stalls. 

CYCLISTS: Finally we can bike the streets of Paris without freezing off our fingers and sweating underneath multiple layers of jackets and scarves. Time to dust off the red racer and hit the road again.

GOAT CHEESE MAKERS: Because duh, the best goat cheeses start to come out in the spring. 

EVERYONE ELSE: It’s not winter any more. What more do you need?

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