Thursday, September 12, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Louvre Museum's Glass Pyramid Entrance

I have visited Paris many times.  I think the city is a "must see" when visiting Western Europe.  All my past visits of the city have been during summer months, when the weather is warmer and during the tourist high season.  I have always wondered what Paris is like in the cooler season, autumn or winter.  Several times I had tried to schedule a visit during non-summer times, but it never materialized.  I had the opportunity to visit Paris this past January, during the MLK holiday weekend.

The train fare from Frankfurt and the hotel rates were much lower than during the tourist season.  So a friend from work and I took advantage of it.  Little did we know that extreme winter weather were awaiting our visit.  It had been an overcast and cold day from our departure in Wiesbaden, and snow was forecasted.  Right off the bat, our train from Frankfurt was delayed and diverted, with unexpected train changes.  Instead of a direct non-stop from Frankfurt to Paris, we had a stop in Mannheim and another delay, and more waiting and a train change in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Instead of a noon arrival in Paris, it was a 5:30PM.

The delay and schedule changes were due to the heavy snow in France.  At our arrival in Paris, the streets were still manageable to walk on.  We were not going to allow the snow to ruin the trip.  After our hotel check in, it was too late to really go sightsee in snowy condition.  We found a nearby restaurant to have dinner, and called it a day.  It snowed quite a bit more overnight.  After walking around looking for a place to eat breakfast the next day, it became quite apparent that I did not bring the right type of shoes to walk around in.  The melted snow seeped thru my shoes and soon my entire feet and socks were soaked.  We still did the obligatory stop to view the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, went inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, walk most of the Champs Elysses, had a snack at a cafe at the Louvre Museum, and many other sites while walking around Paris.

It was still nice to see Paris during wintry conditions, even with cold feet and soggy socks.  I will have to schedule another visit of Paris in cooler season, but hopefully not with the extreme snow condition.

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