Tuesday, February 10, 2009


“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Mark Twain said that, but I don’t think he ever spent a winter in France. This is my first winter experience here. Today it made it as high as +2C. Since I have been here it has been as low as -10C, that’s 17.6 Fahrenheit for you and
me. The weather here was a shock to my senses and I am here to announce it is officially cold!

I thought I was so smart by packing all my winter clothes before my trip. Wool coats filled my large suitcase. My boots, scarves and gloves came along too. My clothes, which would be perfectly warm during a San Francisco winter, are definitely not warm enough for me here. For the first time, I learned that there were actually varying thickness for wool coats. Mine was not thick enough. For those of you from New York, Chicago or other traditionally snow filled areas of the U.S. the weather here will be par for the course for you. But if you are from California, be prepared—pack some long underwear. While you are at it, bring your wool winter socks too. And for goodness sake, make certain your coat is appropriate for freezing weather.

Keep in mind that even though it has felt like an icebox around here, I learned that 2009 has been an unusually cold winter here in France. I have also been told that it usually snows only once every few years. When it does snow the French are surprised and not prepared with snow tires and the like. In the last six weeks, it has snowed twice. The first time the snow didn’t melt for several days and the second time this week it melted on contact with the ground. It is gorgeous, but it is a hard, icy snow. Sometimes snow feels like a fluffy cotton ball. Not here. You can practically cut yourself on it. So, unless the snow melts when it hits the ground, snow boots are a must.

Now, don't let me stop you from coming in the winter. The sales are here in January, the snow is beautiful and the touristy crowds of June are not here yet…just be forewarned that you need to be properly dressed.

Thank you for reading and bonne journée!