Fall For Paris

10/15/2012

 

Fall For Paris - Autumn comes to The City of Light

     Coming from Georgia - in the sultry, humid, southern US - it might seem like the temperatures in northern Europe would be no big deal.  Well, in my opinion, humidity is humidity and the older I get, the less I like it.  Summer in Paris is beautiful and I will take Paris at any time and any chance I can, but summers can be stifling and quite humid.  Remember, there is a river running right through the middle of all that concrete and ancient stonework. The summer humidity settles-in and makes for a sticky, hot micro-climate.  It's often the same in NYC.   Oh sure, it's almost like spring when you compare it to the weather in Georgia or other deep southern states, but as I said before - humidity is humidity.   Autumn brings reentree, the return of French children to school after their summer hoilidays and the opening of many shops which were closed while Parisian shop owners retreated to the countryside for vacation.  It also brings the start of cooler weather, lower humidity, more colorful foliage and eventually the Halloween celebrations at the Paris Disneyland.  If that doesn't remind you of Fall, I don't know what would.
     I love autumn in Paris.  The light changes and the scenes look totally new.  In fact, I believe it may be that the scenes look even more historic.  I think about the centuries of Parisians who've seen the start of Autumn and began to prepare for the arrival of winter - just around the corner.  The grape harvests are in full-swing across the country from the end of August through late October.   The markets begin to have fall fruits and vegetables while the mannequins in the shop windows begin sporting their fall and winter styles.   Some neighborhoods seem unable to wait till the first blast of cold to begin stringing their winter lights in the trees and between buildings.  One of the best treats is the Bastille Brocante Sale (huge neighborhood yard sale in the Bastille neighborhood) in late fall.   People will fill the tents and pick through the antiques, books, clothes and a million assorted objets d'art.  It's not the most affordable brocante sale, but it certainly is the most exquisite.  The antigues and collectibles are fantastic and in perfect condition.
     I love to grab a bench at one of the parks in Paris and spend some time reading or people-watching once fall has arrived.  I don't often think about walking through the gardens of the Tuileries throughout the year unless there happens to be an art exhibit at the Orangerie Museum in the Tuilieries, but when fall arrives, I somehow can't resist the urge to go into the gardens and enjoy the change of pace.  There are a couple of small bistros inside the gardens to take care of lunch or a caffeine craving, so I don't have to leave the park if I want a break.  I almost hate to admit that I buy saucisse and pommes frites with a carafe d'eau.  Isn't that a nice way to say "hotdog link and french fries, with a carafe of tap water"?  Don't be too quick to disparage the old hotdog.  The french fries are freshly cut and deep fried while you wait, and the hotdog is fresh off the griddle with dijon mustard for dipping.  You can also order the hotdog, slathered in mustard, on a freshly sliced baguette.  Is there really anything bad when it's served on a fresh baguette?  I might never consider a hotdog in the summer, but sitting under the colorful, fall leaves in the Jardin de Tuileries  while watching the parade of tourists, photographers, artists with sketch books, and the fancy french dogs walking their masters - I can't think of a simpler, more satisfying way to spend a beautiful, HUMIDITY-FREE, autumn afternoon in Paris than to spend it in the former royal gardens with a book and a hotdog. 
M.
 


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