The Paris “blizzard” of 2013 (photos)

While Paris is not generally a warm or even sunny city (think London, with a couple of days less of rain each year) it’s generally not cold either. Since I arrived back in 1997, I’ve hardly seen much snow compared to what I grew up with in the Philadelphia area, let alone what my friends in Cleveland were used to seeing.

That said, the last few winters have brought more snow than usual. I’ve seen maybe 3 or 4 inches of snow here before, but it was gone quickly as the day warmed up and everything melted. This weekend has been highly unusual. John says that he remembers a winter storm in the late 1980s where there was closer to 7 or 8 inches of snow and as of Sunday afternoon here in Paris, we’re pretty much around that number.

On Friday night, I snapped a quick photo of the terrace thinking it may all be gone by the morning.

Friday evening out back

Friday evening out back

Much to my surprise, there was more on Saturday morning.

January 2013

Saturday AM 19 January 2013

It did not snow until Saturday evening so here’s the view Sunday morning.

Sunday morning, more snow

Sunday morning, more snow

It’s so unusual to see here, so we figured we would take a walk and see how Paris was managing. The bus system has been shut down and cars were mostly staying off of the roads. Usually the intersection of Boulevard Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail is busy but today, not so much.

Empty streets in Paris - this is Blvd. Raspail and Blvd. due Montparnasse.

Empty streets in Paris – this is Blvd. Raspail and Blvd. du Montparnasse.

Rodin's sculpture of Balzac covered with snow on the corner by our place.

Rodin’s sculpture of Balzac covered with snow on the corner by our place.

 

Cyclist carefully riding on the slippery streets of Paris

Cyclist carefully riding on the slippery streets of Paris

For whatever reason, lots of Parisians were walking in the snow with umbrellas. I admit that I’ve never seen this before, but today they were everywhere.

One of many people walking with their umbrella, to keep off the snow, I guess.  Strange.

One of many people walking with their umbrella, to keep off the snow, I guess. Strange.

A not so busy car valet parking.

A not so busy car valet parking.

The Jardins du Luxembourg were busy with families playing in the snow.

Dad pulling his son in a sled through the Jardin de Luxembourg.

Dad pulling his son in a sled through the Jardin de Luxembourg.

More families playing in the snow in the Jardin de Luxembourg.

More families playing in the snow in the Jardin de Luxembourg.

Snow-filled Jardin de Luxembourg.

Snow-filled Jardin de Luxembourg.

Le Sénat in the Jardin de Luxembourg.

Le Sénat in the Jardin de Luxembourg.

Fountain at St Sulpice

Fountain at St Sulpice

What I did not see anywhere was the city snow plow truck. It’s probably still packed away from when they used it in the late 1980s. Sidewalks were also hit or miss in terms of being cleaned up. As I mentioned yesterday, I would have no idea where to find a snow shovel here because we just don’t need them most years.

It’s all nice to look at but I’m still hoping for warmer weather so I can get back to my winter cycling. January is usually around 42F and drizzle but we haven’t seen that in a week. Warmer temperatures sound pretty good right now and March can’t get here quickly enough for me.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Trivial

    It was one of a kind moment

  • paulabflat

    it’s lovely. oh. to be in paris when it snows.

  • Lorenzo Bravo

    Fun,lively report, but slightly inaccurate! You fail to mention that it usually snows in Paris every single year (an average of 10 snowy days with at least 1 cm of accumulation – see here: http://www.meoweather.com/history/France/na/48.866667/2.333333/Paris.html) and you do not talk about the (in)famous December 2010, with 14 snowy days and total accumulation of 74 cm in Paris and more than 1 meter (> 3 ft.) in the suburbs! And to complete you otherwise nice report, initial figures are 10 cm for Friday night and 11 cm for yesterday (Sunday). And as I write, it snows again, thought with +1°C, it does not creates havoc. For now. And until the temps plunge tonight.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Not to be all nitpicky, I understand the desire to be hyperbolic, but to classify as a blizzard, I would like to see some shots of the 35 plus mph winds that accompanied the snow when it arrived, with the flakes going sideways across my field of view? Central Indiana was hit by the real thing for a few hours the day after Christmas last month. We had 10 – 12 inches of snow in Blooomington, IN. And winds that gusted over 35 mph at times. Not only the city, but Indiana University just closed up shop completely for the day.

  • A French Frye in Paris

    Hello from a fellow American expat in Paris! Lovely photos; I made a point to get out and enjoy the city under the snow as well, it seemed that everyone was in a good mood and enjoying such a rare experience. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Ive got them, in a box – can check, maybe tomorrow if I remember.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yep, that’s the one – I think it was probably 1988 or so, maybe 87. It was so beautiful.

  • FunMe

    Can you post some of your photos of that snow storm? Would be interesting to see. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francine.dubois Francine Dubois

    I was living in Paris until 1991 and remember the winter it snowed. Quiet streets, no bus service. Not easy to get to work, but beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • FunMe

    Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing.

  • Indigo

    Ou-là-là!

  • emjayay

    You shoulda been here for the somewhat more recent blizzard of 2011.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It was stunning when I was there in the late 80s and it snowed. Literally like 7 or 8 inches. Walking along the Seine, was just beautiful.

  • Tor

    I visited Paris in January or February, 1985. There was at least a foot of snow. And the city, as always was beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-De-Salvio/1187769019 John De Salvio

    You call that a blizzard? I remember New York City’s Blizzard of 1947. Snow was at least 3 feet deep.

  • http://www.everybodyhatesatourist.net/ Jonathan

    Awesome photos. I was just in Paris a couple of weeks ago. Loved the city, would have been interesting to have seen it with this much snow.

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