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Is Paris more Beautiful in the Rain?

This feels like a good subject to ponder as I publish my new book about Paris although I have a feeling I will be writing more about Paris in the future – the story is not fully told nor has it ended. At the end of ‘Midnight in Paris’ Gil and his new love Gabrielle head off to a new beginning and they walk across the Seine on Pont Alexandre III unconcerned by the falling rain, in fact to them ‘Paris is more beautiful in the rain’. Whether Hemingway ever shared the same romantic vision of Paris we do not know though somehow I doubt that he did.

Paris in the Rain

So, the question remains – Is Paris more beautiful in the rain? I can say that I am a considerable authority on the matter as I have been caught in many a heavy downpour in the city. Paris is quite an open city and it is really a matter of chance as to whether you may find any shelter and that may also cloud your judgement on the matter. The rain does certainly offer a different perspective in Paris and it changes in character more than anywhere else I have been when the streets and probably you are very wet.

The first time we were caught in the rain was on the Champs-Élysées and the downpour came on very suddenly. We were crossing over, a difficult manoeuvre at the best of times, from Ladurée to the opposite side when the heavens opened. By the time we had crossed and hid beneath a tree we were extremely wet. Strangely though it did not seem to matter to me and with my photographers eye I felt compelled to reach for my camera and capture the moment. Niamh was not quite so enthusiastic and she ran across the pavement and into H & M, not quite so romantic as she can go in an H & M store anywhere but I stayed to watch the rain on the street. I captured a moment and it was one of my favourite shots of Paris so it was so far so good as regards my feeling about the rain in Paris – it looked atmospheric to me that day. I caught up with Niamh who was standing in a small puddle of water in H & M and she was unimpressed.

Niamh was equally unimpressed the second time we got a Paris soaking. On arrival at the Gard du Nord the weather was grey but mild and fine. I suggested that as we were early we could walk to our hotel located just off the Rue Rivoli. We were near to the Hotel de Ville when the cloud burst came and my reputation for forecasting the weather was shattered. As we came into the square a loud commotion started up. All we could see was a throng of people in the square holding placards, shouting and blowing ear splitting horns. Police were manoeuvring them quite roughly towards one corner of the space and right past where we had entered the square. We wisely stepped back but there was no cover from the rain and also no way of retreating or going forward. After what seemed an age we managed to sneak behind the last line of Police and away down the side of the square and threaded our way to our hotel and a hot shower. Not a terribly romantic moment.

Soaking number three was one I describe more fully in the book when we emerged from Invalides Metro station to a very open air view of Les Invalides after a journey from Montmartre – not one of my better plans. We ended up in Les Recruitment Café in a state of total dishevelment and I can say without hesitation that it was the wettest I have been fully clothed. The same applied to all the party I had led there. I did not ask them whether Paris was more beautiful in the rain.

The fourth time was more of a fine drizzle – if you are English you will be aware of the expression ‘ you know – the fine stuff that wets you through’. To be honest it had been a bit of a miserable trip weather wise but we could not allow the elements to spoil our fun. The Tuileries are a must and even though the rain was gently falling we had to go to the gardens. Just by the Musée de l’Orangerie we paused and looked at an extraordinary sight of the clouds coming down so low that two thirds or so of the Eiffel Tower has ‘disappeared’ giving the impression that it was still under construction. The view over the Place de la Concorde to the tower was an unmissable photo opportunity and a unique view of a familiar sight. Even Niamh was close to conceding that Paris could be more beautiful in the rain but alas we were again exceptionally moistened and ran to the Orangerie to dry out and enjoy once again Monet’s masterpieces.

Finally our last major encounter with the Paris rain was on a later trip with friends. The weather for the most part had been excellent but on our last morning before heading back to the Gard du Nord it was a dark, wet and filthy day. The leaden skies looked set for the day, proper summer cricket weather as we English would reflect. Perhaps Niamh and I were beginning to get this ‘Paris in the rain’ thing. The others stayed at the hotel playing cards but we intrepid explorers decided that we were going out, not to be cheated out of our last day in Paris. So that is what we did. We were wet by the time we got to the Metro La Motte Picquet Grenelle and we stayed wet for our entire trip. We were safe under cover on Rue Rivoli sheltered by the street arcade and enjoyed the shops and cafés, buying a touristy bag with Paris and Eiffel Towers stamped all over it that we still have in use today. This helped to keep our purchases fairly dry as they were suffering in the damp conditions. Wetter still, we headed through the Tuileries for one last time and then back on the Metro to the hotel. Our friends took one look at us and were incredulous that we were actually laughing and they despaired at our madness in going out in such a deluge. We though had finally got it, perhaps, just perhaps Paris is more beautiful in the rain.

Now it has to be said that I am not the best judge of this. I have lived most of my life in the North of England. I spent the first part of my life in the small town of Darwen, Lancashire. This is in a valley and was known for its cotton and paper mills that dominated the landscape. These are industries that need water, lots of water if you are following my drift. The town is overlooked from the moor above by a tower built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. There is a saying that ‘If you can’t see the tower it is raining and if you can see it then it is going to rain’. That is a fairly accurate view of the Darwen weather.

So is Paris more beautiful in the rain? Well, I think you can see that I am clearly not the man to make the final judgement, my senses are impaired. You will just have to experience it for yourself.

Just received my author copy of My New Book on French Wine Travel out NOW always an exciting moment

It is always a thrill to receive the published print copy of a new book. I do hope you can enjoy it and more than that I hope you can make the trip yourselves one day soon. Stay safe.

It was a wine tasting that was warm, generous and convivial, as warm and generous as the spicy red wine produced in his sun baked Southern vineyard. Our new friend makes up a case of red and rosé and carries it outside the ancient domaine to our car. As he does so two other members of the family are returning the ancient tractor from the fields and they smile at us, no doubt knowing that we have been charmed by the hospitality of their father. M.Oliver firmly shakes my hand and I bid him goodbye. Niamh’s hand he tenderly takes and bows to give it a gentle kiss. As we drive away down the dusty track we wave from the car and Niamh settles into her seat, her mind taken to another place. What a gentleman.

Our journey through the vineyards of the Languedoc is typical of the kindness and generosity shown to us by winemakers throughout France, from the Loire down through Burgundy to Provence. To taste wine and experience the pleasure of visiting the cellars and vineyards in the company of a knowledgeable and proud wine producer is a delight never forgotten.

As with my other three books that tell of our memorable encounters with the people and places of France this one is designed not specifically as a guide book but to inspire and encourage you to travel as soon as it is possible. I know you will not be disappointed.

However, I have in this book given the location and contact details of the vineyards and cellars we visited and all I am sure will delight you when you turn up at that cellar or domaine door

I apologize in advance for the overuse of the word ‘terroir’ and sadly I am still unable to give you a definitive definition of this uniquely French term.

Boats return after many weeks in lockdown

Please check out my travel books on Amazon – enjoy France from your armchair isolation. Looking forward to travelling again Thanks and hope everyone keeps safe. – Merci Neal

Weston Super Mare Somerset England

New Release Friday May 1st

Diving into the mirky waters to check RNLI moorings

Please check out my travel books on Amazon – enjoy France from your armchair isolation. Looking forward to travelling again Thanks and hope everyone keeps safe. – Merci Neal

Bristol Channel off Weston Super Mare Somerset England

New Release Friday May 1st

Opening for business once more after the lockdown

Please check out my travel books on Amazon – enjoy France from your armchair isolation. Looking forward to travelling again Thanks and hope everyone keeps safe. – Merci Neal

Weston Super Mare Somerset England

New Release Friday May 1st

Enjoy an Escape to France from your living room with My French Travel books Stay Safe

Lunch in Provence

Just received my author copy of My New Book on French Wine Travel out NOW always an exciting moment

It is always a thrill to receive the published print copy of a new book. I do hope you can enjoy it and more than that I hope you can make the trip yourselves one day soon. Stay safe.

It was a wine tasting that was warm, generous and convivial, as warm and generous as the spicy red wine produced in his sun baked Southern vineyard. Our new friend makes up a case of red and rosé and carries it outside the ancient domaine to our car. As he does so two other members of the family are returning the ancient tractor from the fields and they smile at us, no doubt knowing that we have been charmed by the hospitality of their father. M.Oliver firmly shakes my hand and I bid him goodbye. Niamh’s hand he tenderly takes and bows to give it a gentle kiss. As we drive away down the dusty track we wave from the car and Niamh settles into her seat, her mind taken to another place. What a gentleman.

Our journey through the vineyards of the Languedoc is typical of the kindness and generosity shown to us by winemakers throughout France, from the Loire down through Burgundy to Provence. To taste wine and experience the pleasure of visiting the cellars and vineyards in the company of a knowledgeable and proud wine producer is a delight never forgotten.

As with my other three books that tell of our memorable encounters with the people and places of France this one is designed not specifically as a guide book but to inspire and encourage you to travel as soon as it is possible. I know you will not be disappointed.

However, I have in this book given the location and contact details of the vineyards and cellars we visited and all I am sure will delight you when you turn up at that cellar or domaine door

I apologize in advance for the overuse of the word ‘terroir’ and sadly I am still unable to give you a definitive definition of this uniquely French term.

Authentic Paris at Polidor Restaurant ENJOY MY PARIS BOOK TODAY and imagine a Paris lunch once again

Polidor Paris France – haunt of Hemingway, writers and artists – still cash only and communal seating.

The Cremerie was exactly what is suggest in Paris. It sold butter and milk and other dairy products but quite often they had tables set out. Customers could enjoy a Plat du jour and a carafe of wine. Most often the tables were occupied by the same people each day as they were very much the local restaurant of people nearby. The food was cheap and very authentic to Paris and the time period.

Polidor Restaurant is featured in Midnight in Paris. Read about it in my book DREAM OF PARIS on Amazon

Photography from Brean Down and Uphill Somerset on this Gorgeous morning 25th May

It was a stunning early morning and I hope you enjoy this selection of photography. Brean Down and Uphill nature reserve are truly beautiful and well worth a visit when it is safe to travel once more. Hope you enjoy them.

Please check out my travel books on Amazon – enjoy France from your armchair isolation. Looking forward to travelling again Thanks and hope everyone keeps safe. – Merci Neal

Misty morning over Brean Down Weston Super Mare Somerset

New Release Friday May 1st

Portfolio of photography for my FRENCH WINE UNCORKED book – ON AMAZON NOW

I have spent this enforced spare time in editing my new book on Amazon – OUT NOW on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited Worldwide (also in print)-FRENCH WINE UNCORKED. I have created a selection of photography of the people and places we encountered in our journey through the vineyards and cellars of France. Please enjoy the photography and I hope to inspire you to visit as soon as it is possible again – for now we still have our imagination and memories and no doubt a warm welcome awaits us in the future

GO TO : PHOTOGRAPHY FOR WINE

Wine tasting in Beaune France – Maison Champy

Impressions of Provence A Peaceful watercolour scene for a calm sense of normality

A lovely watercolour artwork from an original idea by my book illustrator – so looking forward to being back in Provence

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