Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paris en Grisaille

When I looked out of the window this morning fat white snowflakes were landing on the trees in the courtyard and the gardienne's Christmas lights were twinkling against a staircase covered in white.  While Gene went off to his French class, my sister Susanne, who's visiting for a couple of weeks, and and I decided to walk over to the Louvre, just across the river.

It was glorious. Quiet, white, clean, with little car traffic and few pedestrians, it could have been an Impressionist painting, a Sisley perhaps.  Virtually no color was visible, other than tones of gray, brown, black and the slate green of the river.

We crossed the pedestrian Pont des Arts, stopping every few feet to look around and take some pictures.  The few others out were doing the same, while this man, stopping on his way to a meeting perhaps, simply stood under his umbrella and stared at the newly fresh city.

The Louvre courtyard had a few narrow paths through the pristine snow.  The statues on the parapet had snowy epaulets and the Tuileries garden hedges were sprinkled as well.

The Louvre was unusually uncrowded, but after our visit it was pleasant to get back out to the transformed landscape.  The banks of the Seine remained untouched by cars or footprints.  Only the tour boat was moving on the river.

The buildings in the distance were hazy through the falling snow, and the sidewalks in front of the bouquinistes were deserted except for an occasional walker stepping carefully to avoid slushy patches.

It was a day many people preferred to spend at home.  The Velib bikes sat under their cover of snow.

The streetlights weren't lit but I wish they had been as the day progressed; a hint of light and warmth through the gray would have been welcome.


Julie R said...

You're dreaming of a white Hannukah ...

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

Oh beautiful shots, Shelli!! I did a version of this on my blog, too, but not so pretty as these. You really captured the ideal Paris in Snow shots. Lovely!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Pretty pictures, Shelli. You make me homesick for Paris. I just have to make do with Saint-Aignan.