October in Paris

A breeze rang the terraza chimes as I sat in the living room reading Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories, and it came to me, a memory.

blowBack in the old country, be it Texas, Louisiana, Florida or wherever, a cold front usually arrived via an audible wind. A sudden gust would blow, and you’d know: There’s the front.

A window pane might rattle.

And if you waited an hour before stepping outdoors, you’d feel the cold air come down suddenly from the north.

Cold fronts rarely arrive in this fashion where I live now. It’s more gradual, not a sudden wind and bang. The temperature just drops slowly during the night, rarely in the day, and you awake at dawn, witnessing your breath.

Why are there no hot fronts? A hot wind never rings terraza chimes. Warmth comes by a different caravan. It knocks quietly and slowly.

There is such a difference between cold and warm. Cold people. Warm people. Hot tortillas. Cold tortillas. A warm soul versus a cold one.

Warmth is better in people and tortillas. Cold is better, to my way of thinking, for the outdoors. Hot is sweat. Cold is a wool scarf and kid gloves.

My sole trip to Paris happened in 1976. It was October, so it was cool or cold. I don’t recall. It’s been such a long time, and I would love to return.

10 thoughts on “October in Paris”

  1. Ah, Paris. I was there last in 1970 and, like you, I would love to go again, but airfares are a bit high right now. The cheapest I have found is about $2,000 US r/t, so I will wait for a deal. The flight is long, about 11 hours from DF, but I would endure it to see the City of Light once again.


    1. Charles: That 1976 trip was my first visit to Europe. I went again in 1977 and 1978, but never after that. Flights were cheap. I recall that in one of those years I paid about $300 for a round trip from Atlanta to London.

      I went with my second wife in 1976. We went also to London and Barcelona that year. I did not want to go to Paris, but my wife elbowed me into it. I loved it. The French, not so much. It’s lamentable that such a beautiful city has been placed in the hands of the French.

      To be fair, a Frenchman owns a boutique hotel here in my town, and he’s the nicest guy in the world. Maybe getting out of France made him that way.

      The length of the flight would be a problem for me these days. I am very tall, and there is less legroom in planes than in the 1970s. And I am less agile. I suffer. It’s a real problem.

      Were I to take a long air trip these days, I think I would prefer Buenos Aires. At least they speak Spanish there, not French. I don’t know a word of French.


  2. An occluded front, where it can’t decide what it wants to do, is no picnic. Bumps, points, bumps, points on the weather map all in a line mean one thing — it’s not going anywhere, whatever it is, until something else pushes it along.


  3. In the 1960s, Paris was a twenty dollar train ride from where I was stationed in Germany and I went there about three times a year. I divided my time between the Louvre and Pigalle. It is a good place to soak up both beauty and wine in any season. You’d be surprised at what a bottle of whiskey and a couple cartons of Marlboros could get you back then.


  4. I have not been to Paris. I did enjoy trips to Moscow and London. We had a cold front sneak in during the night yesterday. It made for a pleasant stroll in the park.


    1. You really missed something, Laurie. Paris is incredible. I’ve been to London too, three times, and it’s very nice. But thanks to Hitler’s bombs and rockets, it’s nothing like it once was.


  5. We all have our own personal climate preferences. I prefer cool instead of cold and warm instead of hot. I dislike weather extremes in either direction. The closer you get to the equator, the more weather is determined by altitude above sea level. Like Denver, where I live is a mile high with a very moderate climate with no extremes, cool every evening and warm everyday.


    1. Andres: Where you live is often too warm for my tastes, but sometimes in January and February I wish I were at a lower altitude. I had never thought about the Denver comparison or even about how many feet are in a mile. I’m at one mile plus 2,000 feet. It’s nice almost always to my way of thinking. As you rightly say, to each his own.


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