What is it about Paris and the rain? You may have heard that Paris and rain go together like peanut butter and chocolate. One of the best paintings from the great Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte depicted a rainy day in Paris. In the movie “Midnight in Paris” the main character Gil Pender has an attraction to walking in Paris in the rain. In “Sabrina” Audrey Hepburn said Paris smells its sweetest when it rains. There’s just something about this city, already magical in every way, that changes when it rains.
During our week-long stay in Paris we became well acquainted with the rain. I think every day we encountered a shower or two. And while it was unusually wet, it didn’t affect the Parisians one bit. Unlike here in the States where many people run for cover at the first few drops of moisture, Parisians keep walking – carrying on their day without ever missing a step. A colorful array of umbrellas pop up and move along the busy sidewalks bumping together like colorful strokes from an Impressionist’s paint brush. They move along unhindered and impervious to the falling rain.
“Do what the Parisians do”. That was a bit of wisdom I took to heart. So when the locals carried on in the rain, my wife and I carried on too. We popped both of our umbrellas during the two or three heavier showers and shared one during the lighter stuff. It was such a contrast to how things were done back home. When it starts to rain here we dash for our vehicles. In Paris, you just keep walking all while looking at the nice new shiny gloss that the rain gives the city.
There’s also a genuinely romantic vibe that Paris in the rain puts out. Seeing the sidewalks reflect the light from the streetlights. Watching the cobblestones dance as the water between each rock shines bright under the daylight. Paris has a distinct and undeniable look and feel in the rain. But the true romance comes under the umbrella. Walking arm-in-arm, huddled closer than necessary to avoid the light rain, in Paris is an experience that simple words can’t describe.
The rain gives life to the trees, the flowers, the grass, and the animals of the land. But it also gives a new life to the city of Paris. Not a better life, but a new one. The city takes on a different character in the rain and you can’t help but be captivated by it. Whether it’s the city or the person sharing the dry shelter of your umbrella, you’re bound to connect with something brought out by one of Paris’ most romantic events – the beautiful rain.