Paris in the rain is not like the Paris that Owen Wilson describes in Midnight in Paris. What Woody Allen was thinking, I’ll never know. Unlike most Americans, I love Paris. It was the first city I traveled abroad to when I was 17. I spent my 18th birthday on top of the Eiffel Tower, floating along the Seine in a river boat and eating my weight in Nutella crêpes.
Yet, this wasn’t the time that the rain came. When I went back to Paris two years later, it rained hard and heavy. Maybe it was because it was mad at me for experiencing London for the first time and falling hopelessly in love with London. Paris, I still liked, but there wasn’t that longing feeling I felt when I thought about London. Paris in the rain is dreary and cold. She’s bitter and her friends look at you with disdain when you huddle under a canopy trying to stay dry and figure out where the hell you’re going. Paris is a cold shoulder in the rain. She doesn’t help guide you along to your next destination. Instead, she puts distractions and annoyances in your way as you try to navigate her narrow streets. Paris is congestion in the rain. Everyone moves in the same direction and hides in the same areas as you, all thinking that they’ll avoid the raindrops too. Paris is a slippery step, a stolen phone and an inappropriate hand gesture in the rain. She drenches her stone steps with puddles that you need to look out for. She sends out people to distract you with flyers and things to sign while digging in your pockets for the phone you just bought weeks earlier. But, you’re stronger and tougher and more determined than Paris. Sometimes. Sometimes you look her friends in the eyes and tell them to give your phone back right now, “Mon téléphone, maintenant.” No pleases, just a hand out to grab the phone back at a middle finger pointed squarely in your face that you have to force yourself not to bend backwards. Paris can be rolled eyes when you struggle with the language. A hard sigh and frustration when the Americans immediately start asking where the toilets are in English.
Paris is beautiful and wonderful and kind and sweet. Or she can be a massive bitch. A venomous creature that will try to sink her claws into your flesh. She’s beautiful in summer and horrible in the spring rain. I hope you meet her lovely side and that you try to speak her language.
For anyone who doesn’t speak French, there is an app for you! “Yes, I Speak Touriste !” is an app that lets you know restaurants, shops, hotels and many more that speak your language! So, if you’re afraid Paris is going to look at you in disdain, try downloading this before you go and she may forgive you.