If you’re in Paris, snow probably won’t really affect your commute much, but if you’re in the suburbs – watch out. Apparently an inch or two of snow is something to freak out about.
I suppose it doesn’t snow frequently in the Paris area, but really? Has no one ever seen snow before? Are your cars and buses really not able to handle it? Because I recall driving in a complete white-out back in PA, and I’m still here.
My personal story is this.
The day before I was scheduled to fly to L.A., I had to deliver my pup to a friend in the center of Paris for safe-keeping. There was no way around it, I needed to get into Paris, with a dog and her supplies.
It had snowed the day before (and I carried my cat to the vet, remember?) and was snowing again today. I had just sold my bed frame to a lovely couple who came to pick it up in their car. I’d asked before if perhaps they could help get me, my dog, and a couple of my things into Paris (for storage). They could fit a few of my things in the trunk, but not me and the dog. So I said I would just meet them there later and take the bus.
At the bus station, I looked up at the sign that would tell me when the next bus was coming.
This didn’t look good. I texted a friend to see if he knew what it meant. He didn’t know. Perhaps because in Paris, the buses are braver than the ones out here.
I decided to start walking in the direction of the next bus stop. At some point, I put the dog in her doggy bag because she was shivering too much. So here I am, carrying a dog, a bag of her stuff, and a backpack of my things. From one bus stop to another, and after 20 minutes of walking, realizing that there was no bus coming.
I was very grateful for the forethought of last year when I bought a pair of snow boots on sale. Because they saved my toes.
After an hour and a half I made it to the RER station, absolutely exhausted. I followed the same “make goals!” plan as the day before with the cat, and rested at and between every bus stop.
I made it into Paris and to my friends house, passing up some lovely photo opps (yeah I had my heavy camera in my backpack too) like the snow covered bridge with coloured confetti sprinkles on it that made it look like a cupcake.
I dropped her off, and stumbled to the apartment where I was going to store a couple of things. I met my “deliverers” and unpacked the things in the courtyard. Now, there just being one of me, I had to decide what I most didn’t want stolen while I turned my back to run things up the stairs. I took the piano first. Luckily, I didn’t lose anything.
Then I ran more errands, hoping to beat the sun, because I knew I’d have to make that long walk home. I had no choice. I needed to hop in a taxi at 7AM the next day with my luggage.
Back at my RER station, I attempted to get some pity and maybe a ride or something, by asking the man at the counter (in French!!!) if there were any buses at all, because I had to get to Ormesson. His eyes practically popped out of his head when I said Ormesson. He said no, no buses, so I heaved a great sigh and started on my way back. I took a breather about a half an hour into my walk to sit in silence on a snow-covered curb.
After only an hour, I made it home, cursing the cowardly public transportation and feeling so glad to be getting back to L.A. and my car.
Then it came time to book a taxi.
Six calls to taxi companies, and nobody wanted to commit to picking me up in the morning. It depended on the weather, they said. Come on. Your job is to get me to the airport. Don’t tell me “you could take the train” because your freaking buses won’t get me to the train, and I can’t carry 3 heavy suitcases and a cat anywhere.
So a half an hour before I needed a cab the next morning, I managed to book one. He arrived early so I was still in a panic, but so so soooooo relieved to be finally sitting in the backseat, on my way to L.A.
So the moral of this story is…. be careful when relying on public transportation, even in France, where everyone raves about it. You’ve heard of the metro strikes, cab strikes, air strikes, etc etc in Paris and France. Well, add fear of precipitation to the list of reasons why nothing is running today, and don’t expect to enjoy the view of the snow from inside a bus.