The above photo is the view from my balcony, taken at 8:30 this morning. This is what all the kerfufle is about in Paris; yes, the French citizenry is up in arms because it snowed during the night. And it’s the government’s fault !!
A line of cars under a light mantle of snow. You’ll notice that the road is clear. But for two days everything has been blocked. Blocked highways, blocked schools, blocked airwaves, blocked communication. Only two topics have dominated the news programs here: (i) the snow, and (ii) will white or black smoke issue from the Sistine Chapel’s smokestack in Rome. Yawn. Wake me up when both events are over.
Here’s my street, photo taken at 8:45 this morning. As a Canadian, I wonder what all the fuss is about. To my eyes, the scene resembles a mild, ordinary winter day in Toronto. Complaining Parisians should visit Montreal, Ottawa or any of the Western provinces in the middle of winter to see what real snow is. Here’s a sampling of comments from French citizens – “C’est la galère totale!” (It’s a total hassle!) “Ce n’est pas normal!” (This isn’t normal!) “C’est inadmissible, ils n’ont rien fait pour nous!” (This is unacceptable, they’ve done nothing for us!) “They” is the government.
The French are blaming the government for not warning them in advance that snow was coming. “On se sent seule, les services de l’état n’ont pas été efficaces!” (We feel alone, the state services have not been efficient!)
Are the French pampered? In this socialist-capitalist country, they turn to the government for everything. It’s kind of pathetic.
In all fairness, the northern regions of France (Normandy and Picardy) received 22 centimeters of snow in a short period of time. 40,000 people were without electricity for two days and people were stranded overnight in cars and trains. One pregnant woman was driven to hospital in a snowplow to give birth. A “civil security” team was deployed onto the highways to distribute water and sandwiches to those stranded in their cars after traffic came to a standstill; a rather poetic term was coined for them: “les naufragés de la route” (shipwrecked from the road.)
Meanwhile it’s balmy on the French Riviera.