Halley Knigge (Griffin)

Write. Share. Communicate.


Paris was a mess this morning. I woke up at about 7h this morning to the sounds of my building collapsing under the pressure of the wind.

Once I’d actually been awake for a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that my building was not actually being blown over – but it definitely being assaulted from every direction.

My apartment sits under the Northern eave of the building, and my windows are all positioned at a 45 degree angle. When I looked outward, I felt like I was in a carwash – buckets of water being thrown at the glass. I attempted to open one just a crack and one arm was immediately drenched.

I spent most of the morning dreading the moment when I would actually have to bundle up and venture outside to go to class. Most of the time I love the fact that I can get to Sciences Po faster on foot than in the metro, but today I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful.

When it starts raining in Paris, the souvenir stands suddenly all stock these very large blue Paris ponchos.

Unfortunately, I had an exposé to present in my art history class today, so no freak wind and rainstorm was going to be a legitimate excuse for skipping class. I waterproofed (read: Seattled myself) as best as I could, with my North Face, my REI raincoat a waterproof Timbuktu bag and my trusty if already falling apart cheapo umbrella from H&M.

Then I was ready to venture out into the storm. I thought maybe the wind would be a little less intense once I made it down to street level, rather than the top floor of my building. I was wrong.

I felt like a member of the riot police as I joined the ranks of soggy Parisians battling their way down avenue de l’Opéra. We’d position ourselves carefully, looking directly into the wind and pouring rain, force our umbrellas open and begin stalking down the street, umbrellas held out directly in front of us.

This picture (from the pompier protest a few weeks ago) comes from BBC’s week in pictures. Yeah, that was me trying to walk to school today.

After a few blocks, we began to realize that today was not a day for umbrellas.

The face full of December rain proved to be less of a hassle than battling an umbrella through Paris. In the courtyard of the Louvre, I put my umbrella back up – the wind was extra strong in open spaces. It sheltered me for about….half a second, before flipping inside-out.

That’s when I officially gave up on the umbrella and instead walked backward through the courtyard. A few older ladies saw me doing this and chuckled at first, but once they got a face full of the wet wet wind, they were ready to adopt my technique.

My backwards walking technique made much more sense than chasing this around:

Throughout the rest of my walk to school I grinned at fellow soaked Parisians. Each one of us was soaking wet and disheveled with an umbrella tucked under one arm, even as the rain continued to drench us. Everyone wore the same hapless look that said, “I just had to give up on the umbrella.”

We all eventually gave up.

For the rest of the morning, the trash cans of Paris continued to fill up with battered and broken umbrellas. Then, around 14h30, the sun broke, and it became a beautiful French day.

The evidence remains, though.

••• In other news, Rachael and I RSVP’d for a talk by Vice Premier of Israel, Shimon Peres at Sciences Po. It’s scheduled for Monday morning and should be pretty interesting.

Author: Halley (Griffin) Knigge

Storyteller and adventurer with a focus on new and social media. Ten years of award-winning writing and editing experience, eight years working professionally to share compelling stories through brand journalism, three years as an airline spokesperson, two years as a Tacoma Arts Commissioner and 30+ years of learning something new every day.

4 thoughts on “

  1. Ha! That is what it was like all of the winter in Ireland. Umbrellas need not apply! I’m glad the weather cleared for you.

  2. Does “Remarques faites” mean Make notice? I guessing the phrase the equivilant to the word “comment” but I was just wondering

  3. “Remarques faites” translates directly to remarks (or comments) made. Remarque means remark/comment, and faites is the past tense of faire. It’s in the passive voice.

  4. aaah that way you cannot forget your homeland!!!! 😀

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