Header image by Natalie Rapoport. Antoni Gaudi. Sagrada Familia. Barcelona.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Paris. La Grisaille.

When it’s snowing and the temperature above zero it’s getting slippery. Driver’s nightmare in poor visibility  when  there’s no one to pull up the snowing/raining curtain. Who might that be? The gray sky is low and heavy.
Just snowing would be great, it’s January after all.  Don’t like melting puree, mushy-mooshy roads. I prefer rain or snow.

Talking about heavy skies.  They can be depressing or invigorating. It depends on where and when.

A couple of years ago it was at the end of May in Paris. We were walking in Marais in early evening when sudden strong wind started to blow away tourists from the streets. The gray pre-thunder storm sky hovered so low, you could almost touch it.

It threatened with the shower and carried on the promise  as soon as we reached Place des Vosges and escaped under the gallery. 

It was a magnificent tempest! The deafening thunder rocked and roared.  Stores instantly closed the shutters, waiters hurried  patrons inside the restaurants picking up the chairs and tables before wind gusts make everyone soaked wet.
My husband hold me tight and each time I was hiding behind his back with the camera.

We had the whole Place des Vosges  to ourselves!

Lightnings  scared away everyone but this Woody Allen looking shop owner who was sitting beside his boutique smoking and reading as if nothing was happening, calm and poised.
As soon as the shower subsided he decided to close the store, that’s when I asked the permission to take the picture of the pretty store girl and the window.

The air  became fresh and fragrant. The storm was over.  The sky lightened up a bit.
I don’t mind la grisaille as long as this is in Paris.

All images copyright by Natalie Rapoport


  1. Great stormy photos of a favorite neighborhood of mine! It does not need to rain to experience fully "la grisaille" in Paris... While I still lived there, I was often amazed at how grey the sky could remain, for days and days, without a single change in the weather. It was dry, and cold, but that grey, oh, that grey... I have definitely enjoyed it more now that I can go back as a [French] tourist ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Come backs as often as they may be are great under any skies, aren't they Veronique? And grey is regarded as elegant especially with hints of color now and then.

  2. Oh, I love storms like that. The second photo is just marvelous. And yes, aren't storms and other mishaps a little bit better when they're in Paris than, say, Denver?!

  3. Believe it or not, but we had exactly same encounter at exactly same place some years back. It started in Marais and rain cleared the streets for us, leaving Paris for us and us alone. We walked and danced at midnight in front of Notre Dame. The city looked slightly purple and magical!

  4. Oh my...I feel like I am there. Love the glow of the last photo!...Janey

  5. Oh thank you mon amie for taking me back to my favorite spots in Paris tonight....le Marais! Your photos make me smile and I needed that as I'm feeling a bit "Paris bleu" right now. Just last Saturday I walked these very streets.
    Merci mille fois!

    PS, I've photographed their lovely chair and table myself!

    1. Thank you dear Virginia. I know this "Paris bleu" feeling. It's great to have you back though I wish you could stay there much longer.


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