Hops and Skips

Snapshots: Paris in the Rain

Have you ever seen the movie Midnight in Paris? It’s one of our favorites – Colin’s, especially – and, along with the cheap flights, a big inspiration for this trip in the first place.

The movie’s opening sequence features fantastic shots of a day in the city – morning commutes down picturesque sidewalks, coffee and respite at a cafe, birds-eye architectural views, splashes and reflections of an afternoon rainstorm, the quiet twinkle of nightlights. It’s clear from the beginning that this movie is an ode to this city’s beauty, and, in particular, the beauty of its everyday moments. The main character, Gil (Owen Wilson), is entranced by just that, but he has a particular affinity for Paris in the rain. 

“Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain?” he asks his fiancee, Inez. “Why does every city have to be in the rain?” an impassive Inez replies. “What’s so wonderful about getting wet?”

A dear friend of ours is well-known for loving rainy days. In college, when we were desperate for warm spring days in New York that’d allow for park outings ending in sun-kissed cheeks, he would revel in the rainy days we often got instead. Plug some music into your ears, throw up a hood or umbrella, and set out for a stroll – that was always his plan of action. To him, there was something magical about seeking out a moment that most people tried to avoid – finding pleasure in what others found undesirable. 

Perhaps some of the appeal was for the sake of being contrary, as “devil’s advocate” has always been a notorious part of his personality. But this peculiarity of loving the rain has been a lasting facet of his identity. Over the years, I’ve started to embrace this uncommon view of the world – that rainy days are a beautiful thing – and I don’t think I’m the only one. The New York Times recently compiled archival photos into an ode, of sorts, to New York Rain as part of their Past Tense project that creates narratives from the millions of photo prints they are in the process of digitizing. 

Naturally, I sent this to our rain-loving friend. And when we found ourselves caught in Paris’ afternoon rain showers, I thought of him and tried to see the beauty of a different perspective.

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