By Abby Rodgers

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.” —Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Paris in the Rain, Abby Rodgers

Abby Rodgers

After weeks of grey skies in Paris, Hemingway’s words never seemed truer. Fall in Paris metamorphosed the sizzling sidewalks lined with tourists and camera clicks to a familiar bustle of scowling faces caped in neutral palettes. The summer sun is only a memory. The “Closed” signs now read “Open” as Parisians have returned from their extended vacations to begin the ritual of fall.

Fall in Paris may seem like the death of optimism, but it is also beautiful, inspiring and full of gorgeous rainy days. Rain for me, even the rain in Paris, is something beautiful. In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson’s character comments on the beauty of the city when it’s raining, I remember this, silently agreeing in my seat at the Mk2 cinema in Odéon. For me Paris becomes a different place when it rains. When I lived in Saint-Germain-des-Près, I loved sitting at cafes, wandering the streets (with my umbrella of course) or sitting with a good book by my window as it poured. I feel a bit of nostalgia perhaps, as I’m instantly reminded of Gustave Caillebotte’s famous painting “Paris Street, Rainy Day” and how I used to admire it on my days off from classes in the Art Institute of Chicago, wishing that I were there. Now I am here and although it is not 1877, the city frozen in that beautiful painting has remained untouched and is something I view in awe.

Rain or shine, walking is the best way to discover Paris. There are so many great museums, cinemas, and cultural exhibitions. Many times I have stumbled upon a boutique or new restaurant just walking in lieu of the metro. Some suggestions are:

Nadine Delpine: a small jewelry boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Près. Nadine herself is often in the store and sells handmade jewelry by Nadine, herself, who sometimes takes requests for customized pieces.
14, rue Princesse
75006 Paris

Shakespeare and Co.: a great English language bookstore founded in 1951, which frequently hosts readings and other events. The interior is quite inviting and resembles a library; there are many nooks for curling up with a good book.
37, rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris

Musée de Quai Branly: the museum features indigenous art, cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.
37, quai Branly
75007 Paris

Pinacothèque: an exhibition space for temporary exhibitions of artworks.
28, place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris

Rose Bakery: an English bakery that uses fresh organic ingredients. Locations in Paris’ 9th and 3rd arrondissement.
46, rue des Martyrs
75009 Paris

Abby Rodgers was born in South Korea, raised in Rochester, New York and is living in Paris, France. She is a student of International Relations at Schiller International University in Paris and works at Art Galleries Europe/London and Paris. Abby lives in the bustling 6éme arrondissement near the famed Café Flore and Luxembourg Gardens, providing the ideal landscape for creativity. She is a self-proclaimed Francophile and dessert connoisseur.

You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Diving into Paris Fashion: From famous to fresh, by Paris-based Abby Rodgers, who asks the question, “…with veterans such as Lagerfeld making the move to the street-wear market, where is fashion headed in Paris and what influence does the newest generation have?” Included are fashion brands and stores that are favorites of Abby and her friends.

Imperfect Perfection: The new French woman, by Kristin Wood who reminds us of the words attributed to Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author and philosopher who eschewed material excess and extravagance… “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Kristin writes about the predicted trends of the “undone” makeup look, and the “de-blinging” of luxury items. What better place to introduce these two trends on a grand scale than Paris?

French Soap: Savon de Marseille, by Lauren Ernt who stumbled upon La Licorne, a storefront soap factory in the heart of Marseille and one of the last authentic manufacturers of the famous “savon de Marseille,” and writes about her visit and love of this soap renowned for its purity and restorative properties.

Paris photo shoot – in search of the perfect Moroccan slipper, by Lisa Rounds who tells of her adventures in the North African neighborhood of Barbès in Paris searching for the perfect slipper in red, of course, for a Cosmo photo shoot. Her story of “living the dream,” working for a publishing company in Paris.

Text copyright ©2012 Abby Rodgers. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.