Summer is glimmering far off on the horizon. The first energizing rays of sunshine are gently falling. The clocks have raced back an hour.
It’s official. Spring is here!
In the French capital, this means…
1.) Long lunches basking at outdoor tables with chilled bottles of chardonnay. It is important to realise that as temperature increase, so does the length of the average lunch break. For most Parisians, there is nothing quite like a sunny Friday lunchtime treat with friends, colleagues or clients to end a busy week.
2.) The ponts are on the way! Ponts (or bridges) occur when one of France’s many public holidays falls on a Tuesday or Thursday. Many French workers decide to optimise the occasion by taking an extra day off to create a “bridge” with the weekend. In May, there are usually a fair number, although, alas, if the date falls on a Saturday or Sunday the holiday disappears into thin air! Although “bridge” weekends involve soaring prices and frustrating traffic jams, they remain a firm French favourite. Incidentally, they are also the ideal moment for a less crowded trip to Paris!
3.) Wardrobes are (lightly) refreshed. Although the sunshine and warm temperatures are welcomed with an understated smile, they don’t have a revolutionary effect on the average Parisian wardrobe. Yes, winter coats are put away, but the colours remain sober with generous doses of white and bearing too much flesh is still a big no-no. It goes without saying that shorts are in short supply out on the streets!
4.) Genuine smiles are on the up. Parisians are famous for being rather cool and controlled, or even, some might say, sulky and sullen. However, when the sun peeps out, this gloom starts to lift. The white-grey Haussmanian buildings glow a little brighter, the metro becomes a little less gloomy and Parisian waiters even start to hum a little!
5.) Diets and food fads are à gogo. For many, spring means getting in shape for fast approaching holidays and subsequent bikini/short/swimsuit wearing. And, Paris is no exception. Gyms fill up, parks are invaded by joggers and restaurants like Le Paradis du Fruit (organic, fruit and vegetable loaded dishes) make a fortune. Parisians may not shout out about their dieting, but you’ll notice a significant increase in the number of salads being nibbled in restaurants.
The telltale signs of spring are already budding and will soon be in full blossom. The sun-kissed monuments and merrier atmosphere make it an ideal time for visitors to discover the City of Lights (& for locals to get out and about on their Vélib).