Parisian Living

Spring in Paris: The Effect of Sunlight on Parisians

by Tory Hoen
Bar in Sun1Photos Erica Berman

One of my favorite times of year in Paris is the transition between winter and spring. It’s that miraculous moment when the gray dampness lifts and the first rays of warm sunlight begin to creep their way along rooftops, through windows, over bridges. It’s still coat weather, but hope is in the air.

More importantly, it’s the moment when droves of Parisians emerge from indoors after months of hibernation. A few months from now, they will undoubtedly look healthy and bronzed and full of life; but for the moment, they are pale and wan (and still dressed in black) and seeking sunlight as if it were their lifeblood. I remember walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg on the first warm day last year and being convinced that the city was awash in a sea of vampires. I had never seen so many black leather-clad beings, their skin sparkling beneath the first rays of springtime sun.

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Yes, this is the best moment of the year, and it’s not just about the weather. I think it has something to do with humility, with the fact that despite being the coolest people in the world, even Parisians have to admit: sunlight is pretty sweet. They’re not necessarily going to get all smiley about it (Parisian facial muscles are not equipped to smile for long periods of time), but they are going to install themselves on park benches and scowl up at the sun—a symbolic smile, of sorts.

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In addition, this moment marks the beginning of “loitering season” in Paris, which typically lasts through October.  As of last week, it’s beginning to happen. The parks are filling up with families, the quais of the Seine are dotted with groups of young hellions, and there seems to be a city-wide consensus about the importance of getting outside and staying there for as long as possible.

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This might not sound so remarkable—it happens each spring in cities all over the world. But in Paris, it’s particularly gratifying to observe because, as blasé as Parisians might be for most of the year, the brink of springtime has the ability to render them ever-so-slightly giddy. It’s not full-out spring fever; it’s more like spring peaked-ness. But I’ll take it.

kisa garden sacrecoeur

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Tory Hoen

After attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of Gradspot.com's Guide To Life After College. View Website

4 comments on “Spring in Paris: The Effect of Sunlight on Parisians

[…] starting to warm up, but the temperature stays pleasantly cool enough to be outside all day. Parisians can feel it too – get ready to start seeing more and more natives abandoning their lairs in […]

Just wear black and you’ll be fine.

Same here Ren! I’ll be there for my first time on the 26th. I too would like some tips on what to wear around the city.

Hello! I will be going to London and Paris for the first time in 2 weeks! I’m very excited but worried I will not bring proper (weather) clothing and shoes. I am limited in space on my carry-ons so any advice you may have would be most helpful. I realize I will be an American tourist but I don’t necessarily want to look like one! Thank you.

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