January is my most dreaded month in Paris. There is only one word to describe it: grey. Until the new year life goes on in Paris as usual, the city is charming in all its Christmas decoration, people are merry and you can keep yourself warm by sipping the famous vin chaud. Usually in December the temperature is still decent. Suddenly after new year’s it seems like the whole city has woken up with a collective hangover and is brooding. Or at least dieting. The weather is cold and grey, the city seems hostile, you just don’t want to put your nose outside of the door. What makes it worse this year, it has been extremely cold since the new year’s weekend, we’ve had a few minus degrees every night. The city hall in our district needed to put on signs to a nearby park to alert people from approaching the fountain that has perhaps 1 mm thin layer of ice on it. Hilarious. Mostly it has just been cold and foggy, or cold, foggy and rainy.
Then, because you come from Finland, every other person is telling you how much you must feel like home now when it’s cold. At first I tried explaining to them about the dry cold we have up North, about double windows, central heating and so on, but then I just gave up and started nodding and smiling with them. They wouldn’t understand why I feel uncomfortable wearing two pairs of woolen socks at night, putting a cloth under the front door because the cold air is coming in straight from the stair case or being cold in my kitchen in the morning as the electric heating doesn’t quite reach there. As I cannot be cold since I come from Finland! Truth is that the only time I’ve been more cold is while I was living in Tunis one winter, there was no heating at all in my flat so it was +13 degrees inside too. After sleeping for a week with most of my clothes on I finally went to Carrefour to by a heater. What a luxury. If people only knew how comfortable it is in a Finnish house even when it’s -20 degrees outside.
So what can you do in Paris in January? You can go discover cozy new cafés. But don’t take it for granted that you will be warm in a café or in a restaurant, at least if you are sitting by the window. Yesterday I found some new places by Canal Saint Martin, cute vegetarian café / restaurant called IMA and Pouya, French-Iranian cultural center, such a pearl. Cozy atmosphere and you will get delicious dates (by date I mean the fruit, not a date date, even if that might be possible too) with your hot drink. Food smelled pretty good too. You can also finally visit museums, perfect time to catch up with all those exhibitions you didn’t have time to see before.
Otherwise you can just console yourself that the winter here is soon over. In February you already have glimpses of sunlight and promise of the Spring and in March, if you are lucky, you can be sipping rosé by the Seine in your T-shirt with your sunglasses and a big smile on your face (ok you will risk being sick the next day but it is worth it), making your friends up North jealous. I’m waiting for this moment to take my revenge for all beautiful snowy landscape and skiing pictures that Finns have been posting for the past few days. Snow of course fell in Helsinki only after we were back in Paris from Christmas hols.
So good luck with January and have a happy new year you all! ❤