dimanche 5 juin 2016
Every city has storms it must weather, and Paris is no exception. Roughly once a century Paris suffers from floods. The last flooding, that you can see in the photo on top was in 1910. The photo on the bottom shows the flooding today in 2016. It doesn't seem quite as severe as 1910 yet, but I was out today and assure you the rain has not stopped. The clouds loomed overhead. Droplets of water fell on my head at the most unexpected moments. There are notices on my building not to enter the basement. A basement in French is called a cave. You will see this word many times here. In this ancient city, many of the basements or caves are linked to create an underground system of tunnels. Most of these caves are used for storing precious vintage wines and other treasures. The wine should be okay, but I hope most people were able to rescue their other treasures before the water got to high. Luckily this is a rare occurrence here.
Many of these caves not only store precious rare vintages of wine, but often double as cozy romantic dining rooms for some well noted restaurants. Have no worries, the French are a hearty bunch who have been braving floods for a millennia. The locals carry on with their hearty smiles and their wit. I'll share with you a story translated to help you glimpse into the French. In the afternoon,at my local brasserie, while taking an aperitif, (a before dinner drink) to warm up and dry off, a local, after saying a courteous hello and how are you today, made some comments about the weather. Then as he reached down to pet my dog Abner, that he knows rather well. He smiled and told me that he took his pet gold fish for a walk this afternoon. Even if I understood, it took a minute to hit me. French humor is often subtle and swift. Jokes are one of the most difficult things to translate, but hopefully this one can give you some insight into the character of the French that I have grown to love.