Cold, stranded and in Paris

Written by admin on January 7, 2009 – 12:23 pm -

This past week has sent chills and freezing temperatures throughout Europe and Paris experienced something it rarely (if ever) does.

Snow brought traffic to a halt. People were stranded and even the Eiffel Tower was closed for a couple of days. A few metro lines weren’t functioning. Paris doesn’t have snow removal trucks because snow is essentially an enigma.

People were forced to walk and some Parisian children who’d never seen REAL snow were able to fulfill a fantasy. While school was canceled, they built snowmen and even threw snowballs – ever so much fun for the uninitiated.

It was time to bundle up since Paris’s temperature plummeted to below  -9 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s a record low for the City of Light. It’s so cold that the police are turning people away and not allowing them to enter the Luxembourg Garden. In my 20 years of living in Paris, this is a first.

Utility companies in France and throughout Europe were operating at full tilt and there were some power failures. The count still isn’t in as to how many people died because the lack of heat.

Passengers were stranded at Paris’s Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Heavy snow last Monday forced Air France to cancel 150 out of 400 scheduled flights from Roissy. Three thousand passengers had  to stay at nearby hotels while another 2,000 people camped out in the airport’s terminals.

Ironically, flights in and out of Paris’s second airport, Orly were operating on schedule.

Global warming appears to be taking its toll on the highs and lows of temperatures throughout the world and the joys of travel.

If you were stuck in Paris (or another EU airport), please post your experiences.

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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