Last Sunday was a chilly day in Paris, but the sky was clear and the wind mild. Since my Montparnasse hotel is located a couple of miles from the River Seine, I don’t walk there as often as I did when our hotel was near the Louvre, but after enjoying lunch in the Latin district, I decided to take the long way back to Montparnasse. It was a wonderful experience.
After crossing the Seine, I made my way through the Louvre area, past the embassies near Place Concorde, and on to the Pont Alexander III Bridge. (Photo above.) Everywhere you look, Paris is magnificent, but this isn’t about its monuments. Rather, it’s about its people. Thousands of them were out enjoying the day in spite of the chill. Children rode Merry-Go-Rounds, played on swings, and ice skated at an outdoor rink while couples walked hand-in-hand, smooching. The parks were full, and smiles abundant. It is truly magnificent seeing so many people outside, enjoying their day off.
On my way past The Invalides, hundreds of roller bladders were out on a different kind of adventure. Their two-city-block procession was being chased by an ambulance and police vehicle. This well-organized event allowed its participants to skate comfortably enough to take pictures and shoot video as they rolled. It was another marvelous display of locals shunning winter. Monday brought snow, which is rare for Paris, so the school kids were out tossing snow balls and making snow angles. No, sir, Old Man Winter won't keep these people inside.
But such enthusiasm for the outdoors isn’t limited to France. I saw plenty of people walking in Almaty (see above) where the temperatures were significantly lower. Night time is play time over there, and the cold is just a way of life. It's the same in China, so what keeps Americans from taking a walk in the winter? I suppose everyone has their own reasons, but the next time you’re bored, rather then stay cooped up inside, why not take a walk through your own winter wonderland? Go visit a park that you haven’t seen in a while. Chances are good that there won’t be many people out, but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying it. Besides, you just might burn off a few of those holiday calories.