The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The biggest snow in decades just fell in Paris. Here’s what it looked like.

People walk through the snow-covered Champ de Mars garden near the Eiffel Tower on Feb. 7, 2018, following heavy snowfall in Paris. (ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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For Parisians, it was probably more of a headache than anything else. But the photos from the City of Lights early Wednesday were nothing short of magical.

As much as six inches of snow fell on Paris late Tuesday, coating Montmartre, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower in a pristine layer of white. It was the largest snow accumulation in the French capital since 1987, according to Meteo France, and it brought the city to a halt Wednesday morning, the news website reported:

Drivers were told to leave their cars at home, while rail chiefs urged passengers not to travel. Bus services in the capital were cancelled altogether. The situation was described as “exceptional” by the ministry of interior.
Some roads remained blocked on Wednesday morning, notably the N118 to the south of Paris, where evacuations were still under way to rescue the 1,500 to 2,000 people stranded on the highway since Tuesday evening.

Parisians were miffed at the lack of preparation, but the government was quick to get real with people about the science of snow removal.

“When you salt the road, the salt is effective up to 3 or 4 centimeters [1-2 inches] of snow,” said government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, “but above 3 or 4 centimeters, the salt doesn’t work.”

Griveaux said “lessons would be learned,” while also apparently noting that it’s impossible to predict the weather accurately. We obviously disagree with that last sentiment, but we’re more than happy to enjoy the gorgeous photos of empty Paris streets covered in snow.

Heavy snowfall in the Ile-de-France region late Feb. 6 and into Feb. 7 caused transport chaos in the Paris metropolitan area, according to The Local France. (Video: Jonathan Durand)