The Darkness of Paris Helps Us Appreciate the Ligtht

My phone lights up in the darkness, shrieking its marimba wake-up call. Could it really be morning already? It seems as if I just put my head down on my pillow. Looking towards my bedroom’s windows, all I see is blackness.

During my final days in Paris, many of my morning begin just like that (well, perhaps a bit more on the positive side—I was really tired that day!). I wake up in the early morning hours to be greeted with what appears to still be the dark night sky. However, as I slowly begin to make my coffee and begin my day, pale morning light creeps into my apartment. The light is grey and hazy, fuzzying the sharp corners of the beige Haussmanian buildings on my street. But it is beautiful. As I sip my coffee and let the sun climb higher in the sky, I cannot help but appreciate the majesty of viewing my little corner of Paris transition from gloomy darkness to glowing light.

Living in Paris means, yes, living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But living in such a city comes at a price. Paris is situated high up in the Northern hemisphere, meaning that during the long winter months, darkness can seem never-ending, as if nighttime is all the time. However, since the days began growing shorter and the mornings started beginning later, watching the dawn blanket Paris with its dim light each morning has enabled me to be thankful for the times during which I have light. While waking up to inky skies was once jarring to me, I now enjoy watching my morning unfold, with each minute lighter than the next. Living in Paris in the wintertime is a wonderful opportunity, allowing for each of us to take the time to embrace the darkness so that we can—when the moment is right—appreciate the light.


Texte et photo Antonia Bentel - Barnard College