19. The light.
I've done my fair share of complaining about the gray skies in Paris and I now realize that those scientists who study seasonal depression are really onto something. And yet, when the sun does break through the gray, the light is truly a wonder to behold. Often the sky is dark in one direction and bright blue in the opposite. The stone buildings can be at once in the shadows and creating a gleam so brilliant that you have to shield your eyes. One minute, the Seine is steel gray, the next a clear blue.
In the summer, the gray gives way. The midday sun can be intense. In the evenings the sun lingers in the sky until ten, bathing the town in a soft golden light. No wonder artists flock here.
Summer sun caught through the windows of the Grand Palais