Time to get out!
While L'hiver can be brutal, it's nice to travel. You sacrifice the nice weather for the lack of lines and crowds! Even Paris is slightly quieter. You'll get rained on, but you won't spend half your day in an endless line. I've been taking advantage and seeing a lot of the smaller museums of Paris, like the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, which had some really homesick-inspring New York scenes on display.
While the days are slowly gaining daylight, I started planning trips to get out of town once again. It's frustrating trying to see the sights and have the sun disappear on you right after a leisurely lunch. The cold can suck the energy right from you even on the sunniest of days, but alas, one of the reasons why I moved here was so that I could see the sights. Throw on another layer and get out there!
About an hour north of Paris is the city of Amiens. While on this particular day, the sun came out in Paris, the North is a different beast entirely. Ah, well. A notable lack of contrast and shadows strike me once again.
A great deal of the town was pretty much razed during both of the World Wars. Somme was a huge battlefield of dug-in allied trenches. Aside from a small neighborhood on the canal, the city has a post-war newness to it that isn't unpleasant, but perhaps a little souless. Alas, it makes up for any lack of soul by having the largest Cathedral in all of France.
It was truly enormous. A 13th century gothic monstrosity.
Quite spectacularly, the statues and scenes on the facade was originally painted. A few times a year, they bring out special projectors to re-create the brilliant original colors.