Letter from Felixstowe: Bells tolling at Notre Dame, crowds gathering at Place de la République and lights extinguished at the Eiffel Tower … Paris in Mind

View from Trocadéro - the Tower will go dark at 8pm tonight

View from Trocadéro – the Tower will go dark at 8pm tonight

Last month my heart ached for Sydney, this month for Paris. As evidenced by the name of this blog, these two very different cities long ago captured my heart.

Paris is a relatively small city. Yesterday’s events occurred in an area where Clive and I and most Parisians have walked many times, especially up and down Boulevard Richard Lenoir, which runs roughly between Canal Saint-Martin and Place des Vosges.

It’s been hard to stay away from the news during the past two days, hard to stop feeling sorrow and worry and hard to stop wondering what we’d be doing if we hadn’t returned to the UK last week and were still in Paris.

Would we leave the apartment? Yes. Take the metro? Probably not. Join the crowds at today’s bell-tolling at Notre Dame or tonight’s gathering at République, or go to Trocadéro at 8pm to watch the Eiffel Tower go dark? Sadly, no – I loathe and fear crowds at the best of times. Would we go to Place de la République during the day to reflect and remember and lay flowers and/or a few pens and pencils? Yes.

On the morning of the Sydney hostage event, a correspondent interviewed a young employee of the cafe who said he felt bad he wasn’t inside with his colleagues. ‘I wish I was there with them,’ he said.

I’m not a citizen of France or a full-time resident of Paris, but I know how that Sydneysider felt. On one hand, I’m glad we’re in Felixstowe. On the other, I wish we were still in Paris – just to be there, in the city I love so much, to witness and share the emotions and to join everyone in friendship and support.

Candles at Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Paris

Candles at Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Paris

Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.

3 Responses

  1. Eloquently put Carolyn.

  2. Nicely written, Carol. Such sad news from Paris yesterday. I learned the same day that the wife of a colleague of mine here at Penn State has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. A city’s tragedy and a family’s tragedy: both are equally heart rending.

  3. Belated but sincere thanks, John and Eleanor — appreciate your comments!

    Eleanor, good luck to your friend.


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