Paris December 2015: A Quiet Kind of Love

Joining many others at Place de la République, Paris

Joining others at Place de la République, Paris

This week in Paris I’ve felt a quiet kind of love, imbuing the city’s subdued sadness and dignified determination.

Love – Here There and Everywhere

In part this feeling stems from my own unbreakable emotion for the city. More importantly, we’ve sensed the shared love of Parisians and visitors alike for the City of Light; for its beauty and history; for each other and for its culture and way of life that endures, despite recent events and continued mourning.

Memorials

Statue of Marianne at Place de la République, Paris

Statue of Marianne at Place de la République, Paris

Clive and I both felt pulled to pay respects at two memorial sites. At Place de la République, photographs, flowers, candles, poems, flags and other memorabilia adorn the monument and statue of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, surrounded by smaller statues representing Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité.

We paused with other pedestrians in front of the Bataclan theatre, for a moment of silence. More memorials line Boulevard Voltaire across the street and up and down the block.

Bataclan theatre, Paris

Bataclan theatre, Paris

Memorials across the street from the Bataclan, Paris

Memorials across the street from the Bataclan, Paris

This evening’s news reported (link in French) the city will soon start collecting the messages and cleaning around the Bataclan site.

Life

December evening, Rue de Rivoli, Paris

December evening, Rue de Rivoli, Paris

So life goes on, as it does, though sadness remains. Our elderly neighbours talk of increased security measures when entering different shops; I’m not sure they’ve experienced it themselves but we have. People are riding the bus and the metro, visiting museum exhibits (both the Marmottan and Luxembourg were bustling this week), shopping and strolling around Christmas markets. We haven’t yet been to the larger markets but one or two are on the list for the weekend.

BHV department store, Paris

BHV department store, Paris

petite Christmas market, les Féeries d’Auteuil, Paris

a petite Christmas market, les Féeries d’Auteuil, Paris

Paris is relatively quiet, though, at least more than usual for this time of year. Many news reports indicate hotel bookings are drastically down. Today the owner of a wonderful shop in St-Germain pointed to the floor as a way of telling us how her business was doing. Aside from a few tennis players braving the 3C temperatures and small groups of joggers running through, the Luxembourg Garden was also unusually quiet. (Then again, it was 3C/37F …)

stroll in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris

stroll in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris

Decorations are up, but the spirit is muted – though I’ve always loved the quieter, more refined and less rampant-commercialism aspects of Christmas in Paris. That said, a waving, blow-up Santa has appeared on the awning of a local boulangerie.

Santa at the boulangerie, Paris

Santa at the boulangerie, Paris

As always, I wish we had more time here but there is much to look forward to upon our return to the UK — first and foremost my son’s pre-Christmas visit. Before then, we’re keeping things quiet ourselves, and will try to make the most of our remaining time in this precious place.

Shine on, Paris

Shine on, Paris

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

2 Responses

  1. Lovely post,yet again. Enjoy as time flies and safe travels back to Felixstowe. Currently 59.8 F here in Ct. Seasons greetings and best to the newlyweds. L&bw. Chris .

  2. Many thanks Chris S! Appreciate your comment and good wishes to all.

    Time does fly — enjoy those warm temperatures as long as they may last. L&bw to you (& love that abbreviation!) xx

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