Quilt Gallery

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris: In Sympathy, In Solidarity

This post, which I have been meaning to write since my visit earlier this fall, is not much changed from my original conception of it, except that last Friday's events have made me focus more on its people and less on its places.

Even before last Friday, I was struck by the openness with which Parisians live their lives. Cafes, which seem to institutionalize this openness, are busy throughout the day. It might be for a croissant at breakfast, taking in the sun at mid-day, watching passersby from an outdoor table, or meeting friends for a drink after work. It is no wonder that earlier this week Parisians made a concerted effort to repopulate their cafes. It affirmed their way of life and demonstrated that their attackers have not won.

Another important element of life in Paris is fashion. As one of the world's capitals of fashion, it was exciting to see a fashion photo shoot in progress. Many other people had also stopped to watch, but did so from a distance and angle that didn't interfere with the photographer.

Place des Vosages

One of the liveliest places we visited was Montmartre, clearly a tourist mecca, but interesting nonetheless for the grand, domed Basilica de Sacre-Coeur,

Carousel and Basilica de Sacre-Coeur

narrow streets, bustling cafes, 

La Boheme Cafe

and artists at work.

I snapped a photo of this gentleman talking on his phone in the courtyard of L'Hotel de Bethune-Sully because of his elegance and his adorable dog. They appear so companionable! And unguarded. I wonder if after last Friday he can still be at ease in such a public place. I hope so.

In the courtyard of L'Hotel de Bethune-Sully

I will end with this image of the Eiffel Tower, a structure which is both open and soaring. The statue appears to be holding the tower in a protective embrace, as though to demonstrate that we cannot take for granted our open society, nor our right to have soaring aspirations. We must cherish them. We must protect them.

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