Sunday, November 15, 2015

A bird flies in front of the Eiffel Tower, which remained closed on Sunday,
Nov.
15, the first of three days of national mourning, in Paris.
(Photo:
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)Paris woke up this weekend shrouded in a veil of
mourning and all of us who love France and its great democracy are grieving
together, as if we share one shattered heart.
Parisians gathered Saturday
night at the Place de la République, as they did in January following the
terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
People have been laying
flowers, candles, and remembrances around the square since the massacres.
Four
of the assaults were carried out close to this crossroads, the geographical
and emblematic heart of all that is young, fresh, and happening in the Marais,
Bastille, and Canal St.
Martin neighborhoods of Paris.In the center of the
Place de la République rises the bronze statue of Marianne.
As the symbol
of France"s Third Republic, Marianne represents freedom, democracy, and
defiance against all forms of tyranny.
Her right hand lifts an olive branch,
and her left holds a tablet inscribed with the words Droits de
l"Homme"— Human Rights.
She stands on a pedestal, around which, carved
as human figures, are Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
— those values that the Parisians fought for and are determined to
uphold in the hours, days, months, and years ahead.Related:"World Shows
Support for Paris with French ColorsParis and her aching beauty have been
profaned by violence, and it is too soon to talk about healing and getting on
with life, just as it was in the bleary days in New York City following
9/11.
But it is certain, after the painful edges of shock, grief, fury, and
fear wear down with time — as it does after tragedy — Paris is
going to recover, ever sorrowful but mightier still.
For the sake of mankind,
for all of us who depend on Paris as a touchstone and an icon, it must and it
will retain its proud and eternal spirit.
The magnificent city on the Seine
has always been far more than a place on the map.
It is the repository of our
dreams, the place we envision ourselves when we crave a fuller, bigger, more
beautiful life than the one we are living.
We admire Parisians, indeed want to
emulate them, precisely because we believe they possess powers that no one
else on earth can access.
They inhabit a world of unattainable beauty, so they
must themselves be unearthly creatures.
The city has to heal if only to
continue to set this example to all of us about what living
—"living"— really means.
The word "peace" in six languages is projected at the UNESCO headquarters in
Paris on Saturday, Nov.
14.
(Photo: Michel Spingler/AP)We are transformed by
Paris, because we revere its loveliness and respect its constancy.
We drink in
history and beauty there, because it is everywhere.
We seek out places that
elicit our most sensual, curious selves.
Our brain is on.
Our senses are
on.
We are comforted by the ease of the Metro, dazzled by majestic buildings,
drawn to the open and plentiful green spaces.
We let go.
We walk for miles and
never get tired.
We explore.
In Paris, we spend our days participating in the
city"s twin gifts of lightness and profundity.
We eat the bread, the cheese,
the dessert, we have another glass of wine late at night at a bar on rue
St.
Dominique.
We spend money on perfume without regret.
We stare at Monet"s
Water Lilies and wonder if anywhere on earth, there is an image so
exquisite.
Paris forces us to slow down but while there, we don"t waste a
single minute.
We laugh, we are moved, we stroll the narrow streets and feel
again, whatever we need to feel.
Alive, most of all.
This is the place
Parisians are privileged to inhabit and their spirit shapes the humanity that
envelops the city"s elegant, indestructible bones.Related: What To Do If You
Are a Tourist in Paris Right NowMy heart is in Paris right now, especially in
my old neighborhood near where the killings took place.
My husband and I were
married in the mairie of the 3rd arrondissement, where we lived at the
time.
The building was adjacent to the Place de la République.
The mayor
who presided at our wedding was in his 50"s and told this anecdote."I am proud
to officiate at the marriage of Americans, right here near the Place de la
République.
In 1944, when I was a boy of six years old, I saw freedom in
the faces of the American soldiers marching right here in my neighborhood,
past the statue of Marianne, as they came to liberate Paris." His voice
cracked as he told this story, and the rest of us were in tears.
How sad that
this square, a symbol of deliverance, peace, and salvation has turned into a
shrine.
If I could, I would be there now.
View into Notre Dame cathedral where people prepare for a national service
for the victims of the terror attack in Paris on Sunday, Nov.
15.
(Photo:
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)In the meantime, I believe in the spirit and
resilience of Paris.
Today, the Seine still flows under gilded bridges north
to the English Channel, as it has for many years.
The city"s great monuments
to civilization — the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the basilica at
Sacré Coeur, the shining dome of the Invalides — retain their
dignity and poise.
Perhaps they even appear to stand taller and more noble in
the aftermath of tragedy, as if to encourage its citizens to not be diminished
by fear.
All over Paris, the weary and the sorrowful are gathering hope from a
world that worships and needs — more than ever — their
magnificent city.
I feel certain that based on history, Parisians will be
united in strength as much as in grief.Related: Paris Closes the Eiffel Tower
and Other Tourist Sights IndefinitelyIn 1941, when the Germans occupied Paris,
the writer Colette was holed up in her apartment overlooking the Palais
Royal.
In her essay, Paris from my Window, she wrote this: "We did not know
that the blows destined to fall one day upon a country so filled with beauty
would reverberate through each and every one of us.
We know it now.
It is with
this kind of love as it is with the other: we find out very little about it
from the joyful times.
We are certain of its presence and its power only when
it brings us pain."Marcia DeSanctis is the author of"100 Places in France
Every Woman Should Go.WATCH: World traveling club Special Report on Paris
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Join us
on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and"Pinterest." A bird flies in front of the
Eiffel Tower, which remained closed on Sunday, Nov.
15, the first of three
days of national mourning, in Paris.
Parisians gathered Saturday night at the
Place de la République, as they did in January following the terrorist attack
on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Four of the assaults were carried out close
to this crossroads, the geographical and emblematic heart of all that is
young, fresh, and happening in the Marais, Bastille, and Canal St.
Martin
neighborhoods of Paris.
In the center of the Place de la République rises the
bronze statue of Marianne..We are transformed by Paris, because we revere its
loveliness and respect its constancy.
We drink in history and beauty there,
because it is everywhere.
We seek out places that elicit our most sensual,
curious selves.
Our brain is on.
Our senses are on.
We are comforted by the
ease of the Metro, dazzled by majestic buildings, drawn to the open and
plentiful green spaces.
We let go.
We walk for miles and never get tired.
We
explore.
In Paris, we spend our days participating in the city"s twin gifts of
lightness and profundity.
We eat the bread, the cheese, the dessert, we have
another glass of wine late at night at a bar on rue St.
Dominique.
We spend
money on perfume without regret.
We stare at Monet"s Water Lilies and wonder
if anywhere on earth, there is an image so exquisite.
Paris forces us to slow
down but while there, we don"t waste a single minute.
We laugh, we are moved,
we stroll the narrow streets and feel again, whatever we need to feel.
Alive,
most of all.
This is the place Parisians are privileged to inhabit and their
spirit shapes the humanity that envelops the city"s elegant, indestructible
bones.Related: What To Do If You Are a Tourist in Paris Right NowMy heart is
in Paris right now, especially in my old neighborhood near where the killings
took place.
My husband and I were married in the mairie of the 3rd
arrondissement, where we lived at the time.
The building was adjacent to the
Place de la République.
The mayor who presided at our wedding was in his
50"s and told this anecdote."I am proud to officiate at the marriage of
Americans, right here near the Place de la République.
In 1944, when I
was a boy of six years old, I saw freedom in the faces of the American
soldiers marching right here in my neighborhood, past the statue of Marianne,
as they came to liberate Paris." His voice cracked as he told this story, and
the rest of us were in tears.
How sad that this square, a symbol of
deliverance, peace, and salvation has turned into a shrine.
If I could, I
would be there now.
View into Notre Dame cathedral where people prepare for a national service
for the victims of the terror attack in Paris on Sunday, Nov.
15.
(Photo:
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)In the meantime, I believe in the spirit and
resilience of Paris.
Today, the Seine still flows under gilded bridges north
to the English Channel, as it has for many years.
The city"s great monuments
to civilization — the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the basilica at
Sacré Coeur, the shining dome of the Invalides — retain their
dignity and poise.
Perhaps they even appear to stand taller and more noble in
the aftermath of tragedy, as if to encourage its citizens to not be diminished
by fear.
All over Paris, the weary and the sorrowful are gathering hope from a
world that worships and needs — more than ever — their
magnificent city.
I feel certain that based on history, Parisians will be
united in strength as much as in grief.Related: Paris Closes the Eiffel Tower
and Other Tourist Sights IndefinitelyIn 1941, when the Germans occupied Paris,
the writer Colette was holed up in her apartment overlooking the Palais
Royal.
In her essay, Paris from my Window, she wrote this: "We did not know
that the blows destined to fall one day upon a country so filled with beauty
would reverberate through each and every one of us.
We know it now.
It is with
this kind of love as it is with the other: we find out very little about it
from the joyful times.
We are certain of its presence and its power only when
it brings us pain."Marcia DeSanctis is the author of"100 Places in France
Every Woman Should Go.WATCH: World traveling club Special Report on Paris
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Join us
on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and"Pinterest."A bird flies in front of the
Eiffel Tower, which remained closed on Sunday, Nov.
15, the first of three
days of national mourning, in Paris.
Parisians gathered Saturday night at the
Place de la République, as they did in January following the terrorist attack
on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Four of the assaults were carried out close
to this crossroads, the geographical and emblematic heart of all that is
young, fresh, and happening in the Marais, Bastille, and Canal St.
Martin
neighborhoods of Paris.
In the center of the Place de la République rises the
bronze statue of Marianne.

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