It is difficult not to respond in some way to the terrible events that happened in Paris on Friday night. I see photos of the victims, most of them smiling profiles downloaded from social media pages. They all seem to be young, a diversity of faces. I see slogans and calls for justice, twitter handles and French flags – Peace for Paris, #PrayforParis, #ParisisaboutLife.
I see that on Sunday night French fighter jets launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, targeting the Islamic State’s stronghold in Raqqa. Taking off from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan and in coordination with US forces, the jets dropped 20 bombs on the city that night.
I see that the French president, François Hollande, said, “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.”
Dear Readers, August is the time most Europeans are on holiday, so I thought we would also take a break from psychosynthesis and travel to Paris …
This is just the first floor! You need a degree in Satellite Mapping Technology to find your way in the Louvre.
Paris. A big city of grid-like streets lined with pale-yellow palatial buildings which all loom above me seven-stories high. I feel like an ant scurrying between these 19th century edifices of glory as I and my husband run for four days between every tourist site in town— The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre …
We are not alone, but followed by throngs of tourists (28 million per year!) seeking…what? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure what I am seeking. A Parisian experience? A glimpse at artistic genius? Alluring romance? Haute cuisine?
I suppose I am not seeking anything … I can only tell you what I found.
Luxembourg Park, a nice place to lose one’s way …
The first evening upon our arrival, we strolled through the holiday-packed Luxembourg Gardens where some things remain simply and quintessentially French. Older men (and even a few women) were playing jeu de boules under shaded trees and beside them, standing in the open air, was a coat rack so the players could properly hang their jackets.