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French Culture – A New Day Posted by on May 12, 2020 in Architecture, Art, Culture, History

As of Monday, France has started the slow process of opening up for business. And while travel within 100 kms of home is now permitted, foreign visitors will still need to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to France. So no trips for me anytime soon … but the news did get me thinking about when I might be able to go back to my favorite city in the world.

Des idées insolites / Unusual ideas

I’m sure on my first trip back I’ll fill a lot of my time exploring some of my old favorites. But I will want to mix in some new experiences as well, like when I visited the Place Dauphine for the first time last fall.

Fortunately Paris still has much for me … and you … to discover!

La crypte de la colonne de Juillet

While anyone who has visited the city is likely familiar with the July Column, rising as it does over 50 meters (164 feet) above the famous place de la Bastille, what few know is that there is a crypt underneath!

The crypt, open to the public since 2018, houses remains of not only participants of the 1830 revolution that ended the reign of Charles X (and which the monument commemorates), but also from the 1848 revolution.

On a panel at the base of the column one can read À la gloire des citoyens français qui s’armèrent et combattirent pour la défense des libertés publiques dans les mémorables journées des 27, 28, 29 juillet 1830. / To the glory of the French citizens who armed themselves and fought to defend the public liberty on the memorable days of July 27, 28, 29, 1830.

Du Japon à Paris

Le dépaysement (change of scenery / lit. ‘uncontrying’) that comes with any travel is doubled in the gardens of the Hôtel d’Heidelbach au Musée national des arts asiatiques (Heidelbach House at the National Museum of Asian Arts).

Complete with pavillon de thé (tea house), the gardens, designed by the Franco-Japanese architect Agnès Latour-Kurashige, will transport visitors from the heart of Paris’s 16th arrondissement to the tranquility of the Japanese countryside.

Les rues presque vides … The nearly empty streets …

One thing that I won’t ever get to see – at least in person – are the streets of Paris as they have been these last few weeks during le confinement. If you can access it, check out this Facebook album for an idea of how Paris changes without people. Or watch this great video … and be sure to watch till the end to see Parisians sortants pour applaudir le personnel soignant ainsis que tout ceux qui sont au front pendant l’épidémie (coming out to applaud health professionals and all those on the front lines during the epidemic).

Euovision Alert! As I mentioned previously, the live Eurovision finale has been cancelled for this year. Instead, you can watch Europe Shine a Light on line on the organization’s official YouTube channel le samedi 16 mai à 21:oo CEST (Saturday, May 16 at 9 p.m. Central European Summer Time … click here to see what time that is where you live!

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Main image by Pierre Blaché from Pexels

Colonne de Juillet courtesy Tim Hildreth

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris