Wandering Wives – After The Paris Attacks

Author: , December 5th, 2015

Republique memorial

On Friday the 13th November 2015 Paris was subjected to a vicious terrorist attack which killed 130 people. Less than three weeks after the Paris attacks we visited the city of love and witnessed a city wide outpouring of grief.

We took a walk along Boulevard Voltaire and saw flowers and candles covering the ground where some of the attacks took place. A large memorial site has been claimed across the road from the Bataclan Theatre, which is still an active crime scene. Poignantly, Eagles of Death Metal, (the name of the band playing that night) remains unchanged on the sign outside the building. Since the 1970’s the venue has been the home of live rock music in the French capital. Under the roof of the Bataclan, generations of Parisians danced a youthful, lusty rebellion to their own era defining tunes. Once synonymous with youth, joy and pleasure, the Bataclan will be remembered very differently from now on.

The place de la republique has become a focal area for the collective grief of a city standing strong against terrorism. Messages and memorials from around the world sit at the feet of the bronze statue of Marrianne, the symbolic personification of the triumph of the French republic. We witnessed many people in the area lighting candles, laying floral tributes and leaving messages. Most of the notes offer support and friendship, some express horror, question why or urge unity. But above all the most overwhelming message is that of Love.

In the days after the attacks the world pledged its support to France. Citizens from nations across the globe joined together in memorial services and expressed their shock at what had happened in Paris. People who felt powerless to do anything physical pledged their support via the internet, using hashtags like #prayforparis or adding a tricolour to their facebook photos. People needed to feel they were doing something and show that they were not going to take the attacks lying down. The hashtag #sprayforparis led to street artists picking up their paint cans and offering messages of support from around the world. At the place de la republique the street art is evolving on a daily basis with messages of support being covered over as quickly as they appear…continued with pictures on Wandering Wives

Find out more about Emily & Sian by visiting Wandering Wives

Connect with Wandering Wives on: Twitter Instagram Facebook Pintrest

Wandering Wives – Armistice Day In Northern France

Author: , November 12th, 2015

We spent Armistice Day in the small Breton village of La Feuillee in northern France. In the UK the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is a sombre event, filled with military aplomb. It begins promptly at 11:00 with a silence to commemorate the fallen. Most cities hold large memorial services at their cenotaphs and poppies are worn as a mark of respect. We experienced a similar atmosphere watching the ANZAC parade in Australia. In France, Armistice Day is more of a celebration than a memorial. The French have a public holiday and celebrate their freedom and liberation.

We walked into the village at around 10:50 not entirely sure what to expect and hoping we weren’t late. Our first port of call was the war memorial, which had been adorned with tricolours. On our way towards it we noticed most other people were walking in the opposite direction so we turned on our heels and followed them. We reached the council offices and saw a group of people were gathered outside. We were unsure if we were in the right place as people were calling out to one another, children were shouting and playing, no one seemed to be respecting or remembering anything.

We stood back from the crowd and observed, still trying to work out if we had accidentally arrived at a birthday party or school outing. At 11:00 the church bells rang, our backs stiffened and our heads bowed, ready to contemplate the sacrifice of the fallen. It soon became clear we were the only ones observing the silence. The French villagers continued calling to one another, greeting each other with kisses and chatting. Cars were still arriving and late comers continued to walk up the road from the village with no sense of urgency. We decided to break our silence with a debate about GMT. Perhaps the service was at 12:00 in France due to the time difference. The church bells rang again and it looked like something was happening. It would appear that the French start their commemoration at 11:10, being fashionably late as ever…read more on Wandering Wives

Find out more about Emily & Sian by visiting Wandering Wives

Connect with Wandering Wives on: Twitter Instagram Facebook Pintrest