More Christmas Lights and the Reality of History
Since Christmas lights are our focus, we’ll begin with a look at one of the classic market streets on the edge of the Latin Quarter area called rue Mouffetard. It’s unpretentious and conjures up old Paris. It’s pedestrian mostly and busiest in the mornings with fresh fruit markets, boucheries, boulongeries, patisseries and still a few good shops. If you read the travel books, this street is always highlighted, though I told Bernie last night that it’s really looking “worn.” That’s the best word to describe a sense that it’s past its prime. Admittedly, I’m speaking through the eyes of a tourist. I’m sure the students and residents who flock there feel differently. Supposedly, the locals dance in the streets on Sunday afternoons.
We went after dark to see the lights and have a bite of dinner. It was cold and rainy but we managed to capture some photos to share.
I promised earlier some information about Le Mémorial de la Shoah. This is a Holocaust Memorial Museum which is perhaps five minutes at most from our apartment. We have passed it numerous times without stopping. At the prompting of a good friend, we visited Sunday afternoon. If you are Jewish, have Jewish ancestors, or just an interest in this dark period of history, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s totally free. I was a little disappointed that much of the commentary was not in English but we followed along as best we could.
Shoah is the Hebrew word for catastrophe and in this case refers to the killing of nearly 6 million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany and its collaborators including the Vichy government of France. Though this remains a blight on France and Paris, it is why we have the Paris of today. The buildings, museums, churches, and architecture were preserved rather than destroyed. One just has to look at what happened in London to make this painfully clear. It was a huge price to pay!
English-speaking countries use the word Holocaust (instead of Shoah) which is Greek for “sacrifice by fire.” Everything in the museum is user-friendly. You can dig into the police files, the correspondence, all the videos, newspaper clippings, etc. So if this is your thing, you will find this a treasure trove of history. One thing struck me as we were walking through. SO much of our history is documented by major newspaper clippings recounting the news of the day. What do we do now in the preservation of current history? Are we really going to keep that FB post or the Instagram photo or the uTube video? Who’s the gatekeeper for such documentation? I believe the loss of our newspapers is tragic. It was a scary thought and I’d love to hear your input on the subject. The written word seems to be escaping us. But then, who ever thought that vinyl records would make such a comeback?
I will caption some of the photos as we tour this very moving statement of history.
This is a heavy post but somehow poignant for us today, I believe. When those in power espouse hate, fear and distrust, the price can be tragic.
Tomorrow, we are linking up with some friends who will be in Paris over the next week. We plan to help them out with transportation, etc. so will be busy.
I see that horrible weather is forecast in the USA for most of the Thanksgiving holidays. Safe travels if you’re visiting family.
May blessings come your way at this Thanksgiving time.
L & B
Monica & Marlyn
November 26, 2019 @ 12:43 pm
Heart-wrenching. We cannot do this again. Ever. For any race or religion. An important post to share. Thank you, Linda.
November 26, 2019 @ 1:41 pm
Agree completely about the demise of the written word. I miss newspapers. With the advancement of technology in storage media, I still wonder how we are going to access data stored on, say, 3.5 inch floppy discs.
November 26, 2019 @ 1:52 pm
Linda, thank you for this sobering post this morning. As the news rolls in the background here, I think we should all stop and review this. It was real. Freedom was stolen, and people died horribly. A court in the USA has ruled that “presidents are not kings” — that’s in today’s news! It’s hard to know which way to turn. The weather is a symbolic backdrop, too.
I’m so glad you and Bernie are having this amazing journey in Paris and thank you again for taking time to share. I KNOW how much work this is — amazing — this gift to us! Love, Jeanie
November 26, 2019 @ 1:57 pm
This is a sobering post. And you are so right that the sowing of hate, fear and distrust is at the base of this and other genocides. Demonizing races, cultures, gender, religion, nationality is the root of this evil.
November 26, 2019 @ 2:18 pm
November 26, 2019 @ 2:38 pm
I truly regret not having seen the museum. I’ll have to at least work towards seeing ours in Washington. Thank you for sending so much of the information.
November 26, 2019 @ 3:15 pm
Thanks for a very insightful post. The information about the museum is most poignant as are your feelings about the loss of historical perspective and documentation with the demise of the written word. We write more these days but preserve less of what is written unless it is made available to some company for advertising or some other country for espionage. Alas!
I wish we had seen the Holocaust museum when we were there, but I may not have had the courage if we had thought about it. The small remembrance area that we saw depressed me and made me so sad. As I looked a the names in your post, I grieved. As I looked at the pictures of the children, my heart broke. Whan kind of human being can do such a thing to a child? It’s all so hard to see and remember, but so very important to do so. Thanks for sharing.
November 26, 2019 @ 5:17 pm
We agree the Shoah memorial is so well-done — wonderful, heart-wrenching, guilt-inducing, anger-provoking, sorrowful … Clive said the same re wishing more of the labels were in English. Thanksgiving week is a perfect time for your post. Merci beaucoup, L&B.
Have seen plenty more photos of the Champs Christmas lights and Bernie’s is still the best!
As Jeanie Thompson said, your blog is truly a gift. I am thankful for it, for the time and care you put into it and for both of you. Happy almost-Turkey Day, however you may spend it in Paris.
November 26, 2019 @ 6:54 pm
Our Thanksgiving Day will be quiet and certainly atypical. Both my children will be traveling amid all the traffic and bad weather that seems to be forecast. So prayers for their safe journeys. We will have coffee at 3 with a Paris friend. Your comments always make me smile and are so appreciated.
November 27, 2019 @ 10:37 am
Thanks for sharing. My Uncle survived Auschwitz. He still has the tattoo on his arm as a reminder. Steven Spielberg interviewed him when he produced the movie Schindler’s List.
November 27, 2019 @ 3:39 pm
Oh my goodness!!! I had no idea you were still following the blog! How are you? We should have lunch during the holidays. Have to rush back and make Christmas cookies. I know you remember!!! So glad to hear from you.
November 27, 2019 @ 4:10 pm
Yes, I follow you and B! I live vicariously through your fabulous pics and such beautiful writing! I miss you much. I am HAPPY, fat, retired AND PICKED UP GOLF!!! Who would have thought?
November 27, 2019 @ 8:23 pm
Good for you and the golf! It was the joy of my life for so many years but had to stop because of horrible tendinitis in my wrists. Ugh! Please let’s have lunch sometime in December.
November 29, 2019 @ 4:21 am
We were there and also felt the sad heavy weight of the Holocaust. It was all those faces that really brought me to tears.
November 30, 2019 @ 10:04 pm
I certainly concur with sadness the loss of our local newspapers. We read the NYTimes and Washington Post daily. I just cannot fully appreciate what is left of al.com. Today’s blog is shattering, but I am grateful for reading it. Thank you.
December 5, 2019 @ 2:27 am
catching up on ones I have missed. This one is a heartbreaker but everyone should go there. Thank you!