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Three days in Paris and no Fête des Lumières in Lyon

November 19, 2015 14 comments

Mafalda_merciThis is not supposed to be a blog where I tell you about my life but I’ve received wonderful messages on twitter, heartfelt comments and likes on the post I published Saturday morning, about half an hour after I discovered that Paris had suffered from six terrorist attacks in one night, killing 129 people and wounding 352 other. Thanks for them. Thanks to all of you who did a minute’s silence, organized a march, gathered or meditated to honor the people who died on Friday night.

These murderers tried to drag the City of Lights and the country of the Enlightenment into their darkness. They won’t succeed and despite how hurt, shocked and raw we feel about what happened, life must go on.

This week, I had a three days business trip scheduled in Paris. I went. As a coincidence, our assistant at work had booked me a hotel entirely decorated by rap, pop and rock singers. It felt right to stay in a place that celebrates rock music after what happened to the Bataclan. The bedside tables were made of drums, the shower had piano keys on the tiling and the closet looked like a cabinet to file music instruments. Here is the artsy lobby, where you can listen to the music of the five artists who decorated the hotel:

Hotel Triangle d'Or (3)

So how’s the atmosphere in Paris? I didn’t go to the Place de la République, although I wanted to. But it’s not the time to worry the police with passersby gathering around. They have enough to do. I saw lots of policemen, gendarmes and CRS in the metro, on the streets. I attended a conference on the Champs Elysées, I thought the avenue was deserted. I went to a fast food, I had to show the content of my bag to a security guard. Same thing to go to the mall at Les Halles. There are still people sitting at terraces but I found the Parisians walking at a less frantic pace than usual. It’s only my impressions and I’m still probably too emotional to think straight. Mundane views take special meanings, like this fountain with birds of peace just before a Lebanese restaurant.

Fontaine Rueil 2

Otherwise I’ve read that sales of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast are booming. Isn’t that a great response?

Tonight, we also learnt that the Fête des Lumières has been canceled in Lyon. What’s that? It’s a popular event that lasts four days around the 8th of December. Lyon celebrates the fact that the Virgin Mary protected the town from the plague. Every 8th of December, the Lyonnais put candles on their window edges in rememberance of that day. Since 1999, it has become a huge event for the town as there are unique light shows on the city buildings. 3 million visitors come each year to see the shows, enjoy the city and walk around. The policemen are in Paris, such a huge crowd is complicated to protect and the mayor canceled the event. We expected it.

However, we will all put candles on our window edges on December 8th, and this year, they’ll have painful meaning. Fête des Lumières means Feast of Lights but also Feast of the Enlightenment. It would be very nice if you too lighted candles on December 8th and put them on your window edges. That way, we’ll be a lot more to put on lights to fight against their darkness.

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