These attacks in the 10th and 11th arrondissement happened thirteen days later. I'd walked in the 10th by one of the café's the other day, weather in the 70's, sunny and amazing for November. Everyone was out. A quartier I set a book in, an arrondissement home to immigrants and the 'populaire' - working class with so many cultures: Kurdish, Turkish, Hindu, Serbian as well as African and before them Ashkenazi Jews and Eastern European Communists. I walked down rue Jean Pierre Timbaud into the 11th where I also set a book, at the top of the street every kind of Koran shop, veiled women, wall plaques with a vase of flowers to the fallen 'Mort pour France' from the Nazi's, and at the bottom the Maison de Metallo's the old communist union of metal workers now an art and cultural center. Alive. True, as reports say parts have become 'branche' hip but there's still an edginess. The victims were young, culturally diverse and it boggles the mind why this neighborhood was targeted.
But a lot of wonderful things did happen during my trip; leading a tour to sites in my fictional detective's life, visiting friends, researching and being a 'flaneur'. Here are pictures of a happier time:
This ceremony was at the Mairie - townhall - in the 11th arrondissement very near the cafes where the terrorists struck and the Bataclan concert hall. At the ceremony the students from local lycée Voltaire sang the Marseilleise, people laid wreaths in commemoration and in this remembrance of World War I, the war to end all wars, those young schoolgirls above read letters sent home from French solider's to family from the trenches. The man with them, a Rèsistant, spoke of the horrors and senseless deaths that created a generation of widows and orphans which reasonated today. This Mairie opened it's doors Friday night for the wounded and held a blood drive. I pray none of the children or their families were affected by what happened. Here's the video of them singing the Marseilleise linked on Facebook
At home on Friday, jet lagged, messages started coming from people asking me if I was alright, if my friends in Paris were safe. What did that mean? A quick check of the news and I saw the unfolding horror of innocent people gunned down and the saga of the crimes happening in Paris. Even though we lost an innocence, my Parisian friends say don't forget 'Fluctuat nec mergitur' the Latin phrase meaning "Tossed but not sunk" and the motto Paris has used since at least 1358.