A walk along infamy

It just had to be done.

Our activity for the Sunday after Christmas was to walk the length of rue Voltaire from Place de la Republique all the way down to Place d’Italie, the reverse of the route taken by the barbarians on November 13.

Place de la Republique is still a shrine. Crowds mill around the central statue dedicated to the French Republic, where hundreds of memorials, candles, flowers, messages, souvenirs and personal artifacts are placed in honor of the dead and injured. The sounds are hushed, as if in a church, which in many respects is where we are.

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About a third of the way down rue Voltaire is the Bataclan auditorium, still barricaded off. A smaller knot of people stand in front, gazing and paying respects.

Almost all the way down to the Place D’Italie is one of the bistros that was shot up from the moving car. Nothing tells the viewer that this was the scene of tragedy except for a clutch of flowers grouped around the base of the tree in the sidewalk. People just walk by, the bistro is closed on a Sunday and the building shows no obvious indication of what happened here.

It’s a long walk (2.2 miles–Lynn looked it up), but we felt that we had to do it in honor of the innocents.

For a change of pace, we took the Metro back to our ‘hood, where we trooped up Blvd. St. Michel to the Luxembourg Gardens, which were today packed with Parisians enjoyed the relative warmth and bright sunshine. One young skipper was sailing his model boat in the big pond, mainsail overtrimmed so the boat would round up in the light air and head right back to the wall.

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The French Senate is in the background, guarded by a trooper at each corner brandishing an automatic weapon.

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