Sunday, April 27, 2008

Proud to be American!

Would you believe it if I told you that I took this photo today (Saturday) in front of the Paris town hall (hôtel de ville)? Well, I did. Apparently, this flag belongs to a group of pilgrims to Lourdes, celebrating a 40 year anniversary of something (don't ask me more, that is all I could guess from what was written on their T-shirts after I blew up some of the photos I took!). I thought it was pretty daring to walk through Paris exhibiting a huge American flag! ;)


  1. Wow! What a shot!

    And yes, brave of those wacky Americans, considering how many times I had to say "je ne suis pas une amie de George Bush" the last time I was in Paris."

  2. Whatever they are celebrating certainly made for an interesting picture!
    Wonder if they were involved in any of the 1968 events? It must have been a big year- I only remember it because I was in the second grade!

  3. I like the woman in the bottom center with the glasses. She looks like she can't believe what she's seeing.

  4. Oh, yeah, pretty daring for sure! :-D
    Great shot!

  5. I prefer the woman in the bottom right wearing green, with the ample bosom

  6. It looks like the weather has been wonderful there the past couple of days! I hope it stays that way for the two weeks I'm there, and especially for our picnic!

  7. Oui ! Il est une image pour que nous célèbrent parce que cette année nous élisons un nouveau président enfin!

  8. It's not the people that are bad, cause as a Canadian and dealing with them in my internet business ,they are wonderful caring people. Their's always a few bad apples that spoil the crop in every nationality. Elaine Cooke

  9. What would be pretty daring would be to walk in some of the USA with a huge French flag ! PS : I don't see the connection between Lourdes and the flag BTW !

  10. If Paris is the city of demonstrations, well...

    Waving a flag is expressing love for one's country. I love mine, though I'm ashamed of it right now. Those of us who loathe Howdy Doody love our country no less than his supporters. To think that waving the U.S. flag means only one thing is absurd. And the only way to deal with absurdity is to recognize it. And move on.

    I'll be movin' on in 9 days...

  11. Very colorful photo Eric! However strange it is to see a big American flag a the hotel de ville, the most shocking thing to me in this photo (and you have to enlarge it to really notice) is that the woman in the green tank top has a pink bra strap showing, which matches her pink head band. Kids these days!

  12. This year is not only the 40th anniversary of the May 1968 "events", but also the 150th anniversary of Mary’s 1858 apparitions for whoever believe in these. Brohard

  13. Petrea: Yes, I like that woman's expression, too. She seems to be thinking: "I've seen a lot of strange things in my lifetime, but what's all this about? Raising the flag at Iwo Jima I can understand . . . Planting it on the Moon, sure . . . But here, in front of the Hôtel de Ville - that's taking things a bit far, isn't it!"

    Or perhaps she's wondering why Eric's taking a photo of these brazen patriots, whose pilgrimage seems as much a political gesture as it does an act of religious devotion. No offense, but in my book, faith and flag-waving are about as incompatible as truth and televangelism.

  14. I wonder why they were waving the flag? All I can say is that if I saw a group of people waving the French flag in NYC I'd just wonder why, and what they were trying to say. I don't think it is negative; just curious. NYC has its share of demonstrations and Paris does too :-)

  15. Wow, didn't expect to see that here! Wonder how well that went over?!

  16. Maybe it's as la fin du siecle said: un nouveau president, enfin!

  17. Yes Petrea i think Mrs. Spectacles has a rather resentful expression in fact. I think she must be French and thinking what a cheek it is.

    Katie i think the green bra was in the wash. Having no choice but to wear the pink one, it made good sense to tie it in with a pink Alice band. Though, at that age, i'd have personally preferred to be braless and hair flying free of any constraint - now THAT was daring, lol.

    Eric it's not easy to photograph flags at the best of times and i'm so impressed you caught it like this, almost complete, with the sun on it AND an intriguing background. How DO you do it?

  18. Interesting. It is not too unusual to see other flags flown here in my area, so I guess I wouldn't be too surprised. There are a lot of Canadian flags all over the place too since we are only two hours from Canada.

    Wouldn't it be so nice if people judged each other on their own qualities and virtues, rather than by a government or by a few annoying people? So nice...maybe one of these millenia.

    Smiles, everyone!!

  19. Many people in America wave flags to represent their heritage or the country they immigrated from. I don't think we look negatively at it. I think it's wonderful that people can express themselves that way. I don't understand why Petres consideres American's "wacky" because someone is waiving an American Flag.

    By the way Petrea I'm sure George Bush would not want to be considered one of your friends.

    Even though you may not like Americans we are good people like everyone else around the world. Although I don't like everything that happens, I am not ashamed of my country. Shame on you Jeff.

  20. Oh dear, religion and politics . . .

    Still, I wonder what would happen if a group of peace-loving, law-abiding, tax-paying Muslims were to celebrate Ramadan by parading in front of New York's City Hall waving a huge Iraqi flag?

    It's true that one shouldn't judge all Americans by a handful of over-zealous tourists, but flags are never neutral or innocent objects - no matter what the intentions of the bearer(s) - and should be displayed, dare I say it, with due tact.

    Just for the record, I have nothing against Christians, Muslims or Americans. My beef is with those who either unthinkingly or unwisely make use of national symbols when not on their home soil.

  21. Brave and daring Americans make for great news stories and photos! :)

  22. Anonyme: "I don't understand why Petres consideres American's "wacky" because someone is waiving an American Flag. "

    (sigh) OK, listen. She didn't meant "Americans are wacky" she meant that 1) one should *always* exercise caution when one is not in their home country and 2) there is a strong anti-Bush sentiment abroad and people are quick to rant about that, so why not lay low and have a good time instead.

    Imagine you and I (mostly I) went around carrying a huge French flag in certain parts of the country here in the States, well, that would be kind of wacky too; I might just as well wear a T-shirt that says "beat the crap out of me" because either way, "certain segments of the population" would get the same message.

    Hope that helps.

  23. A rather unexpected view, but wonderfully captured.

    Feeling more a citizen of the world I am not a flag waver. I do however live on an island where 1 in 3 houses proudly displays their flag, with no malice, just pure pride. In the UK the flag waving has been hijacked by an undesirable element.The same scene is usually a more sinister one, although people are trying to reclaim the flag as a symbol of pride rather than the more negative overtones. Freedom to wave the flag is fine by me, if it's done in the right spirit.

  24. And by the way, calm down, nobody dislikes American PEOPLE. But they're not enamored with the current administration (think about it, even in the States only 1/2 the population voted for Bush, and now his ratings are really low, even in the US).

    As to the flag display, that custom is considered quite normal here in the US but not so much back in France, unless it's the 14th of July or something and even then, you won't see people wearing flagpins over there, or putting flags outside their front yard the way they do it here. It's just not done.

    Different cultures have different customs.

    Hope that helps.

  25. I love it. It's so bright and beautiful.

  26. The issue isn't flag-waving in general, but waving a flag on foreign soil. In America, this is a common thing - Americans are excited about their foreign heritage and enjoy displaying their Danish, Swiss, French, or British flags. Nobody would think it was odd (IMO), and certainly no one would frown on it. But in France, it's "daring" to wave anything but the French flag? Seems sad to me. If this indicates that the French are particularly patriotic and want only their own flag waved, okay. In the USA, we've been told that Europeans are so tolerant, and we aren't. Now I wonder!

    Interesting discussion. And as ever, a great photo, Eric.

    BTW- lots of Muslims worship and live openly as Muslims everyday in the USA, without any difficulty.

  27. MK: "But in France, it's "daring" to wave anything but the French flag?"

    That's not it. In France (IMO) people don't love the flag as much as people do here (in the US). Well, they get it out for special events but it's rather rare compared to the US. I live in the US and I have at least 3 flag pins (post 9/11), and at least one or two US flags. When I lived in France, I never had a flag.

    As to waving the French flag in the US, it might be OK now in most parts of the country, but I wouldn't risk it *everywhere*. And back in 2003 you had better not do something like that, due to the difference of opinions between France and the US regarding Iraq, trust me, I remember, even here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. :)

  28. Eric, I looked it up on the internet. The "pilgrims to Lourdes are celebrating the anniversay of" the sacred sanctuary of Lourdes in that it has brought hope, comfort and blessings to millions of devout pilgrims, and in 2008 they help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions. The Lourdes story began in 1858 when a poor 14 year old girl saw a ghostly woman in white in a shallow cave near the town. Over the next month Bernadette Soubirous saw the woman eight times. The vision told the girl that she was the Virgin Mary, and that she wanted a chapel built on the site and for people to come in procession, and revealed the now famous spring. From the earliest of days the spring water showed miraculous qualities. First a woman with a paralysed hand was healed, further cures soon followed, and visitors have flocked to Lourdes ever since.

    I think I remember seeing an old B&W film about this.

    There was an article about it in the Weekly Newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco

  29. Maybe they're waving the flag to keep the group from getting lost in big crowds. I've been on tours where they wave little flags. Perhaps they didn't have a small one, and decided to use this one for that purpose. It sure is hard to miss, and therefore hard to lose sight of the tour guide.

  30. With respect, I don't think the issue is SOLELY that of flag-waving on foreign soil, although my earlier comment may have created this impression. It's all about timing and context. Choosing when, where, and how one displays the flag of one's home country is just as important as allowing others the freedom to display theirs (and this includes the expression of pride in one's foreign heritage).

    By the way, suggesting that "in France, it's "daring" to wave anything but the French flag" is not only a misrepresentation of the way things really are, it also betrays (again, with respect) avoidance of the issue at hand - which, I repeat, is about the when, where, and how of said waving. Tolerance doesn't mean conferring carte blanche on the actions of others: it means demonstrating an understanding of how others think and feel, as well as how they might interpret - and react to - a given action. Yes, sometimes this is a tricky thing, because it entails refraining from doing something that is not INHERENTLY wrong (like waving one's flag in public) simply because the message it sends (either intentionally or unintentionally) is likely to offend, given the contextual factors.

    As for the fact that "lots of Muslims worship and live openly as Muslims everyday in the USA, without any difficulty", nobody is denying that that they do. My hypothetical example referred to a very specific when, where, and how, so abstracting it out to a statement that no-one can argue with is (yet again, with respect) a distortion of the debate.

    Finally, I think the American flag is a beautiful thing. Regardless of WHEREVER and WHENEVER it is displayed, it evokes ideas of independence and freedom in anyone who knows the bloody history from which it was painfully cut, dyed and sewn. That said, independence and freedom are values which can be distinguished, but never completely separated, from all the other cultural signals embodied by objects as seemingly ingenuous as a fluttering cloth, adorned with nothing more than a pocketful of stars and a stack of stripes.

  31. Look, these WACKY(a word used by David Letterman in a playful way,and that is how I take Petra's use of the word) are just showing off who they are. Period. They would be puzzled at how we are blogging about them. Obviously these goofballs don't know the local customs.If it wasn't for Tomate, neither would I.
    AND... I agree with Jeff's sentiments, politically.So there!
    Tomate: I learned more from what you wrote about French mentality than I could ever get from 1,000 layovers.VERY INTERESTING. Thank you.
    I wish I could count how many flags from different nations I have seen on backpacks thru the years in Europe. I am amused at this picture.... and the flags on the backpacks, tho you would NEVER see me displaying one. Rule number one when you travel: Blend in. I don't wave flags or wear them in the states either.
    That reminds me of something I heard once about buildings that displayed the American flag in New York City. The more flags displayed, the more you have to prove. Take a look at the department store Saks Fifth Avenue, is COVERED with flags, more than any bldg. I have ever seen. Saks is owned by an Arab company.LOL!

  32. I'm sorry, Anonyme, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I'm an American. In using the term "wacky" I meant to be facetious. I don't consider people wacky for waving an American flag. But as Lucio mentioned, sometimes it helps to take things in context.

    My comment about George Bush was in the context of trying to get around Paris in 2006. At the time there was a great deal of, shall we say, disdain for our current administration. In conversing with the many French people I met, there was definitely a wrong answer to the question, "Do you like George Bush?"

    French people can most certainly discern between individuals and their governments. But you may also recall that, at that time, some Americans were insulting the French by boycotting French imports, turning their noses up at French wines, and even going so far as calling French fries "freedom fries." The French had been insulted by many American individuals, and were perhaps smarting from the blow.

    Things have surely softened by now. But when I was in Paris in 2006, I wanted to make it very clear to the French people I spoke to that I was not one of those ignorant Americans.

  33. Lovely image. But frankly, with GW Bush as our dubiously elected president, it's a bit of a curiosity that most of the rest of the world hasn't severed ties with the USA. He cannot leave office too soon, IMHO!

  34. I am proud to express my views. It is American. To oppress or shun the expression of views is UN-American. My name is Jeff, and I have not shame about expressing my disdain for my president.

    Apparently, others are afraid to own their own attacks on those who disagree with them, n'est-ce pas, "Anononyme"?

    Beu deu geu deu. Pff.

  35. What a perfect shot, Eric! Says it all.

  36. Eric, you devil you. I'm sure you had Nooooo idea what kind of comments you might get posting a photo of the American flag AND using the word "Lourdes" all in the same post. You're so clever and daring. I remember a time when you would have shied away from these sort of things. Even the king blogger is evolving.

    As for the photo (I won't comment on what I think about Lourdes), the flag colours you captured are truly beautiful and it's fun to see this in front of the Hotel de ville.

  37. It's 9.17 in the morning here and there are already 36 comments! It's nice to see lively unhostile conversation!

    I have only had amazing experiences as an American living in France. My boyfriends family welcomed me with such loving open arms. French people tell me all the time that they like jolly enthusiastic Americans.

    But I have tokd random people on the metro who have struck up a conversation, for example, that I was English. Sometimes i just don't feel like having the 'George Bush ' conversation that it invariably leads to. I would rather reserve that type of conversation for good friends or for this friendly PDP forum:)

    The photo is just gorgeous. I am tipsy from the color and sunshine!

  38. "in France, it's "daring" to wave anything but the French flag"? No, not at all.

    I'm French, I live in Paris.
    Yesterday, saturday and usually wedding day, a happy group of hooting cars with newly weds passed by my window, with excited young women wawing a huge Algerian flag out of their car. :)
    I suppose this could be a fashion starting!

    Let the pilgrims do their stuff, it's OK.
    As Parisians, we usually don't care people do things we wouldn't do ourselves ;o)
    We try to look as much blasé as can be.

    And BTW, I think you Americans should notice your flag here in France is now more assimilated with Obama than Bush...
    Obama is rather popular!

  39. I don't see the big deal.
    I m extremely anti-American regarding some of their foreign policies and I despise Bush, nevertheless I believe in freedom of speech and religion.
    Let the demonstrators go to their pilgrimage and carry whatever country's flag they want!

    Vive la Liberté!
    Vive la France!

  40. And talking about flags, maybe we should reconsider bringing those flags to represent Monica, Lynn, Petrea and Suzy!

    Do you want something more wacky then a bunch of bloggers having a picnic n the banks of the Seine carrying flags? lol

  41. I guess times have changed a lot since World War II when this flag was welcomed.

  42. MK: "But in France, it's "daring" to wave anything but the French flag?"

    My 2 cents...

    In fact we have an ambiguous relationship with anything that is related to patriotism.

    The general idea is that it's "bad" to show patriotism because it takes the people back to the war period, when the motto of the government that collaborated with the Germans was (Travail, Famille, Patrie - Work, Family, Homeland)
    These "values" are usually considered as out of fashion (ringardes!) although the Family concept is slowly coming back into the picture. It was even promoted by the left candidate to the French Presidency (Ségolène Royal) during the last presidential campaign.

    The work value is also slowly coming back as it is widely promoted by President Sarkozy as a way to earn more money.

    Patriotism is still a bit touchy and no one - including the political scene - really knows what to do with it...
    On the one hand it's totally OK - and even recommended - to wave a French flag during a soccer match or a world cup of anything, but on the other one hand, it's highly discouraged to do so on Bastille Day or any of the national holidays.
    It would mean, you think the French are better than other nations (which we do, of course, but that is an other story LOL!).

    What I found out, in trying to put myself in the shoes of Americans (I'm not saying I managed), is that they don't have all the guilt the French have, associated to patriotism.
    For Americans, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waving a flag in the street, on the contrary, it's a way of promoting the values they believe in.

    It's always very hard to judge the behavior of people when you don't belong to the same culture.

    This takes us to another endless discussion topic: is there a global concept of good and bad that the whole planet could agree on?!

    I know it's a tough one for a Sunday LOL

  43. BTW...

    Michael "I remember a time when you would have shied away from these sort of things. Even the king blogger is evolving." I don't agree. I've always made it a point not to give my opinion in the captions and to stick to descriptions or explanations of the scenes I shoot.

    I like it when people give their opinions and respect the one of others and I must say that 99% of PDP commenters do so and I am very thankful for that.

    Like Marie said "It's nice to see lively unhostile conversation!" ;)

  44. Goodness what an interesting comments box today, a hornet's nest stirred for sure.

    Surely - i think at least - a global good would be respect for others' own cultures, Eric?

    It has limits though. Courtesy is a great thing, in my view. I personally wouldn't dream of going to France or anywhere else and waving a union jack through the streets, i should feel very embarrassed indeed and slighting on the country i visit. I just wouldn't do it. Mind you, even the union jack is in dispute. Many want the UK to be separated into England, Wales and Scotland. It seems fair since Scotland has its own government, with often better conditions, yet we in England are governed by a Scottish prime minister! Ah well that's another argument.

    Rose i did wonder about the flag thing at the picnic! he he you might alienate yourselves on the Seine as being a bunch of foreigners in Paree not blending in.

    Marie - Is it really preferable to pretend to be English? I'm surprised you don't get all the Bush/Blair best-friends-in-the-playground comments!

    Ultimately, I say "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. During my last visit to Paris in late March I was in line waiting to purchase a cup of coffee at McDonald's when a man in the line next to me asked me if I was an American. When I said yes he told me, in very good English, that he loved America. I responded that I felt the same way about France. Our respective country's flags never came up.

  47. I used the word "daring" only because Eric had used it in his initial post.

    My personal view is that I would abstain from waving my flag in another country. The whole point of going to a different country is to experience that culture as fully as possible, by blending in as seamlessly as possible. And honestly -- although I do own an American flag, I don't display it. It's not because I'm ashamed to, or because I think it's wrong. It's because I'm rather introverted, and don't like to display myself (except in blogland :))

    Eric, thanks for your further comments; they were very helpful. Patriotism has taken a downward turn in the US since Vietnam. Many in the Southeast are still fairly patriotic, although elsewhere (Northeast, California) it is probably more frowned upon.

    Americans value freedom of expression, perhaps more than they value toleration. So - if being tolerant includes being sensitive to others' feelings and views (and anticipating not offending them) and biting your tongue (not stating your opinion), then many Americans would feel that "toleration" would prevent self-expression. If the two are in conflict, most Americans feel that self-expression should win out, since it is an inherent right in American culture. Just my take on the US!

  48. m.k.: "If the two are in conflict, most Americans feel that self-expression should win out, since it is an inherent right in American culture."
    I think that you might be right on that one. At least, that is the picture I've gotten while studying American people/customs.

  49. Just for the record: I've got nothing against Americans.

  50. Maybeth "All I can say is that if I saw a group of people waving the French flag in NYC I'd just wonder why, and what they were trying to say. I don't think it is negative; just curious. NYC has its share of demonstrations and Paris does too :-)" That is exactly what happened in Paris. People did not really seem to care.

    Lynn " Eric it's not easy to photograph flags at the best of times and i'm so impressed you caught it like this, almost complete, with the sun on it AND an intriguing background. How DO you do it?" LOL. To be honest I'm not very happy with this photo, but it's the only one I could "save" from the tens I took!

    Lois "The "pilgrims to Lourdes are celebrating the anniversay of" the sacred sanctuary of Lourdes" Thank you for the info Lois. I've been to Lourdes once, and, well, it's fascinating to see all these buses bringing people from all over the world to see the famous cave well Bernadette is said to have seen the Virgin Mary.

    Lucio "Finally, I think the American flag is a beautiful thing. Regardless of WHEREVER and WHENEVER it is displayed, it evokes ideas of independence and freedom in anyone who knows the bloody history from which it was painfully cut, dyed and sewn." That says it all. And if all this is included in the US flag, it makes perfect sense to wave it.

    Jeff "Beu deu geu deu. Pff." LOOOOOOOOOOL!

    Lynn, "Surely - i think at least - a global good would be respect for others' own cultures, Eric? " Yes, but sooner or later you end up in a dead end. Burning your wife because she did not bring adequate dowry sounds totally acceptable in some cultures. Should we respect it? Is it "globally" good? I personally don't think so...

  51. On a lighter note - I always match my bra straps with my headdband, doesn't everyone?

    Eric, I dropped by to say my goodbyes and thank you for this incredible opportunity to show off Naples and meet so many fascinating people around the world.
    What a great concept! Much success in all your future endeavours!

  52. What a fascinating discussion. Thank you, Eric, for the explanation of French patriotism. That makes perfect sense, even going all the way back to the revolution.

    Was it M.K. who said American patriotism has gone a bit out of fashion since Viet Nam? Perhaps even moreso since Bush, although as someone pointed out that may be regional.

    But even those who are dissatisfied with Bush are patriotic. I love my country and what it stands for. The reason I'm so unhappy with our president is that he has tarnished America and its freedoms. I'm afraid it's going to take whole generations to repair the damage his administration has done, not only to America but to the world.

    How fortunate we are to be able to discuss it openly here.

    Bravo, Jeff! Pfft!!

  53. Will someone translate Jeff's "beu deu geu deu. Pff"? Thanks. For some reason, my French/English dictionary was not helpful :) Evidently it is very funny, and I don't want to miss out on the joke. My French is limited to 2 years in high school, 30 years ago :(

  54. An aside: for those of you who don't live in America -- you shouldn't get the impression that all Americans dislike Bush. The negative opinions expressed here are certainly felt by many, but MANY Americans also value Bush, appreciate his values, and feel his presidency will be well-regarded in the long run. Although I do agree with all he's done, and I'm unhappy with the length of the war, I did vote for him twice. (I'm glad you can't shoot me online!) Just as we're glad that we are free to express our disfavor, I don't want to be afraid to express my favor, of a president who I believe possesses personal integrity. Only my opinion. Just as France is a diverse nation, so is the US.

  55. (PS: I meant to say "I do not agree with all he's done." Sorry. I don't know how to edit my own posts here, once I've posted them. Is that possible?)

  56. And here's (one of) the crux(es) of the matter: M.K., I don't agree with what you say, but I'll "defend to the death your right to say it."

  57. That's right, 2008 is the 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Lourdes. Bernadette Soubirous saw the Virgin Mary 18 times from february to july 1858: an event really marvellous and extraordinary.

  58. Eric, you said: Lynn, "Surely - i think at least - a global good would be respect for others' own cultures, Eric? " Yes, but sooner or later you end up in a dead end. Burning your wife because she did not bring adequate dowry sounds totally acceptable in some cultures. Should we respect it? Is it "globally" good? I personally don't think so...

    LOL of course not Eric! I'm with you completely and, so long as no-one is hurt is what i meant! How else can we achieve a global good; make everyone behave as we do? Can't really do that either, but surely the line is drawn where people become physically hurt. Although then, there's emotional hurt oh goodness i give up; i can't achieve world peace after all. LOL.

  59. It was worth a try, Lynn. I don't suppose any of us can achieve it on our own, though. Maybe together we can do it at PDP with this internet thingy as our tool.

  60. As an American who loathes Bush and marched in Portland, Oregon, against invading Iraq prior to us doing so, I must say that this demonstration angers me. It's so "in-your-face." During W's first administration and the beginning stages of the war I truly got sick and tired of seeing the American flag plastered everywhere (including flying wildly until tattered attached to car antennas which is actually against the lengthy protocol rules for displaying the RW&B). That behavior has tamed to a point of near memory, thankfully. I absolutely do not see this demonstration as a display of patriotism. It is jingoism.
    jingoism n. Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism.

  61. Bush sucks and so does the current MHO!!! BTW, has anyone ever seen Dick Cheney smile (smirk yeah) but smile? Lousy aim, too. These cats can't leave soon MHO!!! I'm proud of a lot of things American such as its original art form...JAZZ...but as for the current leadership...ignorance and arrogance reigns and rains.

  62. For another photo of "rapid patriotism," go to this site - another city daily photo!!

  63. I meant "rabid patriotism"!! Oh, NEVER MIND - I can't get a post right to save my life. Sheesh.

  64. If you are a true fan of PDP you must look at Petrea's link.
    It has been around for a while but now and again it returns making all of us laugh and laugh and laugh!

  65. M.K., you're making me laugh! I'm so afraid of saying something I don't mean to say that I proofread and proofread and proofread...and I still get it wrong sometimes.

  66. Eric, tout est dit avec ce commentaire.

    I don't think it's jingoistic to show one flag. I mean if I had seen this demonstration with the American flag, I would never have said myself that it was bizarre or patriotic. I would only have asked what was the point of the demonstration, that's all, I guess.
    We, French people are the first to show our flag when we're proud of our sport results and we are the first to hide it when it's about patriotic acts or something linked to the country itself.
    It's weird to me. Can we be proud and ashamed in the same time of the flag?..

    For those who didn't know, the blue and the red of the French flag represent the Monarchy and the white is the city of Paris. As Guillemette the First, I like it. LOL

  67. "For those who didn't know, the blue and the red of the French flag represent the Monarchy and the white is the city of Paris."

    Really, I had no idea! Thanks, Guille!

  68. Petrea: Your link to frog w/ a blog's French lesson as a response made me laugh. Hehe!

  69. Guille
    Are you sure? isnt it the other way around?

  70. Who said "In the USA, we've been told that Europeans are so tolerant, and we aren't. Now I wonder!"?

    Well, I hear that a lot, too, and I'm not sure why people say that. I understand that people may disagree with me, but the France I grew up in was *anything* but tolerant. I guess that's why they had May '68, uh? :)

    Anyway, you'll find that some people are "tolerant," (depending on your definition of tolerant) and some are not. Just like everywhere.

  71. Wow, I really enjoyed reading to all the comments that have been left today. How interesting it is! It is worth understanding. As French, I think it is important to keep in mind that US soldiers went in June 1944 in Normandy and saved our countries in Europe from Nazism (so thankful for that, can’t imagine otherwise what would have been??). For me, the US are still a friendly great Nation and I wouldn't like to see it otherwise. Well, that doesn't mean I love everything America produces nor everything Bush administration leads to BUT as Eric pointed it out, there are still other cultures I couldn't ever feel as friendly ones.
    As far as we can read >> Petrea 'How fortunate we are to be able to discuss it openly here', that is not so bad.
    And speaking of patriotism, I think it is important to be proud to be French or American or English if it is your country (those in which you live or were born). But for me, it is not a question of waving a flag or not. It is a question of sharing something between humans, linked to the society, arts, history, education, sports etc... And that doesn't prevent to share many friendly relationship and ideas with other countries. To share: that is the point, isnt’it?
    I am on my way back to Paris on the train, somewhere between the Ocean and Paris. The Internet connexion is hesitating. Everyone is sleeping around me! Not sure if my comment will be coming in the comment box…;)

  72. Thanks for the education regarding Lourdes. A couple of weeks ago I bought a vintage silver plated religious pin from the Lourdes Shrine in France. This Art Deco style pin measures 2 1/4" long. It shows the Grotto of the Apparitions with Saint Bernadette kneeling before the Virgin Mary. The word Lourdes is underneath. A very nice piece of vintage Catholic religious jewelry! However, I just bought it because I liked it. Now I know so much more about it and the pilgrimage. This is great!

    Helen, When I did the search on the Internet, I did see many tours for the pilgrimage as you had guessed -- lots of tour packages. Hmmm, the flag might have been just to keep the American tour of the pilgrimage together. That sounds logical.

    Anyway, I love the whole thing. And thank you Eric for sharing your photo with us (even if you are not very happy with this photo). Those are the most difficult for me to share with people. I call them my misfits.

  73. PHX-CDG: you're gonna make me blush!

    MX, don't feel bad, if it makes you feel any better, I have yet to find a comment of mine without typos or ambiguous word. Oh, well. Blame it on the computer :)

    Great thread today, Eric and PDP commenters! It's been fantastic reading the comments today :-D

  74. " Hmmm, the flag might have been just to keep the American tour of the pilgrimage together. That sounds logical.

    Actually, it really does !! I think we might have been arguing about the wrong thing all along! So, who's Catholic?

    Just kidding ;)

  75. Well if Guillemette the First likes it, that's good enough for me!

  76. Corinne - I regret to say that many Americans fail to remember that if the French had not formed a naval blockade at Yorktown and helped to force the British to surrender, we Americans might be singing God Bless the Queen and not the Star Spangled Banner. As nations we owe each other much but, as my father was fond of saying, friends don't keep count.
    David - parisphotoart.blogspot

  77. Yes David, but it is older than 1944. Maybe they can be forgiven?
    And still glad you do know it!

  78. May I add my 2 cents? I'm an American, born in Morocco, lived in England, Germany and the US. My goal now is to relocate to Paris.
    I respect the patriotism of others and prefer to learn about a country and its citizens' beliefs. I try not to force my views on anyone else.
    The United States flag has great meaning to me- my father served in the navy and the air force. I recognize the flags of other countries as symbols of those nations and their struggles.

    But I teach in Texas. I am required to stand for the pledge to the US flag- fine by me; I gladly hold my right hand over my heart. But we also have a Texas pledge! My had goes back down by my side and I wait until the pledge is over- as I would when any other nation's flag was being pledged.
    Patriotism should be a choice.

    And Eric, when I was in Paris I noticed a new memorial to the soldiers who fought in Morocco and Tunisia. Touching and very moving.

  79. Our Lacaban, Cajous, & Marestin family members (who originally immigrated to San Francisco from the MidiPyrenees region of France very near Lourdes) have a yearly weekend reunion somewhere on the US west coast, hosted by different family members each year. Planted firmly in the ground in the midst of the public festivities wherever they occur in the family's flag and the French flag.
    I suspect the American flag in the photo is to indicate the Americans participating in the pilgrimage to Lourdes, not a political statement. Just like the flags at the reunion, its a symbol of origins, not values. JMHO, of course.
    Seattle Daily Photo

  80. MK...If I were there or you were here, I would raise my glass and give you a cheer. Clink!

  81. Thanks Mignon - I'll join you in that cheer! Let's all lift our glasses to interesting, beautiful photos, and self-deprecating photographers (haha!) Those who are reticent to raise flags can very comfortably raise glasses:)

  82. I am not very happy with the Administration here in the States either. However, I do love the American Spirit! I think it was a wonderful thing that these pilgrims were able to fly our flag in Paris... it was after all, France that did help the American Revolutionaries at one time to obtain freedom. (Not that the British are bad, I like most of them... just nutty King George III).

    I like to think people are people where ever you go. This helps me to forget about the politics and enjoy the culture of those people I meet.

  83. Oh, and Eric it is a fabulous shot! Most of yours are... makes me want to visit Paris someday when my husband and I go to walk the El Camino De Santiago.

    Thank you for the bright smile you give me everyday... keep it up!

  84. I have been studying abroad for the last year in France - Montpellier and now Paris. I've been doing some traveling too and on my most recent travels I overheard a young British guy say "Oh those Americans. I've heard people with English as their second language speak better than Americans!" There were many more insults being slug at "us Americans." It kinda hurt my feelings - I never considered myself the poster child to all of the negative stereotypes. Before I am to France I read every single book I could get my hands on about the French culture in an attempt to learn how to best show respect and not come across as rude or naive. But it kinda just slapped me in the face when I heard an all-European bashing Americans party!

    I am happy Americans feel the love to go parading their pride. We should be proud to be American. Ok so our government is in the crapper right now, but we still come from a rich culture and a very unique heritage. We have very strong values and we are usually very accepting of others cultures. We have our flaws but one of the biggest ones is that we are constantly walking around with our heads in shame, making us look weak and only serving as fodder to those who wish to look for something to attack as us with.

    And as for the comments about the Iraqi's waving a flag in DC - how sad is it that we would judge them and look down on them. When they too are a victim of a few bad seeds in their country. They have every right to be proud of who they are too!

    I think this week to celebrate my American heritage - I'm going to get some pancakes and 100% maple syrup with some peanut butter at Breakfast in America!

  85. Rose, of course it's the contrary LOL. Slip.
    (The white flag with the lily was banished during the French revolution and people adopted this three-coloured flag).

  86. Argh! American invasion!

    I have nothing against Americans as a whole - there are some good and some bad, just like anywhere else.

    But having said that, the few I have seen over here have been loud and act like they're the only ones there.

    And I hate it when they go on about how horrible the English accent is. I think some of the American accents sound horrible but I don't complain about it to random people on YouTube for example (something some Americans seem to like doing).

    But alot of Americans are nice :)

  87. ShutterSpy, it's because some Americans do this (and some do) that others of us care so much about how we present ourselves when we travel.

  88. Wow. That is shockingly ballsy. I'm surprised they weren't mobbed by anti-American protesters! Just kidding. Kinda :)