Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arc de Triomphe


Yes, this is Les Champs Elysées. Yes, the street is amazingly empty... But if you look carefully, you will notice a lot of policemen (including the famous Gardes Républicains on their horse). Well, no wonder, I took this photo this morning, just before the celebration of the 1st world war truce took place. Angela Merkel (from Germany) was exceptionnaly here this morning. There are no survivors left of this war (among soldiers) so I suppose this date won't remain a holiday for ever...

45 comments:

  1. I just love this photo. It's moving, evocative and impressive. Let's hope this holiday doesn't fade away. That would dishonor those men who fought "the war to end all wars."

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  2. Wonderful haze over this shot, Eric. Particularly like the composition with the irregular framing of l'arc.

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  3. I'm usually more expressive, but I can only say WOW! You really captured the moment, turning out an elegant meaningful composition...wow.

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  4. And may I add my own WOW! right here? What you've captured is most impressive indeed—both the separate elements (the empty expanse of the Champs, the soldiers, the majestic arch) and the image taken all together.

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  5. Breathtaking photo. In the US, November 11 was made into Veterans' Day, which encompasses veterans of all wars. I, too, hope it will remain a holiday in France as well!

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  6. @Lynn (UK). I'm glad you noticed, because I did it on purpose!

    @Lynn (US) ;-)

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  7. Yes, it's very cool how you did that, Eric. The Arc is in the center, but the trees...well, you know what I mean. Fabulous!

    The hill is looking more inclined than I realized. Or is that just an illusion?

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  8. A moving photo, Eric. You've captured the solemnity of the occasion with the flag in the archway. Les Champs Elysees is so beautiful.

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  9. The linear perspective is interesting. I also like the light to dark balancing elements in this compositon.

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  10. i immediately went back in time in my head to last years armistice day photo...i had just found your blog, and and had just returned from paris......i wrote to you that my grandfather was in brest on armistice day, and that he had been" gassed" during the war just outside of paris while he delivered food to the men in the trenches.....he was 21 years old....he left france in january of 1919...and lived to be 78 years old....my grandmother has written a full account of his life...he dictated and she wrote...it's fascinating to me to this day....

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  11. Donna: there is a Vetern's war project that the library of congress sponsors. They would be very interested in your grandmother's document. They have scholars who pour over the submissions. I personally interviewed my father on tape about his WW2 experiences and sent it in.

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  12. Another WOW for you, Eric. And also simply for how this celebration moves me, through your photo.

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  13. Many soldiers who served in both world wars did not want to talk about their experiences. We must sympathize. Many of them were 17, 18, 19 years old, it was their first trip to another country, many of them had never left their home city or state before. They saw horrible things, unimaginable to anyone who has not seen war up close. Especially when much of the war was running at each other with knives on the end of rifles.

    No, we should never forget.

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  14. I think its beautiful that the truce celebration and the fall of the Berlin wall celebration came two days apart. Les Champs Elysees is an incredible urban space and it looks absolutely regal and stunning here without cars.

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  15. I vote for THIS pix to be used for Nov 2010 PDP calendar. Is it too late????

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  16. thanks phx-cdg....i will look into that.....my grandfather even wrote the names of the ships he was on, and also of the preparation he did in england before crossing the channel..... my father served in the navy out on the pacific for 3 years in WW2...he is 87 and refuses to talk about it, as it was so ugly......thanks once again

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  17. Wow, I can tell you this a giant contrast to what I am seeing here. From millions of people to nearly empty streets.

    I agree, I hope they don't eliminate this holiday. Although, I'm not sure that people give Veterans Day much meaning in the U.S., I like the idea of recognising all those who fought in all of the conflicts of their country.

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  18. i will add my "WOW" that is a mighty big flag!

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  19. Michael, I confess you are correct. Most of us don't give Veteran's Day as much meaning as it deserves. I did not go visit the graves of my father and grandfather, both vets buried in the national cemetery here. However, I took my father's wife and my grandfather's daughter to see the "Louvre and the Masterpiece" exhibit today, and we went out to dinner afterward. There was a Degas print in the restaurant, one of my favorites from le Musee d'Orsay. So, instead of directly honoring the dead, I celebrated the living.

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  20. I also hope they don't eliminate this celebration. Here in the States, the NYC parade includes young men dressed as (WW1) doughboys, as well as veterans of WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War (though never officially declared), and the conflicts in the Middle East. And I'm with PHX on this one—would love to see it in the calendar.

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  21. Ceremonies and jets flying over Pasadena today. Maybe it depends what city you're in.

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  22. The Arc has an ethereal look about it. What an expressive photo, Eric. I have faith that this day will continue to be remembered for the years to come.

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  23. This is another magic photo, Eric! Thanks!

    I think this rememberance day should definitely remain. Young (and future) generations need to be reminded what their fathers had to live...

    My grandfather was in the trenches of WW1, from Oct. 1915 to the end. Everyday, he wrote his diary on small notebooks.
    A few years ago, we typed these notes into a "Notes de Guerre" book, copied to all his (numerous!) descendants!
    I read this book regularly, and I always find new lessons of life!

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  24. I was in Paris 3 years ago. Great town. Nice picture also

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  25. Oh Thib, what a great story. Have you published them? Maybe it's too personal. Would be great to read one day...

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  26. Thanks, Michael!
    Not published! Only family members have a copy, plus a few Veterans associations.
    I'm thinking about putting it online, but I can't decide alone ;-)
    (and it would be in French...)

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  27. You don't get to see this famous street with no cars very often. Thanks for sharing this scene. I love the way this is framed.

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  28. Absolutely stunning photo. Definately calendar material!! Donna, your grandfather's story is fascinating. When you said he was gassed, I assumed it meant he did not survive, I'm so happy he did. So many stories that need to be told. I can only imagine the toll this has taken on all the Veterans around the world... in addition to keeping it locked inside of themselves, because it's too painful. Thank you Eric for sharing this beautiful photo!! Valorie

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  29. We have an attorney at our firm that uses his vacation time traveling to different veterans' hospitals all over the world interviewing the men and women about their war experiences. Copies of those tapes end up in the families' possession and the Library of Congress. He does this at his own cost. I'm very proud of his efforts.

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  30. Wow Suzy - they should do a TV story on the man at your firm. What an inspiring tale it is. It might even make a movie - I bet it has changed his life as well as the lives of others.

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  31. I agree, Carrie! He's had articles written about him, which I could link, but I don't think he'd appreciate the attention.

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  32. anonymous.....it was mustard gas, and he suffer from it for the rest of his life....in fact it was the reason he and my grandmother moved to the deserts of southern california....his lungs were affected by the gas and the dry air helped...as a memento of the war, i have a small wooden handmade snuff box (or tobacco box) that he picked up in brest, before returning to the states.....my thread to the war and to him

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  33. This is a great shot! It would be very sad to see Veteran's Day fade away. I remember when veterans of both wars (WW1 and WW2) were present at the 4th of July parade.

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  34. I vote for THIS pix to be used for Nov 2010 PDP calendar. Is it too late????

    + 1

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  35. Thib, this is a great story. I don't know if you should put his memories online, but if you do, please let me know via Tomate Farcie. Thank you.

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  36. I agree with Thib.
    Remembrance Day should remain. Not only to remember the ones who were in the WWI...

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  37. I think the holiday will remain, at least in the U.S. Unfortunately, we continue to create new war veterans every day.

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  38. There are so many unsung heroes...and so many amazing stories yet to be heard. Thib and Donna...wow, I am in awe.

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  39. Absolutely amazing! This photo really takes my breath away. It shows just how magnificent the Arc is. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for a wonderful photo.

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  40. I couldn't get close enough to the ceremony to see anything, but the German flags made me wonder.

    Does the unknown soldier who died in that war appreciate his former foe's flag flying at the Arc de Triomphe?

    I can see two sides of it.

    First, those are the people who cut his life short and destroyed a Generation (from his point of view...we all know it was stupidity in tactics, alliances and leadership).

    Second, I read a quote at Verdun from a French soldier who said he didn't hate the Germans, as he had so much in common with them. Would the unknown soldier enjoy the fact that Merkel and Sarkozy can stand united, their countries now allies using the same currency, which proves that his death might have some meaning to it after all?

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  41. I have to plug one of my favorite films here: Joyeux Noel.

    It's about the Christmas Truce in the trenches in 1914. It was created in cooperation by Brits, French and Germans.

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