Saturday, June 19, 2010

Appel du 18 juin

Today was a celebration day in France. We celebrated L'Appel du 18 juin, a call that General de Gaulle made to the French in 1940 (read all about it here) to urge them to resist to the Nazis instead of surrendering. And last evening, by sheer coincidence! I happened to have dinner at Le Café de l'Esplanade, a restaurant located just at the corner of Les Invalides where they were having a "Sons et lumières" (audio and lights) to celebrate this famous episode of the French history. I took this shot during the show.. pretty scary. (BTW, about yesterday's post, I just finished the Animoto. Check it out).


  1. How do you manage to always be in the right place at the right time? This looks amazing—and, yes, pretty scary here. I guess De Gaulle did at least one thing right, huh?

  2. Only kidding about De Gaulle—though I was taught back in the sixties that the worst insult I could give someone was to call that person a "Gaullist." :~}

  3. He did a lot of things right *** at the time *** but eventually it was time to turn the page.

  4. Gosh another great photo but yes v scary. Important that we mark this day though Eric :)

  5. I can only imagine (thankfully!) the resentment and helplessness felt by everyone who had to see one of those damn flags in their hometown. What a complete nightmare it must have been.

  6. Wow, indeed very scary. When the picture first opened up my heart skipped a beat.

  7. About a year ago I posted a large photo of a swastika armband as part of the Minnesota History Center's " The Greatest Generation" which depicted various aspects of the WWII generation, especially that which involved Minnesotans. Viewers were startled by the Nazi swastika image, and I wonder how many feel the same way about your post today? It's not a symbol that is widely used today!!

  8. Scary subject matter, but very intriguing photo.

  9. I love the way the French "do"
    Son et lumière shows. I agree with ET Suzy in that this one in particular gives the current generation a real feeling of what it must have been like to hear that famous call and see these flags hanging.

    Alexa, I happen to know the answer to your question, but I'll wait and let PHX-CDG tell you! ;-)

  10. Just a coincidence !? Mon oeil ;-)

  11. Giggle, Alexa, our apt. these past two weeks overlooks part of Invalades. We have been watching them set up for the sound and light show since Wednesday,then seeing a poster in the Metro about it clinched the deal and invitations went flying. Reservations were for the Essplanade cafe where we all watched from the tables on the sidewalk in luxurious splender.We even got to see in advance what picture Eric decided to use!

  12. I am never shocked by any type of symbols, but this morning I AM....maybe because my grandfather was send to a cencentration camp and I never got to meet him or maybe that the picture portrays power..power that never should have existed...

  13. President and Madame Sarkozy were in London yesterday to commemorate the BBC broadcast by General De Gaulle and it received a lot of press coverage.
    The Nazi occupation of Paris must have brought out the best and the worst in human nature and, for me, always poses the unanswerable question - How would I have acted under those circumstances?

  14. A number of years ago there was a really interesting railway exhibition held all along the Champs-Elysees. One of the exhibits was the old presidential coach of Charles De Gaulle which was very luxurious. Further up the avenue was another rather nondescript wooden wagon, very basic. I made some flippant remark to the effect that this must be the 'peasant class' coach but as the words were coming out of my mouth and my eyes fell upon the information notice, I became silent with the realisation that this was one of the wagons that was used to transport Jews to the concentration camps.

  15. Superb Eric. You are always where you have to be. It is admirable...

    Horreur d'un passé qui a existé ... Comme ce qui semble incroyable mais qui a pu exister. Incompréhensible mais qui a existé. J'ai les paroles de la chanson de Jean-Jacques Goldman en tête : né en 17 en Leidenstaadt.
    En voici le refrain, moi cela me touche:
    "On saura jamais c'qu'on a vraiment dans nos ventres
    Caché derrière nos apparences
    L'âme d'un brave ou d'un complice ou d'un bourreau?
    Ou le pire ou le plus beau ?
    Serions-nous de ceux qui résistent ou bien les moutons d'un troupeau
    S'il fallait plus que des mots ?


    Et qu'on nous épargne à toi et moi si possible très longtemps
    D'avoir à choisir un camp"

    Parfois, toutefois je crois qu'il faut savoir choisir. C'est un devoir. Même dans la difficulté extrême. Bien sûr qu'il faut choisir. Mais que c'est difficile, évidemment. Accepter l'inacceptable est un vice insidieux... qui dure toute sa vie.

    Sorry for my French. But in these words, I prefer like that. And thank you deeply to Charles De Gaulle.

  16. I too was a bit shocked when I saw your photo, Eric. I wonder how the sons et lumieres was received? Thanks for the post and explanation. It's important to remember history so that it's never repeated.

  17. If you ever have the chance and you're in the United States, you need to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Chilling, moving, frightening, amazing, confusing, saddening, scary, and mind-boggling are all feelings you experience while touring. I imagine that this show would have had the same effect. The most moving spot in the museum for me was walking through one of the train cars that people were packed into for a trip to the concentration camp and reading as you got off that pregnant women were taken immediately to the gas chambers. The week before I went to Washington, I had found out I was pregnant with my son. Quite a shock to realize how little they cherished life, and what can happen when people believe others without thinking and questioning "What is truth?".

    Good reminder, Eric. Thank you.

  18. NPR had a story yesterday about DeGaulle's famous broadcast from London. Apparently there was a mixup and the live broadcast wasn't recorded, so he went to the studio and recorded it so we have his speech for posterity.

  19. I agree with the person who described this photo as chilling and am so glad it's just a light show this time around. Even still, to see such a symbol of hatred and cruelty on any building in my beautiful Paris hurts my heart. As someone who loves history, I appreciate the reasons for it, but it does bring tears to my eyes to think about the time when those flags were really hung here.

  20. I was there last night and the effect was stunning and startling. The crowd was hushed. Thanks for the photos because the ones I took were pretty bad.

  21. For me, the image meant, let us not forget. That was also. I feel. the point for the entire ceremony. How many people in France are around now that remember the war, compared to those of us who only know it as history?

  22. I had the same reaction as Monica. An upsetting image, that's for sure. But Phx is right: let us not forget.

  23. As a coincidence my post for today has some resonance, the Free French Memorial on the Clyde.

  24. Stunning, sobering photo. It's great that such events are being commemorated, especially with all the revisionists and holocaust deniers out there. If I remember correctly, at the Jean Moulin museum near the Gare Montparnass you can listen to a recording of the speech.

    Drummond--I've often wondered the same thing. How would I have reacted?

    Vive la France libre!

  25. I saw many specials on France24 yesterday concerning the memorial. I didn't see this one though.

  26. On a lighter note, I went to the "Impressionist Paris: City of Light" exhibit at the Legion of Honor here in San Francisco today. There are hundreds and hundreds of drawings, paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, and posters. The menu in the Museum Cafe has been changed to French food. And they play "only" French music in the cafe during this exhibit. It was wonderful!

    ♥ Eiffel Tower Suzy ♥: There are many many pictures of the Eiffel Tower -- and the gift shops have Eiffel Tower merchandise that is really unique. Maybe you should leave your credit card at home when visiting (since we all know that you have a weakness for the Eiffel Tower). :-)

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  28. Eric, where are you? What has happened that has prevented you from posting today? Oh, I'm sorry for asking but as it is almost nine o'clock in the morning here in Paris, I'm a bit worry. No posting so late has never happened so far. Okay this is Sunday today and you may be sleeping after a looong night! I hope everything is fine for you and for yours. I'm looking forward to your news.

  29. @Flore. I made a mistake in the posting settings... Nothing to worry about ;-))

  30. Ok, fine Eric and thank you.
    I prefer hearing that than anything else that could have been critical. I'm not a worried nature though but with you I am. Selfishly, of course ;)

  31. I watched the ceremonies live from England on TV5..[very late here..]..Sarkozy and Carla Bruni were there and they interviewed many elderly survivors who were with General DeGaulle at that time. Fascinating look at very dark pages of history.

  32. Hello

    Your article is on Home Page of today :) !