Dear Paris, We Love You

Dear Paris, We Love You

St. Lazare Train Station by Claude Monet

The weekend attacks perpetrated by terrorists in the amazing, beautiful, culturally-impressive city of Paris, France at first makes me feel that anything I might write today will have little meaning in the face of tragedy, violence and brutal disregard for life as we know it. But the more I thought about it, the opposite seemed right: celebrate the things that PARIS stands for. Shout out its history and vibrancy. And most of all, celebrate the culture that it has given us through books, music, art, architecture and the beauty of the French language. Dear Paris, Je t’aime, nous vows aimons. Vive Paris!

Dear Paris, We Love You

In the U.S. many children are first introduced to Paris via the lovely story of Madeline. With it’s amazing illustrations and it’s rhyming story line, the book by Ludwig Bemelmans started a series of stories about the smallest of the girls that live in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Madeline might be tiny in stature, but she seeks adventure and encourages children who read about her to do the same. She emulates strength, a Parisian characteristic. French literature has given us writers such as Honore de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Georges Sand, Simone de Beauvoir, Moliere, Guy De Maupassant. Certainly Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables champions the strength of the common man and his strength in the face of evil. Below is a statue of Balzac done by Auguste Rodin, a French sculptor whose work is know world-wide and whose work is often considered the spark of modern sculpture.

Dear Paris, We Love You

Statue of Balzac, Paris

For centuries French artists have gifted the world with innovative movements in painting and sculpture. The French impressionist movement brought to all art lovers scenes of Paris and the surrounding countryside. (See painting at the head of this piece.) A large metropolitan American art museum is simply not complete unless it has the works of Claude Monet for viewing. Considered the founder of the French Impressionist movement, Claude Monet often painted outdoors in nature, his goal to capture the changes and the movement that light provides a chosen subject. He would often paint the same subject many times–only the time of day or the season changing–and thus the work itself changing. His perceptions of nature heralded the importance of plein-air landscape painting.

Dear Paris, We Love You

Parisian Boulevard by Claude Monet

This picture of a Parisian Boulevard shows Paris’s fascinating architecture, rows and rows of buildings with the famous French mansard roof. This roof style  allows for more interior or attic space, thus allowing a builder to add another storey without using masonry. The design was often used by Francois Mansart (1598-1666) a French architect. A popular tale that has been refuted is that this roof style served to shelter it’s owners against taxes as well as rain. But some historians say the Fench window tax for a full storey in a building did not exist until 1798, years after Mansart’s death and did not exempt mansard windows.

Paris has gifted the world with opera, ballet and orchestral music,  jazz and piano music. Parisian artists walked the streets of Paris and were inspired by its beauty and the lovely cadence of the French language: Debussy, Ravel, Saint Saens, Bizet, Berlioz, Satie, Poulenc, Franck, Faure and Gounod–to name only a very few.

And in today’s creative world, novelists and screenwriters, playwrights and poets write about Paris–its people, its culture, its history. American women long to look and dress like Parisians and the perfumes and cosmetics that come from Paris have been prized by women since Catherine de Medicis, wife of King Henri II, was said to have introduced the use of perfumes to the French.

So this post celebrates and honors French culture and the people of Paris. May their rich heritage which has brought so much beauty to the world continue to inspire us. Let us all wish them peace and safety today and always. Dear Paris, Je t’aime, nous vows aimons. Vive Paris!

Dear Paris, We Love You

The Louvre, Paris


Dear Paris, We Love You















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Dear Paris, We Love You

14 thoughts on “Dear Paris, We Love You

  1. Beautiful tribute, to a beautiful city, to whom the world sends love and support…….

  2. Our western civilization is more than the death and rubble terrorists want to reduce it to. You have reminded us of all the beauty the French have given. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Pat, for celebrating the French culture with me. This post doesn’t even begin to touch on everything we have gained from them. Hope you are well, Beth

  3. I’m finding it VERY difficult to celebrate anything today after the weekend events in Paris, however, in response to your beautiful piece, France is certainly one of my favorite places on Earth. I hope it’s still there for my grandchildren to enjoy.

    • Thanks, Cheryl. It has the feeling of 9-11. I pray for France and for all of us. Believe in peace and freedom, Beth

    • Thanks so much Haralee. My heart aches for the world. We have to stop this, we have to secure peace or we are all lost. But how? That’s the question.

  4. Hi, Elizabeth

    Your post shifted our attention of sad event on 11/13 to the beauty of Paris herself. Your listings of her contributions in literature, art, and other areas of western civilization remind us that Paris will stand tall above the actions of evildoers.
    Thanks for this lovely tribute!
    -Stella Chiu

    • Ah, Stella, thanks for truly getting my message. Yes, civilization is indebted to many nations and the French for sure. If we read their books and listen to their music we help uphold our belief in the good things in life. Thanks.

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