Every year on August 25, France celebrates the liberation from German occupation in 1944 at the close of WWII. This year, Paris will host a light and music show at the Hotel de Ville, in the open square outside of the city’s town hall. Following the light show, the square will transform into a massive dance floor. This will be a night of celebration!
For this year, the 70th anniversary, President Francois Hollande is expected to attend, along with other government and Military representatives.
In the early days of photojournalism, Magnum photographer Robert Capa captured scenes from the days leading up to and after the liberation. Below are a few from that collection of images. It seems foreign to look at Paris under the stress of war, but also wonderful to see the celebratory faces and crowds in the streets that are so familiar and unchanged even today.
Paris. August 26th, 1944. Crowd on the pavement after snipers in buildings overlooking the Place de l’Hotel de Ville opened fire on the celebrations after the liberation.
Paris. August 25th, 1944. French troops being welcomed during the liberation of the city.
Paris. 8th arrondissement. Champs-Elysées. August 26th, 1944. Members of the French Resistance and soldiers of the French Army celebrating the liberation of the city.
August 25th, 1944. German soldiers surrender to French Resistance fighters during the liberation of the city.
To see our apartments located near Hotel de Ville:
Two bedroom Loft at Saint Paul
Ile Saint Louis Studio
Three bedroom, Air Conditioned Quai de Montebello apartment
Check out these great pictures and more of the iconic kitchen wares store E. Dehillerin on rue Montmartre near what used to be Paris most important food market for the city’s restauranteurs, les Halles. More here
You’ll know from our post on the secret rose garden that we love the hidden passageways and short cuts that make navigating Paris like a architectural treasure hunt. One more connecting promenade that we fall in love with over and over again is the Hotel de Sully. Although with more conspicuous entrances, passing between Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine and the Place des Vosges, it is rare that this verdant park ever feels crowded.
A certain refuge from the busy avenue that goes from Bastille down to become rue de Rivoli, the passageway from Faubourg Saint Antoine is quite imposing and feels like maybe you’re not allowed to go through there. This is one of the main reasons I credit for the minimal foot traffic, especially from the street side. From the park side, however, what you see is light coming through the doorway under the otherwise shaded arcades that encircle the place des Vosges.
You’ll see some gorgeous architectural details throughout. But do take your time to look at all the doors. They are all heavy and wooden, carved in and outfitted with giant sculpted door knockers. The picture below is the underside of a stairway next the the small bookstore between the stone courtyard and the garden.
If ever you are looking for a beautiful backdrop for family photos, or for a quieter place to enjoy a sandwich from Paul or Miss Manon (both near the Hotel de Sully entrance on rue Faubourg Saint Antoine), you’ll find it here.
Just as beautiful in the fall, as in the summer, the ivy wall turns all shades of fiery red and orange.
Definitely add this to your list of must sees on your Marais walking tour. Or take a look at our nearby apartments and make this part of your daily commute.
Marais Place des Vosges apartment
Marais Vosges apartment
Marais Saint Paul Loft
The Pont des Arts is a common pilgrimage for those in love when visiting Paris. Couples affirm their love by attaching a lock to the chain-link walls of the bridge and throwing the key into the river Seine. But there is a lesser known celebration of love hiding in a tiny little park at the top of rue des Abbesses in Montmartre: The Wall of Love.
Le Mur des Je T’aime was an idea from Frédéric Baron who wished to hear “I love you” spoken in the native languages of 80 countries on his list while traveling, but never did travel from Paris. Instead, he collected the words from neighbors, shopkeepers and embassies in as many languages as he could in a collection that would eventually, through the collaboration of calligraphist Claire Kito and Muralist Daniel Boulogne who fell in love withthe project, be shared with the public in the form of the tiled wall we know today.
“I love you” is written in over 300 languages and is written about 1,000 times on the wall. The scattered red marks represent the “pieces of a broken heart, those of a humanity which is too often torn apart and which The Wall attempts to reunite.” A beautiful sentiment, no? It’s not just for the love between a couple, like at the Pont des Arts, but love amongst all people. That is something worth celebrating!
The wall is located in the Square Jehan Rictus, just behind the exit of the metro Abbesses in Montmartre.
The Paris by Arrondissement has been somewhat phased out now that we all have GPS in our pockets, but if you are ever lost in Paris with no battery in your smartphone, this is the book you want to have on hand.
The books have been updated with improved (though less beautiful) graphics, a narrower binding and new glossy cover, but there is something nostalgic about both the idea of a map and the look of these pages that feel worth sharing.
Vintage maps leave us nostalgic for a less digital age, especially maps of Paris, where just walking around leaves you nostalgic for another time.