Dianne and I recently had a few days in Paris.
The hotel we stayed in was right by Notre Dame, just across the petit pont. Beautiful.
Below: the view from our bedroom window across to Notre Dame.
Main items on the agenda for this visit were The Louvre and The Musee d'Armee.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves, so here is just a small selection of the dozens of photos Di and I took:
And then it happened.
The terrorist attack at Notre Dame.
Fortunately we were having an afternoon cuppa in a café just along from the hotel, when all hell broke loose. There were sirens, armed fellas everywhere (in uniform, and out of uniform), and a whole commotion around the Cathedral.
Some nutter had attacked an officer with a hammer, and been shot for his trouble.
We were fine, although Di was a little shaken by the experience.
For a couple of hours we were unable to get back to our hotel because of the police cordon.
When we did, the place was surrounded by journalists as can be seen in the pics I took from our window.
All very dramatic.
The rest of the visit passed without incident, but I reflected on it all.
We had returned from the Musee d'Armee that afternoon, where deeds of gallantry and glory had been all around. Where men serving their country were depicted in paintings and commemorated for having marched, shoulder to shoulder, into a hail of musket-fire, or worse.
So, if a nutter with a hammer thinks he can strike a decisive terror blow against that tradition, against that nation, against that gallantry, then he, and all of his kind (whether armed with hammers, knives, assault rifles, or explosives in their vests) is seriously mistaken.
And as I pondered this, the next morning, sitting in the very same café as we had been in when the attack had happened the previous day, I exchanged pleasantries with a local man and his wife at the next table who happened to have dropped a coin which I picked up and returned. As he left the café, he simply said, "Enjoy the rest of your holiday in Paris" and smiled.
All back to normal.
And while little acts of friendship between nations, between individuals, continue, the pedlars of terror cannot win.
Above: back to normal, after the attack, early evening the square was open again.
Below: later on... across from Notre Dame.
Made me want to break out into La Marseillaise!!
Vive la France!