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Getting Back to Paris Life

8-5-13v-day-avenue-de-loperaCelebration on avenue de l’Opéra8-5-13v-day-PrintempsDepartment store Printemps decked out for Victory Day8-5-13v-day-OperaV Day celebration at the Opéra

Every now and then a car drives by, but that’s about the extent of the noise outside other than the calming sound of rain drops. It’s May 8th — Victory Day — that’s why there’s little life on the streets.

This is the day “when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, thus ending the war in Europe.” ( This year is the 68th anniversary and will be celebrated all over France including the usual ceremonies.

The rain coming down is sure to put a damper on the festivities. The schedule includes a wreath-laying by the President of the Republic before the statue of General de Gaulle at Place Clemenceau in the 8th at 10 a.m….the usual ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe at 11 a.m….another ceremony at 3 p.m. organized by the DGOM in tribute to Soldiers Overseas who “died for France” at 38 Quai Henri IV in the 4th…and another ceremony at Place d’Orleans (14th) organized by the “House of Elders of the second DB” – Leclerc Division in conjunction with the Rhine and Danube Association Foundation and the Marshal de Lattre at 3:45 p.m….not to be the last as there is another at 5:15 p.m. at Porte Dauphine in the 16th to the Monument du Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny again by the Marshal de Lattre Foundation and also in conjunction with the “House of Elders of the second DB”…ending the day again at the Arc de Triomphe with yet another wreath-laying ceremony rekindling the flame by the Association of Veterans Affairs.

I won’t be there for any of them, and I imagine most of Paris will be doing something else, too, under the circumstances. With the holiday falling on a Wednesday, many people will “fait le pont” — taking the next two work days plus the weekend to have a mini vacation. Banks are closing, professional offices are closing, and we, the people, are left stranded to do nothing more than wait for France to come back to life.

The city Web site is showing photos from Victory Day in 1945 when nothing would have stopped the crowds of Parisians from celebrating the day they COULD go back to life as they once knew it. Funny how the table has turned, now that May 8th is an excuse to do little.

Oh well, we can only go with the flow, take advantage of the solitude and reflect on what it must have been like 68 years ago when Europe was battling more than just a failing economy!

A la prochaine…

adrian by Anne plageAdrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC


Respond to Adrian



Join us on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3 p.m. for Parler Paris Après Midi when Rosemary Flannery, author of Angels of Paris: An Architectural Tour Through the History of Paris takes us on a unique tour of the City of Light, uncovering the angels found in friezes, plaques, and free-standing sculpture; on fountains and façades, clocks and sundials, monuments and mansions, rooftops and window frames. Rosemary’s view on angels is sure to be fascinating and it’s always fun to meet new people — don’t miss it! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for details.


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