Picture of the Week

5 December 2015

Week 51: Paris and Le Mans

Filed under: — Administrator @ 16:42

All the pictures from this week were taken between Sunday and Tuesday during a brief business trip to France. I had meetings at the OECD starting at 11:00 on Monday, so either way I had to travel to Paris on Sunday. I decided to take advantage of this and visit my uncle Joseph in Le Mans. The distance from Paris to Le Mans is more than 200 km, but thanks to the TGV, the train trip takes only 50 minutes, so it was perfectly feasible to spend Sunday night there and return to Paris Monday morning.

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Joseph in a pensive mood in his living room. He lives in an 18th century house in the centre of Le Mans:
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Joseph at his desk. Even though he is 85, he continues to travel around France (and sometimes abroad) to give talks in schools and community centres about his wartime experiences:
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Monday morning, it is still dark when Joseph drives me to the train station. Just before leaving his house, I took a snap of these naked tree branches. They had a sort of autumn/winter feel that I liked:
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The train from Le Mans arrives at Gare Montparnasse in Paris, a part of town I do not know well. So I went for a quick walk to have a look around. Lots of urban fauna:
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Tour Montparnasse:
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Museum of the liberation of Paris in 1944:
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Urban detail I:
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Urban detail II:
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This was the first sign of the terrorist attacks in November that I saw in Paris. Someone has scribbled an anti-islamic slogan in the metro, and somebody else changed it into an anti-fascist slogan:
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The inner courtyard at the OECD. On the right is the modern HQ building, where a couple of thousand people work:
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And this is the “château” (strictly speaking, it is called Château de la Muette, see here for more information). It is used for formal meetings and other special occasions, but occasionally one gets lucky, and our lunch and meeting were actually held here:
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The main hallway of the château:
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The flags of the 34 OECD member countries:
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A whiff of history:
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During the breaks I explored the château a bit. One of the neighbouring rooms was being prepared for President Obama’s visit the following day:
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The meeting ended around 6 p.m., and I had another look at the new building before we left:
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Afterwards, I had dinner with some officials from the OECD, the US State Department and the EU. The venue was a restaurant near the OECD called Gare de la Muette. As the name implies, it was once a train station, and in fact the serving area is located where the platforms used to be:
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It ended up being a rather late night, so I gave up on going to Champs Elysées to see the Christmas decorations. But on Tuesday morning I was determined to go to Place de la République, where Parisians have been paying tribute to the victims of the November terrorist attacks. My flight back to Alicante was at lunchtime, so I got up early and descended to the Mirabeau metro station to make my way across town:
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The focal point of Place de la République is the monument to liberté, égalité, fraternité, topped by a bronze statue of Marianne. It looks quite different now than in normal times:
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The base of the monument is now completely covered by expressions of grief, anger and all sorts of other emotions, related to the most recent attacks but also to the one on Charlie Hebdo earlier in the year:
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I was obviously not the only one taking pictures:
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I spent the rest of my time focusing on the details:
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Rag doll:
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Environmentalists had planned a big march in connection with the COP21 climate change summit. But because of the security clampdown in Paris all rallies and manifestations were called off. Instead, people brought shoes to the Marianne monument as a symbolic gesture:
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“One imaginary god, countless real dead” (loose translation):
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“My islam speaks of love…”:
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“To kill in the name of a god…that is fucked up” (another loose translation):
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Poem on a light pole:
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The very last picture I took in Paris this time around. A couple sharing music on the metro on the way back to my hotel:
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3 Comments »

  1. A particularly poignant series, and vary informative.
    Much enjoyed.

    Comment by Brian — 6 December 2015 @ 05:31

  2. Very, not vary !!!

    Comment by Brian — 6 December 2015 @ 05:31

  3. very touchy indeed! all types of “grandeurs”

    Comment by Claire — 7 December 2015 @ 09:25

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