Paris Then and Now

View from the Eiffel Tower - 1957

View from the Eiffel Tower – 1957

Paris…Autumn, 1957…visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, cruising on the River Seine in a Bateau Mouche. We were at a wonderful cafe, sitting outside and enjoying the scenery, the people and the sights and sounds of Paris. These serene moments — and others from our trip to Paris — were abruptly altered.

Across the street from the cafe was the French Ministry of Works. And parading in front of it were soldiers with automatic weapons, dressed in combat attire. What a juxtaposition! On one side of the street, combat-ready soldiers; on the other, French cafe life. You see, it was during the Algerian Revolution. Libya was seeking independence from France.

We enjoyed our trip – despite the tension. We were fortunate – or so we thought – that we were not caught up in these events. That is until our departure from Paris. We arrived at DeGaulle Airport, boarded the plane, and prepared to take-off for home. As the plane rolled down the runway, we looked out the window for a last view of Paris. Instead we saw puffs of smoke and the sound of exploding bombs. Good thing we were able to get off the ground in time!

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