Sunday, April 29, 2007
Arc du Triomphe
One day in June Ben, a British guy, came to visit. We were walking around Paris - he wanted me to show him the sites - when we came to the Arc de Triomphe. Some men were trying to get this huge flag to hang just right. They started by pulling it out of a big bag, we didn't have a clue what it was until we started seeing the three colours of the tricolore.
It was blowing like crazy and the flag was sweeping the floor of the entire Arc before they caught hold of it. By then it had tipped over the markings, the flowers and candles of the Tombe du Soldat inconnu and the eternal flame burning there.
I could swear they were about to extinguish the whole thing, wouldn't that be symbolism for you - the French flag itself putting out a symbol of eternal life. Maybe even the flag itself catching fire.
However, such an historic event did not take place. They hoisted the thing up and it waved in the wind, harming nobody, looking good like a good flag should.
I found the explanation as to why the flag was there in the first place quite funny. I heard they put it up there each time the French football (soccer) team played a match in the European Championship (Euro 2004).
Whether that was true or not I couldn't say but I liked the explanation and knowing the French, I wouldn't be altogether surprised if it was true.