Tag Archives: equality

Paris, The bright and colorful Capital of Freedom

Paris is the Capital of France. Paris is the city of lights. Paris is a dream for all the lovers. Paris is the place for all Epicurean delights. Paris is the symbol of freedom. Paris is the destination for the artists. Paris is…

Terrace

THE FRENCH LIFESTYLE

I went to Paris and I planned to write an article on the best venues in the city. It would have made you envious to visit the Capital. My work was easy. Between the good restaurants, the wonderful architecture and the nightlife, I had a lot of ideas. I was happy to see my friends and walked in the streets, with the sun and the warm weather that is unusual at this time of year. The nice thing about Paris is, that there are many restaurants with terraces. It is the perfect place to relax with family and friends. Indeed, in France we like to take time after work to go out with pals. Why? Because Paris welcomes people from all over the world who want live in the French capital. They are students or artists who come find to inspiration, or just a better life, totally immersed in the Parisian lifestyle…

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Courtesy of Céline

AND SUDDENLY…

Life in the capital never stops. I can still hear the laughter, the music on every corner and the perfume of freedom in the air. I remember everything, but I can’t write something about Paris without mentioning the horrible events of November 13, 2015.

I was wandering the streets of Paris in November when terrorism struck the nation and left families suffering. I could have been one of the innocent people killed at the sites of these coordinated attacks. I could have been on Rue de Charonne or Rue de la Fontaine, where at least 23 people were murdered. I could have been on the terrace of the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge, drinking innocently, when bullets took the lives of 12 human lives. I could have been one of these 89 bodies killed mercilessly in Le Bataclan.

130 is the number of souls that flew away. It’s the number of smiles that disappeared in one night. But 130 isn’t just a number. It’s the faces, the names, the people. They were children, spouses, parents. They were simply human beings. They may have been the love and the universe of someone, and now they are gone. You were between 17 and 68 years old. You were Catholics, Muslims, Atheists. You were French, American, Chilean, Belgian, Turkish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Romanian, Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Mexican, Swedish, Venezuelan, and Italian. You represented Europe and the world. You are in our memories.

The terrorists responsible for these attacks hurt our liberty. They made us falter but we will be stronger. Whoever they are, they will not take our joy for living.

Paris, continue to sing L’Hymne à l’amour, continue to make resound La Marseillaise. The show must go on. I want to hear the music roaring in our ears. Paris, please continue to glisten, to make eyes shine, and to let us love freely.

Today we are all of the Generation Bataclan. As long as there is life, there is hope, even for a city in mourning.

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Courtesy of Julie Verdier

LIFE CONTINUES…

Today, as a tribute, I am going to drink excessively, I am going to wear a shorter skirt, I am going to listen my Rock music on high volume, I am going to live for you, for freedom, for our youth. I am going to dance even though my body is broken. I am going to laugh, even though my heart wears your grief. I am going to stay strong. We are threatened but free. So young people, rise to fight for our “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.” Rise and live because there so many things to do. Paris, your lights are not turned off.

Terrace Montmatre

Terrace Montmatre

Follow me to Montmatre, the most picturesque place, with all these amazing painters and its small and cobbled streets. Let us discover Le Sacré-Coeur (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) and its view on Paris. The scene is magical, especially by nightfall. Walk in the 7th district and take a seat on the terrace of Café Varenne, in front of Le Palais de l’Elysée, and taste a typical meal from the local gastronomy. The dishes of Sylvain Didier and his wife, the owners, are unique and authentic, and their reputation is known to the United States. Everything is homemade. Eating here is like sharing a meal with family. The atmosphere is convivial, around the fashionable drink, called “Spritz”, which came from Italy.

Café Varenne

Café Varenne

Ponts-Bateau Mouche

Ponts-Bateau Mouche

Take my hand and let’s go lay down in the 11st district, in a beautiful restaurant and a very girly tearoom, Rose Thé. Since 2002, Corinne, the owner, has made homemade quiches and pies, both salty and sweet. The chocolate cake without flour is delicious and you can buy and taste various kinds of tea. Take the Bateau-Mouche and discover the city sailing over the River Seine. Kiss on the Mirabeau bridge. Come to discover the decadence of the girls of Folie’s Pigalle or the mysterious dancers of Le Moulin Rouge. Drink to innocence at the Bar La Vue. Situated at the 34th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Paris Etoile, near La Place de la Porte Maillot in the 17th district, the bar offers a panoramic view of Paris. Its selection of wine, spirits, and cocktails is for all tastes. The bar is a must-do activity during a trip to Paris, especially if you are looking for a romantic and glamorous backdrops.

PHOTO BAR LA VUE

Bar La Vue

Courtesy of Duc

Courtesy of Duc

In memory of those who lost their lives on November 13, 2015…

Stéphane, Pierre, Nick, Jean-Jacques, Anne-Laure, Cécile, Thomas, Guillaume, Alva, Chloé, Emmanuel, Maxime, Quentin, Macathéo, Elodie, Ciprian, Lacramioara, Nicolas, Baptiste, Anne, Pierre-Yves, Nicolas, Precilia, Marie-Aimée, Elsa, Nicolas, Patricia, Vincent, Asta, Manuel, Romain, Lamia, Lucie, Elif, Milko, Fabrice, Romain, Thomas, Mathias, Marie, Claire, Germain, Antoine, Romain, Grégory, Christophe, Julien, Suzon, Mayeul, Salah, Véronique, Michelli, Matthieu, Cédric, Nohemi, Juan Alberto, Stéphane, Thierry, Olivier, Stéphane, Frédéric, Pierre-Antoine, Raphaël, Mathieu, Djamilia, Mohamed, Nathalie, Marion, Halima, Hodda, Jean-Jacques, Hyacinthe, Nathalie, Guillaume, Renaud, Gilles, Christophe, Cédric, David, Charlotte, Emilie, Isabelle, Fanny, Yannick, Cécile, Luis Felipe, Marie-Charlotte, Justine, Quentin, Victor, Christophe, Hélène, Romain, Bertrand, Christopher, Aurélie, Manu, Anna, Marion, Franck, Caroline, François-Xavier, Sébastien, Armelle, Richard, Valentin, Matthieu, Estelle, Thibault, Raphaël, Madeleine, Kheireddine, Lola, Hugo, Claire, Maud, Sven, Valeria, Fabian, Ariane, Eric, Olivier, Stella, Lola, Alban, Cédric, Cécile, Djalal, Justine, Vincent, René, Marie, Amine, and all those who remain anonymous.

And for all 350 who were injured.

San Francisco Pride

I’m Florent, from Grenoble, France, a small city located in the Alps, “my mountains”. I finished my studies a year ago and I decided to spend six months in an American city to improve my English. I studied English for three months in a school in downtown San Francisco, and am now working as an intern at Wcities. It has been a valuable opportunity to improve my English speaking daily with Americans in a professional atmosphere.

Pink Saturday

I knew before arriving in San Francisco that the Pride Parade is one of the most legendary events in the colorful city. I also knew that San Francisco is open-minded and liberated, but I couldn’t guess how much. During my first week in the city, I was strolling by Fisherman’s Warf with my friends when I saw two guys, completely naked, skating towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I looked at my friends and said, “Is it usual to see naked guys here?” They laughed and answered me: “This is nothing, in San Francisco, there are the Up Your Alley Street Fair, the Folsom Street Fair, and the biggest Pride Parade in the world,” they said. The Up Your Alley Street Fair is a summer fetish fair, and the Folsom Street Fair is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street fair.  It was at this moment I knew my six months in the city might be a bit kinky.

On Saturday of Pride Weekend, I looked for a costume shop to buy some items and put myself into a proper state of mind. At five o’clock, we ventured to the Castro neighborhood to experience a night on the street. We went to this eccentric neighborhood by subway and many people wore costumes.

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

 

Walking on the street or entering a pub was almost impossible because of interminable lines. My costume was a real success and a lot of people asked to take pictures with me. I wondered what place I had set foot in when I saw throughout the night maybe one hundred naked guys. That was a bit strange, but I had fun, sharing moments with gay, lesbian, transsexual, and heterosexual people. For the first time in my life, I did not see any difference, judgment, or barriers between genders. Everyone was really friendly and outgoing, perhaps because of the impressive amount of alcohol in their blood. At 2am, we were on the way back home, and we realized the party wasn’t only in Castro but everywhere in the city: a day, a night, and a whole city dedicated to Pride and equality.

I didn’t expect such an evening. I participated in the Pride of Montpellier, my home city in France, and it was more relaxed, less extravagant, and much smaller. This is strange but awesome: when a crowd gathers with the same values ​​and beliefs, and for a specific event, all social and behavioral boundaries disappear.

 

Sunday Morning: The Pride

The next morning, I had a difficult time waking up after such a surprising night in the Castro. At 10am, I was on the way to the Pride Parade that kicked off on Market and Beale Streets. The entire city was dressed as a wonderful rainbow, the same rainbow I saw on peoples’ cheeks, t-shirts, and flags. Market Street was closed to cars, and boundaries were placed along sidewalks. The ambiance of the Pride Parade was similar to Saturday night’s, but I had the impression the goal was different. Indeed, families with their children, old couples, students, and workers stood across the barriers, celebrating the values and beliefs of Pride. The parade was less extravagant and anarchic than Pink Saturday.

In order not to miss anything, we watched the parade from the foot of San Francisco’s City Hall, where Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, once stood and addressed Pride-goers more than thirty years ago. After thirty minutes of waiting, the first contingent of the parade came towards us. Every contingent looked different, with Djs and dancers on some of them, and politicians and celebrities on others. Many groups walked the route, and I can say that each one was a real surprise for the little Frenchi that I am.

 

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

 

After seeing more than 200 contingents in four hours, with a heat approaching 90 degrees, and especially after the awesome party in Castro, I was really exhausted but it didn’t matter. The colors, joy, and madness that reigned in the streets and on the faces of everyone gave me enough energy to stay.

 

 

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

Photo by Florent Bridot

 

Afterwards, I remember thinking that there was no specific age, profile, or mindset needed to participate in the fantastic and open-minded event. I saw on the street a young girl, she was around 7 or 8 years old and was carrying a banner that said, “I’m not gay but I love rainbow.” It is difficult to describe the feeling I had watching her. It was moving, and the girl seemed happy celebrating Pride spirit.