Faces of France: The Panthéon

 Faces of France: The Panthéon

In the neighborhood of the Panthéon

 in the Latin Quarter of Paris,

there is a strange alignment of carved heads sitting on benches…

as if they had just escaped their sentinel posts on buildings, above doorways.

Simply sitting there.

There was a placard nearby, a seemingly long and wordy explanation, but even though I speak and can somewhat read French, I did not understand  why the heads were there, except perhaps to surprise, and delight.

 I know there must be much more behind it then this, but surprise and delight was my response to this discovery, on our first, jet-lagged afternoon in Paris.

It was our first trip “back” in ten years, and we were ready for surprise and delight. Of course, Paris never disappoints.  That would be impossible.

With all of that liberté, égalité, fraternité, 

the magnificent architecture,

les homages to illustrious philosophers,

and the appropriation, engagement with, and use of ancient public spaces…there is more then enough to gasp at, delight in, and contemplate at any given moment.

Jet lag or no…Paris is a garden of earthy delights, a moveable feast, and a city so breathtakingly beautiful, so moving, so eternal yet transformative  that even wartime folly could not destroy it. Paris lives and continues to create, to give and to nourish our hearts and souls and spirits.

I think now we need its gifts more then ever, this place of repose, yet excitement and incredible vibrancy amidst its foreverness. I am not sure the world could survive without Paris and the fantasy and dreams it represents, its extensive place in history, and its rich out pouring of continual treasures.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.” – Ernest Hemingwayto a friend, 1950

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