Expert Insight, Breaking News, and Insider Stories on Real Estate in Paris
Je suis Paris
The heartbreaking events from Friday evening in Paris were a shock for those of us close by, and frightening to watch unfold from afar. The Paris Property Group team is grateful for the worried texts, caring thoughts, and meaningful prayers that we received from our clients, partners, family and friends.
On Friday evening I was with Kathryn Brown – PPG’s client services director – first in the 7th arrondissement and then for dinner at her home in the 8th. The Elysee Palace, French ministries and courts, and numerous foreign embassies are in these neighborhoods, which make them two of the safest in the capital – or anywhere in Europe. In fact, it was the worried phone calls and texts from the US that first alerted us to the unfolding events. So close, but so far away from it all.
I logged on Facebook to let friends and family know I was OK. When I got there, Facebook had detected I was in Paris and offered me a special tool to “check in” during the crisis. I was in New York on September 11, 2001. There was no checking in then; of course, there was no Facebook. Personally I am not much of a Facebooker; but I was grateful for the important contribution it was making in a moment like this. More than anything, the gesture reminded me that as far apart as we all are, we are all connected, all united, in ways not possible before. It is that connection, I believe, that will defeat movements of hatred.
France is a dream for so many people around the world, and stands as the symbol of equality and liberty for all of us. That unity of spirit makes it a simple target for people desperate to find ways to shake that foundation. A concert hall in eastern Paris, an elementary school in Connecticut, a summer camp in Denmark, two skyscrapers in Manhattan: the objective each time is to catch us off guard in the places we feel most safe.
As it was in Manhattan 14 years ago, during these last days in Paris there were no barriers separating people; there was just shock, confusion, profound sadness, and resolute, unwavering and heartfelt support. In 2001, I left New York on schedule on October 1st, my life packed up in boxes, in love and starting out on a new life in France. On a plane to San Francisco yesterday, I saw Paris again from 30,000 feet. Both times it was hard to leave, but it was important too: life goes on no matter what our hurdles along the way.
The Eiffel tower, the Louvre and other landmarks and public gathering places remain closed. Parisians woke up Saturday morning to a different view on the same Paris: and in French style were on the streets and in the cafes and talking and debating and wondering and … living. The spirit and the strength of “Parisians” – French or foreign, residents or tourists – each day and in the face of Friday’s assault – is what make this city special. Parisians can be hurt, but that spirit is unassailable.
I write this message on behalf of the entire PPG team. Please, if we can help in some way personally, just reach out.
Paris, je t’aime.
Miranda Bothe, founder, Paris Property Group
artwork (c) 2015 Jean Julien