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In Remembrance: Armistice Day in Paris

Paris. Armistice Day. November 11. 10.50 am.

I am making my way towards the Arc de Triomphe. The French tricolore flaps within the arch in the cool wind.

Armistice Day Paris

Rugged up in a heavy coat and long scarf under grey autumn skies, I am about to witness the parade on Armistice Day.

Armistice Day Paris

In the back streets, gendarmes redirecting traffic and pedestrians politely ask us to stop. The official contingency with President Jacques Chirac passes right before us. Overwhelmed, I am too slow to raise my camera for a photograph.

Armistice Day Paris

We take our place along the Champs-Elysées with many others that have come to commemorate the end of World War I. Solemn moments punctuate the sombre event with a few people wiping away tears. Speeches are made, the military band plays, flag bearers (porte-drapeau) and men and women from military schools march in the parade.

Armistice Day Paris

Floral tributes are placed around Le soldat inconnu, the tomb of the unknown solider with the burning flame.

Armistice Day Paris

Mon oncle de Paris, my Parisian uncle who served in the French Air force, l’Armée de l’Air, was a porte-drapeau at official events, a function he undertook with much honour and pride. That year, he was unable to make the ceremony due to his ailing health.

Since that momentous day, the Arc de Triomphe has come to represent more that a commemorative monument or a Parisian landmark. Under the shadow and inscriptions of the Arc lies a memory that burns bright, Tonton bearing the flag.

Armistice Day Paris

My uncle bearing the flag under the Arc de Triomphe.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.