Erasmus Paris visit – Day One
Today was a very special day in world history as it marked the centenary of the the armistice which ended world war one on 11th November 1918. After an early start and breakfast with our partner schools from Spain, Romania and France we headed to the Jean Jaures Gymnasium for a commemorative workshop which involved performances form our partner schools and speeches by several local dignitaries including the mayor of the 19th Arrondisement(similar to a district like Allerton or Garston).
In England we wear poppies but in France we were all given a blue and white flower instead) At the end of the ceremony we were invite d to look at some original magazines called ‘Le Miroir’ and L’Illustration’ which were a record of the war in France with lots of pictures showing the terrible conditions that the soldiers had to deal with.
We were then invited to a ceremony at a memorial stone outside of the Town Hall where several different groups of people laid wreaths by the stone. Our Erasmus partners from Romania laid a wreath on behalf of our partner schools- although we got very wet it was a very special occasion where everybody showed total respect. We finished the morning with refreshments in the beautiful Town Hall.
Can you research the ‘Bleuet de France’ and write about it in 100 words or less? You can also draw it. We will publish some of your responses on our BLEND website.
The commemoration of the end of the First World War continued into the afternoon with a
ceremony which was held under the walls of one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, Pere
Lachaise. Among a host of other famous people from the worlds of art, music, literature and politics,
the playwright Oscar Wilde, the composer Chopin, the singer Edith Piaf and the rock star Jim
Morrison are all buried. Today’s ceremony not only marked the 100th anniversary of the war’s
conclusion but also acknowledged the creation of a new monument to the 94,415 Parisians who
died during the conflict. The memorial stretches the whole way along one of the cemetery’s walls
and contains the names of all those soldiers who died in the chronological order of their deaths.
The ceremony began with an impressive parade led by a marching band and comprised of
branches of all the French armed forces, including armed firemen! It was attended by the Mayor of
Paris, Madame Hidalgo, as well as the Minister for the Army and the commander of the military
garrison of Paris. Before the dignitaries made their speeches to the specially invited crowd, actors
read poems and highly emotional letters from young soldiers who had fought and died in the
defence of their country.
On a big screen, footage from the war itself was shown which emphasised
the terrible conditions those soldiers endured and the terrible dangers they faced. There was also
beautiful, solemn music provided by a cellist, a pianist, a female soprano singer and an excellent
choir. The memorial was lit up in several places with beacons of fire and the dignitaries walked the
length of the memorial, studying the names of those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. Following
this, the Mayor and the Minister for the Army made two speeches, which were followed by a rousing
rendition of the French national anthem, “The Marseillaise.” The constant rain did make life a little
uncomfortable, but it certainly didn’t ruin the occasion
See if you can find out the names of some of the other artists, writers and composers who are buried
in Pere Lachaise cemetery.
Mr Burke and Mr Carney