Paris as Text 2022
One of the most significant parts of French History was the French Revolution. People know this time was when France stood up to King Louis XIV’s unfair ruling and fought to gain independence and rights. The French revolutionist ended up winning and getting a fair system of government for the people. Many people know these key moments but not what happened behind the scenes during this time. The Conciergerie gave a perspective of what the French revolutionist were doing so that they were able to have justice for the wrongful nature of the government. This is because the Conciergerie is “one of the main places of detention during the French Revolution with the installation of the revolutionary court” (Conciergerie).
Before this building became a prison, it was the “royal palace called Palais de la Cité (‘Palace of the City’), originally built in the 6th century by Clovis, the first King of France” (Guide). The building has been renovated through the years and now has a gothic secular style. Not only was the building made in this unique style, the location it is put in “one of two small islands in the middle of the Seine River, [which] places it at the heart of historic Paris”(Guide).
Even before the revolution, having this building located in the heart of Paris felt like a symbol to me. Its message felt like it was saying this where the revolutionists’ justices and independencies were beginning to start in France. The counter revolutionist were arrested and put into jail cells. The prisoners could walk around the courtyards or get a bigger prison cell for a fee. All prisoners were given a fair trial in court. If they were guilty of their accusations, they would be guillotined in front of a crowd. This was a huge step in France’s legal system because before, there were no courts or fair trials. Disagreeing with the king’s orders or committing a crime meant immediate death. They did this for all their prisoners, but one prisoner who stood out from all of them was Queen Marie Antoinette.
This prison is well known for “Marie-Antoinette spen[ding] her final days awaiting her fate at the guillotine” (Guide). While inside, “Marie Antoinette was confined to a more secluded area, away from the general population” (Bashor). Antoinette was held in jail for months until a court trial was open for her. At the end of the trial, she was guilty of “conspiring with the enemies of France and for plotting to ‘trouble the state with a civil war.’ ” (Bashor). While listening to her final sentence, it is said that she “She did not give any sign of fear, indignation, or weakness, ” (Bashor). However, during her last moments of life, before she got guillotined, she wrote a letter to her sister and son about her emotions and to forgive. Specifically, in her last letter, she wrote:
“I sincerely ask pardon of God for all the errors I may have committed during my life. I hope that in his kindness he will accept my last vows, as well as those I have long since made, that he may vouchsafe to receive my soul in his mercy and goodness. I ask pardon of all those with whom I am acquainted, and of you, my sister, in particular, for all the trouble which, without desiring it, I may have caused you. I forgive all my enemies the evil they have done me.” (Bashor).
Stepping and seeing not just Marie Antonine but many others prisoners’ lives in Conciergerie gave me a strange feeling. These people did do wrong toward the French citizens that cannot be undone. I will never know if they would regret their wrongdoings if the revolution did not happen, but I do know that they were people who made mistakes. They accept the consequences of their action, which has brought a huge impact on decision-making in the government throughout all of history.
Bashor, Will. Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days : Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Guide, Paris Discovery. “Conciergerie: Why You Should Visit – Paris Discovery Guide.” Conciergerie: Why You Should Visit – Paris Discovery Guide, http://www.parisdiscoveryguide.com/conciergerie-paris.html.
Versailles as Text 2022
“Palace of Beauty and Betrayal” by Adia Pena of FIU Versailles
Stepping into France, I always admired the architecture of all the buildings I have seen. Their color, placement, and size were not what I usually see in America. Though these buildings were a sight to see, stepping into Versailles can not compare to any building or estate I have seen through my lifetime.
When you first get close by to look upon the palace, you are greeted by a huge statue of Louis XIV. Not only do you see him there, but even before and after you enter the palace, you are discreetly followed by Louis XIV’s influence. This is because Louis wanted to present himself as God and have a higher stand and influence than anybody in France. To achieve this, he designed the home with visible images of his face and embodiment all over through the interior design and paintings in the palace. He hired artists from outside France to display himself around the palace that he was like a god of sun and light. This interesting detail amazed me. Everywhere you went in the palace you are reminded that Louis XIV is above anybody.
Though it seems arrogant to most people to be portrayed as God, it does not even begin with how he wanted everyone in the palace to feel. Walking to the entrance, You have to climb far upon a long and steep hill to enter. Many past guests felt small based on the vast size and extreme length they had to go just to enter his home. Then finally, inside, you feel you are two inches seeing the height and big space that the palace has. In it, you see vast hallways and passages, each with drawings of Louis showing how he wants to be portrayed as powerful. Even some of the rooms, like the hall of mirrors, made the previous guest feel strange with all on eyes on them while meeting the king at the end of the long room.
Despite the home having beauty inside and a feeling of being overpowered by the previous king, what caught my eye was what was behind the palace. Behind was the most beautiful garden I have seen in my life. I was captivated by how it was designed and the different color flowers that gave a spring vibe in the summer. A remarkable feature of the garden was how each water fountain had a unique design that had a small message to it.
Other than the garden, I was amazed at how comfortable the private homes of Louis and Marie Antoinette felt. Though vast, it had soothing natural colors that felt like you were in a cottage. Not to mention oh how the small lakes and the farms with animals in them gave that mood you were in a quiet country away from the city.
Going to the palace of Versailles was a great start to my first week in Paris. I never thought I would be surrounded by a huge acre of land that is filled with detail and amazing architecture. Though people book months in advance just to see this palace, I know the original people who owned this palace only cared about themselves alone. This building beauty was home to a king who cared nothing about his people and wanted nothing more than to be looked upon highly by everyone. This thought will cross my mind whenever I think about the palace of Versailles.
Lyon as Text 2022
“Taking a step back” by Adia Pena of FIU Lyon
Entering another city in France was another memory I can have in store for my travels throughout my life. The next town in France was named Lyon, which had so much in store. When first entering the city, I was intrigued by the architectural design. The town gave an urban home feel to it. Though it gave this feel, much of how the city is designed is made upon steep hills and the bright, vibrant colors of the building. These designs came to be because of the material that was used decades ago to build it by the Romans.
Many of these buildings are in use today and are occupied by current residents in Lyon. It is primarily quiet in these areas, giving the citizens of the era a tranquil and quiet environment. But to really know this city’s architecture is to know the history behind it. One building called the Cour Des Vorcaces holds a story about workers fighting for their basic rights. Within the building laid the start of silk workers who had enough of the low amount of pay they were receiving. So in the same courtyard, I was standing was where a worker around my age wanted to have a change to benefit their lives or even their future generations. Another building that I was struck by its beauty the most was the La Tour Rose, which translates to the pink tower.
In the city, I once again went back in time but when the Romans occupied the land. I was in the Lugdunum, which was a city where an emperor named Claudius ruled. While regulating this land, he wanted equal rights, so the citizens were able to “worshipped many deities, including those brought from the east” (Lugdunum). This shocked me how a leader would allow equal rights since, throughout history in roman times, power ended up being misused many times. Now, this city became not just any old ruin but a theater that has “two levels of tiered seats for about 5,000 spectators” (The Roman theaters).To even show history was made in that location, a museum was put up with other artifacts from the site to be shown to the public.
The last location was a jail cell. Now even though jails are supposed to put criminals behind an iron bar who was first put in, there were nothing but innocent people. In world war II, innocent Jewish people who did no wrong were captured and put into this jail cells. They were small, dark, and haunting. Stepping into this jail cell was uncomfortable, and what the Jews had to endure while inside there was horrifying. Around 8 to 10 Jews were stuffed in there with barely any food and given no proper hygiene or privacy. Most of them that were in jail cells ended up being killed by Nazis. Many stories were told of the people’s lives and who they were before sadly passing or enduring this unjust punishment. One holocaust survivor named Claude Bloch told his story during this time. It happened to him at the young age of 15 years old, while there he lost loved ones through that time. It was inspiring and heartbreaking how strong he was then and now, but what was taken from him at such a young age all because of prejudiced views from wicked minds.
Going to Lyon, I did not know what to expect. This city that was new to me is now a city that I will not forget in my travels. Lyon holds history that I can guarantee that if anyone were to visit, it would impact their lives.
“Lugdunum.” The Oxford Classical Dictionary 2012: n. pag. Print.
The Roman theaters. The Roman theaters – Lugdunum Museum and Roman theatres. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://lugdunum.grandlyon.com/en/Discover/The-Roman-theaters
Izieu as Text 2022
“A child’s life” by Adia Pena of FIU Izieu
Having a family means there are people that are with you. They support you they love, but what would happen if you were separated from them. During the holocaust, families were separated in camps, when they were kicked out of their homes and, brought in for interrogation by the soldiers, most not even seen after question. As a parent during this time, it was a difficult decision to bring your child with you or to send your child away for safety.
In Izieu, there is one of the most relaxing, nature-filled setting filled settings that I have seen. High in the mountains, you feel nothing but peace and the earth’s natural presence around you. Going into that area relaxes all worries and stress out of a person’s daily life. During the time of the Holocaust, 44 children lived in this area. Their parents sent them there for safety so no harm could come to them during this time when any Jewish life could be endangered. They attend a school, and the teachers that were there made sure they would live a normal life as young students. They taught them math, how to read, write, and draw. There are even pictures of most of the children smiling and enjoying their youth, but then their last moments of joy were taken from them by a sick mind.
This sick mind of Klaus Barbie, a Nazi general, found the school and ordered his soldiers to take all the children for integration. They wanted more information about where the parents were so they could be taken and tortured. All the children after question were sent into camps, and all of them ended up being killed at the hands of the German soldiers. After the Holocaust, most of the parents ended up surviving and never heard any information about what happened to their children.
Knowing all this information while being at the school made my heart drop. Seeing not just innocent lives being taken away but the lives of people who were so young, how could this happen. Images of these faces that were so happy and joyful without a care in the world hurt me. What hit me the most was the letters they wrote to their parents. The small letters they wrote were to thank their parents for the simple gifts they got them like socks and notebooks. They were so grateful and thankful they were able to receive them, and awaiting their time, they will finally be able to see them in person. It tore my heart into pieces that they were not able to say this to their parents in person.
Each student did not deserve what happened to them at all. How could somebody want to kill a child’s life with no remorse? This thought came upon me while looking at all the pictures in the room of each child. Even one child did not have any photos of them that were ever recovered. Each child just wanted to be with their parents and to live all life where none of this would happen.
The Masion D’Izieu honors the lives of these children. They do this by showing and informing us what happened during the time of the holocaust. Displaying the children’s artwork, images, and writings of them shows how happy there were there. Though this was a shattering moment, they want this area to be known as a place of joy because this is what memories laid in this area and will always be remembered by
Normandy As text
Each Step Liz took
Throughout history, many wars have happened. These wars happen because of unfair ruling, wanted territory, or political reasons. One war that is well known throughout history is World War II. During this time, the “German dictator Adolf Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy” (“World War II.”) parts of Europe. People came together to serve in the war and gave their life for freedom. Sadly, many people who were part of the war ended up passing away. Every person that gave their life are remembered for their service and hard work they gave during this time. One aspect that is used to remember these lives is cemeteries dedicated to each person. In particular, in France, there is the Normandy American Cemetery that honors and “contains the graves of 9,386 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations” (“Normandy American Cemetery.”). One person in particular that stood out to me during this time was a woman named Elizabeth Ann Richardson.
Elizabeth was the first-born child of Charles Richardson and Henrietta Richardson and then became a big sister when her two younger brothers John Anton and Charles Monroe Jr. came into the world. She had a loving family that was there for her with each step in her younger years. This lead her to be strong within her goals, purpose, and career. Then the time came where she stepped into adulthood.
She stepped out of her hometown in Ohio and went to Wisconsin to focus on her university studies at Milwaukee-Downer College. She had passion for the arts and made comic strips, drawings, poems, and music. Her unique drawings and amazing poems were stood out. She even made a poem called “A Life Cut Short” that centers around a girl’s life capturing small moments. Her work and focus lead to her getting the Joseph E. Davies Award and graduating with her Bachelor’s in art and English in 1940.After graduation she got a job at a company named “Schuster, an advertising agency in Milwaukee” (Suedois50). Things were going well, so what more did Elizabeth want to do? Well during World War II Elizabeth had a new perspective.
When news started to spread upon the war many Americans believed that “the United States should not get involved militarily in the Second World War” (Suedois50). Elizabeth even commented that “the U.S. will be suckers if they enter it.” (“Wearing Lipstick to War.”). Then, news of the attack on Pearl Harbor came and it struck something in her. She wanted to help to make change. She even said to one of her friends “We just had to go” (“Wearing Lipstick to War.”). She applied for the American Red Cross and was able to pass the interview and medical examinations. Stepping down from her old advertisement job now, her new step was to work in England when she boarded a ship to start her new life in the American Red Cross.
In her position she, did not work in the front lines, she did not do any training like the military, but her position was important just as any other position was during the war. She served donuts and coffee to the troops and had extreme demands in her work that included stress, hard labor, and organizations in a time where there were sometimes not enough resources or even assistance within the war. They were able to get through this even though England “had been ravaged by nearly five years of Nazi bombers, food shortages, and the horrors of total war” (“Wearing Lipstick to War.”). Most importantly she raised the spirits up of all the supporting troops. Though things were hard, not once did Elizabeth complain about this. She knew what she wanted, she wanted to support, and she wanted this new step in her life. She even wrote a letter to her parents saying “”I consider myself lucky to be in the clubmobiles, I can’t conceive of anything else it’s a rough, irregular and bizarre life but it’s wonderful. It’s as wonderful as everything is in these circumstances” (Suedois50).
On July 25, 1945, Elizabeth had to travel to the Red Cross headquarters located in Paris. Based on her hard work and dedication to support, she was promoted the captain of her unit. Ready to start her new position as captain, she went aboard a small plane with another pilot named Sergeant William R. Miller. The same day there happened to be a thick fog in the sky making it hard to navigate through. The pilot struggled to see clearly, and he crashed the plane by a city near France called Rounen. Both him and Elizabeth passed away from the crash and her life ended at just the age of 27. They found the body of Elizabeth and buried her for “more than two years in the military cemetery of Saint André-de-l’Eure” (Suedois50). Then in 1948, her body came to rest at the Normandy American Cemetery in France. She is “under one of the 9387 white crosses just a few graves from Sergeant William R. Miller who accompanied her in death this Wednesday, July 25, 1945 in the morning” (Suedois50).
Elizabeth Richardson from the start of her life always wanted to help support and make an achievement in her new life by stepping into a new direction. I too want make steps into my life to make an impact. I do not know I would move so far from home, I do not know if would ever join the red cross, I don’t even know if I would have this go getter personality like Elizabeth, but I do know I want to some impact in my life and I know this step I am doing now is just the start. I am still young and there are still more opportunities I know that will happen.
But no matter what part in my life I am in I want to say like Elizabeth “I wouldn’t trade my life for anything else, I have so much satisfaction in what I do with my life that I didn’t realize before” (Suedois50).
“Normandy American Cemetery.” American Battle Monuments Commission, 2022, http://www.abmc.gov/normandy.
Suedois50. “Richardson Elizabeth A – Cr Am.” RICHARDSON Elizabeth A – CR Am,Mémoire &Database, http://www.database-memoire.eu/prive/fr/normandy-tous-soldats/53-colleville-r-fr/1205-richardson-elizabeth-a-croix-rouge-americaine.
“Wearing Lipstick to War.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,2007, http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2007/fall/lipstick.html.
“World War II.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2002, http://www.britannica.com/event/World-War-II.
Père Lachaise As Text
Have you ever heard of music? You probably have, whether it was nursery rhymes when you were younger, instruments playing in the background, or even your own playlist, music has been part of each of our lives. One person who impacted the music industry and people’s lives in the late 1960’s was a man named Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8th in 1943. As a child he was “very popular, thanks to his talent as a storyteller” (Moysan). He would frequently write down his ideas and speak to the public in which “the source of two major inspirations in Jim’s behavior and in his poetry: on the one hand, a very marked attraction for the mysticism of the Amerindians and shamanism” (Moysan). So when Morrison went to college, he studied in UCLA and took his passion for storytelling the cinema route. Though at times, he would play around in his classes, he was focused on “[taking] notes on cinematographic techniques, on the history of cinema and on the philosophical reflections that this medium inspired in him” (Moysan). He graduated in 1965 with a bachelors in film, but was unemployed and homeless, living on the beach. But his situation turned into a possibility because while living there he crossed paths with a man named Ray Manzarek. They became close friends and showed each other their talents. One talent that shocked Ray was Morrison’s singing and lyric skills. Right when he heard his voice, Ray was “immediately seduced by the lyrical intensity of Jim’s lyrics, Ray Manzarek reportedly exclaimed, ‘Hey, man, let’s form a rock band and win a million dollars!’ ”(Moysan). Morrison agreed to this idea, and created the name for the band called The Doors. He got the name from a book’s quote named The Doors of Perception specifically “by William Blake: ‘If the doors of perception were cleared, everything would appear to man as it is’” (Moysan). Later on, they added two more members to the group. They first started to play in “a bar in Los Angeles, The London Fog” (Moysan) and they played music “ranging at times from basic pop rock to blues to jazz to spoken word ensembles, [which] was nonetheless innovative” (“Jim Morrison.”). Their band got noticed by a record label and their fame grew
They started playing at different clubs and debuted on local and International television. They even “spent a lengthy 121 weeks on the Billboard 200” (Caulfield). Even years later, the band was “inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993” (“The Doors.”). This was all thanks to the band’s work and how through Morrison’s “lyrics of his songs, which advocate free love, the use of drugs, the consumption of Alcohol, rejection of Puritan morality, revolt against authority, militancy against war” (Moysan). But things started to take a turn with Morrison.
Jim Morrison “stage performances grew even more intense” (Moysan), which lead to him getting arrested. His biggest arrest he was known for was while “[o]n stage, he launched into a diatribe against the cop” (Tedasregadoo) and had other altercations, which lead for charges of him “inciting a riot, public obscenity (he dropped the f-bomb a couple of times) and indecency” (Tedasregadoo). He spoke about his actions and stated, “I couldn’t be taken seriously. It’s a funny thing: being a loved and hated rock star is—it’s a gift-curse, and there is only ever one way out of it” (“Jim Morrison.”). This is because of the media “constructing his sex symbol image” (Majstorović), and him feeling “it’s the reporters, it’s the press, people like that, that create this insanity … that make up this stuff and then people start believing it” ( Majstorović). So he left it, moved to France, and stated that is “why I left the business and moved to Paris. People didn’t recognize me there, or if they did, it wasn’t a big fanfare deal. I was just another guy, another artist. America was a disaster and it had turned me into a disaster” (“Jim Morrison.”). This was because towards the end, he “found it difficult to handle the change: his growing dependence on alcohol would dim his talent in the years that followed, and the superstar status made him believe he was immune to normal authority” (Morrison).
Moving to Paris was supposed to bring more to his life, but instead cause his death. Moving there he “devote[d] himself to poetry and to reduce his alcohol consumption” (Moysan). During the time he was there, “Morrison appeared happy and healthy. And in photos taken during his final days alive, he looked trim and fit” (Lamoureux). Then all of sudden, “On July 3, 1971, Morrison’s girlfriend found him dead in his bathtub” (Morrison). Though there was never an autopsy it was said, he “had died of heart failure, thought to be brought on by a heroin overdose” (Lamoureux) at just the age of 27.
As humans, we make mistakes, we have regrets, and we have people in our lives we inspire. It was not good that Morrison went through this route of alcohol, drugs, and felonies. This is what he did not want, but the lifestyle that came to him and consumed his way of life. He wanted to get away from it all so he moved away to not have that in his life. His music and even poetry–was that a cry for help? Maybe it was a way to say a message about this industry, or another way of life we tend to overlook. Even within his poetry he gave this view about this life. One poem that shows this, “In This Dim Cave,” he writes: “In this dim cave we can go no further. Here money is key to smooth age. Horses, givers of guilt. Great bags of gold.
I want obedience!” (Douglas). Though I may not know what exactly Morrison went through personally, I know it hurt. It hurt him so much that he just couldn’t deal with life anymore. He even said it in his songs that, “So I tell you, I tell you I tell you we must send away We must try to find a New answer instead of a way” (“Jim Morrison.”). It is sad that during times because of your social status, your emotions are overlooked. Morrison was not the only person to go through this; people just like me and you can experience being unheard. But we all still remember what Morrison did in the music industry. His supporters, his outspokenness about his emotions, and how “there’s no question that his contributions to the rock world will never be forgotten” (Lamoureux).
Caulfield, Keith. “The Doors: A Billboard Chart History.” Billboard, 21 May 2013, www.billboard.com/pro/the-doors-a-billboard-chart-history/.
Douglas, James. “In This Dim Cave.” In This Dim Cave – James Douglas Morrison – My Poetic Side, mypoeticside.com/show-classic-poem-20240.
“Jim Morrison.” Hyperrhiz, 1 Jan. 1970, hyperrhiz.io/hyperrhiz23/rocktalog/15-sundvall-morrison.html.
Lamoureux, Aimee. “What Really Happened to Jim Morrison in Paris?” All That’s Interesting, All That’s Interesting, 25 July 2022, allthatsinteresting.com/jim-morrison-death.
Majstorović, Dunja. “A Young Lion, the Lizard King, and Erotic Politician: Tracing the Roots of Jim Morrison’s Mythical Image.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, vol. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 157–173, doi:10.1177/0196859917690532.
“Morrison, Jim.” UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography, edited by Laura B. Tyle, vol. 7, UXL, 2003, pp. 1336-1338. Gale eBooks, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3437500554/GVRL?u=miam11506&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=bcc2cbc5. Accessed 28 July 2022.
Moysan, Stephen. “Biographie De Jim Morrison (1943-1971).” Biographie De Jim Morrison, http://www.eternels-eclairs.fr/biographie-jim-morrison.php.
Tedasregadoo. “Jim Morrison’s Arrest History.” Ultimate Classic Rock, 4 Aug. 2015, ultimateclassicrock.com/jim-morrison-arrest-history/.
“The Doors.” The Doors, thedoors.com/the-band.