In all honesty, I went into this trip relatively unaware of French current events, so I was surprised by many of the cultural and political happenings of Paris; particularly, the extent of impact that the Charlie Hebdo shooting left on the city. This is most prominently displayed in the active military presence at every crowded (or otherwise popular) spot in the city. Men and women dressed in full gear and holding large, combat-style weapons, could be found at almost every destination we visited. Although I am not usually interested in military-related things, seeing these soldiers left me with a lot of questions, and a change in heart towards my project on this trip. Rather than creating a fictional piece surrounding the timeline we followed, as I had originally intended, I am now focusing on methods of defense.
I plan on completing my project in a timeline-like fashion, examining weaponry and methods of defense across the time periods we’ve studied. This will most likely be a vehicle for further exploration of my findings in Paris, as well as a way to explore other areas with which I am less familiar; in particular, I hope to extend this research to aspects of World War II in France, like the Battle of Normandy. I am not particularly knowledgeable on any of these subjects, so my research will have to be thorough, but I feel that it will nicely supplement what we have learned and experienced on this trip, and I am excited to present my findings!
Below are pictures of military personnel outside of l’Hôtel Des Invalides, a former military housing establishment, which we visited on our tour of Paris: