GALLERY 1: France, 2023
Le temps des cerises
A few images from a research trip to France in early 2023 during Le temps des cerises.
The song of this name has a long history dating to the 19th century and associated with the time of year and bloodshed of the 1871 Paris Commune (18 March-28 May). Yves Montagne's version and later, Tokiko Kato's rendition for the film, Porco Rosso, brought it to wider audiences in more recent decades. Written by Jean Baptiste Clément in 1866 and music added by Antoine Renard in 1868, the title is roughly translated as cherry (blossom) time. Later, the song gained increased popularity during the Commune and wording was altered to reflect attitudes and events.
Updates resulting from that trip to learn more about the life and times of Lifelong Revolutionary, Victorine Malenfant (1839-1921) to follow shortly on the RESEARCH page of this site.
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Clockwise from Top:
15 March 2023. Where the Commune began. A view of the hilltop Sacré Cœur basilica in Montmartre, from a top floor of the Centre Pompidou, a contemporary art museum in Paris. The church was built to erase the memory of of the start of the Paris Commune on that site, 18 March 1871. The views from the basilica draw tourists but those who have less conservative views of politics and history might prefer to spit on its steps--a long-standing tradition!
23 February 2023. Montparnasse cemetery, cherry blossoms early in the season. I went there to find the location of Victorine Malenfant Rouchy's infant son's burial but was told a location was unknown and a marker did not exist. I took a photo of early cherry blossoms on the wall surrounding the cemetery. Children were often buried in shallow unrecorded graves if parents could not afford more, including Malenfant Rouchy's first child (1864-68). This, her second and last child, was born 10 January 1870. He died 14 March 1871, due to conditions of the siege of Paris during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, only recently ended--and just days before the start of the Commune.
18 March 2023. Le mur des fédérés at Père Lachaise cemetery on the anniversary of the start of the Commune, initiated by women as they rallied other women, men, and children when French troops entered the city in darkness hoping to take the cannon used during the defense of Paris. Bad planning and working women's adamancy meant troops didn't get the cannon and left the city. This far corner of the cemetery, where Communard/es made their last stand but were slaughtered by troops, more people than usual were leaving flowers to commemorate the Commune's principles, which were reflected in street protests and people's frustration with top-down decision making. I too left a bouquet, for those reasons and others.
14 March 2023. Resistance to President Macron's plan to raise the retirement age continued to grow during my stay with street demonstrations and trash piling up due to striking sanitation workers being common. 7 March had seen a major work stoppage. Later, things worsened as Macron bypassed a parliamentary vote to push through his wishes.
18 March 2023. Cherry blossoms in Père Lachaise cemetery, the site of the last battle and murderous annihilation of those who fought on the side of revolutionary change.
Pamela Stewart, Orléans, France, 11 March 2023. Train transportation is inconsistent during strikes so I'm waiting on a FlixBus to return to Paris.