Paris has been in the news a lot lately and not for good reasons. I’ve received a steady stream of worried messages from family and friends. Although I am wholly unqualified to discuss the political issues at the heart of the protests, I can reassure you that Colin and I are safe.
The protests of the Gilets Jaunes are visible to us – peaceful, police-escorted marches down a nearby street, preventatively boarded-up bank windows last weekend, and the only sign of vandalism some spray-painted graffiti – but we’ve seen none of the destruction shown in the news. The French have a long history of protesting. What’s struck me about the protests we’ve seen here – including those of the Gilets Jaunes – is how well scheduled they are. The Gilets Jaunes only protest on Saturdays and mostly near the Champs Élysées. By Sunday, everything is back to business as usual. This makes it very easy to stay out of the way.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that these protests are more significant than the others we’ve witnessed. Here’s a good article about the situation (coincidentally by the author of one of my favorite books): The Gilets Jaunes and a Surprise Crisis in France
I don’t want to minimize the concerns of the protesters, but as a foreigner I really can’t say much one way or the other. So to counteract the terrible photos of Paris dominating the news lately, here’s a photo of the good kind of vandalism—a little loving street art. Paris is still just as beautiful and magical as before. It’s just, well, complicated.