The French Will Never Forget: 9/11 Commemorations in France

The French Will Never Forget: 9/11 Commemorations in France

Event rendering ©JP Heim, co-president & co-founder, The French Will Never ForgetThe U.S. will not be alone in commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. Memorial services are scheduled around the world, including in France.

Many houses of worship will hold special events throughout France. Major print and broadcast media in France are publishing or airing special memorial programs. The day will not pass by unnoticed abroad. Here’s how the French will mark this solemn date and we hope you can attend at least one of these events.

Paris events:

“The French Will Never Forget” commemoration and vigil at Palais de Chaillot (Trocadéro)

Sunday, Sept. 11

2:15-4:30pm main event

9pm evening vigil, concert and laser light show

The main event of the day is called “The French Will Never Forget” and it occurs at Palais de Chaillot (Trocadéro) opposite the Eiffel Tower. Thousands are expected to turn out for a commemoration ceremony and vigil presented by a Franco-American nonprofit association with the same name. Charles Rivkin, U.S. ambassador to France, and François Delattre, French ambassador to the U.S., will dedicate the memorial event. A documentary film will also be produced in conjunction with the activities.

Past memorial event at Omaha Beach presented by The French Will Never Forget. French architect Jean-Pierre Heim is a co-founder of “The French Will Never Forget,” a group he started with three other individuals in 2003 to show support for the U.S. after 9/11/2001. The group presents memorial events at Omaha Beach in Caen, France and participates in other events during the year. The photo shows a “human chain” made of nearly 3,000 individuals standing in solidarity at a past memorial service. The name is intended to express sympathy for the 9/11 attacks and gratitude for sacrifices made by American troops who defended France during WWII.

Replicas of the two New York World Trade Center towers will be constructed at the Palais de Chaillot, each ten stories tall. A large white banner will be draped down the length of each replica tower; one lists names of those who died in the attacks and the other contains thousands of messages and signatures collected in the U.S. and elsewhere. Special U.S. and French flags made by the group will fly over the memorial.

Heim said this  site was chosen for the opportunity to show the Eiffel Tower positioned between the two World Trade Center towers as a symbol of solidarity, sympathy and friendship between France and the U.S.

Palais de Chaillot (Trocadero) Photo: ©Taxiarchos228

“The choice of the Palais du Trocadéro is essential because these are the only two twin buildings overlooking Paris, the axis Eiffel Tower/Trocadéro is the most important touristic center in France, as well as the twin towers of the World Trade Center symbolized the entrance of the City of New York,” said Jean-Pierre Heim in le Courrier de l’Architecte, a French trade publication.

“The two towers will mark the symbol with the number 11 of September 11, 2011. Paris is the only capital in the world to celebrate in this way such an event,” continued Heim.

Activities take place on the Plaza of Human Rights at Trocadéro, site of the 1987 International End World Poverty Day event.

The event opens with a procession of children carrying the large U.S. and French flags that will be raised over the memorial as a French children’s choir performs with the Académie de Musique of the Palais-Royal Orchestra. Young American Presidential Scholars of The Arts are traveling to Paris to participate in this event.

The commemoration begins at 2:45pm and ends at 4:28pm France time, precise times of the initial World Trade Center tower attack and final moments of the towers collapsing.

At 9pm starts the vigil portion of the program. A concert will be held and two laser beams on the tops of the replica towers at Trocadéro will point to the flickering Eiffel Tower. In another symbolic gesture, the unbroken beams between the World Trade Center towers and the Eiffel Tower are a gesture of an unbreakable friendship between the countries.

Thousands of expats and members of Franco-American groups are expected to attend.

Event organizers ask guests to bring a candle, a lighter, a light and dress in white as a symbol of peace.

This program is funded by individuals and companies from France and the U.S. If you wish to make a donation to “The French Will Never Forget,” a U.S. 501(c)(3) organization, please check their website.

Wreath-laying Ceremony at Luxembourg Gardens, Statue of Liberty

Wreath will be placed at the oak tree next to the Statue of Liberty near the Musée du Luxembourg.

Sun, Sept. 11


Concert & memorial at Luxembourg Gardens

Public concert & tribute to honor all terrorist victims, hosted by the French Sénat & organized by the Movement Pour La Paix et Contre le Terrorisme with the support of the Mairie de Paris.

Where:  Kiosque, Main Entrance Luxembourg Garden, by RER.

Sun, Sept. 11

10:30am concert

12:30-1pm Procession to rue Soufflot & on to the Pantheon where speeches will be given.

1pm Speeches. John Morris, peace advocate, will represent Democrats Abroad France.

9-11-remembrance at the Statue of Liberty on Île aux Cygnes (Pont de Grenelle)

Presented by The American Church in Paris

Sun, Sept. 11

4:30-5pm Commemorative Service

Charles Rivkin, U.S. ambassador to France, and François Delattre, French ambassador to the U.S., will attend

9-11 “10 Years Later: Becoming a Blessing

presented by The American Church in Paris, Paris 7th

6-7:30pm Colloquium Discussion featuring Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders of Paris. A panel of American University in Paris students will guide a question and answer session. Music and refreshments

Theatrical performance of “September 11, 2001”

45 high school students from Seine-Saint-Denis will perform

Théâtre de la Ville at Châtelet, Paris 4th

Saturday, Sept. 10

Sunday, Sept. 11
3pm and 8:30pm

Other events in France:


Mass of Peace and Remembrance

Paroisse Sainte Eugénie, Biarritz

Sunday, Sept. 11


Caen, Omaha Beach, Normandy

9/11 Commemoration Ceremony

Presented by U.S. Democrats Abroad, City of Caen and others

The Caen-Normandy Memorial Centre for History & Peace

Sunday, Sept. 11


Events will be added as we learn of them. Please post below if you wish to notify us of an event.

Thank you to Francis Beddok of Paris who initially advised us of this event.

Dali Wiederhoft is the executive editor of BonjourParis and her profile mentions her Paris 9/11/2001 personal tale. Her last story published by BonjourParis was Paris Day Trip: Chartres.

Photo credits:

rendering & Omaha Beach images courtesy of The French Will Never Forget

Palais de Chaillot ©Taxiarchos228


Previous Article Francois Pinton: Paris Eyewear Trends
Next Article France News: Gaddafi, Libya, Hillary Clinton, Syria, DSK, Sarkozy & Carrefour

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *