Letter from Paris: November 8, 2023 News Digest

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Letter from Paris: November 8, 2023 News Digest

The coast of France was hit by successive big storms recently. The effects of the TempĂŞte Ciaran were also felt in Paris, where high winds led to the loss of trees in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The gardeners quickly rallied to remove a 30-meter plane tree that had fallen so they could reopen the beloved Left Bank garden. Check out the video below.

There have been a number of antisemitic acts committed in France since the terrorist attack by Hamas gunmen in Israel on 7 October. Now the country is investigating a possible Russian link to Star of David graffiti that appeared in Paris. (Note: the stars were not yellow, but the same color blue as the Israeli national flag.) As reported by Reuters, “French prosecutors are investigating whether two Moldovans who admitted to daubing Stars of David on the walls of Parisian properties did so at the behest of someone abroad… French radio station Europe 1 reported last week that an individual in Russia had directed the 33-year-old man and woman, 29, to carry out the act. The prosecutor’s office did not mention Russia in its statement, only that someone from abroad had communicated via telephone with the pair in Russian.”

The Total building (Total HQ) in la DĂ©fense. Photo credit: Tangopaso / Wikimedia commons

Meanwhile the so-called “French Spiderman” scaled the 48-storey Tour Total to appeal for peace in the Middle East. Aged 61, Alain Robert climbed the skyscraper in La DĂ©fense without a harness — and nearly fell twice. The building is the headquarters for TotalEnergies, one of the world’s major oil companies.

Speaking of protests, environmental activists climbed the IM Pei-designed glass pyramid outside the Louvre Museum and poured orange paint on it. (They also threw paint-filled balloons.) The group Dernière Rénovation, working through non-violent civil disobedience, demanded a government plan for building insulation to fight climate change. Thermally insulating structures is an important means of reducing carbon emissions.

Five years after the opening of their first boutique, the popular boulangerie The French Bastards will be opening their first address on the Left Bank, bringing the total number to five bakeries in their portfolio. The brand is known as avant-gardiste, bringing a contemporary approach to classic French bread (and dishing up quite a bit of #foodporn on their Instagram account). Come November 17, the bakery will be delighting bread lovers at 60 Rue de Sèvres in the 7th arrondissement.

Tennis champion Novak Djokovic won a seventh title at Rolex Paris Masters. Out sick earlier in the week, Djoko hadn’t even played tennis since a Davis Cup match in September. There was a lot of sparring with the crowd — as described by Tennis.com: “Time and again, Djokovic found himself trailing and seemingly on the verge of defeat. Time and again, her was irritated by the Paris crowd—for booing him, for cheering his opponent, for making distracting noises, for taking flash photos. Time and again, Djokovic pulled himself back from the brink, and bent his ear as if to ask the fans, “How do you like me now?” That is, when he wasn’t holding his arms out wide and asking for “more, more, more” from them. Whether it was a product of love or hate, inspiration or defiance, or a combination of all of them, the energy in the building worked for Djokovic the way it has worked for him so many times before.”

The 2024 route for the Tour de France has been revealed, and it’s a tough one. It will be the first time the legendary, 120-year-old cycling race does not finish in Paris. This is because the capital will be hosting the Summer Olympic Games. Instead, the Tour de France will conclude in Nice. As reported by Eurosport, “Christian Prudhomme described the route of the 111th edition of the Tour de France as 1+1+1 because of three firsts for the world’s biggest bike race: a Grand DĂ©part in Italy, a foray through San Marino, and a finale outside Paris on the Cote d’Azur.” But that’s not all. There will also be an incredibly challenging gravel stretch. Here’s more: “Five summit finishes, nods to tradition with trips up the mythical Tourmalet and Galibier, a return to the unforgiving Plateau de Beille and to the otherworldly Cime de la Bonette – the highest paved pass in the Alps – plus 32km of gravel, a hilly day in the lush Massif Central, and two tantalising time trials – including a spectacular final day race against the clock between Monaco and Nice – makes the 2024 edition of Le Tour one of the hardest in recent memory.” Read the full article here.

Lead photo credit : Jardin du Luxembourg in fall. Photo credit: Jami430/ Wikimedia commons

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