Returning to Paris with enthusiasm
AFTER returning from Paris in early October of this past year, I wrote about my enthusiasm for the people and the places we visited. Then in November the terrorist bombings took place that shook the country, along with the rest of the world. At that time I wrote I had made it my determination to return to that country and city as soon as I possibly could. And now by pure coincidence the opportunity has presented itself. Even as you read this column today, I will be taking in many of the important locations on the western front of the First World War. My visit is in response to an invitation from the French Tourism Board. Next year is the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It, along with other battles, saw more than 11,000 Canadian lives lost on French soil during what became known as the Great War. While the visit is to commemorate the sacrifices of the First World War, the region is filled with other sites of historical and modern significance. The Notre Dame Cathedral of Amiens is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hortillonnages floating gardens have been cultivated since the Middle Ages and the new Louvre-Lens Museum is a complement to its Paris cousin. Unlike the traditional older building housing the Louvre in Paris, this one is a singlestorey blend of glass and metal, set in a landscaped park on the site of an old pithead in Lens. While in Europe, I will take the opportunity to visit the gravesite of an uncle resting in the Holten Canadian cemetery in the Netherlands. Like France, and much of the rest of Europe, they have shown their gratitude to rest of the world by working with the many nations who helped insure their freedom over two world wars, by keeping up the maintenance of the cemeteries and the sites of the most historic battles. And during this trip, I certainly will spend a few days in Paris. Over the next weeks I will report on those experiences. for at this stage, in the United States air carriers are expecting a banner year. Bookings for most airlines are very solid, and other than concerns about long lineups at security, U.S. based airlines are giddy at the prospects of achieving all time high revenues and profits. Oil prices are down, as are fares to some degree, and there seems to be an air of confidence in that nation that is showing itself in a willingness to travel. There are some signs that Canadians may be spending more time visiting their own country this year. This often translates more into tire trade business than airline bookings. Yet I have a sense that our most eastern provinces may be significant beneficiaries this year. This is a conclusion drawn by observation and not backed by research. The numbers of people who have told me they will be going to Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and New Brunswick this year has surprised me. For those who are not choosing to take a longer distance journey this summer, a Manitoba staycation can be a perfect alternative. With all our fairs and festivals it is easy to find something new and different to do every week from now until late fall.
Perhaps this summer you’ll vacation on the East coast?