My first time in Paris was ten years ago. It was May of 2007, and the atmosphere of the city was happy and exciting particularly because it was election year. I remember watching TV one evening at my hotel room and they had just announced a newly elected president. That night Nicholas Zarkozy was the new president of France. Later that year he married supermodel Carla Bruni.
The weather then was agreeable. The sun was out all week except the day I arrived. It was a perfect time to visit Paris. I thought I hit the jackpot. All was well during my trip then.
Today, Paris seem a bit different. Due to the violent events that occurred here in the last two years (one in 2015 and another is 2016), the atmosphere of the city is a bit somber than its usual gay Paris.
Almost everywhere I go, I see soldiers in groups of four holding rifles and the national police standing by for anything bad that could happen. I saw them primarily in train stations and public places where tourists and locals would always conjugate. The same goes for my visits in Strasbourg and Lille. You see the police walking around town.
To some, this may sound like a downside to the city but I don’t see it that way. The city and the country just wants its citizens and its visitors safe and protected out of harm’s way. The city wants its visitors to enjoy the city and it wants its locals to live freely without fear as they did before. I find this diligence of the city proactive and impressive and every major city in the world should take note. After all, France is the country that created the idea of liberty, equality, fraternity and the world followed.